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Old August 10th, 2015, 07:53 PM   #1
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Stuck at a Price Point

For the past 2 years, I have produced 40+ wedding film.
While I enjoy the work, this number is too high for me. I wish to
free up some of my time to focus more on promotional/corporate videography and doing 40 weddings a year
prevents me from being able to break into this other market area.

I feel I am stuck, though. I can't simply accept less weddings. That would reduce my income below the level our family needs. And while I initially thought I could double my prices and do half the amount of work, I've found that the wedding planners in my area simply don't feel their clients will pay for that.

I spoke with a recent planner who told me:
"$3-$4k tends to be the breaking point. Even for the $200k+ weddings. I have a few that I have seen be in the $5-$6k range but as a planner - I don't recommend them. Just too high and that money can go towards other things."

So I feel I am stuck at the $2K range and the 40+ volume. There are 2 videographers in my area that charge $4-6K, but I have no idea what volume they produce. For me, this isn't a question of quality. I feel confident that I am worth $4K. But I don't know that I have the market to support it.

Any ideas?
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:40 AM   #2
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Are you, in your opinion the best 2k wedding videographer in your area? I only ask because I am in a similar market that only got that way because people entered the business as "weekend warriors" and ruined the market value. They would low-ball the full time wedding videographers because they could afford it and in doing so, wedding videographers that were probably worth 4k, have been forced to the 2k range.

Maybe it is similar in your situation. I personally am hovering under the 2k range because this is my first year doing wedding videography but plan to up my prices according to my skill and gear next year. That being said I know I won't be able to go much over 2-3k range until I decide to move to a different/better market (which I intend to do eventually).

Sadly, I'm not sure I have a lot of advice other than, if you are one of the best 2k wedding videographers in your area, maybe a slight increase throughout the year would work, going up to 3k or so this year and next year pushing to 4k based on the reception of your 3k price point? Not sure how helpful this is, and it might not get you to where you want to be as fast as you want to be there, but it's better than going broke because you jumped to 4k and only got 10 weddings.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 08:01 AM   #3
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Hey Ian

All wedding packages seem to have a sweet spot and you have to be careful that you are not on the limit of the bracket you are targeting ... you might be in the say 1.5K to 2K group and be the most expensive at 2K and adding even a few hundred to your package makes you over priced. You say the next group is 4K to 6K ??? If so staying in the 3K range makes you cheap to high end brides and expensive to the middle group. If these guys are getting 4K to 6K get into that bracket so you are right in the middle ..offer all you can and do it for $4800 and you will fall into the "best value for money" supplier making the 4K guys a bit cheap and the $6K guys too expensive.

All this is assuming your 4K to 6K market has enough buyers in it to sustain you of course!!

I raised my prices a few years ago by a couple of hundred and the bookings just died so I dropped them again ...6 months later I pushed them into a much higher bracket and the bookings flowed again so a small increase may be more detrimental than you think!!
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Old August 11th, 2015, 08:24 AM   #4
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

If you're easily hitting your maximum number of bookings for the year, you should be raising your prices. Even if its only a modest increase to get your best profits. $100 added onto 40 bookings isn't nothing and makes sure that inflation doesn't eat away at your profits.

If you're really that worried about losing business or alienating your market, that would be the way to go...

As for a serious price increase....

If you've got the vendors referring you, the old client recommendations, and the reputation in general. If you've found that your quality of client keeps going up ... then maybe, yeah.

One thing I'd ask... how easily are you hitting your maximum of 40 weddings? What is your minimum? Are you tracking WHEN you get booked? For instance, thanks to 10 years of keeping track, I know that, as a DJ, I should have 8-10 bookings for 2016 by the end of August 2015. The year I had 13 booked by the end of July, I raised my prices, twice. Now I'm 50% above market (which, in DJ terms, means I'm $1295 instead of $800). For our videography, I don't have the years of numbers yet, since we've only been doing it a few years, but we're starting to see some things.

I also know that, while most of my bookings occur over the fall, the last main booking period in my area is January, right after Christmas, so that if I made a mistake and need more bookings, I need to fix things before post-Christmas rush (and I do have a plan for that, just in case).

CostOfWedding.com shows me that 16% of your area's weddings have a budget of $30,000 or higher. Seems like that would be your main market. Well-Seasoned professionals receive $1600-$2200, so if you're doing great, you should be at least at the top of that range.

----------------------

There is also a strategy of price increases that is really just changing your offerings, your packages. Raise your minimum to $1995 to give your self a $100 raise. List the packages so that they easily see its $1900/$2400/$3500. That's a good strategy, making $2400 seem like the best deal, but it only works when they can see them together. Your website formatting makes that hard. I wouldn't list any add-ons like rehearsal dinner on that page. Or, at least, no price for it. You've already given them 3 options... we don't want to give them anymore to start.

Then, yes, I'd at least go with $1995/$2495/$3500. Our human brains are stupid and for 95% of us, $1995 is the same as $1900, rather than actually being $2000.

-------------------
Lastly, any price increase, or worry about bookings should mean you review your website, advertising, and relationships. Make sure you're selling emotionally, not factually - your wedding packages page is very factual, for instance. Usually pretty easy with how emotional and visual video is.

As for your website (your main one... your wedding site doesn't make these same mistakes), one thing I'd change... you fail the 'at a glance test.' If I didn't search for you specifically, I wouldn't know where you're located or what you do, at a glance (that sideways text is hard to read). Your contact info is buried in the bottom left corner. Your logo/name of company is 2 color, small, and off to the side, so barely noticed over the bright beautiful photos across the center.

Though, I would say you need to post to your wedding site blog so it looks like you're busy.
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 10:22 PM   #5
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

I agree with Robert.

I wish I could have your problem Ian. lol!

What did you decide on doing?
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Old September 4th, 2015, 05:42 PM   #6
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Atkins View Post
And while I initially thought I could double my prices and do half the amount of work, I've found that the wedding planners in my area simply don't feel their clients will pay for that.

I spoke with a recent planner who told me:
"$3-$4k tends to be the breaking point. Even for the $200k+ weddings. I have a few that I have seen be in the $5-$6k range but as a planner - I don't recommend them. Just too high and that money can go towards other things."

So I feel I am stuck at the $2K range and the 40+ volume. There are 2 videographers in my area that charge $4-6K, but I have no idea what volume they produce. For me, this isn't a question of quality. I feel confident that I am worth $4K. But I don't know that I have the market to support it.

Any ideas?
Here is my first take.
'Wedding planners' tell you that $5-6K is 'too high' and that
their clients won't pay that? Yet 2 videographers in the area charge $4-6K?
Someone is paying it obviously. Now maybe there won't be 'enough' who
will pay it. That then frees up your time for corporate video production
which you seem to want to get into. That's what I did. Dramatically
raised my rates, higher than what most people on here think is
'Reasonable'. So lots of wedding clients hired cheaper guys, and now I only
do 5 or 6 weddings a year. But I do a lot of corporate video.....because
I'm not constantly busy with weddings. I don't care what type of work it is,
if a corporate gig will pay my rates, I'd rather do that, then deal with a mother
of the bride who is constantly trying to 'negotiate me down.'
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Old September 4th, 2015, 09:55 PM   #7
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
I don't care what type of work it is,
if a corporate gig will pay my rates, I'd rather do that, then deal with a mother
of the bride who is constantly trying to 'negotiate me down.'
You can say that again Gabe!
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Old September 4th, 2015, 10:14 PM   #8
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
I'd rather do that, then deal with a mother
of the bride who is constantly trying to 'negotiate me down.'
What type of clients do you have to deal with? :) In 10 years time I never had a mother of the bride involved in price negotiations.
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Old September 4th, 2015, 10:19 PM   #9
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Hi Ian

You really need to find out what the market is! You are doing 40 weddings at $2K so you are turning over $80K ... If you triple your prices to $6K will you be able to book 14 weddings? If not you might be doing less weddings BUT you won't have the same income??

Why not create a new website and a new business name and go for dual branding ... ?? Brides that want high end weddings will book via your new website and brides expecting a $2K package will book via your normal site. Obviously if the high end site draws less than 14 bookings or drops to a trickle, then you know the market is limited ..if it goes crazy then you can quietly drop your old website and stay with 20+ weddings at $6K ... a lot of companies dual brand often the wife running the budget brides and hubby doing the high end ones ... it's an easy way to see what the market is like without losing your current income flow

Chris
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Old September 4th, 2015, 10:59 PM   #10
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
What type of clients do you have to deal with? :) In 10 years time I never had a mother of the bride involved in price negotiations.
I've actually been hired by the mother of the bride several times.
Several other times, I have turned down offers made by the mother
of the bride. I've seen it happen a lot. Maybe it's more common here
in the US for the mother of the bride to end up taking over a bunch of
the planning, hiring vendors and so on. It certainly is nothing unusual for me,
I'd estimate about 1/3 or my wedding 'initial contacts' (asking me for availability
and so on) are done by someone other than the couple....and in those cases it
is often the mother of the bride. There's even a term for them over here.....
Momzilla :) Sometimes it's even the bride clashing with her mother on everything
that should or should not happen at the wedding. Maybe a cultural thing?? :)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacie...b_3899835.html
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Old September 5th, 2015, 09:16 AM   #11
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

I haven't had anyone actually try to negotiate with me in a long time. I think it's because based on the initial conversation whether via phone or Email, if their primary concern is related to my pricing, then they are simply not in my client base, and we never get past the initial exchange. lol

Anyways, I like the dual branding idea mentioned above. It would certainly be a fun experiment.

Keep everything totally separate. I'm sure you're SEO'ed in your area under your current naming convention... let that roll... but promote everything NEW under your new name and pricing structure perhaps. Something like that.

I've found $3,500 to be about the "sweet spot" in my area. The major players seem to be in that general ball park. So that's what my final prices end up being. more or less.

I'm a weekend warrior and only try to do a few a year (as few as 3 or as many as 6).
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 12:50 PM   #12
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Atkins View Post
For the past 2 years, I have produced 40+ wedding film.
While I enjoy the work, this number is too high for me. I wish to free up some of my time to focus more on promotional/corporate videography and doing 40 weddings a year prevents me from being able to break into this other market area.
Ideas! Yes, there are definitely ways to accomplish this.

- Expand your area. If you want to raise your rates, it can be done more easily if you expand your turf. Think DC, NOVA, travel. Location should not ever be an issue.
- Expand your invoicing. Just because your want to work for a certain amount doesn't mean you have to switch all-at-once. Consider 20 weddings at $2K, which you probably already have booked, and then bring in 10 at $4K. You are busy and people know you, so use the timing to your advantage. If someone wants to book a $2K wedding, they can't book ahead. Only accept it (a couple months out) if you haven't booked something else.
- Expand your help. You don't have to turn down any weddings or corporate work if you don't want to. Do 40 weddings (40 days of recording) and then hire someone else to edit. Use the rest of the time to do corporate work.

Let me know if you come up to DC sometime!
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 11:00 AM   #13
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Hey Christian; I think you and I use the same smugmug design, right?
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 06:11 PM   #14
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Brown View Post
Ideas! Yes, there are definitely ways to accomplish this.

- Expand your area. If you want to raise your rates, it can be done more easily if you expand your turf. Think DC, NOVA, travel. Location should not ever be an issue.
- Expand your invoicing. Just because your want to work for a certain amount doesn't mean you have to switch all-at-once. Consider 20 weddings at $2K, which you probably already have booked, and then bring in 10 at $4K. You are busy and people know you, so use the timing to your advantage. If someone wants to book a $2K wedding, they can't book ahead. Only accept it (a couple months out) if you haven't booked something else.
- Expand your help. You don't have to turn down any weddings or corporate work if you don't want to. Do 40 weddings (40 days of recording) and then hire someone else to edit. Use the rest of the time to do corporate work.

Let me know if you come up to DC sometime!

These are great ideas, and a couple of which I've already implemented. I do use an editor when I get to a point where I know I will have a hard time staying on schedule. This editor for the most part does the material that is not public (full-length DVD), but I like to retain creative control over things that I broadcast (highlight video).
And you are also correct that I have booked over 20 for next year, so I like the idea thatI can do a test run on the next "wave" at a higher price point.
Thanks for the suggestions! I'll let you know how it goes :)
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 09:21 PM   #15
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Re: Stuck at a Price Point

If you don't like what you are doing, then no amount of money will be right. You may be stuck because you need the money but hate the job. Ultimately, the burn-out factor will show through and you will lose bookings over time anyway.

Suggest you hire an assistant who can start stepping into your wedding business so you can concentrate on greener pastures. You might also consider selling the wedding end of the business which would give you a little funding while the new segment takes off. allAs suggested by others, a slight increase in price may allow you to pay that assistant and make an extra buck on the videos as well.

On the other hand, if you really like what you are doing, you could do half the number of videos at twice the price and avoid the burnout effect. It is never that easy, of course, and price increases need to be gradual. I find people with a lot of money won't hire a person who charges too little for the lack of perceived value. At the same time, there are not as many of these wealthy individuals so one is left with lots of work at a cheap price or significantly less work at a much higher price.
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