Supply and Demand. Is it a Real Concern When Pricing Out a Wedding Service?

I recently received a long, misinformed and uneducated lecture from a potential client in an email describing their disappointment in our company because of our pricing.

As this person phrased it, "I debated on whether or not to send this email, but was so bothered that I felt I needed to say something."

I get a lot of emails daily. But, obviously you don't want to get an email that starts that way. 

I really wasn't completely sure the context of why I was receiving this email when I received it, so I read further. It continued, "I am not impressed in the least with the transparent opportunism you have shown.  I believe that you have floated a totally bogus semi business sounding rationalization to charge a client more because the time is short.  We don't know if you compare your company to Air Canada or something, but we're very upset that you feel because we are asking for a DJ for a date just two weeks from now, that you can create some made up price thinking we might be just desperate enough to take it."

I looked back through our contacts and client inquiries to find the details of this event. I was able to locate the root of this unfortunate error. This was a potential client who'd contacted us two weeks before their event, and requested some pricing. At the time of the inquiry, we only had one DJ left at a certain price and we quoted them as much.

It was a simple case, of "I'm sorry, we'd love to offer more options, but with the short time frame this is the only package we still have available."

So... what does one do with an email of this nature?

When a client requests a quote for a wedding date that is two weeks from the date you receive the first request, you have sold out of all but one of your DJ packages and responded with the price of that package, but obviously not in a price range that fits this particular client, do I: a) ignore the email? b) respond swiftly with a "lady, you're crazy" type email or c) respond politely and try to see this for what it is -- an opportunity to educate a couple who obviously is upset that they are have left things way too late and aren't finding any companies they can afford for their wedding.

I took option C. I realized that this former potential client is/was way out in left field in terms of how they are communicating with our company, but; I also realized that they are taking out their frustrations (frustrations I'm sure shared by many couples in the same position) on the wrong person and in the wrong way. It's disappointing, but at the end of the day, I'll live and continue to serve my actual clients.

For me, I know, (and this is all that really matters) that our company would not, never have or ever will "make up" a price because someone is calling last minute to obtain a DJ and we think we can make an extra $100 or $200 because they may be limited for options. That might be a short-term gain, but long-term, a very bad move on my part for our company.

I can't begin to explain to this couple how many times Equinox Sound and Entertainment has "saved" a wedding reception. How many clients have called us because their company didn't show up, or they hired a friend who bailed on them last minute. In almost every case, these couples made a poor choice in selecting their entertainment and it backfired on them. Yet, we don't use that as an opportunity to gouge a client. We see it as a way to obtain business and better serve our industry.

I also probably can't convince this couple that just a week earlier we took on two additional clients at a lower than our average price to help them out. The Edmonton DJ's they had originally hired bailed, and they were left hurting for music and entertainment. They were fundraising events, didn't have a large budget and we happened to have openings. We took less than our standard price tag to assist. These people were grateful, but this particular couple probably doesn't care.

Really, what's relevant is a lesson that should be learned by any couple that is shopping for their wedding vendors.

Supply and demand is a funny thing. That one day a company may be available and the next booked. That some companies will have a variety of rates and that if you the couple are behind the 8-ball, you're often left with limited choices on pricing.

This couple should have understood that when we advised them that we only had one DJ left for their date, we were telling the truth. This DJ was a certain price, we offered that price, and while we know the rate is competitive, they were looking for cheaper. Instead of looking elsewhere, they instead spent their time taking it out on us. They ignored all the warning signs that should have smacked them in the face.

Here's what they should have done:

1) Not waited until 2 weeks before their event to search out a DJ.

This is just a bad idea. Especially when the event is in your local areas busy season. If price is a factor in your decision, you have to give yourself and your wedding at least six months to a year to start looking for a wedding vendor. The good companies book quickly. Even one's like ours who have over a dozen DJ's. Will we always book all twelve DJ's? Not always. But we do book most to all of them and some packages go more quickly than others. If you want the biggest selection, timing is key.

2) Had a realistic expectation of what DJ should cost. 

I don't know what this couple thought a DJ would cost. Obviously, we weren't close.

We have a lot of clients that weekend paying less, more and around the same rate we quoted this couple. Our quote was competitive for the value we were providing and not in any way out of the ordinary to what our other clients pay. If you're contacting quality companies looking to spend $300-$500, don't even bother asking. Some like us will politely decline and try to educate you on what it should cost. Others will actually be insulted, not understanding or caring that this is likely the first time you the couple will have asked and don't likely know what a good DJ will cost.

We tell clients that more often than not, you get what you pay for. A full service wedding reception is valued much higher than a few hundred bucks.

Not sure what a DJ should cost? Read this article. It will help.

3) Read up on DJ's and get comparison pricing

We don't expect that we'll be the only company a couple contacts. When we're referred or we see clients who have been to other events we've performed at in the past, the decision is usually pretty easy; but many clients want options. They take those options, determine how much features, pricing, experience and other factors matter and determine who the best fit is. Do they always choose correctly? No. But at least they had the options in front of them and made what they thought was an educated decision.

Couples will find a range of pricing from $600-$2000 and it's up to them to decide what fits them best.

4) Consider that a busy date in a busy month isn't always the best option if inexpensive is the flavor of the day. 

If you're wanting to hire a quality DJ, but not wanting to pay the going rate for that quality, consider a date that isn't as flooded with requests by other couples. If you're one of many couples asking, DJ companies usually won't or can't offer discounts. This is obvious, but forgotten or ignored by many.

Choose another date that's less busy and you might be able to kill two birds with one stone.

But, above all else... unless the company does something really wrong, don't take your lack of planning, understanding and budget out on them. This company actually got upset that we didn't seem to care they had spent all their budget on a venue. It was as if we were part of that decision and should consider that in our pricing to them.

Not all clients are this ignorant, but it doesn't meant that clients won't have questions or know what things, cost, how best to shop and where to start.

Call us, ask questions and take some time to meet with our staff. We'll walk you through the whole process and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.