At first, I thought a journal would be nice.
And maybe even a nice pen to go with it.
That would make a great gift for clients, I thought. And it was just one of the things I considered adding to the first round of counseling packages I’d offer in my practice.
I finally made the leap from insurance-based to a self-pay psychotherapy practice, and I really wanted to give clients options about how they would pay for services.
Knowing that packages could help, I was determined to come up with at least three ‘levels’ or tiers that they could choose from. And the more expensive the package, the more tempted I was to add things to it to make it ‘worth’ the cost.
We’ll call that mistake number one.
When you’re designing a service-based package, there are many things to consider. One is what they will actually entail AND how they’ll be used.
We’ll deal with pricing guilt in a separate post. :)
For now, let’s talk about what to consider when you’re deciding what to include in a service-based package.
Depending on the nature of what you do and how your services are used, what exactly would your package include?
For example, are you offering straightforward sessions (psychotherapy, physical therapy, energy healing), or are you adding in something like a group, a series of assessments, or in-home visits?
Here’s a quick tip.
Less is more.
What kind of training, experience or guidance will your clients and customers get by working with you?
For example, if you have the credentials that come with a graduate degree or a professional license, your clients get the benefit of that level of education. And guys – that IS part of the package.
But you may also (or instead) offer extra skills that come through advanced training in something like EMDR, therapeutic massage, or healthy cooking, so they could get access to special tools or processes that you employ.
When I coach, practice owners get the knowledge and expertise that I’ve gained from 25 years of running a successful practice, as well as everything I’ve learned through my own investment in coaching over time.
What’s the value that you KNOW people get when they work with you?
That’s part of the package.
How much time does the package cover; a day, a week, a year or something else?
And how much time do they get with you?
We’re talking about the duration of an appointment, frequency, after-hours access, etc.
For example, I know a therapist in Virginia who treats addiction. She set up her packages around what she feels it takes to get someone on their feet that first year of sobriety, based on the way she likes to work with people.
That meant two sessions a week for a year, and the package required their paying for that year up front.
It was a significant investment, but her clients appreciated it, because of the amount of time and contact with her they knew they would need – and get.
In other examples, I’ve seen practitioners offer…
6 sessions as a package based on visit count,
3 months as a package based on time,
or three days as a package built around an intensive.
In my premium level coaching package, clients get to work with me intensively for at least a year, sometimes two. And there’s a ton of time, and access to me, that comes with that level of commitment.
What works best for you?
Finally, what additional luxuries or VIP elements could you add to your premium packages?
For that matter, what add-ons could bring in more value to even your most basic package?
I knew someone who held women’s retreats, and offered a certain number of VIP spots that cost quite a bit more. Those included access to a limited number of private rooms and a personal pick-up at the airport. The VIP spots were always the first to fill, even though they were much more expensive.
On the other hand, a simple bonus like premium scheduling (meaning first dibs on the most popular times of the day) can be quite attractive to a harried executive who really needs help and has a crazy schedule.
And sometimes, throwing in a journal, with a super cool pen, is nice too. :)
It doesn’t take much.
So what about you?
Are you using packages in your Ideal Practice? Have you found certain things that really work well? Have you learned what NOT to include along the way?