There is a wide range of expenses here. Many things are optional, but recommended. Doulas may spend thousands getting everything started or they may invest in these things slowly after they have been hired and paid by clients. Bare bones – you don’t have to be trained, certified, or have any other credentials (example, lactation specialist). Most of us take a training. Many are not certified. A lot of birth workers start out with one thing and add to their credentials over time as they have the time and money.
The purpose of this blog is not to deter you with the monetary costs of having this small business; it’s to reiterate that this passionate work is a legitimate small business. Like all types of business, financial planning and money management is a must.
We’re going to look at 5 areas.
BECOMING A DOULA
To become a doula may vary from $300 to $2000 depending on the cost of your workshop and travel expenses.
STARTING YOUR BUSINESS
Making it official
Getting your name out there
Preparing to practice
To start your business will be $200 at minimum. It can easily be over $1,000. If you want to go all out with professional photos and all the teaching tools and purchase paperwork and/or curriculum, you may spend $2,000. That said, most doulas take time to build slowly.
YEARLY AND MONTHLY EXPENSES OF MAINTAINING YOUR BUSINESS
Your yearly and monthly expenses of maintaining your business will be, at minimum, a few hundred dollars a year just to have the business and be able to keep it going. That’s with doing things the most frugal way.
THE COST YOU INVEST IN SERVING EACH CLIENT
Appointments: Intake, each prenatal, and each postpartum
Note: If you teach classes, renting somewhere to teach can be very expensive. It may be $50-$100+ an hour depending on location. In my area, many libraries do not allow you to teach there unless you are teaching for free and the libraries that do allow for-profit reservations are several hundred dollars to teach a workshop at. Churches may allow you to teach for free or a low charge, but they also may require you to be teaching for free. Park shelters are affordable at around $25-50 a day in my area, but many students may not want to take a class in a park shelter. Again, this is why many of us have gone to teaching classes in-home.
If you have a backup
Your cost of serving each client will vary significantly based on your specific childcare needs and pet care as well as how far you are traveling and what (if anything) you are providing for your clients as part of your services.
To continue your education is thousands of dollars. You’ll also need to renew your first aid every two years and your lactation training every so many years and keep current on other credentials which may involve CEUs or renewal fees.
To sustain a doula business, you have to
As you can see, there are a lot of expenses to being a doula. Make a budget accordingly. Think about the investment you have to put in to offer these services. Here are several self-reflection questions.
I hope this blog has been helpful to you. Doula work is an amazing profession! It is a tough small business to run – especially when doulas are monetarily undervalued – and burn out rates are high. Charge your worth!!!