If you read my post about why weddings cost so much, this post will probably make a little bit more sense! This is a fairly new mindset as I'm a new business owner, but I wanted to share with you why asking for a discount might not be the simple question you think it is. Here are the 5 things that might cross a vendors mind when you ask for a discount!
There are plenty of great wedding resources that will encourage you to ask for a discount or try to negotiate a price with wedding vendors, because, after all, we all know that weddings are pretty expensive. This is the opposite perspective, so you can understand why asking for a discount sometimes makes us uncomfortable.
- "I don't need to pay full price." Okay, but why? Are you just asking to see if there’s a hidden deal somewhere? Or do you really feel that you deserve a discount?
Plenty of people just ask to ask, or think that because they’re spending any amount of money with you that that warrants a sense of loyalty and a discount. However, most services are priced that way because they have taken into account their overhead costs and the demand for their services – hey, we have bills to pay, too!
- "I have a special situation that warrants special treatment." So, let me ask you, what sets you apart from every other person who contacts me for a quote? What is that specific situation? Is it truly unique or is it because you're "on a budget?" For example, my parents asked for discounts for both my sister’s wedding and my own, because they booked some of the same vendors for both of our weddings. I would consider that a special circumstance since they were guaranteeing business for not just one occasion, but two. However, each vendor, business, and situation is different.
- "You're not worth as much as you're charging." This is a big one. It’s hard to not take it personally when you get asked for a discounted rate for services. Am I not worth it? Am I not good enough? Do they not think I’ll do a decent enough job? None of these questions are the client’s fault, but for many, many, people in the wedding industry and running small businesses, asking for a discount can feel like a personal attack on the integrity and quality of work. Yes, we know that you have a budget, but we have painstakingly priced ourselves to appropriately cover our costs and generate an income based on our specific skill and demand in the industry.
- "I don't think I need everything you provide." Are you asking because you think you don’t need “items 5 – 7” on the “wedding day package”? Plenty of clients don’t truly understand their need and the full scope of the services required to accomplish a task and complete a project. This isn’t a bad thing, and is usually just an area that needs to be clarified, and often times, a good conversation can explain the value and importance of things you didn't realize you needed, that may help you understand the cost of something.
- "I can't really afford you but I want to see if you'll make an exception for me." This isn't always a wrong thing to do, but it can be a heart breaking exchange if the client is getting their hopes up and has their heart set on something unrealistic. Meanwhile, the vendor is wondering if you've budgeted properly and are a real prospect. Or, are you just an inquiry from someone who isn't being realistic about what they can afford? If a prospective client really hasn’t budgeted enough for the quality of the services they want, this can be a tough conversation. From a business owner’s stand point, it can be really flattering to have an inquiry from someone who loves your work, but it’s just as hard to have to tell them that they can’t afford you. Not because you don’t want to work with them, but because there simply isn’t an agreeable price point you can come to.
Generally speaking, when asking for a discount, be prepared to justify why. Everyone is working on a budget, whether it’s a small budget or a large one, and that isn’t reason enough usually for a discount. For me, if someone asks me for a discount, I’m not very likely to grant it. There are special cases, however, where I will offer a special discount for a client if I feel we are an exceptional fit, I don’t expect to book that date or service otherwise, or there is another circumstance. Those clients have not asked for one, they understand the value of my services, and it is something that I have voluntarily offered on an extremely limited basis. Be realistic, be upfront, and be open about what you're looking for and the right vendor will match your needs!