One of the most challenging parts of establishing a successful wedding planning business is setting your prices. Figuring how much to charge for the services you provide can be daunting and feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be!
When you get right down to it, all you’re doing is determining a rate to exchange value for value. You’re providing your clients with a highly specialized service, and in exchange you need to be monetarily compensated for the time, energy and expertise you’re providing them.
If your goal is to run and grow a successful, sustainable wedding planning business, you need to set rates that will keep you profitable. If you're not making money, it's a hobby - not a business!
But what exactly should you be charging? Well, let’s take a look! There are several variables to consider when actually figuring out your rates. We’ll walk through each step together to make sure you’re on the right track.
1. Know your ultimate goal
Everyone has different needs and goals for their businesses, which is why it’s important to know what your end game is. Are you just planning to supplement your current income with part-time wedding planning income? Or are you setting out to quit your 9-5 job and become a full-time wedding planner?
I also think it’s a good idea to think about what your idea of success is. Is your vision of success driven by money? Time? Freedom? Fulfillment? When I first started planning weddings, my desire was to bring in as much income as possible, which I thought meant booking as many weddings as possible. Later on down the road, my time became more valuable to me so I changed how I approached my business in order to get back more of my time.
2. Determine your pricing structure
First thing’s first, you have to decide whether you’re going to charge an hourly rate, a flat rate, package rates or a percentage of the overall wedding budget. Personally, I’ve opted to charge a flat rate for my weddings, which include a predetermined selection of offerings, and if my clients want anything additional, I add on a la carte.
To determine what’s best for you and your business, you need to think about your ideal clients, the kind of work you want to do and what matters most to you. Maybe you’ll even want to do a combination of price and package offerings depending on what you plan to provide and what you anticipate the needs of your ideal client to be.
3. Do the math
In order to figure out the actual rates you need to charge, you’ll need to work out your overall needs and goals. If you need to make 30k per year and your expenses (including taxes) are $12K, your gross revenue needs to be around $42K. Now let's say your goal is to do no more than 15 weddings in a year. The minimum you should charge per wedding would be $2800. (Don't freak out! These are just made up numbers.)
Make sure you’ve mapped out exactly what your monthly needs are personally, what your overhead expenses are, what you anticipate needing for taxes. There will be variable expenses too, like travel, gas, meals, plans for retirement, per job/project expenses, etc. Don’t undercut yourself in your figures! I’d say it’s better to overestimate than go under.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed, go pour yourself a cup of coffee (or wine!) print out the Simple Pricing Guide for Wedding Planners (it's at the end of the post) and work through it one step at a time. I promise it doesn’t have to be painful, and once you’ve done it your golden!
You will most likely have to adjust your prices every so often, but just remember this: be CONFIDENT in your worth and the pricing you decide on. Remember that your goal isn’t to work for everyone, but to work with the right ones that will recognize your value and be willing to pay for it.
Still having struggles with figuring out your pricing? Share them in the comments below!