by Danielle Andrews Sunkel
Every conference I go to, every article I read, someone is saying, “Charge what you are worth!” I hate to break it to you, they are just telling you what you want to hear and hoping to sell you on whatever they are pitching ( just look at their own pricing).
Your pricing needs to reflect your education, experience, level of expertise and drum roll… your market. It’s all well and good for someone to tell you to charge more money for your services, but if clients are not willing to pay that price, you are going to have to close your business pretty fast.
I have been a professional, certified wedding planner for almost 15 years, I train other wedding planners, both independent and at resorts. I am constantly learning and attend at least 10 conferences a year, I speak at half of those conferences and I have been quoted in magazines, newspapers, the radio and on television around the world. All a potential client has to do is Google my name, but when it comes time to pay for all that experience, the client couldn’t care less. I may think I’m worth my weight in diamonds, but “charging what I’m worth” just isn’t going to fly.
Even the most famous wedding planners can not charge what they are worth. Think about it, they have alternate means of making money, through endorsing product lines, partnering with resorts, paid speaking engagements, hosting television shows, etc. If they can’t charge clients more than what the market allows, how can you?
How should you determine your pricing? Take a look at your finances; how much do you need to make in order to live comfortably, attend a couple conferences to stay educated, pay for marketing and all the overhead of running a business in a year? Once you know how much money you need to make, look at how many clients you can comfortably work with in a year. Investigate what the average rate planners of your calibre charge. That will give you a good idea of how much you need to charge and what your market will support. By all means, go a little above the market average, but as wedding planners we know we are worth our weight in gold, unfortunately, you won’t be paid that way.