If the post on why you should raise your CAM practice rates has convinced you that the time is right, here are a few tips on how to make it painless for you and your patients.

Plan It
So here’s the dilemma: Inflation’s always there, and as a result of it (and other good reasons) you want to be raising rates. But you don’t want to do it too frequently. Plan at least two rate hikes in advance – the current one, and the next one. That’ll help you plan the amount of the rate hike, and also help with some of the next steps below.

I’d recommend a couple of things for price changes in your alternative medical practice: First, do it once a year at the most. Second, shake it up a bit if you can. Raising your fees every New Years Day gets predictable, and after a while your long-standing patients may come to see it as unrelated to anything tangible, and simply an annual cash grab. I prefer a larger increase every couple of years, but that’s up to you.

Give Notice
Give your patients plenty of advance notice. Don’t treat this as a change that you’ll just “sneak by them”. You want to increase your rates, yes, but you also want to ensure that your patients continue to return. Remember that most holistic and CAM medicine practices are working in a free market – your clients may have other options to choose from.

If you have a regulatory body, you may want to check with them, as well – boards may dictate how much notice you have to provide, and in what format (posted in writing, etc.).

Own It
The easiest way to make your rate change painless for you, and readily accepted by your patient base is to “own it” – make sure you’re comfortable with it. Do you feel like you and your services are worth the cash? Do your best on this one and the rest will be easier.

You may have to defend your practice pricing with your patients, but the more comfortable you are, the less this tends to happen.

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