How to Raise Your Coaching Rates

Whatever the reason for raising your coaching rate, it pays to have a plan in place before you make your big announcement.

There comes a time in every coach’s life when they have to raise their rates. Maybe you’ve been in coaching for years without a pay increase, or perhaps your skills have recently improved through a new training course, certification or you are heading to the upcoming Endurance Coaching Summit!

Whatever the reason, it pays to have a plan in place before you make your big announcement.

Let’s break it down because it’s time to start raising your rates, gain more time for yourself and your family — but you have to do it gingerly!

But first, let me give you two scenarios.

Scenario A:

It’s the end of July and you have a full plate with your current athletes. You have people reaching out to you for your services, so you’re excited and you take them on. You are over the number of athletes you wanted to take, but you need more money, and you want to help as many athletes as possible in the triathlon space (we need to talk about niches later).

Life happens, and you are completely overwhelmed with too many athletes, and you are working your fingers to the bone.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

20 athletes at \$200/month = \$4000

Let’s break down the hours required for each athlete:

3 hours/week x 4 weeks = 12 hours a month for one athlete

12 hours a month x 20 athletes = 240 hours a month for 20 athletes

\$4000 monthly fee for 20 athletes/240 hours a month = \$16.66/hour a month

That’s not a lot of money, and I can guarantee you are probably putting in more than three hours for some athletes and not more than two for others.

The hours add up until you realize you are working for yourself. Remember the mantra, “hours for dollars.”

Scenario B:

This time you opted to raise your rates and take on athletes who are in your niche. Let’s break that down:

10 athletes at \$400/month = \$4000 month

3 hours/week x 4 weeks = 12 hours a month for one athlete

12 hours a month x 10 athletes = 120 hours a month for 10 athletes

\$4000 monthly fee for ten athletes/120 hours a month = \$33.33/hour a month

Of course it looks good on paper to grab those ten athletes at a higher price, but now you have to talk to everyone and inform them that you are raising your rates.

Raising Rates for Current Athletes

First, take a look at your current athletes and ask yourself, “Will I raise their rates as well?”

If the answer is no, then you have to consider if keeping them will be worth your time, or if you’ll feel resentful at the amount of (lower paid) time you are spending with them. Resentment can build up, so be wary of this. It’s better to raise the current athletes’ rates than provide substandard services due to hidden anger.

If the answer is yes, then you have to prepare yourself for potential fallout. There are some athletes (you likely know who they are) who will balk at a price hike. I have seen this with my athletes, and they will threaten to leave. Are you prepared for the hit your wallet will take should that happen?

Timing

Next, consider when your rate increase will go into effect. The rate increase might be different for each athlete, depending on when or how they’re paying you. An athlete who is on an annual coaching plan might not see an increase for eight months or more, while a month-to-month athlete might be shocked to find their rate is going up in a week.

If you can, give your athlete at least 30 days notice of the increase, so they can not only budget for this increase, but shop around for a new coach if they choose to. If they do decide to shop around for other coaches, I will give them a few recommended local coaches, along with the TrainingPeaks list of coaches.

Incentive Offers

Finally, if you’re a little flexible and want to gain a few new athletes, you might think about creating a last-minute offer.

For example, announce that your rates are going up on a specific date, then offer to let a set number of new athletes lock in your current rate if they sign a contract right now. Sure, you’ll still be working at your old rate, but with a few new athletes on the roster, your cash flow will improve.

I also look at increasing my rates in the new quarter, and this has helped let go of some athletes who didn’t need my services anymore.

Takeaways

The most important thing to remember about rate increases is that you have to feel good about the prices you charge.

If you think your rates are too low, the chances are good that they are. Raising them will not only make you feel better, but it might just let your current and prospective athletes know the value of your services as well.

It’s not always a fun thing to raise the rates and have these conversations, but if you start taking on too many athletes, your time and your mind will be stressed. You probably started your coaching business to step away from the stress of a nine-to-five job, so now it’s your time to make those calls.

Jen Rulon is a USA Triathlon Level I Coach of 16+ years and owner of JenRulon.com. She received her Masters in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. You can find her knowledge shared in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx State, Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Men’s Journal Online and The New York Times. She is a 13-time IRONMAN triathlete, who recently just participated at the IRONMAN World Championship with her husband, Chris.