I love to travel– I get that it has its occasional inconvenient annoyances, but I do enjoy starting in one place and ending in another. I do my best to make a list of what I need– packing some of my favorites and even using the TripIt app auto plan accordingly. Some trips, I’m really of the mind: “If I didn’t pack it, I’ll just buy it when I get there”.
Nothing can stress you out more than traveling and forgetting something– especially something you need during the course of travel. You find yourself at the mercy of airport pricing or you’ll have to pay for an uber or cab to take you to the store, then to your hotel costing time and money. Or worst yet, go without.
So what’s the tea here? Of course to be more mindful of packing what you need (when you know better you do better), but that’s crying over spilled vodka. I loved seeing this sign in a hotel I was recently at– and it sparked a thought. The hotel offers convenience and the fulfillment of an immediate need. But note how they explicitly list what they will provide. Are you doing the same for your clients? Or leaving yourself open to extra tasks and extra labor without getting paid for it? For example, for wedding day event management and coordination— we list explicitly what we will setup.
Came from a lesson learned. We had one wedding where a bride swore her family and friends were going to do her centerpieces and drop her linens. I came in to the event and not only were there dozens of buckets of florals and linens still in boxes, the bride also needed me to pick up her desserts from a bakery and her dress from the gown shop. This was on top of the duties I already had to do.
So that was a game changer.
We also do something similarly that I saw at another hotel— their sign pretty much said, “Due to the popularity of our hospitality items, we now offer our items at the front desk and with the Hospitality Manager. If the following items are missing from your room, we will assume you have chosen to keep these items and will be billed according to the chart below”. There was pricing for robes, towels, blankets, coffee machines (who takes a hotel’s coffee machine, but ok), etc. There it was in plain sight, in easy to understand vernacular– If this stuff turns up missing, you’re being charged.
This is something you could list within your terms and conditions of your invoices or in your contracts. Seeing clauses like “Due to the popularity of our styling, we now offer a la carte on site design production. If the following services are requested, Client agrees to be billed per the following chart, with payment due upon receipt of invoice to ensure performance — (insert your chart)” (I am not your lawyer, please consult your attorney to ensure you are using the proper verbiage and / or meeting legal obligations) .
This sets up proper boundaries for your services, while making sure you get paid for everything you do outside of it. Many wedding pros are of the mind on the day of “I’ll just do it”, not truly understanding or considering the amount of time and labor necessary to complete the task. You ultimately lose money. Which is not the tea, honey!
- Specifically outline your duties and obligations— This sets the tone for how your service will go and could potentially be an opportunity to upsell if the client needs something outside of that. Pro Beware: The same way you will keep a tight list of what you will do, your client will have a watchful eye of it being done. Be sure to hit the mark each time. Cut corners are for a pre-schooler’s PB&J sandwich.
- Communicate pricing from the beginning— When you are invoicing or contracting, let your client know they can enlist your help in other areas…for a fee. Some actions or services will be easy to price out, others will need to factor in logistics and other elements. The goal here is not to price gouge, but to be paid your worth, for your skill and time.
- Listen and advise— During your calls and meetings throughout the planning process and especially during the last month, actively listen to your client about their stresses and tasks. Develop a list of questions pertinent to your service to avoid surprises for the both of you. Gently guide or remind them of their booked service, while letting them know they still have your support if they would like.