I would love to get your take (a patient's point of view) on a GREAT DEBATE some colleagues and I have been having.
One camp feels to charge anything less than $135 for an initial exam/X-ray demeans and decreases the value of what we offer. By charging more than offices around us we set ourselves as more valuable.
The other side feels that to gain value one must first produce results and therefore allows for special offers ($25 X-rays) to get people in the door. Much of the population does not value chiropractic until they experience it. Any opinions?
If one's self-esteem is so wrapped up in what one charges, why stop at $135? How about $500? Or $1,000?
This is the old " tastes-great-less-filling" argument. The choice depends upon what you're trying to accomplish.
Do you want short-term relationships, exhausting the patient's resources in diagnostics up front and reducing the likelihood of a long-term relationship? Or do you want to play the long game, encouraging the likelihood of a “chiropractic lifestyle?”
If your intent is to see the patient for a brief episode of pain relief, set your fees as high as you wish. Granted, you'll have a major marketing problem, searching for enough people willing to risk consulting an unapproved alternative to the medical model, but at least you'll have protected your dignity.
Or, you can charge less, reducing the barrier to entry for those unfamiliar with chiropractic but willing to give a natural solution a try. As you help them with their initial admitting complaint you get the opportunity to expand their understanding and explain the preventative and wellness aspects of chiropractic care.
If you have a specialty, deliver a unique, one-of-a-kind service, or offer something so unusual that patients willingly drive past dozens of other chiropractic practices to get to yours, then charge a premium if you wish. But if you haven't adequately differentiated yourself and you want to help as many people as possible, make sure that you could afford you.
Remember, someone in your town is the cheapest chiropractor. And someone the most expensive. That's a business decision. Regardless of what you charge, patients won't value chiropractic any more than you do. Which has less to do with what you charge and more with what they see in your heart.
Thanks for the question!