In any business there can come a time when you feel it might be right to increase your prices (not just for inflation but by a significant amount). Self doubt, uncertainty and lack of knowledge around your wedding photography business can potentially stop you from making the necessary changes to your business. I totally get it! I’ve been there and I know how nervous you can feel. Here are some tips for how and when to raise your prices.
If it’s costing you more to do your job, then that needs to be reflected in your pricing.
You’re working late, every day and night and have hardly any time to yourself. Your regular workweek often exceeds 40 hours and this has been the case for a long while. This isn’t sustainable in the long run and will lead to you burning out or having your spouse, friends, and family resent you. Consider raising your prices so that you can shoot less while not decreasing your income.
If you’ve made a significant investment in terms of gear, professional branding, or continuing education, you may need to re-evaluate your prices to reflect that.
Be honest with yourself and also ask for guidance from your mentor. You might have invested in more professional equipment but has your actual portfolio improved from when you first set your current prices?
If you’re booking well in advance and you’re turning away couples a lot because you’re already booked on their wedding date, you are in demand and may need to raise your prices.
When first starting out there are a lot of overheads but as you progress in your business, it should be profitable. If it isn’t then there’s something wrong, especially if you are fully booked.
My top tip is to read the book Profit First by Michael Michalowicz. This book will help you evaluate your business financials and set up a cash management system that will ensure your business is on the right track.
If you realize you’re struggling to get bookings and aren’t ready to raise your prices, but you need to make more money, you can still increase your income in other ways. First, you can simply reduce your expenses. If your business is not profitable, or your Owner’s Pay isn’t where you need it to be, then you should re-evaluate your expenses. Are your expenses preventing you from having a profitable business? You need to be crystal clear on what your expenses are in order to know if you are profitable. If your business isn’t ready for a price increase, don’t force a price increase because you need to make more money. Instead, start canceling unnecessary subscriptions and softwares to reduce expenses. Second, you can increase your average booking. If your couples are booking your lowest collection, then you can work at getting them to book your middle or top collection. This will involve re-evaluating your marketing and booking processes, and even force you to re-examine your branding and brand voice, but in the end you’ll have a clear picture of what you need to change/improve in your business in order to book higher paying clients.
You’ve come to the conclusion you need to raise your prices but by how much? It can be pretty daunting knowing how much to increase by. Too much and you might price your target clients out of range and too little might not be enough to make the right impact on your business. How much you decide to increase by can vary greatly and depends on a variety of factors. Are you booking steadily but struggling to book consistently or are you fully booked? If every inquiry is booking then you can feel more confident to raise your prices significantly. If you’re not booking consistently, then you may choose a smaller price increase. Generally, I advise my coaching clients to raise by 5-10% depending on a variety of factors.
There are many ways to do this, but my personal preference is to raise in November. By then, I’m either fully booked with weddings or nearly fully booked for the coming year, and starting to get consistent inquiries for the year after. This is a perfect time for me to raise prices, as I’m ensuring the weddings I book that will take place approximately 15-18 months from now will be booked at the new price. Additionally, any last minute bookings I get for the following year that are above my original goal will be booked at the higher price point.
Another option is to increase slowly over time, perhaps after every booked wedding. However, this brings along some added work throughout the year with having to update pricing guides and quotes in your CRM.
I’ll wrap this up by sharing a personal tip. Every time I raise my prices, I also evaluate how I can also improve my client experience. Maybe you can improve your wedding workflows and automations for better customer experience? Or maybe it’s time to upgrade your pro lab for better quality prints or wedding album options. Whatever the case may be, evaluate and elevate your client experience every time you decide on a price increase. This will ensure you are meeting the expectations of higher paying clients.
Changing your prices can be scary, so it’s important for you to know your numbers in order to have the confidence necessary to go through with a price increase. Rely on what the data is telling you and if it’s telling you it’s time to raise prices, have confidence in what you have achieved, how far you’ve come, and the planning you’ve done to get to this point!
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Hello there! I'm Alex! I teach hobbyist photographers how to take better photos and professional photographers how to build a thriving business. Here I share tips and resources to help you grow. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!