Raising Your Rates in Private Practice: A Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists

As a speech-language pathologist in private practice, you have the right to increase your rates. If you don’t adjust your rates, you could effectively give yourself a pay cut every year or end up overwhelmed with clients just to maintain your current income.

Consider planning regular rate increases in your private practice. It’s essential for sustaining your practice and livelihood.

How Much Should You Raise Your Rates in Private Practice?

Determining the right amount to raise your rates can be tricky. I have a detailed short course on setting your rates in private practice that can help you reassess your current rate. This guide will enable you to set a rate adequate for your local area without having to call around to other practices and ensures you don’t undervalue your skill.

How to Tell Clients You’re Raising Your Rates

Most SLPs worry that clients might not react well to a rate increase or that they may lose clients over it. Though both outcomes are possible, most clients understand that rate adjustments are necessary from time to time.

Here are some tips to help the process go smoothly:

  • Include a Rate Increase Clause in Your Financial Policy: Notify clients in advance that fees at your private practice may be subject to increase. Clarify the procedure you will follow to communicate any adjustments to ensure they are well-informed and ready for the changes.
  • Provide Advance Notice of Rate Increases: Give clients enough time to adjust to the new rate. This allows clients who may not afford the new rate to transition smoothly and plan their budget accordingly.
  • Communicate Empathetically About Rate Increases: Explain the increase while maintaining clarity about rising costs and frame the change to ensure the continued quality of care.
  • Show Appreciation for Your Clients: Implement the new rate for new clients immediately but give existing clients a grace period.
  • Put the Rate Increase in Writing: Whether on paper or via email, a written announcement formalizes the process. Need help with the wording? A BONUS download is included in The Superbill & Your Rates short course.
  • Raise Your Rates Incrementally: Consider increasing your rates in small, manageable increments rather than making a significant jump. This approach can help clients adjust more easily and reduce potential pushback. For example, you might raise your rates by 5% every six months instead of a larger annual increase.
What About Your Insurance Clients

If most of your clients are insurance-based, increasing your rates will not affect them as much, and there should be no fear of losing clients using this form of payment. Insurance companies typically have set reimbursement rates, so while your private pay clients will need to adjust to the new rates, your insurance clients’ payments will remain consistent. It’s still good practice to inform all clients about your rate changes to maintain transparency and trust in your practice.

If you are interested in negotiating your insurance contract rates, Billing & Coding SLP includes a workshop called Negotiating Insurance Contracts, where you’ll learn strategies and tactics used to negotiate significantly better rates with commercial payers.

Making the Rate Increase Announcement

When it comes to raising your rates, it’s important to communicate with your clients well in advance to prevent any surprises. Remember, overcoming insecurities about raising rates is a part of growth. Embrace it as a natural progression in your business journey.

In The Superbill & Your Rates short course, I’ve included a bonus Rate Increase Letter and a practical step-by-step monthly strategy to increasing your rates.

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