A Breakdown of a Doula’s Fees – Why Doulas Charge What they Do | #doula #pregnancy #birth

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I love being a Houston Doula. I love attending births.  I love how it makes me feel.  I love how it makes the mom feel.  I love making a difference in other peoples’ lives.

Houston has a great selection of professional doulas, and I am proud to be among some of the best in the business.

Have you ever asked yourself, “why do doulas charge so much?”

Aside from the cost of education, books, workshops, continued education, and advertising (website, cards, brochures), we also take into consideration the time that it takes for all of these as well as out of pocket expenses.

A Breakdown of a Doula's Fees - Why Doulas Charge What they Do

Let’s just break down one of my Houston doula packages in terms of time that I spend with my clients during the course of their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum:

Pregnancy and Labor Package

    • Initial consultation meeting – Approximately 2 hours
    • Two prenatal meetings (One can be at a prenatal appointment to meet your caregiver.) Approximately 4 hours
    • Birth Plan Assistance – Average, off and on, 1-2 hours
    • ASAP telephone, text, and email support during contact hours (8am-8pm) Average 4 hours
    • 24/7 on call within 2 weeks of your estimated due date -

Can you really put a time on that?

  • Around the clock Labor and Birth support once labor has begun – 10+ hours
  • Pictures of labor and birth with my camera as well as yours
  • Immediate postpartum support of approximately 2-3 hours, or until the baby has nursed successfully and the family is settled – 2-3 hours
  • One postpartum visit to discuss your birth, share photos, dote over your new arrival, discuss options for additional support (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.) – Approximately 2 hours

With these approximations, we’re looking at about 25 hours, in the least, just for interaction with my clients.  If you add in another estimated 3 hours for research, paperwork, etc., that goes into setting up each client, we’re at 28 hours.

Travel

The average trip I make to meet with clients is approximately 30-40 miles one way.  These estimates are based on this Miles Per Dollar Calculator and my vehicle.

  • Trip time (based on 5 trips) – 7.5 hours
  • Gas costs (based on 35 miles one way – 5 trips) – $53.75

Childcare & Food Costs

  • Childcare – Approximately $100 per client including visits and birth
  • Food During Birth – Approximately $10 depending on the length of birth

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Hospital Parking and tolls – Approximately $10
  • Materials for Clients – Approximately $5
  • Credit Card or Paypal Fees (if you accept this form of payment – Thanks Robin!) – Approximately 2%-3%

Total Time and Out of Pocket Expenses

  • Time – 36 hours
  • Childcare – $100
  • Food – $10
  • Gas – $54
  • Misc – $15

Let’s do the Math

Remember the Taxes

Don’t forget that you’re looking at state or federal tax (depending on where you live and what bracket you fall into) and you also the 13.3% Self Employment Tax (that’s the state of Texas – 10.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare). Thank you, Susan, for reminding me!

This is figured for the State of Texas and DOES NOT include Income Tax because that would depend on your tax bracket.

Doula Fee –  $400
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $221
Approximately $6.14 per hour (not even minimum wage) – $53.20 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $500
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $321
Approximately $8.92 per hour – $66.50 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $600
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $421
Approximately $11.69 per hour – $79.80 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $700
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $521
Approximately $14.47 per hour – $93.10 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $800
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $621
Approximately $17.25 per hour – $106.40 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $900
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $721
Approximately $20.03 per hour – $119.70 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $1,000
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $821
Approximately $22.81 per hour – $133.00 Self Employment Tax

Again, this is based on my time and expenses.  Of course, over the duration of my time with a client, I can spend more or less one on one time.  This is all approximations.

In the grand scheme of things, you’re paying for an invaluable service during your pregnancy, labor, and birth. The difference a doula can make during this time is often priceless. The least that can be done is pay her asking fee.

Do you think that an OB or midwife would lower his/her costs if a mom told him/her that the fees just are not in their family’s budget?  Doulas are a valuable asset to a mom’s birth team.  Our time is also valuable – just ask our kids (and the electric company who won’t waive our monthly bill because it doesn’t fit into our budgets!)!


6 thoughts on “A Breakdown of a Doula’s Fees – Why Doulas Charge What they Do | #doula #pregnancy #birth

  1. I’m an CPD as well as an IBCLC and CLD. I am mostly working with postpartum moms. As a labor Doula I’m becoming more in demand. I have attended serval deliveries and have enjoyed it greatly. I don’t however know many in my field locally. I’m in New Jersey. I came accross your web site and found it very informative. I love this part about the break down of the labor doula fees.
    Thanks

  2. This is great! It makes you think about what we charge and how much our time is worth. I am hoping to do something similar on my website. Thanks for the great breakdown!

  3. Pingback: Paying the Doula: How fees are decided. - Mothering Nature

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