I thought I'd start the week with a contentious issue - the subject of haggling.
There are certain areas of life where haggling is okay/expected and others where it's not.
You go to a car boot sale and they say £10, you say £5 and so on.
But you go to the hairdressers and they say £40, you don't say £25. In fact, can you imagine doing that? The receptionist would look at you like you're crazy and tell you the price is £40.
So how does this all apply in the wedding industry? Brides are constantly told to get their money's worth and try to negotiate. Which is fine but can lead to this kind of scenario:
Bride: 'How much is your XYZ service?
Wedding planner/photographer/insert any wedding professional: For that service the cost will be ABC.
Bride: I'd like to pay DEF, can you do that?
W.P: Well possibly, but it won't be the above service, it will be JKL.
Bride: But I'd like the XYZ service.
W.P: Well then I'm afraid you'll have to pay for it.
If you're not totally confused by my XYZs and so on, let me try to explain.
I am not saying that trying to get a good deal and negotiating are 'not allowed' in weddings or that it shouldn't be done, but there are ways to go about it that are fair to both parties.
If somebody enquires about a service of mine, I give them the quote based on a variety of factors. This quote is what I feel is fair to both the bride and myself. No one gets into wedding planning to get rich quick! We do it out of love, but do have to try run a business at the same time.
So if the bride tells me that's higher than she expected, I ask her what she wanted to pay. And then where possible I try to create a bespoke package that she can afford but that is financially worth me doing too. So I'll offer less hours, or less meetings, or some way to reduce the price but still be fair. Basically I'm prepared to negotiate. Up to a point.
And the same applies when approaching wedding photographers for instance. If a photographer says on their website their fee is £1800 for 7 hours, and you say you'll give them £1500, the photographer will most likely say no. And be a bit affronted. If you only have £1500, then by all means ask if they are willing to do it for 5 hours for instance.
Negotiating on price in essence is a good thing, (I do it a lot for my clients obviously), but it's the way you do it that counts, especially when it comes to individuals running their own businesses - planners, photographers, stationers etc. These people have set their prices for a reason - it's what they think is fair to both themselves and their clients - and it's important to respect that.
My advice to those dealing with hagglers - be polite and flexible where possible - but don't forget to respect yourself and your business at the same time, otherwise you'll take a job on but be resentful, and that's not worth it for anyone.