I was talking to a friend today, and was shocked at the pricing that my talented friend was starting at. While they are in a building phase of their business, their work and experience are worth a much higher price point.
What they were missing was better marketing. I did the same thing when I started out! I knew I was working toward the higher price point, but knew that I was new, and wasn’t quite there yet. These are some of the lessons and tips I have learned as a wedding photographer when it comes to pricing strategy.
Do NOT start at a super LOW price point.
Instead, put your pricing where you want them to be at eventually in a year or so and offer discounts and incentives until you are at the point in your business where you can raise. It’s so much easier to establish your value early on vs creeping up slowly.
Do NOT do huge pricing jumps.
It is important to raise your prices steadily, and strategically. Don’t be a $1500 photographer now and put a $10k investment guide out there! Increasing your rates by 75% at a time is not a good idea. That jump is crazy and sends out red flags. My suggestion is to increase your rates by 25%-30% at a time. I personally like increments of $250, as my pricing strategy.
For example, let’s say you start at $2500. Put that $2500 package up to $3000 or $3500. Then when you email out that pricing guide, offer $500-$1000 off.
DO offer “value-added services” instead of discounts when you can.
I know I just said that above but this is more detailed. Try to offer a free portrait session or additional hours valued at that price point you were going to discount. This way you are at least getting a certain higher minimum and upping your average sale.
DO be strategic in your TIMING with this.
For example, offer those discounts or add-ons for weddings less than six months out and for low season dates. Give your full pricing a chance on those higher demand dates for a little while. If you still get no bites, you can always offer the discount again because you know that date is popular and you are going to get more leads for it. It is important to be strategic with the timing of your offers. Always keep your cash flow in mind, and what you can do to improve it. This will help with your overall pricing strategy.
DO communicate clearly these bonuses you are offering your clients.
You should always line item every freebie add-on and every discount in your quote. This way they see and understand what they got extra. Even if it’s just something you say in passing or you stayed for an extra hour. Send an invoice for zero dollars if you have to.
Clients need to know when they are getting a deal. I hear so many complaints from business owners saying they did ALL this extra stuff and clients don’t realize or appreciate it. You gotta toot your own horn! When you go above and beyond that is something of VALUE (not just your customer service standpoint) you need to let your clients know.
Create a pricing strategy.
Using these tips will allow you to not just start your pricing out correctly, but increase it over time.