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March 02, 2009

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isha

Great post as usual. I wonder if the new players understand that resetting pricing lower is not good for them or those with experience. This could be the reason for their complaint that they are not welcomed by the community when they start their businesses. It's like a neighbor that brings down the value of the neighborhood.

Low pricing may have been fine when the economy was great and it was extra money. But that low salary that newbies set may become the main income if the partner loses a job. And I don't agree that prices have to be lower when you first start. When a new Mercedes dealer opens, they don't sell the cars at half-price. They make sure they are qualified to provide the services. Treat it like a real business from the start.

Linnyette

This is a thought provoking post, Sean. Experience means a WHOLE lot in the grand scheme of things - as a planner, my 16+ years can seriously trump out someone with less than 3. I'm also able to think clearly, concisely and lucidly on my feet when a problem occurs and not stand there looking like a deer caught in the proverbial headlights.

That level of knowledge and experience I have (along with my team) is something we tout consistently because it matters. The vendors we work with are acutely aware of this and have no problems in recommending us to potential clients because of that very same reason.

I have integrated select ancillary "services" into our pricing structure that takes advantage of the skill sets and offerings my trusted vendors possess and we have found it to be quite profitable. Our bottom line is simple - we're not out to lose money. The respective businesses we own are how we live and support our families and lifestyles, so we value the worth of our experience. Judging from the quality of our clients - they do too.

Elisa Delgardio

Very interesting~ I recently blogged about some of these same issues, although the post was geared towards the consumer.

I agree completely with the idea of building upon solid, existing relationships with other service providers - this can result in some great benefits, such as cross marketing and reduced overhead. Many vendors in my market are already doing this, while others are taking it a step further and creating one-stop shops and new joint ventures - it will be interesting to see how these 'strategic alliances' fare.

Kirsten

Incredible post. Very accurate and I think thought provoking in a good way - forcing many of us to step up our game and think differently instead of just wining about competition that is undercutting us...it's wise.

Thanks!!

Alexandra

Sean as another poster said this might be a tad controversial. I just can't lower my prices to compete with some of these other newer planners because they are setting the pricing so low that it's not even worth for me to spend the time working on a wedding when my overall profit will be $200. I may be ready to just throw in the towel because in all honesty, being away from my family on a weekend and busting my butt during the week is not worth $200 as a profit after all is said and done. If feels to me that since brides are getting married just once they seem to look for the cheap, quick fix vs. the experience.

I may be looking at the strategic alliance with a florist or a stationer.... or both. But let's just say the amount of leads that have come back to me in the last two weeks saying "you are out of my budget" is quite scary.

celia milton

I have always believed that for any of us engaged in a creative service,(whether or not it includes a product besides us), half of our career is education. I am a full time civil celebrant; I am far from being the least expensive way to legalize a wedding or civil union. Many of my clients view their 'untraditional' ceremony as a nebulous and abstract 20 minutes that preceed the cocktail hour, (something that Aunt Mary could easily perform if she went online and got ordained) so much of my "sales" efforts revolve around dispelling the myth that 'anything goes'.

For me to book my couples at the pricing that makes professional sense for me, I need to convince them that their ceremony is the reason for the day. It needs to be written as an inspiring gift to both the couple and their guests, not just a collection of hackneyed words that get everyone from point A to point B.

We are all being challenged to be the most creative with our time and our talents and our networking. If we manage that process well, we will all be the stronger for it.

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