I know what you mean, but there's no need is there? I mean, that's how you'd start if you were buying a car or something. You wouldn't go and look at something, fall in love with it and then find out the price. You go in with a budget and some requirements and see where you end up.
FYI mentored doulas do charge a fee, not just expenses.
It does seem to me that prices have jumped hugely since I last looked. 3 years ago they were charging 5-600 in London for fully qualified, maximum £100 plus expenses for mentored. Now it's more like £900 for fully qualified, and mentored are between £2 and £300 plus expenses.
Hi OP - by all means offer an exchange of skills. I saw a blog a while ago where a doula said that she needed taps fixing/ shelves putting up too. Many are mums who might be grateful for some babysitting.
Obviously it's down to the individual, and some might not be open to it. But there are so many trainee doulas popping up (in some areas) and I think they need to see a certain number of births before they qualify, so there may be a couple that are willing to reduce their fee in order to 'get' another birth.
I really wish I'd had a doula for my birth. Just get on the phone, if you don't ask, you won't get. And you never know what other information you might find along the way.
Also, some hospitals offer a volunteer birth attendant service - but they may not be very good at advertising it. And in my area there is a 'bump buddy' scheme for vulnerable women - I don't know how they determine vulnerable, but again, if you chat with them they might have some helpful suggestions.
I've contacted a couple today and been up front about needing to know the costs involved. Hopefully they won't take offence! I've also emailed someone who I know used to work as a doula (now a Hypnobirthing teacher) to ask her if she knows any mentored ones out there. Doula UK doesn't seem to have many in my area unfortunately though I'm guessing there are more than are on the site.