As a celebrant, setting a fee for your services will be one of the things you need to decide early. You will want to set a fee which you feel will cover your running expenses, plus allows you to make a profit. But you need to take into consideration what clients will pay for your services, given the competition already in existence.
Fortunately, finding out what other celebrants are charging should not be too difficult. But in setting out your fees you need to know how your services differentiate from those of your competitors, and why clients will come to you rather than go to another celebrant.
Before you begin to play the numbers game, you need to know a few things about yourself and your business. This will include:
1. What is your aim in becoming a celebrant?
2. Why should clients come to you, instead of using any one of the other officiants around?
3. What particular strengths and talents have you got to help you in the running of your celebrancy business?
4. What are some of your weaknesses which might work against you?
5. Who are your potential clients? How old are they and how well off are they?
6. How do they perceive the business of celebrancy generally?
7. In what way will they be better off by coming to you than by going to another celebrant?
8. What fees do the other celebrant charge?
9. Can you charge more and still attract clients?
10. Can you charge less and still be profitable?
11. Can you offer clients something more or something different than they will receive from other celebrants, that will be of significant benefit to them?
12. What exactly are clients looking for – saving money, better service, convenience?
In the beginning, when you have no criteria for setting your fee, your only option might be to charge a similar price as other celebrants. You will need to have some idea of how they came upon that particular figure. It could be that they have streamlined their business to such an extent that they can provide their services much more cheaply than you will be able to. It could also be, that like you, they’re flying blind, and without knowing it, they’re losing money even though they’re getting the bookings.
You will also need to justify your prices not only to yourself, but also to your client. Most will ring a number of celebrants to find out what fees they can expect to pay. Instead of becoming defensive, embarrassed or just plain angry, recognize that the client has every right to ask you why your charges are so much higher or so much lower than the other celebrants they have spoken to. Work out your own reasons, then you will be able to face these questions with confidence rather than indignation.
Once you have some figures of the costs involved in running the business of celebrancy, you can determine your own fee structure, remembering though, that your client will have the last word. You need to convince clients that the fee is worth what they’re getting. In the case of many ceremonies, which are little understood, the client’s perception is that they’re paying hundreds of dollars for ten minutes of the celebrant’s time. It is up to the celebrant to ensure that the client is made aware of all that goes into those ten minutes. Crucial to that, is your image for professionalism and expertise.
In the beginning when bookings are few and far between, some celebrants decide that any booking is better than none. With that in mind, they will ask for the lowest fees which clients are willing to pay, undercutting every other celebrant in the area. They will also travel anywhere to get these bookings. At this stage they may be aware that, in fact, they are losing money, instead of making it. Their thinking is, that when they have established themselves they will then ask for a higher fee. More often, though, such celebrants are not keeping any records to show whether they’re making money or not. And just how much money they’re losing in the meantime.
Sooner or later these celebrants find that while they’re extremely busy, they have nothing to show for it when it comes to money. Their low fees will often also be reflected by their services. The celebrant is too busy and too poor to provide anything but sub-standard service. When he eventually raises his fees, the type of clients he’s been attracting will go elsewhere. As everyone knows, it’s a lot easier to drop your fees without affecting your client numbers, than to raise your fees.
At the other extreme is the celebrant who tries to recoup all his expenses in the first year of work, using the few clients he gets in which to do it.
Whether you charge a high or low fee should be dependent not on what you’d like to get, but rather how good you are. By all means charge high prices if you’re sure that your clients are getting their money’s worth. Most celebrants, like most small business people are frightened of pricing themselves out of the market. However, you should be able to charge what you think you are worth.
To decide that, you need to know just how much time you’re spending on the ceremony, and just how good a service you’re providing. If you know that your service is better than those of other celebrants who are charging higher fees, then by all means charge those fees yourself. It’s preferable that you do fewer ceremonies and get paid for them, than that you perform many ceremonies and are losing money while doing so. What is vital is that the client perceives the quality of your service is worth the fee.
As a new celebrant, testing the water, you can make an introductory offer, stipulating that these prices will only last so long, and then the fee will go up. If, after the introductory offer expires, you find that your services are better than those of other celebrants around you, ask for the fee that compensates you accordingly.
Based on How to be a Profitable Celebrant
Email – email@example.com