How to Raise Your Rates
Updated: Sep 2, 2020
#3 of 99 Wedding Tips for Photographers by Scott Robert Lim
Are you ready to charge more?
Learning when and how to raise your rates is a difficult business skill to master. On one hand, the photographer wants to maximize their income and on the other hand, if they raise their pricing too much, they may find themselves out of business. I'm going to give you some great advice that has helped hundreds of photographers I have mentored and coached.
Be guided by a simple economic principle: Do NOT raise your rates if there is no demand. Supply and demand is a very simple business concept that works- the higher the demand, the higher the price, the lower demand, the lower the price. The market rarely lies and is tells you what you deserve, in general. Many people ask me how they should price their services. I then ask them how many weddings a year are they currently shooting and how many weddings would they like to shoot. If they tell me a number below their goal, then most likely they need to keep with their pricing or maybe lower it. If they tell me a number higher than their goal, they need to raise their pricing. For myself, I had a goal of 24 weddings a year. If i booked three weddings a month for three consecutive months then I would raise my pricing. Three weddings a month is 36 weddings a year- more than I wanted to work. This is how I eventually started booking $10,000 a wedding. I focused on creating more and more demand for my services. Price is not always the method to increase demand but is easiest to execute.
Simple enough as it seems, creating the right packages, what services to include, and what not to include is a very involved process. Many times I can double a photographer's income by reviewing their current business and asking them some key questions about their packages, target market, and current marketing. If you are struggling with pricing or your business, I suggest you seek the advice of an expert, even if you have to pay for it. It usually is the difference between thriving and barely surviving. They can at least guide you with a plausible game-plan and review your work and see if you are creating the right type of imagery that will create success in the marketplace. Make sure the coach you seek, is experienced and has made at least a million dollars (profit) with their business. The advice they give is most likely worth every penny or more.
In summary, it is a simple concept: If you are not getting enough business, lower your price, if you are too busy, raise your price. FYI- I had to shoot my first six weddings for free because no one would hire me!
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