Raising Prices Creating More Business?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by dawssvt, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. dawssvt

    dawssvt TPF Noob!

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    I participated in a bridal fair in the middle of January. When the show slowed down at the end of the day, I had the chance to go and talk to some other photographers. There was around 15 photographers at the show and only maybe 5 who really presented their product well, so those are the photographers who I talked to.

    When talking to the most expensive photographer there, she told me this story...

    "When we were starting out, our middle package was $1,500 and business was "ok". We decided to raise our prices and our middle package was now $2,500; business got better. Then we raised our prices again where our middle package was $4,000 and business EXPLODED."

    I was floored by what she had said and it got me to think. At the show, my packages were starting at $795 and it was pretty basic package; 5 hours, high res photos on a DVD, online viewing gallery. She looked at my booth and said, you should NOT be able to get THIS for 800 bucks. I had just quoted several hundred brides my prices throughout the day, so I didn't want to raise my prices right away. It's been around a month and I decided to raise my prices nearly doubling all my old rates.

    So, my question... Have you found that raising prices increased business for you? I know if you don't have a product that will sell, you shouldn't. I'm pretty confident in the product that I produce, especially in comparison to the other top end photographers in my area, so I think this price increase may be a good idea. Thoughts on this?

    My website is listed in my signature if you want to check it out.
     
  2. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    At the present time, photography does not pay my mortgage, so take this with a grain of salt. If you start getting calls, you need to find out where they heard about you. Many brides are going to start planning a year in advance b/c ever since they were a little girl, they've been gearing up for this moment, and the type of person who goes to a bridal show is the one who will plan months in advance. For that purpose, if you present yourself as working for $X and they call you 6 months from now to find that your prices have not only increased, but doubled, it will look like a classic bait and switch. "What a douche... he told me at the bridal show it was X and now it's 2X....WTF.....I'm not calling him back." That would be my response anyway. So, I think it's suicide if you tell all those brides that it's now twice what they were told. Thus, I think you need to honor what you told them for at least 6 months or so.

    Now for new business, I think you are certainly due for a raise. You do have a nice quality and I think you could reasonably get more than you were asking. I think there very much is a correlation between price and perceived value. That is, I think even if your quality was more mediocre, and the price is higher, the average person will assign a higher value to it mentally b/c they have to reduce that cognitive dissonance in their mind to make them feel better about what they are spending. "You want to spend $3K on this guy to shoot our wedding? ..... Oh, but you should see some of his work..... it's totally worth it". The same works in reverse. If you have an excellent quality and you're charging 1/3 what the other guys are charging, mentally, the public is going to "think" something is shady about you or maybe it doesn't really look as good as it is. I don't know if that makes sense, but I definately think there is a correlation between cost and the type of client you attract regardless of your quality. Again, I'd be really cautious of screwing over all those ladies from the show with a doubling of prices.

    just my .02
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think this is a common scenario.

    The price you set your services at, often says as much about you as the images you produce. If you price yourself fairly high, is tells people that you think you're worth it. If you can pair that up with a confident attitude, then you are likely to get those higher paying clients.
    On the flip side, when you price yourself too low, it tells people that you don't think much of yourself & your services.
    Of course, you can still do a lot of business with lower prices, because there will always be people who are looking for a deal...but are those the people you want to be your clients? The care less about you & the quality of your work, than getting a good (cheap) deal.
    On the other hand, if you set your prices higher, you will attract clients who come to you because they like what you do. It's much nicer to work for these kinds of people.

    Several years ago, I took a class on how to start up in the wedding photography business. The whole course boiled down to 'don't set your prices too low'. They said that low prices was the #1 reason why people failed at this business. They also stresses that experience should not really be a factor in your price. If you are good, you need to charge for that.

    The exception to the rule might be portfolio building. It's hard to land clients if you don't have anything to show them, but you may not want to undersell yourself in order to get those portfolio building jobs. The instructor mentioned one photographer who hired a couple models, borrowed a couple dresses & some backdrops...then spent the day in his garage (big door equals window light). One day and he had a respectable portfolio.

    So by all means, don't be afraid to raise your prices. As mentioned, you might want to give a thought to anyone who has seen your current prices...maybe give people a limited time to book before the price increase...but you don't have to apologize for charging what you're worth.
     
  4. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    Long short story:

    When I first started out, I charged $900 bucks for a wedding. I couldn't get a prospect if they paid me.

    On advice, I changed my pricing to double. I didn't change one single thing on my website. The phone hasn't stopped ringing.

    Why? Because if you value your work, quality clients will too.

    Keep in mind that you have to stay within the boudries of your competitors. The market bares what it bares for your region.
     
  5. dawssvt

    dawssvt TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for bringing that point up about the brides at the show - I hadn't thought about that. At the show I had a promotion going where the got 10% off any of my wedding collections when booking within a month of the show. I have nearly waited the full month, so I decided to switch my prices over. if someone does call me 6 months down the road from the bridal fair, I will honor the prices I quoted them in January.

    I just raised my prices a few days ago and I already got a call. Do you think they need to be raised still? I have my base package starting at $1,495, where my base package was starting at $795 last month.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Thanks for your comment. I love this quote...

    "They said that low prices was the #1 reason why people failed at this business."

    That is just not something you would think to be true, but I definitely see that it is. I already have a decent portfolio because I have shot several weddings with my dad and have done around 10 on my own. Without looking at my price list, what would you guess my packages started at? I don't include an album in the bottom package.

    The higher end clients is my main reason for this thought. I've had several brides looking for a better deal than even I was offering at $795 for 5 hours. A few times, I even took lower than that because I thought it was better than nothing. I look forward to working with clients that actually appreciate what I do. Thanks again for your help!

    Thanks for your imput. I feel the same way - it's been hard for me to get clients to the table. I am priced right between the higher photographers and the middle. I feel this is the right place for me now.
     
  6. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    When I was first in business, the main thing I wanted was a paycheck. Any money at all.

    BUT, part of figuring out what you should charge is figuring out how deep you are in finacially.

    How much money do you have in equipment?
    How much advertising dollars do you have out there?
    How much are you spending on the neccessary insurance?
    When talking packages, how much money are you spending on expendibles?


    Figure all that up, then divide it. Then go an check out your competion and figure your pricing from there. Remember, you want to get that equipment paid off pronto.
     

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