Last week in our Facebook group I shared a video which used our operational forecasting document to demonstrate the amount of patients you need to be seeing privately vs bulk billed and the income you can generate from each of these models, but also the number of patients that need to be seen because I am also mindful of burnout.
If you missed it, head on over to our Facebook group and search for posts by me and I’m sure it will come up. In a nutshell, you needed to see 4600 odd patients a year as a bulk billing dietitian to earn $52K. The flipside to that was if you charged private fees, to earn $80K a year, you only needed to see 1900 patients for the year.
I speak to dietitians nearly every day of the week doing what I do with The Ambitious Dietitian and I know many of you became a dietitian for reasons other than money or the financial gain. I can pretty much say that all of the dietitians I work with became a dietitian because they wanted to help people, often people just like themselves. There is always a story that connects them to their audience that makes them relatable. For example, Cate whose niece was diagnosed with Prada Willi Syndrome, well Cate now specialises in nutrition for families with Prada Willi Syndrome or Tara who is a marathon runner and now targets endurance sports athletes. It’s certainly not unusual for us dietitians to have a passion for food and health but also have had events or journeyed along their life in a way that joins them to their audience.
Working in private practice and having your own business is soooooo different from being employed and often after you have been self employed for a while, you actually become unemployable!
Let’s go back to some of these figures though. It is unfortunate that the Medicare rebate for dietitian consults is particularly low, but I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon. So how can we as dietitians, ensure we are paid every cent that we are worth?
My top 7 tips on how to increase your rates are…..
1. Start by increasing by $10-20 weather you are bulk billing or patients are funding their own appointments
2. Review your price point every 6 months and increase at these points
3. Try to negotiate with any location you are paying fees too, to reduce their fees so you can create a greater profit margin
4. Try seeing more patients and spending less time with them i.e shorter appointments
5. Utilise the one to many approach and try implementing group based education or developing a course or program they can complete online reducing your 1:1 capacity.
6. Consider where you are positioned ie bulk billed medical centre vs specialist suites
7. Have a transition period where existing/long standing clients are offered the old rate