Post # 1
Hello hive! I have a vendor etiquette question that’s been bugging me. Several times, I’ve found a promising vendor who doesn’t list their prices on their website, and when I e-mail for a price quote they turn out to be outside my budget (sometimes just a little, sometimes by so much that I know they’d never work with me).
Usually I don’t contact them again, but sometimes they’ll follow up by e-mail or phone, and I always feel bad that I didn’t tell them "thanks but no thanks." But on the other hand, I also feel a bit awkward about writing a response to the price quote that says "Thanks, but you’re too expensive." I don’t want to seem as though I’m insulting their business.
What is the right thing to do in this situation? Let the vendor know right away that I won’t be able to hire them? Or is it more polite to say nothing?
Post # 3
If you tell them that you can’t afford their prices, they will sometimes (often?) come down in price! So it helps both of you to tell them that their prices are too high :-).
The true wedding superstars probably don’t need to come down in price. But up and comers are much more flexible!
Post # 4
I second mr. bee.
Not only will there sometimes be a little wiggle room in their price quote but sometimes they will even recommend other vendors that are. (maybe a protege of theirs)
Post # 5
This is such a delicate problem, and as a bride on a tight budget, I can definitely relate. You never want to indicate that you think they’re OVERpriced, which I’m sure you don’t, but you want to make it clear that they’re outside your price range.
I’d say something to the effect of, "Thank you for your help, but it looks like your (service) is outside our budget. As much as I love your work, it is more than we’re able to spend." I always try to be sure to thank them for their time and make it clear that their work is worth what they ask for it; it’s just more than I can afford.
Post # 6
As a vendor, I prefer to hear some sort of response but I’d say less than 10% will. I don’t get offend because I’m sure brides are contacted by tons of vendors and are probably just too busy to respond to all. Many vendors, myself included, are willing to negotiate so it doesn’t hurt to ask. Just remember that negotiations are about creating a win/win solution for both the couple and vendor. Negotiation and discount are not the same. And negotiations should come when you’re ready to hire a vendor. You wouldn’t want to go to a job interview, negotiate the salary, come to an agreement only for them to offer the job to someone else.
The reason why many vendors don’t include prices online is because it will scare too many people away too quickly. When you first get started planning, you have no idea how much things cost. With photography, for example, people are extremely shocked because Walmart portraits & prints are so inexpensive (they’re a loss leader) and Canon & Nikon run tons of ads telling you that this camera will take great pictures (my camera gets waaaay more compliments then I do). Many online wedding budgeters are inaccurate, so an unsuspecting bride comes up with an initial budget that’s unrealistic for a skilled & talented professional.
Let’s say you have $1000 in mind for a service and set out on your seach for a vendor. You find a nice website, check out they’re prices which says starting from $3000. You click on to the next site because it’s too expensive. You find another site with no prices, send an email & get back saying $2.5K- your reaction is No Way! After 3 or 4 of those you start to realize that $1K isn’t realistic and you need to budget at least $2000. One of those vendors you emailed will call to follow up. They’ll likely give you a helpful explanation of the service & quality in general and what you can expect to pay for good work. Or what you can expect to get if your budget is too low. It’s up to you to decide if that service will be a priority worth having good quality, or a sacrifice. You may decide it’s a priority & rearrange your budget to meet an average $2-3K price. You’ll probably give some consideration to those vendors you contacted but you’ll completely forget about the first website where they stated their prices start at $3000. They lost out on an opportunity to sell you. There are pros & cons to that hence why some have full prices, no prices or starting from.
Sorry this is so long put I hope it helps.
Post # 7
As a vendor, I would prefer to be told that my quote is out of the client’s range or whatever would keep you from hiring me. With that said I’d like to explain the budget/price issue. As a floral designer I would not charge one bride less than another for the same item. Nor do I come down in price on any item just because I’m asked to, there is a formula to every design element. If you don’t see value, there is none. Would you ask Macy’s to lower the price of a well made dress that you can’t afford? No, you’d purchase one that you could afford or you’d find the $ to get the one you really wanted because you see value in it.
However, 9 times out of 10 when a bride tells me the quote is out of her budget, I can recommend designs that are in her budget OR suggest subsitutions that gives the client the same look at a lower cost. Another time saver is to tell me your budget and your ideas and we work together to achieve the desired look. A good, experienced floral designer (which is different from a florist) can quote you on the spot. As for insulting the vendor… telling me you can’t affod the quote is never insulting. I know what I’m worth. And yes, a less experienced floral designer will be less expensive. My prices have gone up as I’ve become more and more talented and I offer outstanding customer service. It pays off because my closure rate is 99%. Hope this helps.
Post # 8
I didn’t read all of the posts above, so I’m sorry if this has already been said. You need to email or call them back and tell them what your budget is — you’ll be surprised at how many will try to work with you, or they can point you in the direction of someone in your price range. It is a business, the are used to talking about budget and price, you can’t be afraid of feeling awkward or being rude.
Post # 9
I know this response is a little off from what the original post asked but I’m planning the wedding myself and have a lot to do and little time to devote to numerous emails and vendors. My take on it was, if there was no prices on the site I didn’t really consider that as a sign that they might be willing to give a custom price to everyone and make things negotiable. I found in my area that DJ’s rarely put their costs up so I did have to write to them. But in most cases, no prices, I moved on.
Post # 10
You may want to respond to the vendors just to see what they can do for you! When I replied to a videographer, I wrote to tell him that he was out of my price range. I wrote him a simple thank you, I appreciate your time. He not only wrote me back, he also referred me to another vender who was within my price range! Sometimes in telling a vendor "no thank you," they can refer you to friends in the business in lower price brackets. I swear, his referral was a godsend and the new vendor knocked $2000 off of her typical price for me!
Post # 11
Yeah, lots of vendors will be happy to refer you to somebody else in your price range if they can’t come down on the price of their products. I got those emails too, and I simply told them that I’d found somebody else, but thanked them again for their time. You can’t feel self-conscious or take it personally; it’s just part of how it goes!
Post # 12
Thanks for the advice, everyone! It sounds like the consensus is that it’s better to reply and say "thank you for your time, but it looks like your services are out of my price range." I tend to be a bit sensitive about money, so it helps to hear that vendors don’t take my budget personally 🙂
BnR09, DJs in my area never list prices either! I wonder what’s up with that? I agree that I really prefer straightforward pricing, although I understand that sometimes that’s just not possible. For example, my florist lists five "sample budgets" on her website ranging from $250 for very simple bouquets and boutennieres to almost $3000 for a wedding full of flowers — I thought that was a really smart way to give couples an idea of the services she offered, and what they could reasonably expect in their price range.
Post # 13
I have told each and every one of them that they were out of my budget. I appreciated the ones who responded back with referrals or kind words. Even more appreciative of the ones who offered a reduction. Tell them the truth…maybe they need that to come up with a budget plan for people like us who can’t afford all the bells and whistles but still want good service
Post # 14
As a Vendor, I appreciate a Bride’s honesty about her budget. There ARE ways I can help her, and then there are just basic Business 101 things she should understand considering what she is asking me to do for her.
#1. First of all, if you have a very limited budget, make sure you have Time! Booking services less than 6 months before the Wedding will mean Rush Fees as we then have to hire extra hands and pay Rush Fees to OUR Vendors. It’s added labor for us to hit the phones for hours to source things for your order and pay expedited shipping to cover for your lack of advance notice.
I list a basic price guideline on my website and give the ballpark reasons why. I’m always blown away by the occasional Bride who doesn’t read it and wants a made to order Custom Couture Gown for less than what her fabric will cost me Wholesale! There are always solutions I can offer to help cut corners on a project. 100s of hours of work to any US Small Business simply cannot compete with what an overseas sweatshop can give you for any goods or services. But there are other ways a Local Business can help you cut costs and a smart Business Person should be able to explain it to you.
Most of us want your business, and we’re trying hard to stay afloat during this economic crisis. Be honest and realistic about what you’re asking for. And it is definitely more polite to communicate instead of dissapear from the radar leaving your Vendor wondering what went wrong. Personally, I prefer the opportunity to help problem solve the situation.
Post # 15
We’ve had to face this alot with it being a second wedding that we are paying for ourselves. It has been relatively simple honestly, I’ve just said, thank you so much for your time, but we are paying for this ourselves and that is outside of our budget. I’ve also tried to be a polite bride though-such as with our rehearsal dinner. I got menu selections and estimates from about 5 restaurants and made a point to call them back and notify the vendors that I appreciated their time, but we’ve made a different decision.
My Fiance and I also made a concrete decision to sit down and be honest about what we could afford. Such as flowers-not that I don’t care, but I really don’t care. I’ve never been a dozen roses kind of girl-give me a bouquest of mixed wild flowers and I’ll swoon! Being really honest with myself about what was really important to me made this alot easier. I love the way the fall colored roses look-the warm creams, dark corals, maroons, & deep reds just look divine, but out of my budget. My florist and I came up with flowers that cost much less (think I spelled this right-astrolomeria?) that are available in those colors to give me the same colors I was looking for. Rehearsal dinner florals the same way-gerber daisies, some cute miniature sunflowers, pumpkins, gourds, eucalyptus (sp?) gave us a fall look without breaking the bank.
Post # 16
I think that probably half of the vendors that I have had to tell in an email that they were out of my budget offered to work within my means. They want your business and your referrals, and many vendors are flexible and accomodating. Some art, but eh such is life…