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Nutrition Coaching: How Much to Charge? |

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Nutrition Coaching: How Much to Charge? |

A common misconception about nutrition coaching is that it is a service that can be easily outsourced to a large company that does not have the expertise needed to provide personalized, ongoing nutrition coaching. As a result, many people are unable to afford the service they believe they need to improve their health.

It is no secret that many clients have issues with their weight and nutrition. They want to lose weight and get in shape but don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re a fitness trainer looking for new clients. Maybe you’re an exercise/fitness/nutrition professional who is looking for ways to help your clients lose weight and/or increase their energy and motivation. Maybe you’re a nutrition coach who wants to make a living helping people reach their fitness goals. Either way, this article is for you!

“How much should I bill?”

Every nutritionist will ask that question at some point.

You can be new to the game and have no notion what’s fair. You may have a lot of experience, but you’re not sure if your charges should be higher. Or maybe you’ve heard what competitors charge and thought to yourself, “Why not me?”

The problem is that getting a satisfactory answer is difficult.

Even if you consult a coaching group on social media, charges will often vary dramatically, leaving you torn between guilt (“Am I overcharging?”) and irritation (“I’m not getting paid enough!”).

How can you possibly know how much you should charge for your services?

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you

We polled over 1,000 nutritionists to find out how much they charge. 

But we didn’t stop there: we asked about their coaching practice, experience, client base, credentials, and more, because everything matters when deciding how much to charge.

After that, we did a statistical study to examine how each of these variables interacted. The end result is a report that includes real-world income data from genuine coaches, as well as the most important, actionable insights for maximizing your earnings.

You’ll learn the following in this article:

  • How much do most nutritionists charge per hour?
  • How to confidently raise your hourly rate
  • The secret recipe underlying “super earner” rates at the top
  • Your price-setting road map: What to charge now, and how to position yourself to charge more in the future

Let’s get started.

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How much do most nutritionists charge?

The median hourly pay for nutrition coaching, according to our poll, is $65 per hour. If you haven’t taken a math lesson in a while, here’s a brief review on the term median. It’s the spot where things meet in the middle. To put it another way, half of the instructors we spoke with earn less than $65 per hour. Half of the batch yields more. (Please note that all prices are in US dollars.)

We identified two main groupings among the coaches who make more.

  • High-earners who charge $10 to $15 more per hour than the median
  • Super earners who are charging double the median rate are really crushing it.

Don’t worry if you’re currently charging less than the median rate. We’ll show you how to switch from a lower to a higher interest rate.

It only takes a small change in your hourly rate to create a significant difference. A $15 per hour rise, for example, might quickly add up. Working 20 hours per week will earn you $300 more per week, or $15,600 more per year.

That’s a significant increase in earnings.

However, earning a solid living isn’t always about how much you charge; it might also be about how many clients you have. (Didn’t you already know that?)

We discovered that people that charge more have more customers. And the other way around. In our poll, top earners were more likely than those who charged less than the median rate to have 20 or more clients.

Why? For one thing, when a coach’s skills are in higher demand, they can charge higher prices. But there’s more: the same strategies that help you charge higher rates (having more expertise and education, for example) also help you get more clients.

Continue reading to learn how to progress from a low-earner to a high-earner, and then from a high-earner to a super-earner.

Diversification Is Beneficial

We discovered that in-person coaches who work with people face-to-face (say, at a gym, in an office, or in the client’s home) earn roughly the same as online coaches who work digitally, through a website and email ($65/hour vs. $64.50/hour) when we broke down rates by coaching type. Hybrid coaches, on the other hand, charge substantially more: $75 per hour for in-person and online instruction.

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High-Earners’ Five Secrets

High earners have numerous characteristics in common, according to our research: experience, amount of certifications, coaching hours, expertise, and confidence. We’ll go over each one in detail below.

Secret #1: Determine your rates based on your previous experience.

Coaches with more experience charge higher prices than those with less expertise. They also have another source of income: more experienced coaches tend to have more clients.

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Most coaches with one to four clients had two or less years of experience, according to our poll. Coaches with 20 or more clients, on the other hand, were significantly more likely to have more than three years of experience, with more than a quarter having six or more years.

According to Mike Doehla, a Level 1 certified coach, this makes sense because with greater experience comes word-of-mouth marketing.

Doehla began teaching a few years ago with a small number of clients, charging $120 for a 12-week session. He continued his day job as a human resources manager because it didn’t pay the bills.

However, as they progressed toward their objectives, those early clients bragged about Doehla to anybody who would listen. As Doehla’s clientele grew, he increased the price of his 12-week package: $165, $175, $185…

He eventually launched Stronger U, a coaching organization that charges $399 for 12-week programs, employs 69 instructors, and generates millions of dollars in revenue each year.

“The value comes from clients having a positive experience and then spreading the word about us,” Doehla explains. “Word of mouth accounts for 99 percent of our business.”

Secret #2: Continue to learn.

Education and credentials can boost your self-esteem and make you feel that your services are more valuable (see secret #5). They also provide clients with the comfort they require in order to believe you are worth your cost. 

According to our survey findings, coaches with one nutrition qualification earned somewhat more per hour than those without. (Of course, this comes as no surprise.)

Coaches with a nutrition degree, two or more nutrition certifications, or one qualification earned $12 more per hour than those without.

To put it another way, the more certificates and knowledge coaches have, the more money they make.

However, the programs you select and what you put into them are important. This is why: The most effective certification and educational programs demand that you devote more time and effort to perfecting your skill.

If you’re just going through the motions and getting a piece of paper certified, you’re less likely to have the same degree of confidence, which could prohibit you from charging more. (Think of it as a mental stumbling block.) So, pick your credentials carefully and enjoy the learning experience. It pays off in spades.

More credentials are related with more clients, in addition to a higher hourly pay. Coaches with 20 or more clients are more likely to hold two or more certifications, according to our research.

To be clear, clients do not begin line up for your services the moment you receive a new accreditation. It’s a little more complicated than that. Certifications help by providing you with skills, expertise, and confidence, making clients more likely to trust you over another candidate. Clients value qualifications. What matters to clients must also be important to you.

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Secret #3: Make coaching your primary source of income.

It’s sometimes a good idea to add nutrition coaching to an existing profession, especially if you’re just getting started or considering a career move.

However, if you truly want to be a top earner in this field, you should consider making nutrition coaching your full-time job. (Learn more about the secret to career success that practically no one mentions.)

People who coach nutrition as a full-time job charge more than those who don’t, according to our poll, which begs the question: how do you decide when it’s time to go all in?

We sought Doehla’s assistance once more for that solution. That’s because he worked full-time in HR for 13 months while building his coaching business on the side. “By the end, I was making more from teaching in a month than I did from my full-time job in a year.”

“Figure out how much money you need to pay the bills and then double it,” he advises, to see if you’re ready to go all in.

You’re absolutely ready to coach full-time if you’re pulling that much.

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Secret #4: Think about specialization.

You might be able to charge extra if you’re qualified to work with a specific population. Nutritionists who work with clients who have unique health concerns, for example, charge a median rate of $73 per hour. Coaches that deal with elders charge $70 per hour, according to them. That’s $5 to $7 more than the national average.

Now, rather than being motivated by a desire to pay your bills, your decision to specialize should be motivated by a desire to serve that specific group. Working with a niche group is something you should do because you want to and are qualified to help them, not because you think it will get you better prices.

Remember that correlation does not always imply causation. Because of other variables, coaches who work with these demographics may be able to charge more (like years of experience, perhaps).

Finally, keep in mind that depending on their financial situation, certain demographics may require you to charge less. (For example, the median hourly compensation for coaches working with children was under $60.)

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Secret #5: Have faith in yourself.

Coaches who are “totally confident” in their coaching abilities charge $75 per hour, while those who are only “slightly sure,” or “a little confident or less,” price $60.

That’s a huge difference: based on confidence, $15 more each hour.

So, how do you construct it?

The answer is to work on secrets #1 and #2.

Each successful contact makes you feel ready for the next, thanks to experience (secret #1). Secret #2: Certifications give you confidence in your knowledge and abilities.

However, you’ll require both.

Some people make the mistake of putting too much emphasis on their education while neglecting to gather experience. Coach Kate Solovieva, who commonly receives questions about how much to charge, explains that they attend workshop after workshop and earn certification after certification while waiting for the sense of “OK, now I’m ready to coach.”

“Before coaching a single person, new coaches want to be 100 percent confident. They want to feel as if they’ve learned ‘enough.’ To put it another way, they want to wait until they are no longer afraid. Regrettably, that time never comes. “The biggest piece of advise I can provide to new coaches is to simply start coaching,” Solovieva says.

“Can I truly deliver?” you might question. “Do you think I’m good enough?” However, waiting will not provide an answer to that question. At some point, you must do one thing and one thing only: begin coaching.

Consider this question to help you relax: Would you refuse treatment from a resident doctor? Would you request that your child be relocated from a first-year teacher’s classroom? Is it feasible, if not, that potential clients have more faith in you than you have in yourself?

Super Earner’s Secrets

We just revealed the high-earners’ secrets. Now imagine that you want to go even bigger and reach a top-tier price point. How are you going to get there? Our research yielded some intriguing results.

According to our survey, the top 10% of earners charge more than $120 per hour. This is approximately double the average (median) rate.

What distinguishes them? Here’s what we discovered.

Super-wealthy people were more likely to…

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a higher-level certification, such as Level 2 Master Class.
  • More than two qualifications are required.
  • Have a minimum of 3-5 years of experience in the field.
  • Working in a more specialized setting, such as a medical office or corporate wellness, is a good option.
  • Work with underserved groups.
  • Combine in-person and online coaching with nutrition workshops.
  • Work full-time as a nutrition coach.

Remember that while super earners were statistically more likely to possess those seven characteristics, not every high earner has them all. Just because you don’t have a nutrition degree doesn’t mean you can’t become a big earner. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, concentrate on what you can.

If you are unable to return to school, you may be able to set aside money and time each year to attend new seminars or obtain further qualifications. That is exactly what the most successful fit professionals do. Consider Michael Piercy, MS, proprietor of The LAB in New Jersey, and Alwyn Cosgrove, MS, co-founder of Results Fitness in California. They’ve enrolled in classes from nearly every health and fitness group you can think of.

Piercy has a total of 32 certificates to his name (including Level 2). It’s also no accident that he was selected the 2017 IDEA Global Personal Trainer of the Year, as well as a TRX Master Instructor and an ACE Master Trainer.

So, how much do I charge today?

Based on our statistics, use the chart below to determine how much to charge based on where you are today. In addition, if you wish to raise your rate, this chart might assist you figure out what you’ll need to do.

(For those of you who are curious about how we came to this conclusion, the following examples are based on what coaches are statistically more likely to have in common, according to our survey data.)

There are no hard and fast rules once again. Consider this a guideline rather than a set of rules.

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The information above is based on what we’ve learned from our 1000+ survey respondents, so it’s a good way to assess yourself and get started.

However, don’t let the categories limit you. It is up to you to determine what success means to you.

Do you, for example, aspire to be a high-priced coach who consistently exceeds expectations? Great! Take a chance.

Is it simply a matter of transitioning from “free” to “paid” coaching? Awesome.

Perhaps your main goal is to assist low-income people in becoming healthier, and you’re ready to work on a “pay what you can” basis. Fantastic. You have a lot of power.

It’s fine if you aren’t where you want to be yet, regardless of your aspirations. Strive for improvement rather than perfection. Even the most well-paid coaches had to begin somewhere.

Nutrition counseling is a job with a lot of flexibility. It’s up to you to make it happen. It’s entirely up to you where you go from here.

What should I do next?

Step 1: Hone your skills.

Get as much practice as possible. Investing time is necessary to acquire confidence, credibility, and, ultimately, a better rate.

It’s also the key to staying in business for the long haul. People who get three to five customers straight away are more likely to be coaching a year later, according to our research.

Offer your services to relatives and friends, even if you don’t intend to charge them at first. (You might consider it your unpaid internship.) Be the person who kindly shares really useful social media tips. As you assist more people, you’ll eventually develop into a more confident, skilled coach, and those you assist will tell others about you.

Step 2: Set a deadline for yourself.

Many instructors, particularly those who are just starting out, do not charge for their services at first. They went into this area of work because they enjoy nutrition, exercise, and just want to help others.

However, you must finally pay the energy bill and feed the dog.

If you don’t charge for your services yet, consider this: “When will I start charging, and how will I know when I’m there?”

For instance, you might begin charging after a given date or after coaching a certain amount of people.

Whatever you select, make sure you define it properly. “The concern is that the bar is continuously moving,” Solovieva warns.

“Many instructors assume they must have reached a particular degree of success before asking for financial assistance. They tell ourselves things like, ‘I can’t charge anyone until I finish my certificate, until I know enough, until I feel like I can answer any question, until I’ve arrived,’ and so on,” she explains.

It’s far too simple for the word “until” to keep popping up in your mind.

You must set a fee at some time in order to move to a legitimate coach who is compensated for your services.

Sure, taking the jump can be difficult or even frightening, but waiting a bit longer won’t help. Solovieva says, “The reality is, you’ll always be terrified.”

As a result, set a date and stick to it.

Step 3: Decide on a rate and be comfortable with it.

When new instructors say they have “absolutely no notion” what to charge, Kate Solovieva pushes them by putting them through an experiment.

Kate Solovieva (Kate): So, what are your thoughts about charging $1/hour?

Giggles is the new coach.

Kate Solovieva (Kate): You’re laughing. Why?

Because that’s just too low, says the new coach.

Kate Solovieva (Kate): Okay, how about $1,000 per hour?

Coach: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, who That’s a ridiculously high figure.

Kate Solovieva (Kate): Hmm. As a result, you already have a sense of what is too low and what is too high. Awesome. Let’s continue. How do you feel about a pay rate of $500 per hour?

New Coach: The price is still too high.

Kate Solovieva: Is it really $20 an hour?

New Coach: That’s a little too low.

And so it continues until they find a range that feels good to them.

Give it a shot. You’ll have a baseline minimum rate for your services as well as a ceiling rate (even if that top rate is aspirational at the moment). Choose the lowest number that, depending on your experience and education, you feel you could reasonably charge from that range, Solovieva advises.

Step 4: Determine if you’ll bill by the hour or by the package (or both).

Hourly rates are a good place to start for new coaches. Monthly or package charges work better as you gain experience, especially if you coach online. This is why: Coaching entails a significant amount of labor that does not fit easily into an hourly schedule.

Let’s imagine a client texts you a picture of a protein powder brand and asks for your thoughts. For a few minutes, you text back and forth. How do you invoice for those few minutes if you only charge by the hour? Is it even worth your effort to submit a few dollars’ worth of invoice?

Those brief contacts might be baked into monthly or package fees. They also make billing easier.

So, how do you convert the previously mentioned median hourly prices into package and monthly rates?

Perform the following actions:

Define the length of your package. Many trainers pick 12 weeks because it gives clients just enough time to observe significant changes.

Think about what you’ll provide. How many consultations are you planning to include? Will you offer additional services such as nutritional assessments, menu planning, or written resources? Consider the number of hours involved once you’ve decided on the scope of your package. How much time will it take to create materials? Meet with each client separately? Keep track of your clients’ information?

Create a price range that appears to be reasonable for the work involved. Step 3: Use Solovieva’s thought experiment. Is $1 for 12 weeks a good deal? (Obviously not!) How about a monthly salary of $1000?

So, how about $25 for 12 weeks? $750?

Continue to increase the low figure while decreasing the high number until you have a range that is fair to both you and potential clients.

Also, keep in mind that your package rate might not break down into an hourly rate that pays the bills right away. Your hourly pricing will rise as you gain more clients and rely on existing resources, Solovieva guarantees.

In the interim, rather than raising your rate, try limiting the amount of service you provide (for example, two monthly appointments instead of four), adds Solovieva. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to maintain your monthly charge low enough to attract new clients.

Read 7 proven and profitable models for introducing nutrition counseling to a health and fitness business for more information.

Step 5: As your knowledge and experience grow, increase your charges.

When you have existing clients who are accustomed to paying a certain amount, it can be difficult to raise your charges. Some instructors are concerned that it is a betrayal.

However, coaching is a business like any other, and increasing your revenues over time is totally acceptable.

A decent rule of thumb is to increase your prices by 3% once a year to account for inflation, plus any additional increases necessary to reflect new training or services.

And don’t be concerned. “You can raise pricing once you have social confirmation that what you’re doing works,” Doehla explains. “Seeing that people still buy what you’re selling each time you raise your rate will give you the confidence to keep going higher.”

In general, most coaches find that tiny charge modifications are well received by their clients. If you’re doing a good job for them, they’ll be rooting for you just as much as you’ll be rooting for them. Simply give them plenty of warning (four to six weeks is plenty) and inform them of the impending price rises in writing via your newsletter or a handout.

Tell them about any courses you’ve taken, testimonials and proven outcomes you’ve obtained, and new tools or equipment you’ve added so they feel like they’re getting greater service than ever.

What are your plans for the future?

So now you know how your prices stack up against the competition—and, more importantly, what you can do to confidently raise your rate. What you do with our findings will be determined by where you are right now.

But our final piece of advice applies whether you’re a millionaire coach or haven’t made a single dollar from teaching. It’s as simple as this: never stop practicing, never stop learning, and never stop becoming into the best coach you can be. Higher rates will inevitably follow if you keep doing those three things.

(This unique report is available in PDF format.)

What if you could make a significant difference in other people’s lives while never having to worry about food again?

Focusing on diet is the most crucial and effective step toward greater health and fitness. However, there is a major issue: most people do not believe they are qualified to teach nutrition, especially in a way that leads to long-term health and development.

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a way that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

I’ve recently been asked by several clients what would be an appropriate rate for nutrition coaching in the Greater Toronto Area, and the truth is that the answer is more complicated than your average consultation fee.. Read more about nutrition coaching online and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I charge for coaching?

The general rule of thumb is that you should charge about 10% of your clients annual salary.

How much money do nutrition coaches make?

Nutrition coaches typically make between $25,000 and $35,000 per year.

What should a nutritionist charge?

This is a difficult question to answer. There are many factors that affect the cost of nutritionist services, such as location, qualifications, and experience.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • wellness coaching packages
  • nutrition coaching packages
  • health coaching price
  • health coaching packages
  • nutrition coaching services
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