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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 12th, 2006, 08:16 AM   #1
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The hassle of new pricing...

Hi everyone. Well it's that time...to raise prices. This year I've slowly built up my business enough that I now require more money to pay myself what is fair for my time & effort. I finally have enough samples to show-off both videography and photography, and I've learned some horrible, horrible yet valuable lessons in the process. But I'm completely unsure of where to begin.

Firstly, I never had any pricing established for photography, and now I want to have seperate video and photo packages. Then I also want a combined set of packages for both. Seems ridiculous to try to figure this all out when my history has shown that I've generally taken each customer on a case-by-case basis, and we've customized packages that way. Still, I find that most customers like to see a list of prices so they know what they are dealing with.

Help!

I know we've gone over this several times, but I would like some new insight from those who remember this crucial transition in their careers. I should add, that I live in a large city where in my apartment building alone there are probably 20 other videographers trying to make the rent! So, in my attempt to come up with new pricing, I'm quite aware of their presence but I don't want to feel forced to compete at that level when my work says otherwise...

Help, help, help, help, help. Suggestions GREATLY appreciated!
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Old November 12th, 2006, 08:50 AM   #2
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pricing

Hi Michelle!
just thought ide drop you a line seems you have given me a little
sight to weather i was moving in the right direction in setting up prices. As
I have gone this direction which you mentioned in you post. email me back
and ill show you how i set up my pricing.

regards shawn
Digital Film Production
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Old November 12th, 2006, 02:07 PM   #3
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Do you have a website we can view before offering suggestions?
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Old November 12th, 2006, 06:22 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Michelle Lewis]
Hi everyone. Well it's that time...to raise prices. This year I've slowly built up my business enough that I now require more money to pay myself what is fair for my time & effort...

...Seems ridiculous to try to figure this all out when my history has shown that I've generally taken each customer on a case-by-case basis, and we've customized packages that way. Still, I find that most customers like to see a list of prices so they know what they are dealing with...

...I should add, that I live in a large city where in my apartment building alone there are probably 20 other videographers trying to make the rent! So, in my attempt to come up with new pricing, I'm quite aware of their presence but I don't want to feel forced to compete at that level when my work says otherwise...

QUOTE]

Hi Michelle,

It would be helpful to know what your current prices are and what the client receives for that price.

Here is a general concept. Have three of four price points. Most people will gravitate to the middle, so make your middle package the one you want to do the most.

From there have your lowest price point be the minimum you are willing to do a wedding for. Have your highest package be an over the top price. If you never book the highest package, all is not lost. It will make your middle package look more affordable.

For 2006 we restructured our pricing to three price points, $2500, $5500, and $10,500. Guess which one we sell the most. $5500. We are also flexible in our price points, but we do not give discounts. What I mean by this is if a client needs coverage that is more than the $2500 offers, but less coverage than the $5500 offers then we find a price in the middle that give them the coverage or options that they need.

If you want to charge more than your competition you have to be a better shooter, editor, marketer or salesman than your competition and preferably three out of four.

If you can answer yes to three if not four of those categories then you are ready for the next step. Do not let your competition prevent you from earning a decent living. Sounds easier to say than actually do, right?

Seven years ago we were just slightly more than most of our competition. We were trying to go up a little every year, just hoping everyone else would follow. Well they didn't. After a few years of this we decided we were going to start charging what we were worth and not let our competition set our prices.

Today a majority of our market averages less than $2k and many settle for less than $1k! If I would have let our competition set our prices I would still be selling chips for Frito-Lay wondering how I could ever make this passion I have for making wedding films into a career.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 09:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Moreau
Do you have a website we can view before offering suggestions?

Hi Patrick. Thanks for reminding me to update my profile. Click in, you should get a link to it.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 09:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken
Hi Michelle,

It would be helpful to know what your current prices are and what the client receives for that price.

Here is a general concept. Have three of four price points. Most people will gravitate to the middle, so make your middle package the one you want to do the most.

From there have your lowest price point be the minimum you are willing to do a wedding for. Have your highest package be an over the top price. If you never book the highest package, all is not lost. It will make your middle package look more affordable.

For 2006 we restructured our pricing to three price points, $2500, $5500, and $10,500. Guess which one we sell the most. $5500. We are also flexible in our price points, but we do not give discounts. What I mean by this is if a client needs coverage that is more than the $2500 offers, but less coverage than the $5500 offers then we find a price in the middle that give them the coverage or options that they need.

If you want to charge more than your competition you have to be a better shooter, editor, marketer or salesman than your competition and preferably three out of four.

If you can answer yes to three if not four of those categories then you are ready for the next step. Do not let your competition prevent you from earning a decent living. Sounds easier to say than actually do, right?

Seven years ago we were just slightly more than most of our competition. We were trying to go up a little every year, just hoping everyone else would follow. Well they didn't. After a few years of this we decided we were going to start charging what we were worth and not let our competition set our prices.

Today a majority of our market averages less than $2k and many settle for less than $1k! If I would have let our competition set our prices I would still be selling chips for Frito-Lay wondering how I could ever make this passion I have for making wedding films into a career.
Hi Mark, right now I'm averaging about $1k per job, and I do waaay more than required. I've decided not to be so generous with my time and effort anymore. It was was fun in the beginning to see what I could do, but now I'm actually interested in making a living! I wish I could set prices averaging $5000, but I don't think it's possible because I'm not equipped both with gear or manpower to do those types of jobs yet. Maybe at some point in the future. Right now, I think I could probably go for a $2k range, but the video and photo has to be on the same page. And I'm not sure where to go on this yet. I do want to make it as simple as possible for my customers. So I'd like to offer 3 video packages, 3 photo packs, and 2 video/photo packs, and then have a page with a la carte items. I need to work on all of those things you suggested. Marketing is the weakest link right now, so that's something I must, must, must work on. So Mark, how exactly did you leave the 1&2kers in the dust? I don't see how it's possible for me now. Maybe in a year or two with more experience, a steady stream of customers, more gear, and more expertise, I can rethink it.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 01:16 PM   #7
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Hi Michelle,

How we did it, that is a two day conversation. Here's the Readers Digest version.

If you are great at shooting and editing but your marketing is weak you will be limited in how much you can charge and how many weddings you will book.

We didn't go from 1k to 5k overnight. It was a steady and gradual process.

We started going to video conferences and buying training videos. We then started applying the techniques were learned.

I would suggest writing down what you want your prices to be a year from now, two years from now and five years from now.

I could go on but I'm typing this on my Treo at the Baltimore airport on my way to do a one day workshop in Long Island.

I will be back in the office on Friday, so feel free to ask any additional questions and I'l get back with you later this week.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 01:47 PM   #8
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I took a look at your website and couln't get any of the packages to load.

My first impression of the site was that it was a little confusing. I've found that simple and elegant can most often convey the information you want to get out. With so much competition out there, many brides will simply skip to the next person if they can't find exactly what they are looking for on your site. I would consider doing a couple revisions and possibly having a more wedding-ish logo up there to really create the proper atmosphere. The logo you have up now, in my opinion, isn't obvisouly a logo at first, and doesn't give the proper feeling. Hope you don't mind the comments, but I really think the presentation of your prices goes a long way in how they will be received.

About yor samples in particular, I think you did a great job with editing, it all looks very clean and well-done, and the shooting looks pretty solid as well. Some clips looked like that had very heavy glows and softening applied, which I am personally not partial too, and I think can make it look cheaper. I would try and make the power in the video come from the shooting, rather than any digital effects, and I find that goes over much better with brides and especially grooms. I think a little more movement in your footage could also help seperate your samples from your competition. Something as cheap as a glidecam 2000 can go a long way when used properly.

As is, I would suggust possibly a mid-to-high ranged package around $2k with an option above and below. With a couple slight tweaks over time, I think you could easily move from that point.

I also would like to echo what Mark said. Having 3-4 options goes a long way and also be sure to include a substantial difference between packages. For example, having package B price $200 above package A is not very effective in my experience. Having one package over the top can also help quite a bit and you would be surprised how many couples actually ask abut it and some will go that route.

All the best.

Patrick
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Old November 13th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Moreau
I took a look at your website and couln't get any of the packages to load.

My first impression of the site was that it was a little confusing. I've found that simple and elegant can most often convey the information you want to get out. With so much competition out there, many brides will simply skip to the next person if they can't find exactly what they are looking for on your site. I would consider doing a couple revisions and possibly having a more wedding-ish logo up there to really create the proper atmosphere. The logo you have up now, in my opinion, isn't obvisouly a logo at first, and doesn't give the proper feeling. Hope you don't mind the comments, but I really think the presentation of your prices goes a long way in how they will be received.

About yor samples in particular, I think you did a great job with editing, it all looks very clean and well-done, and the shooting looks pretty solid as well. Some clips looked like that had very heavy glows and softening applied, which I am personally not partial too, and I think can make it look cheaper. I would try and make the power in the video come from the shooting, rather than any digital effects, and I find that goes over much better with brides and especially grooms. I think a little more movement in your footage could also help seperate your samples from your competition. Something as cheap as a glidecam 2000 can go a long way when used properly.

As is, I would suggust possibly a mid-to-high ranged package around $2k with an option above and below. With a couple slight tweaks over time, I think you could easily move from that point.

I also would like to echo what Mark said. Having 3-4 options goes a long way and also be sure to include a substantial difference between packages. For example, having package B price $200 above package A is not very effective in my experience. Having one package over the top can also help quite a bit and you would be surprised how many couples actually ask abut it and some will go that route.

All the best.

Patrick

Hi Patrick, thanks for the comments. Your honesty is appreciated. Yeah, I think building somewhere around $2k is a good place to work from. The packages didn't load because I'm still deciding what the new packages will be. About the website, the compliment I get most from brides is that my site is NOT like everyone else's. I do however need to make adjustable to desktop size, but I haven't quite figured that out yet. I personally don't like too much gliding in a video, but I have been thinking about that Merlin. The problem is that I can't carry so much weight. So I may have to assign that to a second shooter.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 05:23 PM   #10
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i increase my prices $300 bux every season. My biggest stuff up is testing the waters with new packages and prices... but if i dont do this, i dont knwo what people want..
Some companies make a killing with certain "package structures" which offer less than what i do, but charge waht i charge. This to me doesnt make any sense, as i dont know where or how these companies are finding ther clients considering these companies are the same people i've trained. Its nothing to do with quality of the work, its the TYPE of client theyre reaching and penetrating..

Either way, ive tried many different package structures all the way through to alacarte, but in the end the less confusing it is for them, the better off you'll be.
One thing i have noted is that in the last 2 and a half years, is that since i put my package structure online (as well as service structure), many other companies have started to do the same.
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