This topic I know is something that all new wedding planners or stylists entering the industry will struggle with at some point. Below are a few of my tips for justifying your pricing to a potential client -
- Break down everything that is included in your pricing. For example if you are offering a wedding coordination service for say $2000 which requires you to be at the wedding for 10 hours on the day, a bride is automatically going to think she is paying you $200 an hour which to her may seem ridiculous. Here is what she is missing - all the time that you are going to spend working on her wedding beforehand and all the costs you have for actually running a business. What this $2000 doesn't show is the 20 hours+ you will spend calling all her vendors, putting together a detailed timeline and the consultations you will need to have on site beforehand. Then of course there is your expenses for actually running a business - insurance, accounting, admin, marketing - the list goes on. I find it always pays to show your bride in writing exactly what your service will entail. List everything out in detail! Include hours if you need to, for example if you will spend 3 hours on the timeline, 5 hours at consultations, 5 hours for contacting and confirming vendor details etc outline this all in your quote. Make it clear to your client that there is far more that goes into the wedding than just what happens on the day. If you need to reassure your bride that you are a professional and not just a random wannabe wedding planning working from your spare room then drop in a few comments about previous weddings you've done, the vendors you know personally that would suit her wedding and that you have a dedicated experienced team of staff.
- Remember always, your time is valuable. In the corporate world you would never come across a company working on a project for free. Think about this is you went to an accountant and asked if they were willing to negoiate on their fee do you think they would? Or what if you asked them to put in a few extra hours for free? Of course they wouldn't so why should we as planners or stylists work any differently. Our prices are what they are because that is the genuine cost of being in business and making a profit (it's not like we a millionaires, most profits are fairly minimal). If you don't value your time then you will never get ahead and grow your business. Every single minute that you spend working on a clients wedding needs to be accounted for. If you need to take records of the hours you spend on a clients wedding and put it into your invoices then do it. Did you know accountants charge out their time in 6 minute increments? I would encourage you to keep a record of the time you spend on each wedding day. That way moving foward you can make sure that your pricing is a true reflection on the time you put into each wedding.
- Don't compare yourself to your competitors. There is always going to be other businesses starting out in the industry offering the same services you do for next to nothing. There are a few key things to point out here. Nearly always they crash and burn within the first year of business or secondly they start to hate what they do because they know they are not making any profit (sometimes it might actually be costing them to keep their business running). I know brides compare businesses on price and no matter how much you sell yourself and your expertise a bride will always have price at the back of their mind. To overcome this you need to compare your service to what your competitors are offering - take price out of it and look at exactly what these other vendors are offering for their next to nothing pricing. Are they going to have the skills you have to put together an 8 page extremely comprehensive detailed timeline? Are they going to put together 3D floor plans and an impressive styling proposal? Most likely no they wont because they simply don't have the skills or expertise. Show your couple an example of your work and make them understand that you are serious about what you do and that you have the knowledge and skills to execute the most amazing wedding that is going to wow everyone attending.
- Be upfront with your pricing. There is always going to be time wasters and budget brides. If this isn't your target market then try and avoid having these people even submit an enquiry in the first place. When I first started out I was getting so many enquiries but only about 15-20% actually fitted in with my target market. The rest wanted a styled wedding far cheaper than what I could do it for. I did a couple of things to get rid of these time wasters. Firstly I put my starting from pricing on my website, secondly every single new enquiry I received I responded with a services brochure which further outlined my pricing in more detail.
I hope this is helpful, if you have any further questions please do feel free to leave them below. There is so much more I could write on this topic!