Setting your prices and pricing in general sparks so many questions when you’re first starting out in business. In our last blog post, Justifying Your Pricing as a Wedding Planner, we looked at how you can talk to your clients about your pricing. Today it’s time to understand what goes into setting your prices.
Recently in one of our Student Q&A sessions I had a question about this very topic. The student in question was in the process of setting up her business and was working on her packages and pricing. And despite having done all the prep work she just wasn’t feeling comfortable that she had ‘got it right’.
You see understanding and applying the theory behind pricing is one thing, but finding the ‘pricing sweet-spot’ is another thing all together.
Tip No 1 – Do Your Homework First
Before you can think about pricing you need to nail your niche market, identify your ideal client and understand the market. In other words doing your homework and research.
Not to mention taking a look at what your competitors are offering and charging.
But going back to the student and our Q&A session, one of her concerns was not knowing how long the services she was offering would take to deliver.
With a background in accounting she was used to really thinking about the value of her time and billing for it. This made ‘creating a price’ based only on research of the market and what others were charging difficult for her.
But she understood that until she had gained experience at doing weddings she had to start somewhere.
Tip No 2 – Continually Review and Assess
There’s a huge amount of value in the first tip. Without question it’s where you need to start.
But in business, you also need to be continually reviewing and assessing what works. in business language we call this your Return On Investment (ROI).
As a professional offering planning, styling or design services you have knowledge and skills to offer. And they have a value. But you need to measure how long it takes to complete certain tasks in order to know whether or not you’re profitable.
So, whilst it may seem like a laborious task try calculating the time it takes to complete the tasks that go into making up your services.
You can make some estimates about this when you first start out, but there’s so much value in doing it regularly. Especially once you’re working with regular clients.
Jot down how long each step takes you; how long you met for, how long it took you to write the proposal and so on. Do it for everything from site visits to meetings with vendors to drawing up that run-sheet and being there on the day.
To make this job easier, keep a small notebook with you, or use an App like Evernote and get into the habit of tracking your time for each task.
Naturally, you’ll get quicker at these individual tasks as you become more experienced, but in the early days tracking your time will provide you with an invaluable resource for you to test your pricing against.
Tip No 3 – What Should Your Annual Income Be?
As part of this you also need to think about your hourly rate. What do you need your yearly income to be? This can be one way of calculating an hourly rate for yourself.
When you finish the wedding multiply the hourly rate by the hours you spent working on it to find out how much the job was worth.
SIDE NOTE: you’ll spend time doing things that aren’t fair to include in this final figure. Chatting with a venue owner after the couple have left for example. Whilst you’re there for the couple, this activity is also great for business (networking). So don’t attribute this time to the job. This type of activity is an investment in getting future business.
But the simple message today is to track your time.
Your time, which brings your knowledge and skills to the table, is the most valuable thing you have to offer your clients.
It’s your version of a product. That makes this activity such a worthwhile exercise to carry out on a regular basis.