I get it that doulas have to be paid a certain amount because they are worth their weight in gold, and they have to charge a rate that makes it viable to go to work. Rates that will cover their expenses for instance like childcare , transport costs etc etc. There comes a point though, when clients begin to question fees, as I was recently . They were more than happy to pay what I was asking for, but not so happy to pay the same to a colleague who did not have the same amount of experience as me, nor the training, or the nursing and midwifery background. I then thought to myself, that 1) It was time to raise my rates and 2) Clients do look at training, certification and previous experience when it comes to rates.
Looking back, when I qualified as a registered general nurse, my first job was paid at then what was known as a D grade. Basic rate for a qualified nurse. I can’t remember what it was, something like GBP 10,000 a year. We had yearly increments of this rate until we went for promotion to a higher grade, which meant taking on more responsibilities, which we were more capable of doing as we had been gaining experience in the early years. This would mean a significant pay rise as compared to the yearly increments.
I automatically went up a grade when I completed my midwifery training, because I was then a registered midwife and had gained an additional qualification, knowledge and skills. With this also came additional responsibilities, and my pay reflected this. Throughout my service with the NHS, I felt I was adequately paid for the job I was doing. I was not going to be a millionaire, but that was not why I became a nurse and midwife. We had the benefits of 7 weeks leave of work a year, sick pay and a great pension plan.
Back to what I was saying about doulas pay. So, if we equate a doula’s experience and previous learning, training, workshops that they attend, then it works out that the more experienced ones would demand more money and perhaps attract more clients as the clients would want these doulas to be looking after them.
When I started out as a doula, I only asked for $15-20 an hour, as I was new. OK, I had a nursing and midwifery background of 19 years, had had 2 children of my own whom I breastfed, delivered more than 100 babies, looked after even more and helped mums breastfeed, BUT, I was new to the doula role. With this in mind, I did not feel I could command a higher rate. That would come with time. With each family that I worked with, each recommendation that I would get from them, I was building my experience and able to say, I am worth this rate.
Now, after more than a year of working as a postpartum doula and looking after more than 14 families, I have put my rates up and am worth it!