Determining Your Pricing Scale

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Letetia Nicole from Simply Beautiful Concepts in Maryland asks this question about pricing:

"I am wondering about something I read today which was:

If Full Planning is 3-4 times the amount of work as DOC (day of coordination), then the price should reflect the same.

That's fine with me . . . but let me know if it's a good rule of thumb."

I actually wrote that rule of thumb on the Blue Orchid Designs blog (my wedding planning firm's blog) in response to a bride's question about her wedding planner.

I do think it is a good rule of thumb to base your pricing on the amount of time you spend on an event. For most planners, the average DOC is about 20 hours and the full service is about 80 hours. So if planners are charging what they're worth and being honest about their time, then yes, full service should be significantly more than DOC. {Sidenote: If full service is being offered as a package, the price may be a bit less than if the client were contracting solely by the hourly rate. This is a pricing strategy used in almost every industry; it is less expensive, for example, to purchase the cosmetic gift packs at Sephora than to buy each item on its own.} Even if you don't price on an hourly rate, the difference between DOC and full service pricing should be on a scale comparable to the amount of time and effort involved in both - you are, after all, running a business and not just dabbling in an expensive hobby.

I told the bride this in my reply because she had mentioned she only paid a few hundred more than the DOC price for full service planning. That was a huge red flag to me and should be to brides as well because it means that the work they are expecting to receive and the work the planner is expecting to do are on two very different levels.

The most important thing that will help planners in determining their pricing is to know the amount of time it honestly takes them to complete a project and all their real costs (including hidden and seemingly negligible costs like printing cartridges and postage stamps) and then price accordingly.

Knowing the amount of time it takes you to complete a task helps when customizing a package. If a couple is having a three day wedding, their event is naturally going to take more time to plan. It should therefore cost more than your typical full service package. This is also why it is very important to note on your paperwork, websites, and all promotional materials that package pricing BEGINS AT a certain price. If you don't, then couples may feel as though you are taking advantage of them later on when your fee for their event is more than they had initially read or were expecting.

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