Let’s face it… a big challenge in the wedding business is that there is a wedding season. It can be feast or famine depending on how compact your season is. Some seasons you may be booked every weekend, while others you might go weeks without a wedding or event. This can cause stress on you business finances, and your cash flow.
One of the ways you can help manage your cash flow a bit better, and make these mountains and valleys seem like gentle rolling hills? Break your payments up more.
Have more than two payments.
Most photographers require two payments – a retainer (either a set amount or 50% of the package) and a final payment before the shoot day. But what if you could just add even just one more payment in between to break this up a bit more. Wouldn’t that help your cash flow quite a bit?
I recommend for weddings more than 9 months out, you take 3 or 4 payments. I personally love 4 payments. But I realize sometimes that is a lot of check writing for a client so I always give them the option. This way you get a few checks in the off-season months. This can also give your client more time to save the money needed to pay, and help ease their wedding budget.
In addition – It’s actually better for both you and your client. Why? It reduces the risk to both of you in case of a cancelation. Have you ever had a client cancel their wedding right before that second payment was due…hurts right? Well, it won’t be so bad if you are only collecting the last 25%. By having more payments, you are able to feel less of the burden if they do cancel.
Spread out your payments to ease slow seasons, and help cash flow.
You can also spread out the payments as needed. This is a great way to have payments due during your slow season, so you are still collecting money when you are not photographing. You could have one payment due at the time of booking, another due in January or February (when you are slow!) And the last due 3 weeks prior to the wedding.
I personally do 4 payments. 25% retainer, 25% due six months out, 25% due 3 months out and last payment is due 30 days out. Each payment is considered non-refundable. This allows the client to pay off their larger expenses in smaller increments and protects me from a canceled wedding.