Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why I Cost So MUCH - The Remix

I'm thoroughly pleased with the response and feedback I received on "Why I Cost So MUCH" - my goal in penning that post was to spark dialogue amongst my fellow industry professionals and to get people THINKING!!!

After chatting with a few folks online and by the good ole' telly..something else came to mind that made me realize I wasn't finished with this topic - not by a long shot!  So, "Why I Cost So MUCH" now has a "remix".  Truth be told - I love it when a song gets the "remix" by a hot shot producer who knows how to amp the music and lyrics up so all you wanna do is dance!  While I may not be a music producer - I do know how to "push buttons"..and my fingers are ready for this one!!

My last post kinda skimmed over the reasons why my fees and prices aren't $500 ( I shudder to think there are still people charging that amount for FULL SERVCE PLANNING, but I digress..), the "REMIX" is about the personal, hard facts:  I run a business and I have a family to supportBottom line.

I'm not in the wedding planning business because it's a fun "hobby" - au contraire..I am a business woman who is out here getting her proverbial hustle ON.  This is my "9 to 5"....this IS my livelihood.  And as such, I've based my fees on factors such as experience, skill, acumen, education and a little something called "profit"....you may have heard of this notion - it's why businesses are in business! 

I have expenses related to my business (that studio of mine has a rent payment due the 1st of each month), I have staffing costs, I have professional costs that come with being a part of this industry..and I also have Visa, a car note, health & life insurance, two kids, an ailing grandmother, a house and a family of cats to feed.  In short, I have a life....just like you.  And this life requires money in order to live it.  I'm not independently wealthy and I can't live off my ascerbic wit.  Maintaining requires dollars..which is why I work.

So..when I say that your fee for services will be $$$$, I'm not talking out of the side of my neck.  It's not an arbitrary number I just came up with...nope, I've told you what I know to be true.  I totally get that some people like to "negotiate", but whoever said that "everything is negotiable" was delusional.  It's not.  You have to pay for what you want.  Good people, excellent people, smart people, stellar people...we cost money.  For a reason.  We're good, excellent, smart & stellar...we are at the top of our game and we know how to get results.  Period.  Would you try to negotiate the fee with your surgeon if you needed work done?  Of course not...you are coming to him/her for their EXPERTISE, therefore - you pay.  So why is it any different  when it comes to paying your wedding professionals what they deserve?  Hmmmmm?????

To add in another flavor to the remix....please also know that when you don't pay me on time - my life still continues.  And the aforementioned Visa, car finance company and landlord still want their money  - from me.  When you bounce a check....the bank will charge me.  And I will charge you.  In effect, you've breached your contract...non payment means that I can walk away or put your event on the shelf until you ante up.  Depending on where you are in the process..that can be a dangerous situation.  Allow me to put it into simple, laymen's terms:  It's payday at your place of employment.  You get your check or advice of deposit, open it up...and there's nothing there.  Or....it's short a few hundred dollars.  What are you going to do?  Oh, I know EXACTLY what will happen - you're gonna march right on down to payroll and give them the "business" about YOUR money.  And you're going to ask your boss "What's up with this - where's my money?"  You know I'm right....you will be HEATED until this is resolved.  Guess what - that's how we feel as professionals when you don't pay us as agreed upon.  Take a moment to digest that.

And for my colleagues and peers in the industry....I'm not letting you off the hook.  You have a responsibility to be unwaveringly clear about your pricing and your policies.  It is what it is.  Stop devaluing your worth, your credibility and your ART by not pricing your services as they should be.  The word "NO' is not a four-letter one, it's not foul...it is the truth.  Learn how to say it more often and when needed.  Every client isn't for you and they are probably better suited for someone else. Let them GO...trust me, someone else will come along who understands and appreciate what you bring to the table without all of the truly unecessary drama and tribulation .   

This is a two-way street. The public needs to undestand that we're not some cheap date...while the industry has go to get a grip on solidifying and clearly enunciating who they are and what they cost.  Now that's a marriage made in heaven........

(See these two? These are my "babies" and my main impetus for being a success......they're also quite expensive, which is one of the reasons I don't work for free..)


Anonymous said...

You go girl! I am tired of explaining this over and over and over to each and every 'design on a dime' client. We create a once in a lifetime event for our clients and we deserve to be paid our worth. Yes I love what I do, but I am not 'your friend' and I work 24/7 to make your dreams come true.

And I couldn't agree with you more about how all event professionals having this same attitude, should stick to our prices and educate our clients about the value we provide.

Thank you Linnyette for bringing this topic up!

dezi grant said...

I so appreciate the original and remix posts- thanks for dropping the knowledge and keeping it real! Professionals and professional, top quality services demand the same pay. What is the "poor people's rate?" I have been asked this...a few times recently.

TMichelle said...

Another AWESOME post!!!

barbara said...

No surprise, all of this had to be put out there and you nailed it. Love your re-mix. Great for brides and wedding planners to read and more importantly, understand!

Anonymous said...

That's not a remix, that was straight with no chaser! I love it! Every time I read one of your blog posts or one of your FB posts it empowers me, as a neophyte to the industry, to stick to what I believe. I AM WORTH IT! MY FAMILY IS WORTH IT!

I plan more special events than weddings, but time away from home and my family is time I cannot get back. This is not a hobby for me, nor has it reached full time status, but in order for it to get there, I need folk to understand, that you get what you pay for. If you want to pay $500 you get $500 worth of effort and service, period, end of sentence!

Thank you for always keeping it real! Every time you post you reach back to help one of us avoid some newcomer pitfalls. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Lisa Michelle said...

Could not have said it better myself. Thank you for this!