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PAR offers the SPECTRA Indices of Psychopathology, a hierarchical dimensional look at adult psychopathology. The SPECTRA is available for paper and pencil assessment or administration and scoring via PARiConnect. Learn more at parinc.com/spectra.
Hey, y’all. Welcome back to The Testing Psychologist podcast. Today is another business episode addressing a question that comes up so much in my consulting and the Facebook group, and that question is, should you put your fees on your website?[00:01:00] I am guessing that rings true for a lot of you, and you’ve probably thought about this in your private practice. So let’s dig in. I did my best to look at research on consumer behavior and some other sources out there to figure out which option is better.
Now, if you’re a practice owner and you would like some group coaching and accountability, The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups tend to start new cohorts in July and January. I think we’re coming up on July and I would invite you to reach out if you are interested. I am always taking folks on the waitlist to form the cohorts. You can get more info at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting.
Okay, let’s get into it. [00:02:00] Like I said, this question of putting fees on your website comes up so often. I have always advised folks to put fees on the website, but I wanted to go look for any kind of research on consumer pricing and behavior and see if there’s anything out there that actually gives us guidance on this topic.
I consulted a friend of mine who is a professor of economics and I found that there is not a whole lot to explicitly guide this decision. In terms of research, the closest that we could get is that people do appreciate transparency and pricing. And that topic has come up in other episodes when we’ve talked about flat rate versus hourly pricing, but like I said, I couldn’t find any concrete guidance from the [00:03:00] research community at least on whether to put fees on your website and whether that translates to conversions or not, or whether people prefer that. But generally speaking, people do appreciate transparency in pricing. So that’s what I’m going off of.
I pulled a lot of this information from a great article I found that addresses this issue from a business standpoint and I will present a lot of those points now. That article is linked in the show notes if you’d like to go back and read it in more detail.
So there are two ways to consider this question. The two main arguments that I see a lot are either:
1) Yes, put your fees on your website to be transparent and weed out folks for whom the cost is a true deal breaker.
2) Don’t put your fees so that you can get people to call and then sell them the service that they may not otherwise have considered because of the price.
But I think that [00:04:00] there is more info here and there are more points to consider as we think about this question.
I will say that all in all healthcare, in general, is in a big push toward pricing transparency as evidenced by the legislation around the good faith estimate and other recent moves for hospitals and other entities to disclose their pricing and reimbursement. So I think as a field, we are moving in the direction of transparency for whatever that’s worth. But as far as this very specific question of do you put your fees on your website, I will say I 100% lean toward doing it, but let’s first look at hypothetical reasons not to do it.
One reason you might not is because you’re afraid of price fixing. We have all heard we’re not allowed to price [00:05:00] fix and conspire with other practice owners to artificially raise or lower the prices of our services, right? However, this is not really an issue because you’re not conspiring with anyone in setting your fees unless you are literally conspiring with other psychologists in your community to set the fees and raise the prices. If you’re doing that, that is price fixing. But just putting your fees on your website does not constitute conspiring in the context of price fixing. So legally speaking, we’re not going to get in any trouble for putting fees on our website. That’s just transparency in pricing. It’s publicly available information. Anyone can do whatever they want with that information.
Some folks say that they don’t want to put their prices up because then it tells the competition what their fees are. Well, [00:06:00] bad news/good news is your competition already knows what you’re charging. Even if they don’t, they get easily just pose as a client and call your office and find out. So if someone really wants to know how much you’re charging, then they will do that. So competition to me is not a super valid reason to restrict your fees from your website.
The third reason that I touched on in the intro is the idea that you want the opportunity to sell people first, right? And when it gets down to it, isn’t that the job of your website? That’s the job of your copy. That’s not the job of your phone call necessarily. Even though I will say this, you are on a sales call. When people call, your job is to convert them, but it shouldn’t rely solely on that phone call.
You don’t want to do a bait-and-switch where you get people on the phone and [00:07:00] then surprise them with your fee. Your website should be doing a lot of the selling for you. You can do that through having great copy and things like putting videos on your website so people can get a sense of you. You want people to be calling you with the intent of saying yes. So by the time they call you, hopefully, all you have to do is just give them permission to book. It’s not a time when you should necessarily be doing all of the selling. Okay? And on the backside that’s still not a good reason to not put your fees on the website.
So that relates to another reason that people don’t is that you want people to call so you can build rapport with them first. But I think it’s worth considering whether it’s really helpful to build rapport with someone and [00:08:00] and even if they’re a perfect fit, but they can’t afford it, what is the point?
The other reason that you might consider is that putting your pricing on the website weeds people out, kind of related to the first two. And this, to me, it gets to this question of like, okay, do you really want to acquire customers only based on price? That’s probably not unless it is. Unless your ideal client is someone who is only shopping by price, that’s a different model. So the idea that you don’t put your fees on your website because you don’t want to exclude people I think is a little bit flawed.
Let’s take a quick break to hear from our featured partner.
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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.
So, [00:10:00] let’s see, what else? Oh, some people will say they don’t want to put their fees up because their pricing is too complicated. There are multiple tiers, it’s an estimate, and it fluctuates. That’s all fine. I think there’s an easy solution to that though. And that’s just like, you just do something along the lines of like, prices start at or evaluations range from, something like that. You can still be transparent about your fees and accomplish the task of accounting for different tiers of pricing.
Those are some of the reasons that people don’t want to put their fees on their website. I think there are good arguments against most of those but let’s switch over to things that would lead you to put your fees on your website. Some of the pros.
One of those is trust. People, I think are suspicious of non-listed prices. [00:11:00] And if a price is not listed, a lot of people assume that they just can’t afford it.
The example I think about here is if you’ve ever thought about going to a restaurant and they don’t put prices on the menu, it’s like, oh my gosh, I can never afford this if the prices aren’t even on the menu. That’s just the association with a business that doesn’t list their prices. And that’s a very easy model for people to get on board with. A lot of folks have had that experience of going to a restaurant- you want to know what things cost. So so that’s one reason. You want trust. You don’t want to make people suspicious right off the bat and leave this huge open loop of what is this going to cost.
An interesting perspective from this article that I did not think of is that when you give people a price, it actually gives them a target. It gives them something to save up for, and it just provides a concrete [00:12:00] finish line for people if they need to save up. That was interesting to me. So they could say, Hey, yeah, I want to see this person. This tells me exactly what I’m going to need to pay and tells me what I’m going to have to save for.
Now, putting your pricing on the website does weed out folks for whom it is truly a deal breaker. And ultimately, I think that’s what we want. We don’t want people to call us if they really can’t afford the services. If the service is not valuable enough, then we’re either going to end up with phone calls where we have to do a lot of selling, or we’re going to end up with clients who pay but then have exceedingly high expectations or are otherwise resentful about the service that they paid for. So, I think it’s okay to weed out some folks for whom pricing is truly a deal breaker.
Another [00:13:00] component that goes into putting your prices on your website is that it can also function as a branding option. Your fees tell customers where you fall among the competition. So are you positioning yourself as the Walmart of your community for evaluations or are you positioning yourself as the Whole Foods of your evaluation community, or are you positioning yourself as something awesome that I don’t even know about that’s better than Whole Foods?
So, your price is a part of your brand. This is an interesting perspective to consider as well. It really tells folks like, hey, we are lower cost, typically a turn and burn commodity model of assessment versus; we are a boutique practice, we have high touch with our clients and this is a unique and specialized service. Both are fine, it’s just your business model and what you want to represent with your [00:14:00] branding.
Another component, I would say positive aspect of the fees on the website is that it honors people’s time. So they don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops. They don’t have to schedule a phone call. They don’t have to send in a form only to find out that they can’t afford something.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves with particularly software, but it’s really anything that might be on the internet where there is no transparency with pricing. They make you sign up for something or schedule a demo or whatever it may be. Like you have to jump through hoops to even figure out what something costs and then only to find out you can’t afford it or don’t want to afford it. That is endlessly frustrating for me. So I don’t want to do that with my evaluation services. I want people to know right up front, and if they don’t value it, [00:15:00] that’s totally okay.
And the last point I’m going to make is actually to circle back to something I said a little bit ago, which is not being transparent with pricing in a healthcare profession is not a good look these days. With all the societal discussion around hospitals and medical providers, what would I say, just being not transparent and misleading with pricing, we don’t want to be on that side of history, so to speak. So why not take the leap, be progressive, put your prices out there, and build some trust with folks to come to take advantage of your services?
So bottom line, I lean 100% toward putting fees on your website. I think people appreciate transparency. We have an opportunity in the [00:16:00] healthcare sector to really lead the way here. It helps build trust. It is a relational component with our clients. And honestly, to me, especially after reading this information that I shared with y’all, I don’t see any good reason not to put your prices on the website, but if you disagree, I’d love to have some discussion. You can send me a message, you can post on the episode webpage, you can post in the Facebook group, and I’d love to hear from you. So thanks for checking it out.
All right, y’all, thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take away some information that you can implement in your practice and in your life. Any resources that we mentioned during the episode will be listed in the show notes, so make sure to check those out.
If you like what you hear on the podcast, I would be so grateful if you left a review on iTunes or Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcast.[00:17:00] And if you’re a practice owner or aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. I have mastermind groups at every stage of practice development, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have homework, we have accountability, we have support, we have resources. These groups are amazing. We do a lot of work and a lot of connecting. If that sounds interesting to you, you can check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up for a pre-group phone call and we will chat and figure out if a group could be a good fit for you. Thanks so much.
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