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why I won’t work for free

New business is challenging in the best of circumstances and even more challenging under difficult times. But working for free or mere dollars per hour cannot be the answer in offering sustainability. Sure you have a superb wedding to showcase in your portfolio, but who cares? At the end of the day, are you even breaking even?

This blog entry will not be much of me talking to you as I’ve already covered this issue before, instead highlighting two wedding professionals who really hit the nail on the head.

Recent blog post of a 17 year, veteran wedding planner, Linnyette Richardson-Hall outlined a fabulous post of “Why I Cost So Much”. A great read and I recommend clicking on it and reading it thoroughly.

From Linnyette, I read another well-written, thought out and insightful article by another wedding planner, Shayna Walker, “Demystifying Wedding Planner Pricing”. Definitely on my top ten best reads in a long time. I highly suggest you download her open conversation on how most of us, price our services.

In the past few weeks, I turned down two weddings. One of which, due to circumstances beyond my control, I knew that I would not be able to deliver the service the bride needed. There are no do-overs in our business and having the clarity and honesty to tell a potential client, “I’m very sorry, but you need to call someone else” is difficult but in the end, the best decision for both of us.

The second one was more painful and difficult, but within negotiations I knew deeply and through personal experience that what the clients were asking for was GREAT for THEIR pocket book, but not so much for my business.

We ALL like to remove services from proposals that we are given so that they will fit within our budgets. I’m not exempt to this; I want, what I want, but at the best deal.

As the author and provider of said services, it is our job to educate our clients and prove the value of their investment and finally, knowing when to draw the line.

Happy Selling!


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8 Responses to “why I won’t work for free”

  1. Eric Hegwer says:

    I work for free all the time. Why? Because I have enough. I get great pleasure from giving back to people who normally wouldn’t have the budget for me, but still need amazing pics. Sure I understand not undercharging, and I value my work appropriately. But sometimes, it just feels good to do something for someone who normally couldn’t afford it.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Craig Sumsky and Janice Carnevale, GET REAL sales coach. GET REAL sales coach said: from the sales blog: why i won't work for free http://tinyurl.com/4l4rmx2 […]

  3. saundra says:

    Eric, it’s great to have you comment. You’re lucky to be in a position of such philanthropy.

    We give away and do extra with no charge to our clients all the time. However, that really isn’t what this post is about. Have you read the two links? They are both great reads.

  4. Terrica says:

    Eric, that philanthropist approach is very touching. I won’t question the validity of it, as I am sure you mean it– we all do. We all intend and do give back. With the economic times being what they are: jobs lost, homes foreclosed upon, families in debt due to medical illnesses or even returning military veterans– there are enough people that can and should be helped.

    However you and I both know that is not what Saundra was implying in this instance. The richly saccharine overplayed response that we should all give back when an established coach dares professionals to value their work and respect their craft is ridiculous. Working for “free” or undercutting doesn’t feed my children or pay my mortgage, nor does my colleagues (or our industry) any favors. Believe it as Mufasa said, “It’s the circle of life, Simba”.

    We can all give back. I believe we all should. It’s called volunteering.

    Since most creditors do not accept Monopoly money, bills have to be paid. I believe we should all do that, too. It’s called working.

  5. Fabulous blog post and the articles you reference are right on the money! It’s like you read my mind! The media has done a great job at brainwashing brides into thinking planners and event industry professionals are ‘all alike’ and will work for ‘close to free’ just to book a date. Planners and event industry professionals need to thoroughly educate the consumer as Mz. Lynnyette Richardson-Hall and Shayna Walker do. And they do it beautifully too! Bravo ladies! Bravo to you too, Saundra!

  6. Linnyette says:

    Saundra:
    Thanks for the “shout-out”, I appreciate it! I hope that between my blog post and Shayna’s – we get people talking. It’s time for everyone to get their heads out of the sand and finally say, “enough is enough. PAY ME!”

  7. Vari A. says:

    Saundra, it’s great to see your blog is back up! Really enjoyed your post and thank you for the link to the articles. Great read!

  8. tami brown says:

    I have four words… SHOW ME THE MONEY. Why? Because my kids like to eat and living on Skid Row in Downtown LA is not my idea of living the good life. #nuffsaid


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