(Editor's note: Today's post was submitted by the talented and knowledgeable Jennifer Taylor of Taylor'd Events! Learn more about Jennifer at the end of the post!)
The end of wedding season is often met with an inbox full of items filed “I promise I’ll get to you after the last wedding,” a FitBit begging for a break from tracking all of your steps and the inevitable question: should I raise my prices for the coming year?
So I’m going to make it easy on you.
If you’re selling the same package at the same price time and time again and you’re booking it 80% of the time or more, it’s time to make a change.
If you’re at the top of your game and you’re ready to book fewer events but make at least the same or more, then it’s also time reevaluate your pricing.
If you’re eager to take on a higher caliber client, then you’re never going to get there unless you raise your rates.
If you find yourself either resenting the weddings because they take you away from other things or resenting the client because they weren’t charged enough, then it’s time to take a red pen to your packages.
But, you may ask, how in the world can I ask for more money? Won’t prospective clients turn me away? Well, my new wedding friends, it’s time to simply get over it. That’s right- now is the opportune moment to dive into your mindset and ask yourself why you aren’t worthy of increasing your prices.
Evaluate your services: are you giving 110%? Are your couples eager to give you positive testimonials? Do vendors compliment you on your work? Then guess what- you are worthy of that higher number.
And can the market bear the increase? I can’t answer that for you outright, but you know who can? Your competitors. A cost analysis will ease your fears and better guide you on any new pricing strategies. I am not suggesting, of course, that you blindly cold call your competitors and pretend to be a prospect. Instead, simply ask them one-on-one. Not every market is open to this discourse so if you aren’t in a position to do this, consider asking colleagues in similar regions.
Have no fear, I’m not suggesting you double your prices overnight. That’s a common mistake that wedding professionals make. Instead, consider doing it incrementally- perhaps a 5% increase to start, and then another bump up again after testing the waters for a couple of months.
And who is to say that your new pricing has to start on January 1? It’s an arbitrary date so why don’t you begin… today! That’s right, carve out some time in the coming week and reevaluate where you stand. Consider making a change and revisiting it quarterly or bi-yearly. Ask yourself if you’re happy with your booking pace as well as your overall offerings. There’s no need to wait until the ball drops at the stroke of midnight.
There is one final step that you mustn’t skip. If you plan on increasing your prices in the New Year, then you need to make sure your overall brand complements this move. Make sure your logo, web site and marketing materials speak to the target audience you’re aiming to reach. If you’re still meeting clients at coffee shops, consider an office space (shared spaces with other vendors can be an economical option as well!).
If you keep your prices low, you’re undercutting your industry as a whole. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll also burn out in the process. As we head into the off season, take time to really review your pricing to ensure you’re earning what you deserve in the process.
Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui.