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Archive 2013 · Do you offer discounts?
  
 
morby
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Do you offer discounts?


I'm sure you've all experienced this before, and I'm sorry if there have been previous threads about this topic, but how do all of you handle discounts? Do you have certain rules for in-season and off-season? Or if the wedding is right around the corner and you're not booked will you offer a discount? Do you have a set amount, or does it depend on each wedding?

The reason I ask is because I have one date left in September and the couple really wants to book me, but I'm a "little bit" out of their budget. I know for a fact that they aren't trying to nickel and dime me, and twice they have said that I'm out of their budget, but I've stood firm in my price. Yesterday I got another email saying that I'm at the top of their list, but they still need some time to make a decision and figure out if they can afford me.

I have a few set rules for my shooting schedule and because of that my 2013 dates are becoming limited, yet I still need to book a few more weddings this year. My rules are...

1. I don't shoot on Sundays, it's reserved for church. friends and family.
2. I take one weekend off a month so that I don't feel like I'm constantly playing catch up. This is a rule I'd like to break, but my wife holds me to it.
3. I won't shoot on my wife or kid's birthdays (my wife's birthday is 9/14, which has been a popular date!)
4. I won't discount if the wedding is in peak season and they are inquiring more than 8 months to 1 year out (it depends on the season).

Other than that I'll double book weekends and take whatever I can.

So, I have this inquiry for Friday September 20th and I'm not sure if someone will come around again for that date. I'm only a little bit out of her budget (I don't know the amount) and everything she wants doesn't cost me much out of pocket (coverage, disc, engagement session and 2nd shooter). The only thing I have to pay for is the 2nd shooter.

Basically here are my questions...

1. Is September still far enough out that the inquiry will come again?
2. Do you have basic rules for discounting or do you discount at all?
3. Does discounting hurt more than help your business?
4. Would you discount this couple to book the wedding?

Thanks!




Feb 21, 2013 at 04:39 PM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Do you offer discounts?


depending on the amount, why not discount and remove the 2nd shooter and then let them decide what is more important


Feb 21, 2013 at 04:48 PM
amonline
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Do you offer discounts?


1. 7 months away? Pffffft. No discount. If it were 2014, you'd have the option of using the "get this year's price now".
2. I only do 25% for EXTREMELY close friends and family. This has happened twice in 5 years. Otherwise, no discounts at all.
3. Discounts can only hurt/hender. Clients may share that info, and then you may be put in a spot where you need to explain/justify the reason for the higher price. There are almost no positives to discounting.
4. No.

Also, what Sheri mentioned works just fine too. MOST couples will NOT fore-go the second shooter if the wedding is large enough. You may still want an assistant though; so keep that in mind.



Feb 21, 2013 at 04:58 PM
NYstyles
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Do you offer discounts?


I dont discount I cut extras.

I also offer a very basic package. No extras, no second, etc, just coverage for 6 hours with me. This package works for tight budgets and smaller weddings. Most weddings I shoot are 130 people or less. Average for me is 70-100 guests.

Edited on Feb 21, 2013 at 05:04 PM · View previous versions



Feb 21, 2013 at 05:00 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Do you offer discounts?


amonline wrote:
1. 7 months away? Pffffft. No discount. If it were 2014, you'd have the option of using the "get this year's price now".
2. I only do 25% for EXTREMELY close friends and family. This has happened twice in 5 years. Otherwise, no discounts at all.
3. Discounts can only hurt/hender. Clients may share that info, and then you may be put in a spot where you need to explain/justify the reason for the higher price. There are almost no positives to discounting.
4. No.


I agree, except for #2 simply as I've never done any for family / friends.

I offer flexibility on two components, this can increase or decrease price, which I make clear. I'm happy to work with peoples budgets and show them what we can do. But when people keep pushing for some sort of 'discount' after this I find it a little offensive.

If you're altering the price by altering the package then that's fine in my books (as long as that element doesn't effect the core values). If you're simply throwing away your money then no, that's not okay with me.



Feb 21, 2013 at 05:03 PM
kwhaley29
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Do you offer discounts?


Find out how far apart you are and if it's manageable (and you really want to book them) then offer to customize your service to fit their budget. That way you're not devaluing yourself or your work, but you're still able to show a willingness to meet the needs of your clients. If you offer a discount and others find out about it, you'll soon find that everyone will expect the same no matter what time of the year it may be or how busy you are.




Feb 21, 2013 at 05:12 PM
sboerup
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Do you offer discounts?


I don't do discounts, but I'll throw something in for free if I feel the client would really appreciate it. Make them happy. Discounts aren't as powerful as getting more for nothing.


Feb 21, 2013 at 05:28 PM
jcolman
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Do you offer discounts?


Do you honestly think you'll book another Friday wedding for that date?

Do you really want the wedding?

Would you rather shoot the wedding for a few hundred less or sit at home?

If you discount this one, do you honestly think it will hurt future business?

Your solution depends on how you answer each question.



Feb 21, 2013 at 05:34 PM
That Photog
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Do you offer discounts?


In the past I have given a $100 discount to other members of my church or friends/family. I have also thrown in a free engagement session for short coverage (I don't include it on a less than full (8 hour) booking for a client that is a mother of a coworker. Beyond that I prefer to stick to my pricing. This year seems to be the year of the short wedding. I have two booked for less than 4 hours and an open inquiry for another one. Don't know what it is. Normally I don't like to book less than a full day because it blocks out a potential full day, but this year I'm valuing family time more as wedding photography is a part time gig for me and these partial days were booked at good rates.


Feb 21, 2013 at 05:39 PM
morby
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Do you offer discounts?


jcolman wrote:
Do you honestly think you'll book another Friday wedding for that date?
Unsure

Do you really want the wedding?
Yes because it's local, at a venue I like and what I'll make with a discount is still higher than the profit on a shoot and burn.

Would you rather shoot the wedding for a few hundred less or sit at home?
I'd rather be shooting

If you discount this one, do you honestly think it will hurt future business?
At times discounts have helped my business. I've shot weddings for couples that have paid me back way more in referrals (without discounts)

Your solution depends on how
...Show more


Edited on Feb 21, 2013 at 05:42 PM · View previous versions



Feb 21, 2013 at 05:39 PM
 

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morby
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Do you offer discounts?


sboerup wrote:
I don't do discounts, but I'll throw something in for free if I feel the client would really appreciate it. Make them happy. Discounts aren't as powerful as getting more for nothing.


Good point.



Feb 21, 2013 at 05:39 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Do you offer discounts?


sboerup wrote:
I don't do discounts, but I'll throw something in for free if I feel the client would really appreciate it. Make them happy. Discounts aren't as powerful as getting more for nothing.


Yes, I do this too ^ but it'll generally be a gift, rather than something that is added from the beginning that they know they're getting.



Feb 21, 2013 at 05:45 PM
TheGE
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Do you offer discounts?


morby wrote:
twice they have said that I'm out of their budget, but I've stood firm in my price. Yesterday I got another email saying that I'm at the top of their list, but they still need some time...

So basically this is a game of chicken to see if you'll blink first.

You can't discount fees without an incredibly realistic reason that makes absolute undeniable sense to the prospective client. If you do, you lose credibility.

You can offer to "reduce" their cost by offering less service/product but chances are they want everything you quoted but at a lower price.

Thing is, and not to sound crass or blunt, but unless they have only one week left to live odds are great that they'll be earning money between the two of them for a long time, and so, this notion of what they can afford is a mentally imposed ceiling. It's what they CHOOSE to spend. Even so, you're probably getting their HOPED FOR number. It sounds like you are.

For some reason they haven't CHOSEN to pay your fee. I think I explain why I think that is below.

The reason they're asking for more time to see if they can afford you isn't because their calculator's broken and they can't do the math in their heads but because they're still shopping photographers and they want you kept on the back burner just in case.

So there's not much you can do now. If you were to introduce urgency, as in, "hey folks I just got a call for the same date..." (if true) or other truthful impending reason for them to decide right now (such as a scheduled price increase) it'll likely work against you. You'd be choosing between two evils: trying to get them to book now or take the chance they'll book later on their own. Both may not happen whether you do something now or not.

Even if you said hey guys I'll do it for $TheirBudget, that's no guarantee they'll hop on board. You might find they ask for more concessions.

FWIW, the cure to all this would've been to increase your value in their eyes way before this point so that *sticking* to the budget wasn't the issue.

That's the long answer. The short answer is let it ride, don't bank on it. Take a polite if it's meant to be attitude toward them in what you say and do.



Feb 21, 2013 at 05:53 PM
morby
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Do you offer discounts?


TheGE wrote:
So basically this is a game of chicken to see if you'll blink first.

You can't discount fees without an incredibly realistic reason that makes absolute undeniable sense to the prospective client. If you do, you lose credibility.

You can offer to "reduce" their cost by offering less service/product but chances are they want everything you quoted but at a lower price.

Thing is, and not to sound crass or blunt, but unless they have only one week left to live odds are great that they'll be earning money between the two of them for a long time, and so, this notion of
...Show more

Very true! Todd speaks a lot to that point on his podcasts and blog.

At the initial meeting I was actually comfortably within their budget and then we got to my preferred vendors list. They saw 2 videographers on there and asked about the importance of videography. In order to try and book business for fellow vendors I sold them on having a videographer. That turned around to bite me because now their photo budget is photo + video. The reason they are looking at the numbers is because their options are now to forgo video and have me, or go cheaper on photography so that they can have both.

Since I've stood my ground this long it I feel I can't give in now. I'll most likely ride this one out.



Feb 21, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Do you offer discounts?


I will give military discount. 10-20%

Otherwise i am a combination of Amonline and spencer.

TheGE has good incite.



Feb 21, 2013 at 06:52 PM
paparazzinick
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Do you offer discounts?


Giving discounts depends on your business model and how you want to run the show.

Here is what we do. Teachers get a 10% discount. My wife is a teacher and we shoot a lot of teachers so they all appreciate it. They spread the word and we get more teacher clients.

As for other discounts. We don't come right out and say it. But if someone asks nicely and we think it would have them book us right then and there, we may offer something. Again it is only 10% we would offer or something for free. We have given parent albums for free. It all depends on how much they are going to spend with us. An example. We just met with a bride that was looking at a $3500 package. She asked for a discount. If we would have given her a 10% discount then we would lose $450. We instead offered her 2 parent albums which has a value to the client of $1000 but only costs us $250. So to the client it looks like they got $1000 free and in turn we only lost $250 instead of $450.



Feb 21, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Brian Virts
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Do you offer discounts?


It depends on the wedding and the couple. I have been known to be flexible with clients I really want. It's all about getting the business you want over just getting business.


Feb 21, 2013 at 07:17 PM
lilyphoto
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Do you offer discounts?


I've been known to offer 10% off during the slow booking season (i.e. around the holidays). It's advertised and not on a case-by-case basis.

I know a lot of people will disagree with this, but in my experience it's just to catch the client's eye. I honestly think you could raise your prices 10%, and then advertise 10% off and book because clients think they're getting a good deal.




Feb 21, 2013 at 07:32 PM
SweetMk
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Do you offer discounts?


The photography business is much like the business I ran for 15 years - very little repeat business.

I feel repeat business is the only reason to give a discount.

We bought a sofa yesterday. The store knew us, we had bought there before. The brand and style of sofa are duplicated by nobody (Stickley Prairie Settle). The next nearest store is 150 miles, there are only 3 Stickley stores in the state.

They did not need to give us a further discount, the sofa was already a great price. When I made an offer, they accepted it. And included free delivery (EVERYBODY else in the area charges for delivery).

The reason for the discount is only one thing - repeat business - they knew us, they knew we would be back.

With my business - also unique - I knew it was a once per customer purchase. NO discount.

Sometimes, if pushed, I would include a free option (way less than 10%), but, that was it.

The discount has to get YOU something, if it is more discounted weddings from their friends, that is going in the wrong direction.

If you are good, they will come to you, they will pay the price.



Feb 21, 2013 at 07:46 PM
TheGE
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Do you offer discounts?


morby wrote:
Very true! Todd speaks a lot to that point on his podcasts and blog.


Yes but I can do it in fewer, monosyllabic words.
Love you Todd!

At the initial meeting I was actually comfortably within their budget and then we got to my preferred vendors list. They saw 2 videographers on there and asked about the importance of videography. In order to try and book business for fellow vendors I sold them on having a videographer. That turned around to bite me because...

That's very altruistic of you but your goal isn't to sell your colleagues. Get the gig first. It took you off tangent and even contributed to this adverse situation. The very fact that I have a list of preferred colleagues, vetted, tried and true, whom I can proudly and unhesitatingly recommend to *my clients* is a perk of having me as a photographer, once they sign on. Not before.



Feb 21, 2013 at 08:50 PM
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