On Monday I started a 3 part blog series about the stress wedding professionals are under to keep pricing consistent and hirings happening.
- The first post discussed when wedding coordinators and planners ask vendors to lower their prices, thus giving brides and grooms a false idea of what pricing actually is.
- The second post talked about publications and the poor education about hiring professionals, doing things yourself, and telling consumers NOT to hire specific types of vendors for their wedding - while still accepting advertising money.
Since those two posts went live the reviews have been very mixed ... so I'm a bit hesitant to go into reason number 3 ... hahahaha ... do you blame me?? But, here we go:
When I'm coaching my clients I hear this often:
"I want to raise my prices and charge more, but in order to keep getting hired I have to stay inline with the other photographers in my area and most of them undercharge like crazy!! I'm afraid to charge what I should because I will lose out on business."
... feel free to replace photographers with any type of service.
This is a sh*tty situation and there is only one reason it's like this:
THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN THE INDUSTRY DON'T KNOW WHAT TO CHARGE, DON'T KNOW HOW TO CHARGE, AND ARE AFRAID TO PRICE THEIR PRODUCT WHAT IT SHOULD BE PRICED AT
So reason #3??? Do I dare go here?? Here we go ...
REASON #3 IS YOU
When I decided to rebrand The Editor's Touch I got quotes from 4 different graphic designers who blew me away with their work. I loved ALL of them for different reasons. All 4 were seasoned pros .... they were well connected ... they knew their sh*t ... and all 4 proposals came back and all 4 were completely different. One was SUPER high ... one was extremely low ... 2 fell in the middle. There was no rhyme or reason to the pricing ... and I didn't question their pricing ... but when you get 4 proposals that are all different it definitely makes you go:
huh ... I am so confused.
^^ And that's coming from ME who is a business owner and understands the confusing world of pricing your own services. So imagine how a bride would feel getting 4 completely different proposals for the same-ish service??
I had a client the other day tell me that she got a call from an inquiring bride and after they chatted about pricing and services and all the 'usual' sh*t the bride asked this:
SO, CAN I GET A DISCOUNT?
Just like that! With zero reason or lead in ... just flat out asked if she could get a discount. Now, call me crazy, but either this bride is just super ballsy and has ZERO tact or she had it in her head that if you ask for a discount, maybe they'll say yes! Or maybe she asked the other professionals who were up for the same job if she could have a discount and those vendors DID SAY YES ...
wussup with that!!??
Look, I get it. Pricing your service is rough. And it's not like you can walk up to other florists in your area and say: so, what are you pricing your services at? I just want to know so I can match them ... << you'd get slapped in the face! But something should and can be done. It's scary to take the steps in raising your prices and sticking to them, but it all begins with:
KNOWING YOUR PRODUCT AND WHAT IT'S WORTH
I said in the post on Monday ... clients who walk around describing your service as cheap, budget friendly, or discounted are NOT helping you .. each time you lower your prices to get a job or give a discount you are risking attracting more clients like that ... and you'll never grow.
BUT, HEATHER I AM JUST STARTING OUT AND I DON'T HAVE THE PORTFOLIO TO BACK UP THE PRICING I WANT TO HAVE
And this is why I *always* say you have to start forming relationships ... you HAVE TO. Sitting at home, on Instagram, on Facebook ... trying to market your business alone is hard! If you are just starting out then find professionals in your area who are also starting out and begin the rise TOGETHER ... creating shoots, networking, getting to know each other as people ... and then when the day comes when you are ready to PRICE YOUR SERVICES in a way that makes sense, decide to stick to it because you know you're worth it.
So, my point (did I have one??? ... haha) is this: one of the components to the consumers in the wedding industry (brides and grooms) being so confused on what to hire, who to hire, what to pay, what not to pay, what to skip, what not to skip, what to DIY, what not to DIY is us ... you ... me ... the professionals who are busting our ass to stay in business. I say stand up for your pricing and if you ever do decide to offer a price reduction (because life happens and bills need to be paid) then it should come with a service reduction too. If a bride wants to hire you badly and just can't afford everything she wants, then make it a compromise. Don't give her the moon, sun, and stars for way less ... maybe that means she gets a few less pages in her photo album ... or her bouquets will be less 'full' than usual ... or instead of being there for 12 hours on the day of her wedding, you are there for 10 ...
BUT THE WAY I REALLY FEEL??
... is that these 'discount' clients will be your BIGGEST headaches ... and it will bring down the brand you are working so hard to build up.
At the end of the day the decision on pricing is yours to make. It's hard to be the most expensive and it's rough to be the least ... but the minute you make a decision, brand your business to support your pricing, and have the product and service to back up the brand ... and you STICK TO IT??? Is the minute I believe your business will do what it's supposed to do and the clients will come.