Jan 13 - Sharing your experince as professional astrologers

As astrologers we each have our style, preferences, and orientation for our practice. Every month, we choose a question about our professional astrology practice, and collect your responses here.
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Dvora
 
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Jan 13 - Sharing your experince as professional astrologers

Postby Dvora » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:01 pm

Dear OPA Forum participants,
The questions that will open this year was suggested by John Marchesella. The topic will deal with practical matters concerning us, professional astrologers. John suggested several questions and I decided to present them all. You can choose to respond to those that speak to you the most.
Here they are:

1. Regarding payment, how do you charge? Cash? Check? Credit card? In advance, or at the time of the appointment? Do you bill or invoice? And most of all, what the criteria for raising your fees? So many of us (and other independent workers, I think) have such a hard time with our own raises.
2. Do you have any policy or protocol for couple readings? Do you ever read a third party's chart for a client, be it their love partner, business partner, a friend or whomever?
3. How do you work with the charts of infants for new parents?
4. Dentists have to go to other dentists. Barbers have to go to other barbers. Do you ever see an astrologer? If so, how often? And is there any particular reason for it?
5. What's your policy on follow up phone calls after a reading?

Of course you have a lot to say about those topics. Please share. Let us all benefit from your experince.
May we all have a prospours year, a meangful year and a peacful year. Amen.

Warmly yours,
Dvora
http://www.DrDvora.com

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Maurice
 
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Re: Jan 13 - Sharing your experince as professional astrolog

Postby Maurice » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:12 pm

1 - I charge through paypal or ask people to mail a check. I raise fees when the value of my expenses is generally rising as well. I offer sliding scale fees, so to me the value of service and remuneration stays more or less in balance.

2 - I personally do read partners and under 18 children chart - I think that if we want to help and provide deeper information about a relationship (with an intimate/business partner or child) it is essential to look at the other person's chart and draw synastry/composite charts. I know astrologers may see that as unethical at times if that individual is not present in the reading, but I think the value of service in addressing these questions (in maintainting respect to the absent person), override the negative. This is not about gossip, but about empowerment and growth for all involved.

3 - I do, again having in mind that the purpose is to help the parent better understand the complexity of their child and raise them with greater understanding. This needs to be done very responsibly in ways that would not cause panic or stereotype the child in any way. It is more about understanding the nature of the child and how to best address their evolutionary-developmental purposes.

4 - I think dentists have to see dentists because they cannot fix their broken tooth by looking at a chart on a screen! We can :D
It is always valuable to get someone else's perspective on our own chart, and that is part of OPA's peer group work, however, I dont feel the need to do it each time I need advice. I do use my own professional skills for myself as well.

5 - I alllow clients to email me with questions if they need to clarify points made during the reading (not call). Additional questions can be briefly addressed, otherwise I schedule a new paid session. But I make sure the client has a recording of their session and listening to the reading again usually answers their question.

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Alexandra
 
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Re: Jan 13 - Sharing your experince as professional astrolog

Postby Alexandra » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:53 pm

I appreciate what Maurice shared with us about his professional astrology practice.

As a professional astrologer working primarily for myself, I find that success also depends on time management. I juggle several balls inc. householder, grandmother, partner and like time for my other interests. Being rested thus present with clients, keeping the accounting up to date, staying current through on going education, etc., all play part of a professional practice. I also think creating a professional environment in which to work is essential, not just for our clients, but for ourselves.

I have found PayPal useful and now the Square box attachment for cc payments though cell phones. I am not big on trades. When it is appropriate, I will look at charts of a clients' family, etc. If it is a partner or spouse, I like to have the individuals permission or I do not go into much detail. I keep an eye on the clock. People can only absorb "x" amount of information. Keeping it simple and direct helps.

kaytaylor
 
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Re: Jan 13 - Sharing your experince as professional astrolog

Postby kaytaylor » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:18 pm

1. I use Chase Paymentech for most credit card payments as it has the lowest discount rate for me, and once their info in the system it is easy to re-charge regular people for their sessions. I also have paypal availability on my website for people who wish to prepay, also allowing me to send an invoice on occasion (say someone tries to pay for a class online and it doesn't go through). Checks and cash also of course but 85% of my work is on the phone. I am in the habit of taking payment after the reading because I feel it helps people feel more trusting during the session. This comes from the fact I began as a psychic channel thirty years ago and people generally were fearful they might not be getting an authentic psychic. I also don't demand prepayment because it is very rare that someone late cancels or doesn't show. I feel the loss of people who might not book (I have online booking so often am not talking to them first) because they have to give their card details or pay in advance online to someone they don't know would be greater than the loss of about an hour per year for no-shows. I offer a package rate for four prepaid sessions and occasionally sliding scale or pro bono, especially for young people (16-25).
2. I read for partners and their friends and family members, including children, bearing in mind that I am giving information to the person I am working with to help them see their own issues as they relate to the other person compassionately.
3. I feel it can be very helpful for parents to understand their children through astrology and makes them better parents. My goal is to teach them to be open to who their child is on a soul level and not to help them mold them into some predestined outcome.
4. I tend to navigate my own life through my dreams first, daily intuition second, and chart third. I will get a reading from another astrologer from every few years as I head into an intense change time in order to get another person's perspective, knowing we all have our blind spots. At one point I used to get an annual reading from an expensive prominent astrologer as my birthday gift to myself, just to try and experience the styles of various well known authors as part of my own learning.
5. I provide mp3 recordings after each session. If a person has a slight clarifying question via email I will answer it. Generally I charge for email readings on a prorated basis and extensive forgotten questions become the basis for another session or an official email reading.

kaytaylor
 
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Re: Jan 13 - Sharing your experince as professional astrolog

Postby kaytaylor » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:35 pm

PS: re fee increases. I contemplate fee increases at the beginning of each year and raise on April 1st if I'm going to. I look at the general economy and also what others are charging--and not just astrologers--hair stylists, psychotherapy, intuitives, bodyworkers, restaurant meals -- we are all in a category of where people spend their discretionary/healing money. Often in the past I would keep existing clients at their previous fee and just charge new people the higher rate until over time either existing clients volunteered to pay the higher amount, or I could ultimately feel comfortable raising the rate for them too, which they would usually feel good about because they knew they had been given a special advantage for a year or two. With online booking/payment this is no longer easy to do, but with my last fee increase I simply encouraged longstanding clients to take advantage of the package fee. Fee increases are necessary but an increase that is too high and discourages even one person from booking each week will often offset a fee increase, unless you are completely booked up all of the time.

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Dvora
 
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Re: Jan 13 - Sharing your experince as professional astrolog

Postby Dvora » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:34 am

Dear OPA family,
I hope you manage to keep warm, where ever you are. Here in Israel it's cold. Yes, 5-10 Celsius (40-50 F) is cold for this region. I bet many of you are laughing at me right now. Oh, well. Yes, everything is relative.
So here we are marching towrds the Spring with a new Question of the Month. But let's read responses the January question.


Regarding payment, how do you charge? Cash? Check? Credit card? In advance, or at the time of the appointment? Do you bill or invoice? And most of all, what the criteria for raising your fees? So many of us (and other independent workers, I think) have such a hard time with our own raises.


Hello from Melanie Reinhart, and New Year greeting's to everyone ...

How I charge depends on how the reading is done ('live' or by phone/Skype), and I try to offer a range of payment options. I use Paypal a lot, as they do seem to be the cheapest way of handling cross-currency payments. So I offer cash, cheque (in UK£ only), direct bank deposit (in UK£ only), credit card and Paypal in any currency.
Melanie



Margaret Gray
I am open to all three – cash, check or credit card via paypal. For Skype calls I ask for payment before the appointment and when in person on the day of the appointment. I don’t ask for a deposit but I do emphasize that there is a fee for cancellations as outlined on my website.

In view of the recession I have only raised my fees once in 5 years – before that I raised them every two years. I offer a variety of concessionary rates and I offer some free chart readings as gifts to younger people whom I feel need it and cannot afford to pay for it. The concessionary rates are mostly to facilitate Hawaii residents whose income is a lot lower than the mainland and Europe. I try to keep my fees in line with those of colleagues with a similar level of training and experience as well as what feels feasible to clients and the time and energy I put into the work.

Margaret Gray
MSW D. Psych. Astrology
www.astrologypsychological.com


John Marchesella
For in-person readings, I ask for cash or check for payment...at the time of the session. I don't like the paperwork of invoicing, etc.

Remote readings are payment in advance. Although in the good ol' days," most of those clients preferred payment by check, i find that more and more remote clients prefer payment by Paypal. I'm set up for it, of course, even though it costs me a few extra dollars. (Therefore, I don't make that an option for in-person readings). And given our life and times, more and more remote readings are happening. Thank you, Skype!

By the way, should an in-person client give me cash with a wink in the eye, I do make sure that client knows that I pay my taxes based on my entire salary with a simple statement, such as , "Sure. Thanks very much, but the IRS knows exactly how much I make. I don't like secrets." My astro-colleagues give me hell for that, so I share with you to do what feel comfortable for you. This is what's comfortable for me.

After all, I just spent 90 minutes just spending trying to help a client live an authentic life....am I really going to end it on an INauthenthic moment, implying that I cheat on my taxes!

As for raising my fees, oh, that's a bummer, especially in this economy. In my younger years, I used to give myself "markers," such as passing the NCGR exams, as times to increase my feels, and that worked well enough....but that was years ago.

Now, I try to find such personal markers, although they are few and far between, i.e. books to read, conferences to run.

Funnily, in the summer of 2008, I mentioned to my assistant that I'd have to raise my fees asap or forget about it. That was seeing the Uranus-Pluto Square in action. Well, I raised my fees as of September 9th, and of course, the world ended, so to speak, the following week, when a friend send to me, "Now, we'll see who find you a necessity and who find you a luxury."

Fortunately, they saw me as a necessity.

So overall, the movie is worthwhile.
John

Tim Rubald

This one is pretty easy. I've refined my fee schedule to reflect the work involved in some specific activities. It most often comes down to a forecast or update with ninety minutes at one rate and for follow up within a year for an hour the same hourly rate. So the follow up is less expensive to the client and I'm paid the same and can utilize some of the materials prepared for the previous session.

Clients customarily pay a week in advance of the scheduled session by old fashion check in the mail or PayPal. I have signed up for Dwolla www.dwolla.com but haven't tried it yet. Since I've been doing this since 1970 I do allow some clients to pay after a session and for long term clients even to forego payment if they are in a financial dry spot.
I'm comfortable with all of it. I'm here to serve.

I've not changed my rates since 2000. That's due to an economy that has people cutting back on the frequency of booking sessions or even not booking at all. While I live in the State with the highest COL in the U.S., I cannot afford to price myself out of business.

Tim

Certified Professional Astrologer
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Bob Mulligan

These are good questions. As self employed people we must evaluate and correctly charge for our services. Survival as a professional astrologer depends on many thing, one of which is setting our fee at the correct level. Many times I have counseled other astrologers who suffered from setting their fee for their work way too high or much too low. If you are not seeing as many people as you would like, it may be that your fee is too high. If your schedule is full and you still can't earn a living, you are charging too little. This is basic math.

In my book "Between Astrologers and Clients" I addressed the larger issues connected with these questions, particularly on pages 43-55 and pages 87-98. Instead of repeating these answers here, I will just give the bottom line and some history from my practice.

Before seeing a client we discus time and money in our pre-session conversation and agree on how much time we need and what this will cost. Usually I see a client for one hour charging $200 or two hours for $400. I do not charge for my preparation time. For follow-up work, I charge the same amount for my time but the time interval may change. All this information is in "General Information for client" which is posted on my web site -theastrologycompany.com.

Payment can be in cash, check, or credit card. I take every major credit card. I get credit cards numbers in advance and charge all of the cards early morning on the day of the appointment. Most people pay by credit card. I keep things simple and have all accounts settled at the end of each day; i.e. ...I don't take a deposit, (too much accounting), I don't do time payments (I'm not a bank). I don't send invoices because all payment is at the time of the appointment. Once in a while when a client asks me to do a lot of work for them, I ask for payment at the time of booking.

I don't think I will be raising my fee any time soon. My rate has been the same for 10 years. When I first started doing astrology I did as many charts as I could for free, this was my first six months of practice; then I charged $5. Gradually, I increased my rate to $10 then $15, and then $35. This all took place in 1974. Through a process of slowly increasing my rate I became more comfortable with my work and my clients became comfortable with my rate. From first day of practice I had a full schedule; this

was very important to me personally because I developed a mental picture immediately that this was my full time work. I had an expectation that I would have a day full of consultations.

My clientele always expanded. Every year I saw more and more clients. My standard of living eventually reached normal (a herculean task for an astrologer) because my rate continued to go up and my schedule remained full.

However, A curious thing happened when my rate went over a $100 per visit; my number of clients went down but my total income still kept increasing. My rate went from $100 to $150 per appointment. At this moment my client demographics shifted; the money total got better even as I was seeing fewer people per day. In a way, this was a "graduation"; from this moment on my clients, as a group, became more conscious and my work more powerful, more relevant and more useful. Within a short time I increased my rate to $200 an hour seeing most of my clients for two hours. My schedule filled up; this was almost 10 tens ago, and it feels right. I have no plans to change my rate unless I decide to see fewer clients per day or work fewer days of the week.

For the most part my current clientele, as a group are very motivated to work on themselves and are also able to afford my work. Where I use to see a broad cross-section of the population, my client base is more narrowly focused on the people that I can help the most; where my work is most useful and most appreciated. I'm sure that my rate has sometime to do with the people who come to me for insight. I keep a mental picture of my ideal client and this inner image attracts people who I can help. Money is necessary but it isn't what the work is about; if we were interested in just the money there are lots easier ways to earn it. We are blessed to earn money doing something that we love.

For a Better Astrology,
Bob Mulligan
239-261-2840

Mark Wolz
Hi Dvora,
In this economy I have been lowering my fees.
I collect payment as the reading finishes, in cash or by check.
I provide a receipt (or an invoice) if the client asks for one.
Venus is squared by Saturn and opposed by the Moon in my birth chart, and I haven't worked that out very well.
Cheers,
Mark

Susan Falk
Dear Dvora,
When I do a consultation in person I take a check or cash at the time of the session.I do not take credit cards.When it is over the phone I ask for a check in advance of the appointment unless it is someone I have known over time. As for raising my fees,that is difficult for me with people I have seen in the past so I tend to give them the old fee longer than a new client but eventually will tell them that I raised my fees awhile ago or else tell them that I will give them the old rate but will raise it the next time.
Susan

Alexandra Karacostas

These are all important and good questions. We are all instrumental in making our profession viable and self-sustaining. How we conduct the business side of our practice is a reflection of our progress.

I take cash, checks and credit cards. For years I have used PayPal and though I still have it, I am also converting to the SquareBox. It makes credit card transactions easier and simpler when in person. I prefer to be paid in advance for phone consultations or at time of service rendered if it’s in person. I do not bill or send invoices as a general practice but I am able to do so.

Raising fees has always been a difficult act for me.Though I have not done it frequently, my fears around it always dissipate immediately and I am left wondering why I did not do it much sooner. I think it is important to remain accessible to the general public and sensible in our fee structure. I do not use a sliding scale though I have some flexibility and am willing to work with people when necessary.

Alexandra


Jane Ridder Patrick

Dear Dvora,

For consultations in person I take payments in cash or cheque at the time of the appointment. For phone or Skype sessions I take payment in advance via PayPal.

I’m happy to provide an invoice/receipt if this is asked for.

I keep my fees roughly in line with other professionals - using the hourly rate of an accountant [and the cost of a top of the range hairdo?], so it’s unlikely that I’ll be putting my fees up anytime soon in this financial climate!

Best wishes
Jane


Arlan Wise

This is what I have on my website:

How much does it cost?

The fee for a one-hour astrological consultation is $150. Returning clients receive a discount fee of $140 when they have their appointment during the month of their sign, i.e., a Virgo receives a discount when he/she books during the month the Sun is in the sign of Virgo.

I take cash and checks, no credit cards. I ask for payment after the reading, even with my phone clients. I find that I get stiffed only about once a year and then when I follow up on it, there has usually been a mistake. I do keep a list of those few who haven't paid and ask them to pay in advance when they cll for another reading. I try to keep to an even number to make it easy for those who pay cash. I often raise rates when the Post Office raises the cost of mailing the CD recording of the session that I send to phone clients, though I find I'm sending the recordings on files on Wetransfer more often now.
Arlan


Dvora Weil
As is a customer in the psychotherapy world, I charge at the end of each session. Most people pay by check or cash. I also accept payemt by credit card through a service called Square. The card goes through a small device hooked to my cellphone and the payments is transfared straight to my account. It is similar to Paypal only made by the actual credit card.
And yes, raising fees causes me anxiety. I hardly raise fees for "old" clients. For my 60 minutes therapy session I charge $140.00 for new clients and $120.00-$130.00 for old clients. For a chart reading I charge $250 for a session of an hour and a half. Some clients come for astrological consultation only and some stay for psychotherapy. And of cource, there are those clients who come for psychotherpay only.
If clients have questions after the session, I will gladly correspond with them through email or offer 15 minutes phone conversation.
Dvora
www.DrDvora.com

Hoping you will check out the next Question of the month and contribute your thoughts.
I would like to remind you that OPA retreat is getting closer - March 21-24 in Myrtle Beach SC.
You are all invited to join us for four days at the beautiful Ocean Creek Resort, enjoying the company of your fellow astrologers, while expending your horizons of the craft we are all so passionate about.
http://www.opaastrology.com/annual-retreat
Warmly yours,
Dvora


All the best to you,
Warmly yours,
Dvora

Marina Pozderina
 
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Re: Jan 13 - Sharing your experince as professional astrolog

Postby Marina Pozderina » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:35 pm

Good day!
Each case requires individual approach. But not all of the information necessary to tell. For example, the synastry. I always ask the interlocutor, for which he (she) needs to this information. Does not he (she) trust his (her) choice, his (her) senses?
Everyone has the right to confidentiality. Each person must live their lives.

P.S. I'm sorry, but I badly know English


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