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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Free or Not?

I have written this due to reading a great and controversial blog by Velvet Angel that was linked from Google+ explaining why people shouldn't and can't give their services away for free. 

This is the blog link:

Besides all the other things Velvet Angel says in her blog there is also the cost and time involved in all the training required to just be able to offer the services in most cases.  I know there are a lot of people with no training whatsoever who charge extortionate prices but don't you get that it all fields - you can just as easily get a builder who does a bad job or an expensive job, as you can get a good reliable reasonably priced builder.  It is up to the customer to do the research on who they are going to use beforehand.


This blog has been discussed on Google+ (go to my Google+ page if you want to see the discussion as I shared the blog to my page) and there have been numerous comments.  There are comments both for and against giving free sessions.  It is such an open ended thing as the fees for most holistic sessions vary from free to quite extortionate prices.  But then it is surely up to the individual who is effectively buying the service as to who they want to go to and how much they want to pay.  If they want to go to a very well known person then they will undoubtedly have to pay a high price for a session as that person has reached high in the profession (although may not necessarily be any better than a low priced person in comparison) and the client may or may not get what they pay for in this undetermined field of work.


Mediums really come into a different category as they are effectively serving the church so they willingly give their service for free (and just get paid travelling expenses) and also most development circles are free as it is a way of helping other mediums to develop.  Spiritual healing is also given freely at churches and sometimes outside of church.  But really it falls into the same category as Reiki healing.  Bereavement counselling is also given freely, usually via the church.


All other types of holistic work (and writing plus other things as it was pointed out in the blog and comments) fall into the wide open category of how much to charge for a session and should anyone be entitled to receive it for free.  Unless the client is a friend or relative they should not expect to receive anything free – they should no more expect to have a service for free any more than they should expect to go into a bakery and expect to be given a loaf of bread for free.  Everyone can “afford” to pay a different amount and in some cases with healing a minimal amount is charged as it makes everyone involved comfortable that a mutual exchange has taken place.  The problem is that many of the lower income people are more likely to offer to pay than the ones with a higher income who are just trying to get something for nothing.


At the end of the day, if a person cannot afford something they should not ask for it.  These things are not essentials in life but “extras” – no one actually NEEDS a tarot reading, Reiki session, massage etc.


On the other side of the coin, it also comes down to whether the person giving the session could actually afford to give a free session or not.  They may have less income coming in than the client.  They may have “a day job” and do this type of work in their “spare time” so be more open to working for free or for very little.  On the other hand this could be their sole form of income and they rely on the money from the sessions to pay their bills so if they are turning away paying clients to give “a freeby” then they and their family will suffer.  It is also not fair on the paying clients who possibly saved some money for the session and yet the person before them had a free session and was then going on to the pub to meet their friends and tell them about it.

On a slightly different angle, when I ran the Entertainments Booking Agency we were often asked if we could get a band or a comedian etc. for a charity event and expect the artist and us to provide the entertainment for free.  We always had to explain that the artists could be out doing charity events every night of the week but they can't pay their bills without any earnings.  When we asked the client if they were going to give a whole days wages (+ the cost of the fuel to get there) to the charity they finally realised what they were asking.  They never seemed to mind paying for the hall and the caterers for the event but for some reason they seemed to think that entertainers would be willing to work for free.  So we could rarely find an entertainer who would travel and work for free unless they felt strongly about the actual cause.


In general do people think just think services should be given for free more than actual goods?


  1. Great post, Suzy! I'm so pleased that you shared this with others. Seems there has, so far, been a pretty good response rate. It's truly an eye-opener to those of us who provide services, and an eye openes to those who want it for free.

    Many Blessings!

  2. I am only too pleased to share as it is a very interesting subject.