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Charging on a Sliding Scale Just Creates a Can of Worms
Most advocates and care managers I know have huge hearts. They want to help everyone who needs help! They truly dislike having to charge money for their services (because many have done this work for free for friends and loved ones for a lifetime). Further, in many cases, they don’t give themselves credit for being as capable as they are.So they struggle. They ask themselves how on earth they are going to ask for money from these (possibly desperate) people who contact them, especially when:They are new, and haven’t worked in private practice for very long (if at all).They are unsure of their pricing, having taken a wild guess as to what they should charge.They have previously done care management only as a volunteer, never having charged for advocacy services before.They don’t know how long their work will take, so can’t figure out what to charge anyway.They hate asking for money.All of the above or at least some of the above…. is that you?So then they they declare – I know! I’ll just charge people on a sliding scale! That way they will only pay me what they can afford, but – they will pay me! And that’s a start.Whew! What a relief. Right?No. That’s a decision similar to the advocate who declares she will start a practice as a non-profit. It’s probably not going to solve what you hope it will solve.Instead, the decision to charge clients on a sliding scale simply opens a can of worms you just don’t want to open.Follow along with me….Let’s say you get a call from a potential client, and they ask you how much you charge.“I charge on a sliding scale!” you tell them. But that doesn’t answer the question because they still have no idea how much you’ll charge them!You are no closer to a new client. Further now, in their brains, they are thinking “Ding ding ding! I can get a discount!”You’ll understand this better by attempting to answer these questions:1. How will you set up the sliding scale? Do you base your rates on their income? Or on their…