I’m not backwards in coming forwards about celebrants raising their price. I’ve given a number of good reasons in the past, but as lockdowns and travel bans continue to fuel the bonfire that is the state of the wedding industry today I was inspired by the idea that we, the wedding industry need not bare the burden that is wedding postponements, we are not wedding insurers, we are professional creatives.
We are not wedding insurance.
That’s not to diminish your want and desire to be generous and kind to your clients, be that, and more, but you are not their wedding insurance. Their wedding being postponed should not bankrupt you.
So assuming you’re already ready to raise your price, if not read this, here’s three practical ways you can increase your price today.
1. The James Clear ‘raising every three’ method
James Clear didn’t know how to set a fee for speaking at conferences. His initial fee was $500 and it turned out that was very cheap, so every three conferences he was asked to speak at, he increased his fee until he reached a price that he felt was sustainable for him as a person speaking at conferences, allowed him to do the work he loved on a regular basis, and was essentially chosen by the marketplace.
Every three bookings, increase your fee by a percentage. Here’s a simple Apple numbers spreadsheet I created and you’re welcome to download. Enter your current fee in the initial fee box marked yellow in the spreadsheet to see the numbers multiply out.
Somewhere between 50-100 bookings you’ll find a price/product/market fit that matches what you do, what value you bring, and what the market is willing to pay for you. Don’t shy away from challenging that market fit, and to marry this method with one of the other methods mentioned below.
Listen to James speak about his method in this podcast from about 12 minutes in.
2. The Josh Withers ‘ride the accelerator’ method
My fee changes on the regular. I started with method number one, and along the way toyed with method number three quite a few times, but my pricing status quo today is to “ride the accelerator”.
What I mean by riding the accelerator is to increase and decrease my fee as my current workload, or need for a holiday, or booking volumes changes.
I manage this by having a web-page based information pack as a secret page on my website (/information) and not in a PDF I email to people, nor do I mention price in email, I always refer people to my information pack. My information pack is emailed to people if I’m available for their wedding.
So if I am taking a week or two off on a holiday, I increase my price to what I consider to be “too much” and if I’m at home in work mode and bookings have been slow, I’ll decrease it to a regular fee. If I’m feeling game, I’ll increase my price by 10% to read the temperature of the marketplace. I have a floor I won’t go beneath, but by using this method I’ve charged over $2000 for a wedding ceremony before because I wasn’t wanting more enquiries and meetings in the middle of a stressful week, but that couple really wanted me, so that was the fee. Two weeks later people were paying much less.
3. The ‘I can’t remember who told me this’ method of taking a pot shot at a big date
I have a memory of three different people telling me this method, and I can’t recall who told me, but they were all wise wedding industry veterans. The method simply acknowledges that you’re not comfortable with people paying you whatever a high price looks like, and this is personal for everyone. If you’re charging $200 maybe you couldn’t imagine someone paying you $400, or if you’re charging $2000 but you couldn’t imagine someone paying you $4000, it’s the same feeling and the same pang of unworthiness you need to get over.
So here’s what you do: Find a date in your calendar that is not booked yet, but you know it will be. We’re talking Saturdays in spring and autumn in school holidays. Those babies will sell without a doubt. Double points for the Easter weekend, especially that Thursday leading into Good Friday, guaranteed sellers.
Identify that one date you know you could sell without trying, simply because you’re you and you’re available. Pick that date, and only accept a high fee on that day. Put it in your calendar, and prepare yourself to feel valued.
You choose the high fee, and if you get to 3-4 months out and haven’t booked it yet, change it back to your low fee and you know you’ll still sell.
The idea is to figure out whether the market would ever pay that price for you, and whether your product is worth that much, and we marry those elements together with a surefire date.
It might be that you sell at that price and only at that price for that one day, but to know that you can will affirm your worth in your mind and soul and allow you to take another shot at that price again later.