My last blog post, although not very exciting, was a necessary discussion in regards to the why and how of calculating your time cost so that you can price your services accordingly. Not pulse-raising, but a very important topic, because in the service industry of weddings, your time is one of the biggest “costs” to your business, and it is your most precious resource, because, once spent, you can never get it back.
In addition to your time costs, the other business factors to take into account when determining pricing are:
• What is the price range in your area of those already out there doing what you do?
• What are your per couple dollar costs to deliver your service or product?
• What are your ideal couples willing to pay for your service or product?
• And, how much profit do you want to make for the time you spend?
All of these pricing factors will need to be approached from a business perspective, but, just as importantly, from a happiness perspective. The happiness perspective is so important since you most likely started your business to be your own boss, while doing something you love, and controlling your destiny. Yet, you know you will need to work long hours while making some amount of money for those hours. For some of you, your business is part-time and as long as it makes you a little extra spending cash, you are fine running a more off-the-cuff business, while others need their business to be their full-time income, and thus have a much more defined and planned out business. Either way, having an understanding of how much you are making per couple is important, since there is some defined worth to your time. And running your business as a business, professionally, whether it is part-time or full-time, is important to use all, as it affects how others see the wedding industry.
For example, I love to travel, and if an ideal couple hiring me wants me to travel to another state to marry them, I am happy to do it, however, I am going to charge them my normal fees, plus travel costs, plus a fee to cover the fact that I might have to give up other booking opportunities. It wouldn’t fit me, my profit per couple, or even my overall business to do it any other way, as I factor my happiness in too. This doesn’t mean that having a different approach is wrong, as long as you understand the costs and you are happy with the outcome. The main idea is that your pricing should allow you to be happy in, and with, your business for the long term. If you are not happy because you are working too many hours, or you are not making the money you were planning, or you are making money but you are not having the fun you thought you would, you really need to do one of the following:
1) Change how your business works
2) Change who it serves (your ideal clients)
3) Raise your prices
4) Do something else for a living
If you need help working through any of these options, please let me know. And, yes, I know number 4 seems harsh, but just remember that nothing kills a passion-based business more than losing your passion.