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Sneaky Deception vs. Fair Market Research

I just read an awesome post over at Sparkliatti that I could not help but share with my readers. Sparkliatti is a blog headed up by San Francisco based celebrity event planner Sasha Souza, and she recently shared some inside info that many of us planners are all too familiar with: new/up-and-coming planners using sneaky tactics to uncover and copy established planners' business models/plans/prices. These newbies actually "shop" you and it can really get out of hand.

Here's Sasha's article (which deserves a big "AMEN" at the end):
Over the past few weeks, I've been shopped by other planners no less than twice - and those are the planners that I actually caught doing it. I have my suspicions on three other info requests as well which we are handling with kid gloves.

Let me give you a bit of advice regarding pricing both yourself and figuring out who is charging what...

It Does Not Matter What I Charge:
Why? Because YOU are not ME. Your experience is different, your personality is different, your wedding type is different. Basically we are all different. What I charge is what I charge and sometimes I get it and sometimes I do not, it's dependent on what the couple is looking for. I also only do 20 events per year and all partial service events are planned by my employees. It's just plain different - but I've setup my company MY WAY. Besides, why do you care?

People Will Not Hire YOU Based On Price Alone:
A lot more goes into booking a client including, but not limited to: the number of events you've done that are similar to the look/style they are looking for; credibility of you as a planner or designer - have they seen your work featured? Know the name? That often is the first reason why people call us, they know the name and want the service associated with the name.

Where Are You Geographically?
This makes a difference - if you're shopping me at a destination wedding locale from either out of the country or someplace in middle America, the pricing will most likely be VERY DIFFERENT, and not even relevant to you.

It Makes You Look Sleazy:
And basically, we'll never speak again. I'm not into sneaky, rude or otherwise underhanded people in this business. I've been doing this long enough (15 years) to sniff out the good from the bad. I am not about to waste more of my time on people who have already wasted my time. Capiche?

Just Ask Me:
I can choose to answer you or not. That is my free will, but the chances are good I'll tell you straight up - unless you fall into the sleazy planner/designer category above.

I'm A Pretty Good Detective:
Not going to tell you how I find out, but just know - we're pretty savvy over here and have been shopped by some of the best & most renowned planners/designers in the business (you know who you are) and even they can't believe I figured it out. So, just remember...

Sneaky So, How Do You Figure Out What To Charge?
It's simple, figure out how much you want to make in a year, divide it by the number of events you want to do and that is a good starting point. Then, with experience, you will find that not every client is YOUR client and being middle of the road isn't necessarily where you want to be. The old adage about coming in the middle of pricing, like a contractor, only makes you mediocre. Do you want to be mediocre?

It does not matter to me what my peers are making in their pricing. I know I don't want to have the events that they do, those are not my parties. There is security in that and in knowing that I am always who I am and if they want somebody wishes for a wonderful wedding to them.
A note I'd like to add to all brides-to-be: DO NOT shop any vendor, especially an event planner, based upon price alone. Each vendor's prices are based on aspects of their business you'll probably never be able to uncover. If their prices are low, they could just be undercutting their more experienced competition...hoping you'll sign with them based on pricing alone. If their prices are high, this could be so because of high overhead and/or marketing they're responsible for maintaining or their experience simply warrants a higher price tag. DO YOUR RESEARCH, ASK QUESTIONS, HOLD EACH VENDOR ACCOUNTABLE. When shopping an event planner specifically, ask him/her "how many events or weddings they've planned from start to finish" ... "what training he/she has had besides planning their own event/wedding or events/weddings for friends" ... "what sets he/she apart from the competition."  Also, look out for copycats.  Pay attention to planners who strive to be original and aren't riding someone else's coattails.
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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY


Onida Cruz said…
Thanks for sharing. Love the new look of the blog.

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