How should you set your life coaching fees? Is $50 too little and is $1,000 too much? The tips and information on this page will help you decide what's right for you and whether you should discount or offer free introductory sessions.
One of the most common questions you are going to be asked is about your fees. "What does life coaching cost?"
It's a question so many new coaches have trouble answering easily and congruently. Why? Because they are not sure of their value or what is right for their target market.
So let's discuss:
Comparisons don't work:
Coaches may set their life coaching rates as little as $USD50 an hour for individual face to face coaching while some corporate and celebrity coaches can achieve $USD1500+ a session.
There will always be a coach who charges more or less that you do, so don't fall into the trap of making comparisons and thinking "I should be charging more/less". That is only gong to cause you stress. You really don't know what they have used to justify their fee or if, in fact, their fee is justified.
A lot depends on how you place yourself in the coaching marketplace and go about choosing your niche or specialty and what your target market can afford. For instance if you want to coach single mothers or students you can't expect to charge what you might get from corporate executives.
You also need to consider your ROI (Return on investment) so you can keep track as to whether you are actually making any money. Of course in the initial stages of your coaching business, when you are setting things up, your investment will most likely far outweigh your return.
Maybe set up a spreadsheet to keep track of investment and income.
Many coaches in the US, Europe and Asia charge life coaching fees either by the month, for a series of sessions, or by the hour - the latter being more common in corporate coaching situations.
If you are aiming to coach in India, China or one of the other countries where the profession is comparatively new, you may need to do some research and then use your local judgement as to what the market will accept.
I can't give you a blanket figure to cover all currencies, but in the US and Australia average life coaching fees for individual are somewhere between $100 and $500 + a session - maybe less in rural areas. And some executive coaches who work with large organisations are charging upwards $700 an hour.
If you are marketing yourself worldwide you should consider having a currency converter on your website so that prospects can immediately see your fees in their local currency.
As Life Coaching Online becomes more viable for distance coaching with programs such as Skype and Zoom some coaches are choosing to put a loading on life coaching fees for face-to-face sessions. This is to cover the substantial travel and location expenses that can be involved when compared with online coaching.
If you are looking to coach in the growing Asian market, I found the book Coaching in Asia had some really useful guidelines for working in that region whether you are based in Asia or working remotely from the USA, UK or other countries.
They key to being able to charge top rates for your target market is the perception your clients have of your expertise and value.
That is about being able to articulate, whether by word of mouth or online in a way that engages - who you help, what you do and how you do it.
If identifying your target market is a challenge, I can highly recommend you check out Cindy Schulson's work to help you narrow down your specialty and present yourself so you will be seen as an expert.
She has loads of free help and templates on her Marketing From the Heart website including branding templates and free trainings.
If you get taken on as internal coach with a large company, a recruitment agency or are employed by a provider of life coaching services, you may find yourself on staff at fixed life coaching salary.
If salary on offer seems low, take into account you may now get holiday pay, sick leave and all the other benefits that go with being employed as against having your own practice. And you will most likely have a steady flow of client without the need for marketing yourself.
Try to find out what other coaches on staff at the company you are negotiating with or other organisations directly employing coaches are getting paid. You will then have a benchmark for negotiation..
Many coaching schools recommend you start practicing pro bono as part of your training. And even if you do hold off until you are qualified, there is often a dilemma as to how much you should charge as a trained but, as yet, inexperienced coach.
If you come from a related discipline such as psychology or counselling, or even consulting, where you have simply added coaching techniques to your skills, you may have no problem charging full fees straight away.
But if you are coming into coaching without any related experience, then offering to coach people for free, or at a reduced rate may be a good idea as you gain experience and confidence. However, if you are really confident you feel know what you are doing, go for it and start charging a full rate straight away. Again it's whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever your niche will bear. You can always adjust up or down.
Make sure there is something in it for you!
I do recommend you should ask for some exchange for your pro bono coaching. Even if you are inexperienced, you are trained and hopefully credibly certified as a coach and you will be adding value to your practice clients. If the client is paying you a token amount, however small, they will be more inclined to take the process seriously.
If you do take on some clients for no fee at all, then I recommend you work out some form of exchange that is of value to you. Do they have a service you would be interested in as an exchange?
I've put together some really important considerations if you are thinking of swapping or bartering your coaching for another product or service. You can learn from a readers conversation on swapping, how a virtual assistant does swapping and a swapper who has over 30 years of successful bartering.
And it's a good idea to let those practice of swap clients know what your full life life coaching fees rate will be for future clients you take on. This will make them more appreciative of the opportunity to be coached for no fee or at a reduced rate that you are offering them.
Another dilemma coaches often face is whether of not to publish their life and business coaching fees on their website or in printed brochures. Let's look at the pros and cons for both strategies.
The argument in favour of publishing your costs is it tells the prospective client right up front what you charge and saves that "money conversation" that you may find uncomfortable at the end of an introductory session. It's more transparent and the first question a prospect invariably asks at the end of an introductory session is "how much does it cost".
Many coaches feel that until you have had an introductory session, the prospective client might not realise the value of your offering and why you are charging that amount, and decide against coaching even before speaking to you. However, if your website has properly engaging relevant content they should be pretty well sold before you speak to them. I experimented with both and founding that publishing details of my coaching packages and what they cost worked best for me.
I offered several different program options so there was something for several needs and budgets. The variations in your programs can be for length of sessions or number of sessions in a series and whether you include in between session email contact or brief telephone calls. A lot will depend on your demographic and your niche or specialty.
Often when a prospective client starts pushing you to reduce your fee with an "I really want to do this, but can't afford it" story, it's often more about their priorities than whether or not they have the money.
On two occasions early in my career I fell for this and, anxious to sign up the client, seriously discounted my fee only to discover that the clients were actually in a much better position financially than I was at that time.
In the first instance the client was saving for an extended overseas holiday and in the second carrying out major house renovations. When I discovered this in the course of the coaching, I have to admit it left me feeling somewhat undervalued and cheated. Not the best place to be coming from as a coach!
So I think it is much better to change the structure of the program to fit what the client is willing to pay, than discount your time and skills.
There are many ways to establish Life Coaching Fees.
Will you share yours?
New coaches will be really grateful for information
on how you started charging and what you did
to get your fees to where they are now.
Please share your experience...
Click below to see contributions from other coaches...
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