Now that we’ve gotten our course all nice and shiny, and the website is enjoying a healthy stream of on-going visitors, we’re discovering that one of our deterrents to new registrations is the price of our program, and it seems to be because we’re not charging enough. “It almost too good to be true!” is what we keep hearing. So I thought I’d take just a moment to justify our pricing strategy and motives.
Naturally, while we are in business to provide for our own immediate financial needs, we tend to approach this business with more of a philanthropic or not-for-profit mentality. That said, it is really our motives for establishing this training program that most accurately reflect the reason for our pricing.
Maybe we should start with a reminder of why we are in business. We believe that birth outcomes and experiences can be dramatically improved when an experienced and trained birthing professional is available to assist the expectant mother. To that end, we feel that many women would benefit from having a doula present at their births, and that in order to obtain that end, more would-be-doulas need access to quality and affordable training opportunities.
There are also some practical reasons for our pricing structure. As our student enrollment continues to grow, we are excited by the interest and participation of the international community. While the majority of our students are from within the United States, the advantage of being an online training program is that we can literally present our course to the ends of the earth. In addition to the United States, we have active students in the following countries: Canada, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Our pricing reflects an interest in growing the global community. To level that playing field, we have actively chosen to steeply reduce our prices in comparison to other U.S.-based programs (approximately a 50% reduction for traditional training in the United States). We also realize that this also allows many U.S.-based students an opportunity to engage in training that would otherwise be unaffordable, or out of reach.
To be able to achieve these lower course costs, we have maintained our overhead expenses to a bare minimum. We work out of a home office space. We do not include printed materials as a part of our required costs. We have kept our business structure small and have no employee-related expenses. We work on our own schedule, offering online support primarily via email and Facebook to our students. We spend very little on outside advertising and we do not pay to have affiliation with larger doula training organizations.
All this aside, there is a fundamental principle that influences how we price our doula training program. Based on the simple principle that money is not the final motivator in our training efforts, we are committed to keep our training services at the lowest price possible as a reminder that monetary compensation is only a secondary benefit to what we deem to be an essential life-giving occupation.
We realize that our closest competitors charge twice as much for their trainings. We are aware of the competition. We acknowledge that being the extensive and comprehensive training program that this is (this is not a week-end course), we should probably be charging twice as much as our competitors. However, this is a labor of love for us. We feel passionately that women be entitled to as much knowledge and preparation as possible in the birthing experience, and we hope that our generosity of spirit will serve as a reminder to all doulas of the service-oriented nature of their work, always giving more than what they are being paid to provide.