I get this question a lot, especially from Endodontists starting out. The reason why a lot of people ask this question is because they are making the mistake of equating a service industry with a generic product.
The question can be reversed by asking (Hat tip to Seth Godin): Are you charging for what it costs to do a procedure or what its worth to the patient? Because, if you are always thinking in terms of how much it costs, you will always have this dilemma of how much to charge.
Virtually all wines cost approximately the same to make. Why then is a Moet more expensive than a Jacob’s Creek? Why pay more for a bottle of Dom Perignon?
Why should a Tag heuer cost more than a Tissot ? Why should a Panerai cost five times more than a Tag heuer? And why should a Patek Philippe cost twenty times more?
It is very hard to answer these questions if we keep thinking in terms of cost. Are we then going to walk up to the Patek Philippe store and have a heated argument with the sales girl on how dare they charge 100 times more than what that watch costs? Of course not!
We don’t buy most things of value for what it costs; we buy them for what they are worth.
What they are worth is what makes us feel good about owning them.
So, think about this the next time you charge for your professional service. Think about what it is worth to the patient to have you; a principled, compassionate and skilled clinician who studied 8 years and practiced another –X– years (insert the number of years) to deliver a service that would be hard -even impossible- for anyone else to replicate.
And then, you would no longer need to ask “How much should I charge?”