Early on in my doula career, I wrote a blog giving a breakdown of my fees. Since then, I have gained a great deal of experience, attended several workshops/trainings, read a countless number of books, articles, studies, and blogs, and moved 1,000 miles away to a bigger city with a different market. So, today, I’d like to revisit that topic.
I love doula work. I really really love it. Really. I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to do something I love so much while making a small financial contribution to our family. I spend a lot of time and energy immersed in the doula world. And my time is valuable. Especially when it's time away from my husband and three young, homeschooled children. Some feel that a doula's fees are overly expensive. I'd like to show you a breakdown of those fees and why I charge what I charge.
Total fee - $1500
Childcare - $100/client
Gas and car maintenance - $50/client
Printed materials/handouts/marketing/website - $25/client
Bag and Supplies (includes snacks and toiletries for myself during the birth, massage tools, etc) - $15/client
Phone and internet costs, PayPal fees - $20/client
Lending Library - $5/client
Spinning Babies DVD - $20/client
Training, education, certification and organization/membership fees - $25/client
Remaining fee after subtracting expenses - $1240
Average amount of time spent with client (Initial consultation, 3 prenatals, the labor and birth, and one postpartum visit ) – 30 hours
Average amount of time spent driving to and from meetings and the birth place – 10 hours
Average amount of time spent reading, researching, creating and printing handouts, continuing education, and doing other prep work – 2 hours
Average amount of time spent answering phone calls, texts, and emails – 5 hours
Total average amount of time put into each client – 47 hours
Average amount of money I make for each client - $26.38/hour
Yes, that is considered a well-paying job at $26.38/hour. You get what you pay for here. I haven’t always made this. I charged $275 for the first births I attended. But, as I gained more experience and more knowledge, I raised my fee.
This fee doesn't include time spent marketing and networking (doula speed dates, birth/baby fairs/expos, and other events), time spent keeping up with my website and social media and the time I spend on call for each birth, which can be as long as 5 weeks. This also does not include taxes, which I do file and pay yearly as needed.
It's hard to place a value on needing to be packed and ready to drop everything and leave at a moment's notice (even if I'm at a birthday party or a wedding or having a date night or just fell asleep for what I thought would be the night just an hour ago) for weeks at a time. But, just for fun, let’s add in time spent on call.
Average time spent on call for each client – 3 weeks/21 days/504 hours
*New* total average amount of time put into each client – 551 hours
*New* Average amount of money I make for each client - $2.25/hour
Doula work is time consuming, physically exhausting, and emotionally draining. I often need at least one day, but often a few days to recover and feel like my normal self after a birth. I love every minute of what I do. I love to serve birthing families. I love witnessing a mother and father working together to bring their child into the world. I love making a difference in the lives of growing families. And if I want to continue to do so, I have to charge a fee that fairly compensates me for my time and sacrifice from my family.
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.