Episode 22 | Should You Charge Extra for Payment Plans?

Should you charge extra for payment plans? 

When you purchase a course, program, or package online, you're often offered a payment plan - particularly if the price is on the high end.

Usually, the payment plan winds up being more expensive than the "paid in full" price.

An Example

A program costs $999 - or - four payments of $300


In this scenario, you'd be paying an extra $200 if you couldn't afford the upfront fee

Questions and Ethics

Are you comfortable penalizing someone who can't afford your full prices? 

We do need to account for our own time and the admin work that can be associated with payment plans.

It's not necessarily wrong or bad to charge more for payment plans.

And, I hope that if you do you'll weigh the pros and cons and make an informed choice rather than choosing what you've seen done by default.

I'm asking you to think carefully about what the costs for you are, and whether you're comfortable passing those on to folks who are financially challenged or who have other reasons for needing/wanting to pay over time.

Your Decision

After you listen to the episode, I'd love to hear how you handle this in your own work.

Do you offer payment plans? If so, do you charge more if they're used? What factors influenced your decision?

You can comment below or message me!

Take care,

Camille 


Transcript of Should You Charge Extra for Payment Plans Episode

Episode 22 | Should You Charge Extra for Payment Plans? - powered by Happy Scribe

Well, hey there, welcome to In the Clinic with Camille. My name is Camille Freeman. I am a licensed nutritionist and registered herbalist, and I mentor other practitioners who need help with complicated cases or building and growing a sustainable clinical practice.

I wanted to talk today about a question that comes up fairly often in the work that I do with mentoring and it comes up in my own clinical work. That question is, should you charge extra for payment plans?

Of course, we have the option typically for people to pay in full, and especially as we get into packages or higher priced sessions, a lot of times people are not able to pay in full right away, or they'd rather not if there is a choice. It's very common to offer payment plans.

And when you're setting up a payment plan, you want to think to yourself, OK, well, how am I going to set it up?

How do I break this down to how many weeks or months are there between payments? And is there any kind of charge or additional fee if people choose to pay using the payment plan? I feel pretty strongly that I don't want to charge people extra if they're using a payment plan. There's a couple of reasons for that. No one is that often, not always, but often people who are using a payment plan are doing so because they are financially under some stress.

That money is not easy for them right now and that the budget is really tight. I don't particularly want to be penalizing people because they can't afford to come or to pay a higher price right now. I don't personally think that's super ethical.

I do agree that in some cases there's a little bit of extra administration and I am a fan of people getting compensated for extra work that they do.

In my case, when I set up a payment plan, it probably takes me two to three minutes using Practice Better.

I know that I harp on about Practice Better a lot, and that's because it just makes things so easy for me. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that it takes me two to three minutes. If someone asks me for a payment plan, that's not an option.

So, for example, if I have a service that's $300 and I have a payment plan set up where it's $100 a month for three months, but if somebody emails me and they say, hey, Camille, I'd like to do a payment plan, but I really would like to do 50 dollars every month or 50 dollars every two weeks, that would work a lot better for me.

I almost always will say, sure, no problem. And I go into Practice Better. I set up the payment plan. Like I said, it takes me two minutes. I just put it in there and then I say, hey, it's ready. You can go and schedule whenever you like. I have people pay in advance, so in order to schedule the appointment, you need to pay first. So they'll go in, they'll make their first payment in Practice Better does everything from there.

It will automatically charge them two weeks later, the next $50, two weeks after that, the next $50. I don't have to do anything other than just notice. If for some reason they are not able to pay that payment, doesn't go through the credit card, etc., Practice Better will notify them if that happens.

I actually, I don't know if I've ever had that happen. Every now and then somebody's card gets stolen. They have a new one and they have to put in the new number, something along those lines.

But really, that's it. I don't have to think about it anymore. So I'm perfectly happy to meet people partway by donating those two or three minutes that it takes me to set it up in Practice Better and email them back and say, hey, it's already you're good to go. I'm perfectly happy to work with people like that. And I think that it's it feels good to me not to charge extra.

If you're doing a lot of manual work for payment plans, if you're having to set it up to or to remember to invoice people, and then if they don't pay to invoice them and so on and so forth, I think that's a little bit of a different story. And you do want to think about what would be fair for you. Does it feel fair for you to just include that and kind of take a slight loss or to spend it slightly more time on this than you might if somebody had paid in full?

Do you want to do a slight up charge, etc.? I think you just need to feel comfortable with it.

One thing, a happy medium that has come up for some of the people that I'm working with, is that perhaps not charging extra for a payment plan, but that if somebody does miss a payment and that then you need to invoice them or, you know, kind of sets off a whole chain of events otherwise that perhaps then there may be an extra charge before they could come back in or if they need to reschedule their appointment or whatever it is.

So I think that's reasonable to consider and just think about. I think it's pretty standard practice for there for it to be a little bit more money if you're paying over time than if you pay all at once.

And I just want you to think about whether that's a choice you want to make. Maybe it is, maybe isn't. But as always, being conscious about why you're doing what you're doing and not just doing it, because that's what people do sometimes helps everyone find a lot more clarity in their practice. All right, so I hope that was helpful for you, if you have any questions about pricing, invoicing, anything along those lines, I'd love to hear them always interested in other podcast topics.

And if you are doing some work right now on growing your practice, if you're looking to find more clients and you're feeling a little bit stuck about how to do that, I also wanted to let you know that I am going to be opening up my Grow course. It's a pilot the first time I will have taught it and it has pilot pricing for that reason. I'm going to be opening that up in the next few weeks. There will be an email going out to people who are on the waiting list letting them know and they'll have first shot.

We will have about 10 spots open and we've got a lot more than that on the waiting list.

So if you are interested in the Grow course, I encourage you to check out camillefreeman.Com/grow, see if it sounds like something that you might be interested in and get your name on that waiting list so that you will have a chance to sign up when the spots first become open in the next week or so. All right.

Thanks so much for listening as always. And I hope you have a lovely day. Take care.


About Camille

Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and licensed nutritionist specializing in fertility and reproductive health. I mentor other practitioners who need help building and growing their practices, working with complicated clients and getting clinical hours. I have a doctorate in clinical nutrition, and I'm also a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I teach physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating. 

My pronouns are she/hers. 

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