I may have lost a friend this last week.
This friend asked if I would use their nice camera and step in to be their Wedding photographer. I explained that they didn’t want to use me because, while I know how to use their camera, I wasn’t near the quality they deserved by hiring a professional. Long story short, I turned them down because I wouldn’t do that to them. My quality was far less than they deserved. The couple was not pleased, but I hoped that they would learn that it was the right thing to do.
I often meet with vendors who I feel are equal or of higher quality as many of their competition who charge more for the same or lesser services. Why the disparity? The main reason is that some professionals simply do not understand their worth or how to build value into what they do.
If you were to look at a Major hotel, for example, it would be easy to see why they charge what they charge. They have so much overhead. The lights, the A/C, the employees, the up keep and maintenance, the management, all of the codes and regulations they have to keep up with, etc…
Now look at your average Mom and Pop, owner/operator wedding business. They may work out of their homes (nothing wrong with that, in fact I highly recommend that in most cases). They have few (if any) employees. Because they are small businesses, they are not required to meet the same standards of codes and regulation that the larger businesses have to meet.
So how does a small business justify the cost of their service or product? Here’s one simple reason:
How much would the Bride take you to court for if you did not deliver on your product/service?
Let me have you take a different view on this;
Please go to the following link and view this video:
That hurt to watch-didn’t it (most people don’t make it to the end). A Bride who is convinced that she is okay to save a few hundred bucks on a DJ (as may be the case in this situation) risks all the money she is going to spend on the rest of the evening (She spends let’s say $10k-25k on the party, and tries to save a few hundred bucks going with El Cheapo DJ who ruins the night-how much did she really save?)
If you took a professional photographer (and you can insert Wedding consultant, wedding videographer, DJ, and more here) and you handed them an exact copy of Uncle Leo’s point and shoot camera and asked them to both come back at the end of the day. Whose pictures do you think would come out better? (Hopefully the professionals). That being said, let’s take a look at what they put into their product other than the equipment.
Training-both on their product or the equipment they use as well as what the final output is (i.e. a DJ who learns not only how to operate their equipment, but also how to do it in a professional manner)Continued education-Weddings of 10 years ago are far different then they are today, so it is fully necessary to stay up on the trends as well as the different nuances of today’s wedding.Peer to peer sharing-Most professionals meet with other professionals who can then share the latest in innovation and bringing out the best of what they do to Brides. There are multiple associations which affect further training as well as the networking which help to build up supporting relationships which can also help provide support in times of need (who can a hobbyist call if they have a car accident on the way to a wedding? Professionals have backup support)Experience (they do what they do most weeks). You can’t stick your hand in a bucket of glue and not get some on you. The fact is we understand that in order to stay in business we have to offer a superior product that will not only shine for the current Bride, but all of those who are in attendance who could be prospective customers. We pay attention to what works and more importantly usually do not need multiple times to learn from our mistakes.
Now add onto this that you have the equipment, many have storefronts, many have inventory (and with that goes the risk of stale inventory i.e. dresses that go out of style or food that spoils, etc…) You professionals are worth what you feel you can charge!
Find a rate that you are comfortable with and stick to your guns. I have seen many professionals raise their rates and do less weddings and still end up making more money at the end of the year.
Because a Bride simply doesn’t understand what the industry charges and gets “sticker shock” doesn’t mean that you are wrong for charging what you feel you are worth. Most of your customers are first and only time customers (we don’t wait around for repeat business in the wedding industry!). When they set their budgets, they are usually way off base and simply don’t understand what the cost of their products/services are.
Ask your Brides the Following question:
“Ms. Bride, all of my customers booked with me knowing that they could have gotten the same (product/service) cheaper. Why do you think they did that?”
Whatever she answers, you look her straight in the eye and reply , “What I’m hearing from you is that is less important than getting a better price. Please tell me I’m wrong about that.”
What you charge may seem to be expensive, but so does a new car if you haven’t bought one in 20 years. Don’t let her expectations or her knowledge of price throw you. You are worth it-and deserve to get what you want to get.
If you need any further help with this issue, shoot me an email. I’ll give you any insight I may have.
Until Next week,
Here’s to your Success!