Prices and cancellation fees !
No-one likes talking about money... But it has to be done!
So- to start with- Acupuncture is my job. My only job, my full time job for the past 14 years (I worked part time in another job for the first 18 months), the way I make a living.
I love it, *and* it is also my vocation and my career. Sometimes in the past patients have maybe assumed it was a hobby or a sideline, but I take it pretty seriously as a healthcare modality. I did an initial 4 year BSc degree to qualify, and have completed countless hours of practice and CPD to hone my skills and keep learning to offer the best possible treatments. I incorporate knowledge of various other skills (nutrition, herbs, psychology and and bodywork) but I would never claim to be expert in those, and am always happy to refer to specialists in other areas.
People sometimes get upset when I have to charge for late cancellations, or if they have forgotten to come for their appointment (fortunately it doesn't happen too often! Thank you!) but I hope people understand... I don't like having to charge either, but as well as this being my passion and vocation it is also my career and livelihood! If I can't fill that slot, I lose a significant chunk of my income. In an ideal world I could offer my services for free or as part of the NHS, but we're not there yet ;)
People who have run businesses or have been self-employed tend to understand, but if you are used to being employed and just getting a regular paycheck I can imagine it might not naturally occur to you all that goes on in the background- but if you turned up to your office job/ shop/ meeting and the computers weren't working or the doors were locked or someone didn't turn up for their appointment you'd still expect to get paid right? And you also get holiday pay and sick pay, which us self-employed folk don't, and hopefully you get a wage increase every year, and other expenses covered like training and travel.
And whereas it might feel like you're paying a high hourly rate for appointments- there are only so many hours in a week I can healthfully sustainably treat people, and within that we have costs that again you might not think of if you're used to working for a company:
Room rates, heating/ electricity, materials (needles, cotton wool, cups, heat lamps, furniture, cleaning products etc) sharps disposal, couch roll, booking systems, oils, computers/ tablets, wifi/data, phones, card payment fees, accounting (and tax!), professional memberships, subscriptions, courses and Continuing Professional Development, banking, laundry, insurance, marketing, websites...
Plus! on top of the face-to-face patient hours there is also a lot of unpaid work time: *lots of research and reading*, following up on patients, emailing recommendations and resources, updating websites/ blogs, social media, booking systems, keeping on top of admin, accounts, travel, studying, managing calendars and more.
Plus! The value of 15 years of *EXPERIENCE* and accumulated knowldege, plus making sure I stay healthy myself to be able to give the best treatments possible!
So do remember all this next time you book an appointment with me or any other practitioner, and please respect our cancellation policies- we're not trying to be mean or greedy we're just trying to make a living and use our skills to the best potential !
Let me know your thoughts below :)