Yesterday, I mentioned a bride I had met who had given two well-known florists the same request and was confused by the 10,000 difference in price between the two estimates. Today, I will address the issue by discussing one of my least favorite parts of the job pricing.
As a designer, I love making my clients happy. For a long time, having them love my work was payment enough. In fact, for many years, I was willing to almost give my designs away. I think this is true for a lot of artists in the beginning. That is, until we learn that we must charge properly in order to keep doing what we love, to properly honor the value of those who work with and for us, and to stay in business altogether.
The dear bride I mentioned yesterday approached me at an event, perplexed by the ten and twenty thousand dollar estimates. I have to admit, I was curious as well. I am glad she was smart enough to realize there was a problem, and while I can never fully know all of the details as to why there was such a huge discrepancy in cost, I wanted to do all I could with what information I did have in order to assist her in making an educated decision. When writing down her history, I did my best to remain unbiased. Below you will see my notes and my comments to both florists.
The Florist Who Presented the $10,000 Estimate
Years In Business: 1
This is great news for all of you newcomers out there. After being in business for only a year, the bride loved their work so much that she was willing to hire her. I truly believe that nothing beats good talent.
Time To Respond With Estimate: Within 24 hours.
This one is a biggie for me. Great service is the key to success and it starts with a human voice and timely response. That said, I want to ask you to really consider whether or not you took enough time to figure out your costs and profits on this job. Were you like me when I first started? I was so excited that someone wanted my work that I was willing to give it away. Did you want to charge more but questioned your value?
Location of Office: This florist works from home.
Ah, this could play a key factor in the reason for the lower estimate; they have no overhead. I understand this very well as I worked from home my first decade in the business.
The Florist Who Presented the $20,000 Estimate
Years in Business: 10
A decade in the business is a substantial amount of time and I do not blame you for charging for that experience and expertise.
Time To Respond With Estimate: 10 Days
I understand that this may have been the time you needed to give an exact estimate, but the bride was not pleased with having to wait over a week for an answer.
Location of Business: A large shop with what appears to have a large overhead.
As I said, this could be the driving force behind the higher estimate. I understand it as I also have an issue with a high overhead cost. As much as I hate turning down jobs, this is the only reason why I do not take on smaller jobs because I feel brides can get a much better deal elsewhere.
I shared this with the bride, who to my great surprise valued experience and opted to hire the more expensive florist, stating that she did not want to risk any stress on her special day. That said, she was a clever businesswoman and got them down to $17,000.00.
I personally felt badly for the new florist. If you are a newcomer reading this analysis, my only advice is to please be careful when doing your estimates as some can seem “too good to be true” to clients. I don’t deny that it can feel like a catch-22, but this situation is the perfect example of the importance of finding a balance in pricing.
Readers: I was very happy to have the opportunity to offer my advice to this bride, but I wonder what you all think about her choice? Do you think it was the right one? Have you ever turned down a job because it was not your market or have been turned down for one based on an estimate that was too low?
Photo Courtesy of The Wedding Blog