The Supervision Exchange

& Supervisors' Guild

For those of you providing contracted supervision (an agency or individual hires you to provide supervision), the most frequently asked question is…. “WHAT DO YOU CHARGE??” “Other supervisors have quoted $20-$200/hr!”

Two schools of thought:

  1. Do the young social worker a solid and barely charge just enough to ensure the young worker will take this time seriously. After all, they are just starting their career and they do not make a lot of money yet.
  2. Charge as if they were any other client seeking your services (personally, I do this with a caveat).

School of Thought #1 – Barely Charge

It is definitely your prerogative to do this. This is most commonly chosen by those who are salaried by an agency and think of their supervision services as a favor. But let me address the most common problems I have been seeing in this scenario. These solutions protect you, the supervisor, and them, the supervisee.

  • Have a business structure in place – reason 1. When you supervise, you are allowing that supervisee’s actions to take place under your license, and should they do something unethical or sue-worthy, that means your license and your finances.
  • Have a business structure in place – reason 2. You are professionally providing a professional service. It is a good ethical practice and good modeling to have your supervision also set up professionally with a business structure.
  • Have a contract in place. Not only does this contract offer protection in a variety of ways (a whole other post), but it is an excellent communication tool. It would be so easy to start chatting about the work you are doing without being on the same page for confidentiality, responsibilities, payment, and more.

Honestly, if you have a business entity protecting you and you have a contract, it is entirely up to you what you charge – even if that is barely anything ????

School of Thought #2 – Charge as if they are a Client

If you are in private practice or business ownership, this is likely the route for you (full disclosure, this is me). Every hour you are not seeing a client is every hour you are not being paid, so from a business perspective, it doesn’t make sense to lose income on supervision. Why do something that is going to threaten my business viablitiy and dreams of staying independent??

First, decide what you minimally need to charge.

  1. Figure out what the time costs you (burden).  If my hypothetical burden for the year is $30,000 and I plan to work 30 hours a week for 50 weeks in the year = $20/hour covers my hypothetical burden.
  2. Figure out what you want your wages to be.  If I want to make a minimum $50,000 (for easy numbers, we’ll assume that covers my benefits), I plan to work 30 hours a week for 50 weeks in the year = $33.33/hour is what covers my salary.
  3. Add them together = $53.33 to cover the hour I spend in supervision.

HOWEVER…

  1. I spend 1 hour supervising and ~30 minutes doing documentation or correspondence.  It might be wise for me to add $16.67 ($33.33/30 mins) to make sure I’m staying on track. 
  2. Add $53.33 + $16.67 = I’d have to charge $70/session to make my hypothetical goals.

Second, evaluate what I charge a client for an hour spent together. That is the max of my spectrum.

Third, weigh the ends of the spectrum with what the supervisee can financially afford and the risk they provide. Personally – If my supervisee is launching their own business, that is higher risk and in line with the content I provide my clients – so I go high. If the supervisee is working for a small non-profit with dreams of being the executive director or director of services – I go low. Lots of scenarios in between!

Also, if the organization is paying or helping pay, I go high.

My pet peeve though…

Supervisors being shamed for being “too high” or “too low.” Don’t do it. Each supervisor has different reasons for landing on the prices we charge, so as long as it is professional and ethical it’s frankly none of your business to provide commentary.

I think providing education around how we chose our prices is better than what we actually charge. What do you think?

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