I always believed that honesty is the best policy. I believed that being honest with clients around hard costs of production + money coming to my company was an ethical thing to do. I am comfortable with the value I provide to my clients in creating a memorable wedding day for them and their guests. I am confident in my level of experience, talent, passion and dedication to command the fees my company charges when we produce a wedding. I don’t mark up items, I don’t accept kickbacks, I charge an amount that allows me to run my business, pay salaries and grow my business and it worked for me since 2007.
On a professional level, 2017 became synonymous with grand design, ceilings dripping with florals, flower walls, suspended floral installations and lush arrangements. And then I hear ” Our budget is R150 000 for the entire wedding” or “We wish to spend R7000 – R14 000 for my flowers and decor” at almost very enquiry along with images of grand designs. Meetings, quoting and dealing with sheer frustration of explaining, educating and trying really hard to accommodate the vision at a limited budget became a daily reality. Where are these numbers coming from? Did I find myself back in 2007? Or is this some kind of a nightmare where the same horrible things keeps happening over and over again.
There are local and international groups out there for planners, designers and florists dedicated to supporting fellow cretaives and figuring out together as a community how to make sense of what is happening in 2017. We all shell shocked and lost. Sean Low is challenging us to loose line item quotations and implement the whole different approach to selling our creative services (something I started doing since February), other planers/designers swear by ‘padding up’ some line items to ensure they are covered for the money they wish to earn. Others advise marking up each item on the quote and do not even mention the design/labour charge not to scare the client. I have respect for people and I cannot accept that clients would rather have inflated prices presented to them instead of real picture.
My question to the industry and the public:
” In 2017, is it really best to not tell our clients what we are worth? Is it better if we play around with numbers, pad/mark up and remove all traces of human presence in our quoting proposals to make it easier for our clients to accept our quote. Is it better to give them an illusion that their dream wedding will miraculously happen all on its own without professional knowledge, direction and a trained crew? “