Pricing: how to charge for your aesthetic services
Recently, Dr Tim Pearce welcomed his apprentice winner, Nurse Charlotte to a podcast to discuss pricing and how to charge patients for your aesthetic treatments and services.
In this blog, we share the key points from their conversation and Dr Tim explains how to attract patients without focusing on price, why asking for payment feels uncomfortable, how to value what you do, and how to truly understand what you should be charging for your aesthetic treatments and services.
Do you feel anxious about causing complications? Many clinicians feel so overwhelmed with the thought of causing a vascular occlusion that it stops them growing their aesthetics business. Dr Tim is currently hosting a webinar series to help you overcome your fear of complications so that you can uplevel your knowledge and increase your CPD-certified learning to build a successful aesthetics business. Sign up here >>
Getting your first paying customer, client, or patient
One of the first goals when building your new aesthetic business is securing that first, real paying customer – a complete stranger, not a friend or family member. Dr Tim asked nurse Charlotte if she could recall that feeling.
She remembered being very scared and nervous having never met the patient before – the lady in question had booked an appointment after seeing a post placed by Charlotte in a Facebook community group where she stated that she was new to aesthetics and looking to build her portfolio. All went well, with a great result, despite her nerves, and the lady is now a repeat client who engages with Charlotte’s social media posts and recommends her to her friends.
Dr Tim remembered having similar fears that he was going to get the patient from hell who would make his life a misery, but soon realised that the average aesthetic patient is a genuinely nice person. He explained that his average patient is perhaps a 42-year-old mum who is busy and simply wants to maintain herself with a little help. They are not looking to sue a practitioner or any of the other fears that tend to go through your head when you first start looking for patients. Although, he affirmed that being honest with your patients about what you can and cannot achieve, who you are, and what you are building will help to avoid any trouble. This applies to new practitioners who are still learning their craft, you will get more respect for being honest and will grow with your patients, your tribe, often finding that they become your biggest cheerleaders.
The fear of asking for money
Nurse Charlotte explained that initially she felt awful asking for payment following delivering an aesthetic treatment. She perceives this to be because as a nurse (working in the NHS) she had never had to ask for a payment before.
Dr Tim concurred that he shared similar anxieties and emotions in the beginning, especially if they began to count out the money in front of him! How awkward. On an interpersonal level, you are asking for something from them, the payment, for which you are not in touch with the value of the service provided. If you are not in touch with the value of what you are creating, then it does feel unfair, noted Dr Tim. This often comes from the mistake that many aesthetic clinicians make in that they assume an hourly rate calculation.
For example, you may charge the patient £400 for botulinum toxin and filler, with a gross profit of £150 and you are with the patient for an hour. It is easy to think you are killing it and making £150 per hour, but taking a step back, you will soon discover that you are not when you factor in your costs – consumables, insurance, training, rent, aftercare etc., alongside the cost of the effort to book out your clinic diary.
A lot of practitioners make this mistake when they first start and simply do not charge enough for the treatments because it feels like you are making a ludicrous amount of money for an hour’s work. Dr Tim reassured nurse Charlotte that aesthetic clinicians can make a good living from aesthetic practice, but it is not going to happen in the first year for most people, it is a long-term process of reinvestment and learning.
He concluded that the disassociation with understanding the value of what you do comes from being focused on the cost of the product(s) and the time to deliver the injections and the patient experience, instead of being focused on the impact that the treatment will have on the patient’s life, their confidence and self-esteem, which determine the value to them. When you build a connection with your patients and understand the impact you are having on their lives, it will help you to charge for the value you bring.
Understanding how much to charge for your services
The pain of not having enough money to grow your business can be a great help when understanding how much you should be charging for your services, explained Dr Tim. The realisation happens when you work a full month when first starting out and you make a loss. You go from thinking you are raking it in, at £150/hour, to realising the long-term future if you continue as you are, whereupon some quit, and others become brave enough to charge the correct price.
Typically, aesthetic practitioners set their prices according to the average in their area but fail to realise that they have probably copied another struggling business. This can be a difficult concept to grasp; strategically, the right business move is to try and make yourself the most expensive, not because you get more money and can spend it on fancy things, but because that is how a business becomes robust against changing market forces.
Having the ability to reinvest, to survive hard times which can drain your business of money means having retained profits; competing in the middle is one of the hardest places to compete, concluded Dr Tim.
If you are going to compete on price, do not compete to be the cheapest, put your prices up and be the most expensive, be the best in your area. This will give you more money to reinvest in your business, to make it better, and provide a better experience for your patients. Over time, you will not have to treat everyone, your patients will get more time with you, more attention, become more loyal, and you will not need to compete in the middle ground with shorter appointment times, mediocre products, and chasing fickle, price-sensitive patients. All your creative power then goes into how you can add more value for your patients, rather than fretting about cutting costs and getting more patients through the door with cut price deals.
Another top tip from Dr Tim is ensuring that patients understand that part of what they are paying for is the free aftercare that you will provide if there is an emergency, allergy, or complication, whether immediate or delayed; they are not only paying for the product on the day.
Don’t talk about prices
When posting on social media for instance, if you do not talk about price all the time, you will attract patients who seek value. Many aesthetic practitioners, particularly those starting out, will constantly pump out offers, discounts and pricelists on their social media feeds; all this does is attract people who are interested in deals and offers.
If you change tactic and talk about value, the psychological transformations you can achieve for your patients, the great results, your focus on patient safety, holistic treatments with natural outcomes, for example, then people will book to come and talk to you about those things and the prices matter less and less to them.
Following this up with a good consultation process and you may be taken by surprise when your patient spends a lot more with you because they understand the value of your recommendations and trust you to proceed. Referrals from friends and family also take price off the table for you as a practitioner, because the trust is implicit.
Saying no has just as much value
Alongside trust, patients value integrity and honesty, thus it is important to tell a patient straight away if you think a treatment they want is not in their best interests, if it will not achieve the outcome they desire or make them happy. You will build more trust by doing this, demonstrating that, as a healthcare professional, you have their best interests at heart; rather than profiteering, you change the narrative to find something that you think will work more appropriately and give them the value they seek.
This is crucial if you want to charge money for the things you do, because as a doctor or a nurse, you are responsible for their overall health, not just for performing the cosmetic injection, the treatment must have a positive impact on their life.
Read more of Dr Tim and nurse Charlottes’ conversations, including:
- Making clinical and ethical decisions as an aesthetic injector
- How to move out of the NHS and into medical aesthetics
- Leaving the NHS to go into aesthetics: dealing with judgement and guilt
- Promoting your aesthetic business with videos on social media
Aesthetics marketing eLearning courses
For tips, advice and support in medical aesthetics marketing, Dr Tim Pearce offers the Dream Customer Attraction Method (DCAM) eLearning course by Miranda Pearce. The course contains a wealth of advice about building and growing your aesthetics business.
In addition, browse our FREE business and marketing resources.
Free aesthetics marketing webinar
Join Miranda’s latest webinar, available at: https://www.mirandapearcemarketing.com/marketing-webinar-registration to learn more and receive some free marketing tips.
The introductory webinar by the creator of the Dream Customer Attraction Method (DCAM) eLearning course will include free tips on how to effortlessly generate 75 killer content ideas that will lead to bookings, the secret 3-step formula to make social posts that will stop the tumbleweed forever, and the surprising truth about how many followers you really need to make a 6-figure income from aesthetics.
Please sign up for the marketing webinar below:
Dr Tim Pearce eLearning
Dr Tim Pearce MBChB BSc (Hons) MRCGP founded his eLearning concept in 2016 in order to provide readily accessible BOTOX® and dermal filler online courses for fellow Medical Aesthetics practitioners. His objective was to raise standards within the industry – a principle which remains just as relevant today.
Thousands of delegates have benefited from the courses and we’re highly rated on Trustpilot. For more information or to discuss which course is right for you, please get in touch with our friendly team.