It’s a question almost every wedding pro will hear at some point: My friend told me they paid this much for your services. Why are you charging me more? And regardless of the reaction, it evokes (a rush of adrenaline or a sense of certainty), it’s a question you need to have an answer for—because what you charge for your expert services should be going up over time.
So today, we’re going to give you tips on how to navigate this potentially hard conversation with the confidence you need to not only talk pricing and price increases but communicate your value and educate your couples too.
Reasons why you might consider raising prices
Before we talk about having the hard conversation about why your rates have gone up, it’s important to go over why you should raise your prices in the first place. There are lots of reasons to raise your prices—none of which really require any sort of justification. And whether you are proactively raising prices every year or mid-year in response to something, we wanted to run through a list of reasons you might decide to do so.
The costs couples don’t see
You should never base your pricing on your services or product offerings alone. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that make your job possible, and they all need to be financed as well. So, it’s important that you factor these business costs into your pricing strategy so you can cover them (and others) comfortably.
- Business licenses and insurance
- Cell phone and internet bills
- Your website and domain fees
- Assistants and staff
- Professional services (like CPAs or lawyers)
- Software subscription fees
- Marketing and advertising costs
Pro-tip: If you haven’t read this article about pricing strategies, be sure to head there after finishing this one to learn more about what should go into pricing your services.
Cost of living
On average, the cost needed to maintain your lifestyle goes up about 2% a year. This includes things like housing, food, transportation, childcare and healthcare. And while people with more traditional or corporate jobs (read: not self-employed) may get cost of living adjustments to their pay, it is up to you to make sure your rates continually cover what you (and your employees) need.
We previously talked about inflation and supply chain issues in the wedding industry, but it is worth mentioning here as well since it is a big reason wedding pros across the country are reevaluating their pricing right now.
When your cost of living (the personal impact) and your cost of doing business (the professional) go up at the same time, it is hard to turn a profit without a price increase. So, whether you are a stationery designer struggling to get the paper you need, a rental company experiencing increases in your warehouse rent, a florist frantically hunting to get the flowers you need or a venue trying to make sure your staff is well-paid to retain them, you’re going to need to re-crunch your numbers to offset any increased cost you may experience.
Saving for the future
An important topic (but one that isn’t always top of mind) is saving for retirement—we can’t actually work forever! So, if your rates don’t give you enough to put away something for the future, you have another reason to re-crunch your numbers and raise your prices.
Pro-tip: Here is a great article from Nerdwallet that outlines the best retirement plan options when you are self-employed.
How to educate couples about price increases
The key to having a hard conversation about your pricing is to always lead with the value of your services. Whether it is communicating how you are different, your level of experience, your expert approach, what actually goes into your packages or the fact that you customize your services for each couple, educating your couples about pricing is an ongoing process. But, remember, couples are seeking you out, specifically, so you’re clearly doing something special that people want for their events, so it’s important to own it.
Have confidence in yourself as a professional, the value of your services and the rates you charge. Even if imposter syndrome makes it harder for you to answer tough pricing questions or you feel a bit uneasy when a couple tries to negotiate, if you start from the position of knowing your worth, you’ll have an easier time navigating through awkward or difficult talks.
Here are some strategies you can incorporate to try to prevent these hard pricing conversations before they happen
- Write a blog post about the value of your services and why things cost what they cost (we love this one by WeddingPro Educator Krysta York). Then regularly share parts of it on social media and think about linking to it in certain sales email templates
- Include pricing information on both your Storefronts. This is very important to do since 66.5% of couples said pricing was the most important thing they looked at before contacting a vendor (Source: 2021 Real Weddings Study)
- Include a price range on your website
- Reinforce your value by marketing your wedding business with client reviews
- Create templated responses to keep your replies about your rates consistent and save time while you’re at it
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