it SUCKS if you GROSSLY under charge

I spoke on cultivating and setting your pricing at Eventology 2010. It was a difficult subject for me to tackle, mostly because I strongly feel that others shouldn’t be setting your goals or telling you what to charge.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re at an industry event, feeling pretty good about your last event and someone asks you, “How much is your xyz service?” Gleefully you answer to only be met with a scowl on a person’s face or worse, a snicker.

So with that in mind, I will still launch into my diatribe. If you are serious about your event business; whether it is photography, wedding planning, invitations, or cake designing, I’m taking a stand and letting you know that you are hurting yourself and your industry by grossly under charging your services. Actually you would probably be better off donating your time and gifting your services for free, at least the expectations would be equally matched.

In case you feel the opposite, let me tell you why you are totally wrong (I told you, I’m taking a stand):

  1. You undervalue your service/work. Just starting out and you need to gain experience? So you feel like the only way to get jobs is to charge a Day of Coordination for $300. It’s an easy sell for you. However you have now communicated to your “client” that your value is mere pennies. If you do a good job, then your client will tell someone, and they’ll tell someone else, “Hey, I used a coordinator and she was CHEAP.” Is that what you want your business tag line to be? Hire me, I’m cheap ™
  2. You will surely tick off other vendors. Oh sure, it’s not a big deal at first. You won! You grossly undercut the competition and got the job. Open up the cheap champagne! However, my little newbie, you should know that event vendors are a tight knit community. We talk. A lot. About you and others. You’ll need help or assistance one day and some may not feel like extending a hand. Since it takes a TEAM to pull off an event, you’ll be sorry you alienated others.
  3. Have you figured out what you are really making? Track your time and divide it by the teeny amount you charged your client. That’s your hourly rate. Now wait. It may not look so bad at first glance. Be sure to take out a percentage for self-employment tax, federal and state. Now deduct all your expenses you incurred from the event; gas, supplies, food. Now be sure to deduct your overhead expenses. Take another look. What did you make? You might as well of worked for free. And you call this a business?
  4. It’s a hard climb to higher ground. When you set your goals so very, very low, it takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and work to bring yourself up to the playing field of earning a profit and maintaining a successful business. Do not be short sighted. Have courage!
  5. Quit having pity. Don’t feel sorry for brides and grooms who are on a budget. We are all on a budget in one way or another. If we don’t charge what we are worth, then we won’t be profitable. Never be sorry or make excuses to others about running a profitable business. Otherwise, we would all be OUT of business. And where would our clients be then?

Happy Selling!