When to Raise Your Prices

Feeling stuck in your business and wondering if it’s your pricing? Here are 3 reasons you should raise your prices and how.

New year, new goals, new rates.. Am I right?! I’ve felt such a shift in the photographers who are coming to me for coaching. No matter which coaching route they go with me, I’m seeing a trend.

We’re ready to work less and continue to make the same or more! And one way to do this is to raise your pricing. But guess what? You can’t just raise your prices when you feel like it.

Sorry if that seems harsh but you really can’t. I mean you technically can.. but you run the risk of ruining your brand reputation. Hear me out on this one.

In today’s post, we’re gonna cover how you will know for sure it’s time to raise your prices and then how to go about it.

Should you raise your prices?

Lately, I see people posting pictures sharing their work asking what they should charge, and other photographers’ responses being: “Oh girl you’re so talented you need to raise your prices!”

Although I love the heart and encouragement behind this, it’s just simply not how to go about running your business.

You’re the CEO of your brand, you’re the visionary, you know your numbers, you’re the one who delivers the experience, you call the shots.

So I’m gonna make a bold statement and say no one can tell you what to charge.

Stop looking at others in your area, stop guessing, run your numbers, and be confident.

You have a high booking rate

I’ve worked with photographers who were excited to tell me they had a good and high booking rate, which is awesome!!

But the truth is, you actually want a low booking rate.

In fact, if it’s high, that means you don’t have a booking problem, you have a pricing problem! What having a lower booking rate means is that you aren’t just taking every inquiry that walks in the door.

It also means that you are charging appropriately based on what your demand/booking rate is. I personally like to be around the 20-25% range for my booking rate. That means if you get 10 inquiries, 8 of them will say no, and 2 will book.

But if you have a high booking rate, that means you are having no problem booking and having people say yes to you. This could mean a number of things, but it most importantly means that you are more than likely able to raise your prices because you’ve built up the demand and the demand is there.

Or, maybe you feel like the demand is there, but you’re hesitant to raise your prices because you know you don’t have the best client experience on the back end yet. 

You know that you can’t just raise your prices without having that solid experience to back up charging higher or more premium pricing. I’ve definitely had people come to me with that hesitation before as well.

Your take home pay isn’t meeting your means

Let’s face it, If you don’t know your numbers, you might as well just kiss your business out the window! Seriously.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it! You’re a creative entrepreneur and an artist. You got into photography to be creative, not to crunch and run numbers and run a “business”.

Lucky for you, I love the business side arguably more than actually shooting! So you’re in the right place. 

Let’s say you charge $2,000 for a wedding. Spoiler alert, you’re not actually making and taking home $2000. If you’re rolling your eyes thinking “Well duh, Rach” I mean, good for you! 

But it took me a while to actually get in that mindset! I always mentally thought when I booked a wedding, that was the amount that I was making. I knew I had to pay other things, but I didn’t have my finances set up that way and I didn’t realize how much needs to be allocated into specific things such as taxes, business savings, business checking, etc.

Also, my mortgage is different from yours. I have a baby, and you might not. I have to charge sales tax in my state, you might not have to. 

There are SO many variables that play into the numbers you charge, so I highly recommend you sit down and have a look at what the heck you’re doing and make sure you feel solid in those numbers and have a take home pay that you feel good about.

At the end of the day, you are a business owner. You need to make sure you’re running a profitable business. and I know that can be hard to remember sometimes, especially as a creative entrepreneur doing something you love to do. But I promise you, your hard work deserves to be profitable!

You have the client experience to back it up

This is one of the biggest ones in my opinion! This circles back to having others tell you to raise your prices. They have NO clue the value of the service you provide, only you do.

You also may think you’re giving a good experience and be surprised to find out you are not giving a solid and efficient one that justifies what you’re charging.

That’s a big reason why my students are super confident in the prices they charge because they know they’re elevating the heck out of their experience from the framework and methods I’m teaching them. Therefore in return they are able to raise their prices and charge more.

It’s so exciting to me to talk to photographers who think they have good client experience to go deeper in their systems and processes and pinpoint those gaps where they didn’t even realize needed filling.

But I also want to educate you on the fact that you can’t just post your photos in a Facebook group and ask for peoples opinion on what you should charge. You can’t just listen to someone else when they say “you should raise your prices!”

Only YOU can know when it’s time to do that based on 2 things:

  1. your own numbers
  2. the value of the experience you provide

No one else can tell you those things but you. And remember, experience falls under literally EVERYTHING you do in your business. So if you’re thinking client experience is just sending a welcome guide and a gift is good client experience, you might be the person who needs this the most!

How to raise your pricing

I don’t want you to think that you can only raise your prices once a year, or that you need to book X amount of work and then can raise them by $1000.

You can raise them AT ANY TIME.

It can be in smaller increments so it’s not one big jump if you’re afraid of seeing a huge dip in your booking rate. Start by smaller increments every session or wedding you book.

You don’t have to make a big deal about it, in fact you don’t have to say a word about it. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about it. Work your way up to hitting premium pricing as your client experience and education match that on the back end!

Final Thoughts

Once you know your numbers and can see where you’re sitting numbers wise, and have the methods to deliver a bullet proof client experience, you can gauge that as indicators that it’s time to raise your pricing.

Be sure to check out more Gold Biz Podcast episodes here!

3 reasons you should raise your prices

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