Let's talk more about a doula's fees. I sometimes get messages asking me to give a discount or take on a client for free. I understand that money is tight for many and I strongly believe that every woman deserves a doula. However, I just can't afford to do those things. 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 children. Some feel that a doula's fees are expensive. I'd like to show you a breakdown of those fees and why I charge what I charge.
Total fee - $450
Childcare - $75/client
Gas - $25/client
Printed materials/handouts/marketing/website - $20/client
Bag and Supplies (includes snacks and toiletries for myself during the birth, essential oils, massage tools, etc) - $20/client
Phone and internet costs and PayPal fees - $15/client
Lending Library - $5/client
Training, education, certification and organization/membership fees - $25/client
Remaining fee after subtracting expenses - $265
Average amount of time spent with client (3 prenatals, the labor and birth, and one postpartum visit ) – 22 hours
Average amount of time spent driving to and from meetings and the birth place – 3 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 – 2 hours
Total amount of time put into each client - 29 hours
Average amount of money I make for each client - $9.14/hour
This doesn't include time spent in interviews (which are free of charge), time spent marketing and networking (doula speed dates, the baby fair, and other events), time spent keeping up with my website and business facebook page and pinterest page, and the time I spend on call for each birth, which can be as long as 5 weeks. 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) for weeks at a time. This also does not include taxes, which I do file and pay yearly as needed.
Doula work is time consuming, physically exhausting, and emotionally draining. And I love every minute of it. 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.
Stay tuned for my next blog in this 3 part series, The Luxury of Doula Care! In Part 1, I discussed The Value of a Doula. And coming up in Part 3, I will discuss just How to Afford the Doula of Your Dreams.
**Update** My fees have changed since I wrote this blog to allow me to be more fairly compensated for my time, resources, and skills. And in an effort to meet the needs of families with lower incomes and/or different needs for prenatal support, I now offer three different packages of doula services and individual birth plan assistance and labor support training. Please see the services section of my website for more information.
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.