You’ve just created a new offer for a coaching package. But you’ve packed so much value into this program – you want to make sure you charge your worth.
However, you’re worried that your dream clients won’t be able to afford the high ticket rate you’re thinking of.
What are your options at that point? Should you simply lower your prices and hope for the best?
Before you do, consider offering payment plans to customers and clients.
Not sure how to do this? No worries! Keep reading to discover:
- What are payment plans?
- Payment plan examples
- Should you offer payment plans to clients?
- How to offer payment plans to coaching clients
What Are Payment Plans?
So you want to offer payment plans to customers or clients… But let’s untangle what exactly payment plans are in a coaching context first. Payment plans let your clients pay for their coaching packages over time instead of in one lump sum.
It opens up the market to more clients who may not have been able to afford lump-sum payments otherwise. It democratizes access to coaches like you who offer valuable insights and professional guidance.
So, how do payment plans work?
In its simplest form, a payment plan breaks the cost down into smaller amounts – maybe weekly or monthly. It depends on several factors, like package price and duration, client preferences, and your own policies.
Payment Plan Examples
Now you know what installment payment plans are… but what does it look like in the wild?
Most payment plans for coaching services fall under one of two categories:
Equal payment plans and;
Payment plans with additional fees/interest.
In the first instance, you would charge the same amount, no matter how many installments your client pays you.
Here’s an example – Rachel Kurzyup’s coaching program, which offers a monthly payment schedule as well as pay-in-full options. But regardless of which option you choose, you’ll still pay $5,400 in total for 2 months of coaching and $10,800 total for 6 months of coaching.
Here’s another example from Katie Bagby’s coaching program:
If you pay in full, you pay a total of $1,200. If you pay 3 x $400 or 5 x $240, you also end up paying $1,200.
In the second case, paying in full is cheaper than using a payment plan. You do this by dividing the pay-in-full amount by the number of installments and adding an additional fee to each installment.
You can see how this works with this coach training program for end-of-life coaching:
While the pay-in-full option is $6,970, the payment plans become increasingly expensive as the number of installments increases:
- A 6-month payment plan of $1,195 each totals $7,170
- 12-month payment plan of $620 each totals $7,440
So which option is better?
It depends on the way you see it. On one hand, when you offer payment plans, you’re taking on some risk that clients cannot pay or refuse to pay the next installments.
Charging a premium when providing payment plans is a way to mitigate the risk.
On the other hand, there are ethical considerations with charging extra for payment plans. Those who require the payment plans have the least to spend and need that plan the most.
Yet you still deserve to get paid for your labor. There’s no easy answer.
Personally, I balance this out by slightly upcharging on payment plans but without gouging up the pricing too much. For example, I’m currently developing a new group program that will cost $1,000 upfront, $350 x 3, or $180 x 6. It costs $50 or $80 more, respectively, to choose the payment plan, which is not a life-changing amount for my ideal clients.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you!
Should You Offer Payment Plans To Clients?
With the implications we’ve just discussed, should you offer payment plans to your clients at all? Let’s talk about it.
Pros of offering payment plans
First off, you’ll allow more flexibility for clients who couldn’t afford to work with you without a payment plan.
This means more people will now have the means to work with you.
Payment plans also give you monthly recurring revenue for a few months. For instance, if you get 4 new clients this month who all choose a 6-month payment plan, you know you’ll have recurring payments coming in for the next 6 months unless a client defaults.
Cons of offering payment plans
Payment plans come with a few risks.
For instance, there’s a chance your clients could default. This is why credit companies charge interest – to balance out the risk.
You can also balance out the risk by making sure your payment schedules line up with your coaching program schedule. For instance, let’s say you’re offering 12 sessions for a 3-pay installment. Only let your client book the first 4 sessions until the second installment has cleared, and only let them book the second set of 4 sessions until the third and final payment has cleared.
In this scenario, you never end up working for free.
Installment payments also impact your immediate cash flow. If you need revenue immediately, longer payment plans mean waiting before seeing that entire sum land in your bank account.
Of course, this also means you’ll have money coming in later. And while that’s a pro, it can be a con if your business’s cash flow is struggling.
How To Offer Payment Plans To Coaching Clients
Think you need fancy tools and automation to offer payment plans to your clients?
With Paperbell, creating payment plans and allowing your clients to choose from several options is as easy as setting up an Instagram account.
Let’s walk through it step-by-step.
First, if you haven’t already, make sure to grab your free Paperbell account so you can follow along.
All settled in?
The first thing you need to do is navigate to the Packages section on the top menu:
Once you get there, you’ll have two options. If you already have existing coaching packages within Paperbell, you can select it and edit the payment options there. Or, if you’re starting from scratch, you can click on +Create New on the top right:
At that point, you can choose between One time or Payment plan package or Subscription packages.
I want to note an important difference between payment plans and subscriptions before we go on:
Subscriptions are recurring monthly payments until your client wants to stop. You can add an additional setup fee to the first payment.
On the other hand, payment plans have a set end date. You have to choose a specific number of payments your client will pay – you can’t set it up to infinity. If you plan on providing a membership-type coaching offer, consider using the Subscription model instead.
If you’ve chosen the One-time or Payment plan option, you’ll first need to set up all the details of your coaching package, including:
- Package name
- How many appointments (and the duration of appointments)
- The checkout flow – your client either books an appointment and purchases after, or vice versa
- Purchase limit and expiry date
- Status of the package (active, invite-only, and paused)
Once you save these details, you’ll land on the pricing details page:
This is where you can choose between a single option of a one-time payment or a payment plan. Note that if you choose the payment plan, you’ll have to connect your Paperbell account with Stripe (learn about the Stripe integration here).
Just like subscriptions, you can choose to add an additional setup fee to the first payment only. You can also select how many payments this plan will have and how frequently they’ll happen.
Once you’ve set up the details, click Save. All that’s left for you to do is customize the coaching package description and cover image!
You can get creative here. I suggest checking out our copywriting guide for coaches if you’re unsure what to write in these sections.
But that’s not all. Once the package is ready, you can go back to its Pricing section and add more payment plans:
This means you can give several options to your clients. Here’s what it looks like on your package landing page if you set up 3 options:
Once a client goes through the checkout process and books their first appointment, they’ll get to choose which option they want to check out with:
And that’s it! This took 5 minutes total.
Now go and create your own payment plans!
Offer Payment Plans To Work With More Coaching Clients
Payment plans can be a game-changer for life coaches (and their clients).
They provide an accessible way for clients to invest in their personal growth and development. However, make sure you evaluate the risk before you jump straight into it.
Paperbell makes it easy for you to create custom packages and offer flexible pricing options no matter your clients’ needs. You can set up a coaching package in as little as 5 minutes – plus, it’s free to use and play around with until you get your first client!
Create your free account today to build your first payment plan coaching offer.