Raising Rates is NOT About What You Are Worth

I recently asked teachers to share with me what they find most challenging about setting and sticking to an appropriate rate for private lessons and the floodgates opened.

Over and over again teachers confided they are uncomfortable charging a certain price, even though they know they are worth it. People told me they are terrified to raise their rates, even if they know they are undercharging. Teachers shared with me they are afraid to upset, or maybe even lose, clients they love.

There is a lot to say about teaching private lessons in a way that makes the value obvious, and we will dig into that next time on the blog. There is also a lot to say about the strange intersection of yoga and money.

Today I simply want to address the most commonly stated struggle: “I have a hard time charging what I know I’m worth.”

I want you guys to change your language entirely here. It is not about what YOU are worth. YOU are a human being worthy of the sun and the moon and all the love you have space for in your heart. That doesn’t need to get complicated by being tied up with money and what you charge.

If what you mean is, “I’m having trouble asking for the appropriate price of the product.”  than that is a different issue and we need to address that.

I hear yoga teachers say “my worth” when they mean “cost of a session” and I think we need to do better than that.

We must separate any issues we have embodying our highest and biggest self from pricing. The sooner you can do that, the better off you, and your students, will be.

You can determine the appropriate price of your offerings by looking at your level of study, your amount of experience, how busy you are and the market rate in your area. All of those things combined together make up the price of the product and that has nothing to do with your worth.

Here is some super actionable advice—–>

If you are undercharging for your private lessons here is how I recommend you raise your rates:

  • send your clients an email, so they can have some space to process any upset emotions privately first
  • make clear in the email that you can and want to talk about it when you see each other next

In general when talking about money:

  • the less you say the better
  • you don’t need to explain why you’re raising your rate
  • you have to take your seat as the leader, you don’t want to make your client  feel worried about you
  • you can just say in a clear and loving way, I love working with you and this is my new price

There is a small chance you will lose a client. But you do not need to worry about upsetting anyone. You must be clear and strong and firm and loving in the way you tell people about raising your rates. If you do that, your students will respect and appreciate you.

Sometimes you have to teach people how to treat you by carrying yourself with clarity and strength even if you’re not totally sure you will be treated with respect in return.

Do you guys want to see a sample Price Increase Letter?? Here ya go:

Dear XXXX,

I love working with you so much and I am so proud of the changes you have made:

    • like X
    • And Y
    • And Z

I am writing to let you know that as of January 1st my rate for all private lessons is increasing to XYZ.

 {Give a big long lead up to this guys, at least one month and three months would be even better.}

I am more than happy to offer you a special package to help ease this transition. If you would like to buy a package of {insert big package of whatever feels comfortable for you, 10, 15 or 20} lessons let me know and I can set that up for you!

Here are some things I am really excited to work with you on in 2017:

    • X
    • Y
    • Z

I am so excited to continue working with you! Please let me know how this is landing for you, and we can certainly talk about it in person when I see you for our next lesson.

With love,


Does that help? What other questions come up for you around this? Comment below and ask away! Next time on the blog I’m going to going to give you some ideas about the extra special things you can do in your teaching to help you feel stronger in charging your clients the higher price point that a 1×1 lesson necessitates

12 Responses to “Raising Rates is NOT About What You Are Worth”

  1. Rachel Taylor

    Thank you so much for stating the piece about separating self-worth from product price. The intimate setting of teaching yoga can make the lines blurry.

    I’m wondering about discounting. How much of a discount is too much? Is it unreasonable to choose not to offer discounts at all, even for long-standing clients?

    • Francesca Cervero

      Hmmmm. This gets into a bigger conversation about the difference between offering seva and running a business. Why do you ask? Do you currently offer discounts for long time students? Or do you think people expect it?

  2. Shivaun

    Hi Francesca,

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for this. I’ve been struggling with worth/value/pricing. I teach group classes in my own business and have only taught a few private sessions outside of that but I do love teaching it as I can really help them one on one. We’ve only had a few sessions (booked in when they choose not regular) and I was worried about raising the price but in line with other massage/private PT sessions etc in the area I do need to put prices up.

    How do you go with pricing a private session with 2 students? I have a mother daughter that have had 2 sessions together. I had prices at $80AU for 1.25 hrs (1 student) and $100AU for 1.25 hrs (2 students). Does that sounds reasonable to you?

    Again thanks for the beautiful words of hope and love x

    • Francesca Cervero

      You are SO welcome! You are certainly not alone in having a hard time with this, we all do!

      I think if your price for one student is $80AU, then $100AU is a little on the low side. It’s not crazy low, but they are definitely getting a good deal, and if you felt better raising it to $110AU or $120AU that would certainly be reasonable.

      Sending love. XO

  3. Anonymous

    I understand what you are saying. I am definitely in a position that I need to charge more…..but how much more? What exactly are my services worth? I am a newbie and I have only a few clients. The client I acquired in the summer promised me she would get me some referrals and the subject comes up from time to time. I had suggested forwarding an email to her so she can forward it to the people she wants to refer to me. “No, i’ll just send them to your website.” I still haven’t gotten any referrals from her and I am charging her the same price she had in the summer, a highly discounted price.

    The second part to this is I am not very eloquent in my expression of Yoga and anatomy but I am working on it. By the time I am well versed in how certain organs, muscles, bones and joints are impacted by doing each posture, should I then raise my rates or raise my rates now and then work at improving my knowledge in this area? Since I have so few clients, I can’t afford to lose any.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi! Without having more information {like what you are currently charging} it is hard to say for sure what I recommend, but for newer teachers it is entirely appropriate to charge a lower rate until you have more experience and education under your belt. I wrote a post about how to come up with you rates, so check that out if you haven’t read it yet. And let me know if you have other questions or if I can support you in anyway! https://www.francescacervero.com/pricing-private-yoga-lessons/

  4. Anonymous

    Hi, Francesca

    Thanks for your response. I charge a very low rate. That’s all I am going to say. Might as well be considered a volunteer. My client is also a student, so I have been charging her a student rate. I read your other post and what I see is I would fit into the $25.00 per hour category. I am currently charging less than that per hour. If I had to travel to teach yoga, I would most definitely charge for travel. I have 200 hours of yoga training and no other specialties. As I said, I need to work on expressing myself in terms of yoga anatomy related to the specific asanas I teach. Anatomy was part of the teacher training so I just need to review and memorize how organs, muscles, joints etc. are affected. I see myself being in a better position to teach groups to gain more experience so I can charge a decent rate for the private lessons. My business is starving of referrals.

    • Francesca Cervero

      I think you are exactly right. More experience teaching will help all of this! I highly recommend you get some more group classes on your schedule. It will give you more experience teaching AND will help you get more referrals for private lessons. Sending you lots of love. <3

  5. Sierra

    Hello! I know this is an old post, but I thought I’d still try and comment.
    I’m wondering if there is a good rule of thumb for increasing. 10%? 20%?
    I’ve had a private yoga business for about 2yrs and haven’t changed my rates yet.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Sierra! I think between a 5% and 10% increase every few years (as you take more trainings, get more experience and fill up your schedule) is appropriate, especially if you started as a new teacher with lower rates. Just for context, when I moved from NYC to DC I already already been teaching for more than 10 years, so I charged a relatively high rate for my new clients. I haven’t raised that in 4 years, but I will proably raise it 10% in the next year or so. I hope that helps!

  6. Margaret Schwab

    Hi Francesca, I teach a group twice weekly. If they don’t turn up for class & have a balance at the end of the month, I put it to the next month, this goes on month by month. I am
    loosing out. How can I tell them I am not going to
    allow this any longer.

    • Francesca Cervero

      This can be tough! The best thing to do is make it clear to them that at a specified date in the future (it’s nice to give them a little time to adjust) there will be a new policy where their classes expire after a certain amount of time (I think 6 weeks could work well here). Send them an email; clear and kind! They will understand. Policies have to change sometimes! Let me know how it goes.


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