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Escape the Bargaining Trap in Your Wedding or Event Business

by: Kathy DalPra

bargaining wedding businessIn all fairness, a bride, groom, family or organization has every right to find a good bargain when planning their own event...no judgments here! It's their event to host as they please. That said, it isn't your responsibility to cut your rates and stress yourself out trying to fit into their budget.

You only have to sell to these folks if you choose to. You can choose to wish them well and send them on their merry way to hunt for the cheapest price, while you focus on clients interested in quality. It's your choice. You might feel that "everyone" in your market is looking for a deal, but this is never true. Some are looking for a deal, others are looking for an experience. You choose who you want to sell to.

With that in mind, here are a number of ways you can avoid getting nickeled and dimed so you can start getting paid what you're worth again:

  1. Raise your rates and don't sell yourself short. This will automatically be a turn off to budget clients and a turn on to quality-driven clients.
  2. Experiment with taking prices off of your website.
  3. Upgrade your portfolio. Almost nothing sells more powerfully in the wedding and event space than bright, high quality, stunning photography.
  4. Get reviewed by your peers through a trusted third party, such as The Wedding Experts. Visitors will place a much higher worth on vendors that have been endorsed by other vendors than those that have not.
  5. Don't ever haggle with couples or prospective clients. It's certainly ok to customize their program or offer special pricing on bulk product orders, but the price is the price. There are no exceptions to this for just one client.
  6. Have an iron clad contract so they see that you are serious about what's included and what's not. If the boundaries aren't established up front, it will only leave an awkward opening for them to ask for extra services or products at no cost. Their perception is that they are investing a lot with you and are entitled to extras. Your job is to debunk this myth right from the start with a solid contract and great communication. (By the way, this does not apply to extras you plan to give to wow your clients. This is referring to when you are asked to work for free.)
  7. Turn those giveaways into upsells. If you've been giving away extra services and products for free, it may be time to turn them into their own a la carte services or product offerings. If you sell online, add these new products as related or suggested items to other complimentary products. If you sell services, create a brochure to give to existing clients during their first meeting with you so they clearly understand that you charge for extra time and services.