91: 10 Signs It’s Time To Raise Your Prices

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How do you know when it is time to raise your prices? In today’s episode, I’m sharing the top ten glaring signs that it is time for a price increase. 

The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight

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This episode is brought to you by The Pricing Playbook, a live event for family photographers who want to confidently price their services for profit. Over three days, I will teach how to get your prices just right and what is holding you back from charging higher rates. Join me in this workshop for free today!

Review the Show Notes:

You are not profitable (1:28)

You are booked out months in advance (2:53)

You sell out of special offers instantly (4:13)

Every client purchases the upgrade (5:56)

Your booking percentage is 100% (6:39)

Your clients are high-maintenance (9:19)

You often have cancellations and no-shows (11:46)

You can’t afford support (13:56)

You are ready to work less (16:11)

It’s been awhile since you last raised your prices (17:59)

Episode Links:

The Pricing Playbook

Website

Instagram

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Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gebhardt. Here, I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing business, motherhood, and life. Myself, along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there.

If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, The shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.

Welcome back to the shoot it straight podcast friends. Last week I shared the top three questions I hear from photographers and one of those was. Not surprisingly about pricing today. I want to chat a little more about this topic of pricing. And this time I’m addressing something else. I see all the time.

I am going to share 10 red flags that it’s time to raise your prices. And even if you think that you don’t need to raise them, or maybe you just raise them, I would encourage you to listen to this episode in its entirety and see if anything resonates with you. Also, I have my 10 ideas listed, but I don’t have a whole lot of notes.

So we’re going off the fly here. Hopefully I can keep us organized and on task, but let’s dive in. Number one, the most obvious red flag that you need to raise your prices is that you are not profitable. What does this mean? Are you giving all of the money that you make towards expenses? Are you having to pay some of your business expenses out of your personal accounts or on a credit card because you don’t have them in the bank?

Are you not taking a paycheck consistently? All of those are signs that you are not profitable. Being profitable is a formula, like I mentioned on last week’s episode, and your prices need to be based on this formula that includes all of your expenses. and also your paycheck. Okay. The reason it’s set that way is so that your paycheck is not an afterthought.

It gets built into the rates that you are charging people. So when your business is profitable, you are able to pay all of your expenses from your business bank account. You are able to take a consistent paycheck from your business bank account. You are also able to pay taxes from your business bank account.

All of these things happen and you’re not going into the red. You’re not having to take loans or dip into credit cards or dip into your personal account. Okay? So if you are not profitable, that is the most obvious glaring red flag, flashing lights that you need to raise your prices. Another red flag is that you are booked out with sessions months in advance.

Okay. I don’t care what kind of availability you have. I don’t care if you are only available once a week, or if you are available five times a week, it doesn’t matter if you are booked out months in advance, because people are saying yes. And because you are getting flooded with inquiries and because everybody’s like, great, I’ll book you.

That is a sign that you need to raise your prices. Okay. I’m not, I don’t want you to go to the other end of the spectrum, right? I don’t want you to be booking all of your clients for immediate, like immediate sessions, right? Like I want you to be booked a little bit ahead and have things on your calendar, but you should not be booked to the max all the time so that when somebody reaches out to you for something relatively last minute within a couple of weeks or a month that you cannot find a spot for them.

It’s just a sign that you are in demand, which is a great thing. Okay. But when somebody is in demand, it’s this whole supply and demand thing from economics. If you ever took that course in high school or college, when demand is high prices go up. All right. That’s how it works. If you are consistently booked out months in advance, it’s time to raise your prices.

Another red flag that it is time to raise your prices is that you sell out of special offers and calendar releases almost instantly. If you are one of these photographers who launches fall mini sessions or motherhood sessions or wildflower sessions, or, you know, fill in the special releases. Okay. Or if you’re someone who releases their calendar on a quarterly basis or a semi annual basis, right?

You say my spring calendar is open. My summer calendar is open. My fall calendar is open. If you do any of those things and you are always saying, wow, that’s sold out in an hour or wow, my whole summer calendar filled up in 24 hours. 36 hours, anything like that. If your stuff sells out almost instantly, that is a huge red flag that you need to raise your prices.

Again, you are in demand and uh, I’m going to be just a little bit of, I’m going to put my coach hat on and give you a little bit of tough love, but you’re leaving money on the table. Honestly, you are leaving money on the table when you are selling out that fast. that your clients, your email list, your social media following sees you open your calendar, sees you open this offer and they don’t even think about the price.

It’s a no brainer for them. My friend, you do not want your rates to be a no brainer for anyone. Okay. Did you hear me say that you want people to stop and pause? before paying you, you are leaving money on the table. Okay. So if you are constantly selling out of your offers and your calendar releases, that’s a red flag.

It’s time to raise your prices. Another red flag. If you offer some sort of upgrade options and all of your clients purchase it. Right. So this could be, you know, maybe this rate that they booked includes a certain amount of images, and then they have the option to upgrade and buy more. This is also similar to if you offer packages or collections.

Okay. If people are always purchasing the upgrade or people are always choosing the top package or collection, it’s time to raise your prices. Okay. You don’t want everybody always choosing the top. That means you are not charging enough. Okay. So huge red flag that you need to raise your prices. Number five, if your booking percentage is at or close to 100%, this means when people are sending you an inquiry, they’re landing on your website for the first time and they are sending you an inquiry through your website that they are interested in information.

Or they are DMing you on Instagram saying, Hey, I’m interested in family session information or senior session information or whatever. And almost 100 percent or 100 percent of those inquiries are booking with you. I’m sorry, but your prices aren’t high enough. You want to be turning some people away.

Again, if everyone is booking you, that means that your rates are a no brainer and you do not want your rates to be a no brainer. Okay, you want to be something that people have to think about. You want to be something that is considered an investment. So if everyone is saying yes to you, your rates aren’t high enough.

You need to be getting some people to say no. When you start getting people to say no on occasion because they cannot afford you, you’ve landed in the right spot. Okay. So that’s the first five. And those are all pretty obvious red flags. None of those are probably new to you. You’ve heard them. You’ve expected them.

You knew what I was going to say. But there are some additional red flags and they are not as obvious. Okay. They’re a little bit less obvious. So let’s get into those. Hey friend, I want to interrupt this episode really quick to ask you a question. Does pricing your offers make you a little bit crazy? Are you constantly buying?

I’m constantly wondering if the price is right. Do you know that you need to charge more, but you have no clue what that means or how to do it. If any of these sounds like you, I want to invite you to join me for a three day live workshop event called the pricing playbook. This is a three day live event and it’s for family photographers who want to confidently price their services for profit.

Over the course of three days, I’m going to teach you how to get your prices just right. Yes, I’m going to give you the exact formula that you need. So you aren’t second guessing yourself. We will also cover pricing mindset and all the things holding you back from charging higher rates. And on day three, I will teach on what I call pricing problems.

These are the things that cause a disconnect between the rates you want to charge and what your clients are willing to pay. I hope you will join us. Live for this transformational three day workshop and have a chance to get your questions answered. Oh yeah. And this workshop is totally free. Join us now at SabrinaGephardt.

com backslash pricing dash playbook or grab the link in the show notes. I hope to see you there. Number six. This is a good one. Your clients are high maintenance, meaning they try and take control. They are trying to take control of sessions. They are saying things like, what if we do this pose or I have this idea or can we try this?

They ask for all kinds of random requests. Can you do this special edit? Can you do this rush turnaround? Can you do me this favor? Okay. And they’re ignoring your boundaries. Okay. They’re texting you at all hours of the day. They are pushing for things that you say you don’t do. They are bullying you into things.

Any of that stuff, if you have that on the regular, of course, we all get a client here and there, you know, that does this. But if you feel like the majority of your clients do this. You need to raise your prices. Okay, when, when this happens, when you find that most of your clients are doing these things, it is a huge sign that they do not see you as a professional.

They do not trust you. And that means that you’re not charging enough. When someone pays for a service and they try and take control of the situation and they try and, you know, take the lead and they’re not letting the service provider do the thing, it’s because they don’t see them as a professional.

They don’t trust that the session is going to go how they want, that they’re going to get the final product that they want, that the experience is going to go how they want. On the flip side, when you charge higher rates, you have people who have to stop and think about the investment. Okay. The people who are high maintenance automatically fall off because they don’t care about the experience.

They don’t care about working with you. They don’t care about you being a professional. They just want cheap photos. And so when those people fall away, what you have left with is people who trust you as the artist. They trust you as the professional. They are willing to invest money because they want to work with you and have your experience and your final product.

And guess what happens? They don’t try and take control. They respect your boundaries. They don’t ask for the random requests because they trust you. And they see you as a professional. Okay. So if you have tons of these high maintenance clients, that’s a huge red flag that it’s time to raise your prices.

Number seven, you often have people cancel or no show. Okay. And I’m going to go ahead and put an asterisk here. This generally means that your deposit or reservation fee amount is not high enough. It may not translate to your overall fee. Okay. But if you are 50 or a hundred dollars for a deposit for something, and you are constantly have people cancel at the last minute or just not show up.

You are not charging enough. Okay. That reservation fee, that deposit needs to be a hefty enough percentage, a hefty enough dollar amount that people don’t just throw it away, right? That they actually prioritize their calendar so that this session is a priority, right? That they actually prioritize their time and all of that.

The people who cancel at the last minute, who no show to sessions. Those are people who literally they paid 50 and something else came up that was better and they’re like, oh, it’s just 50. It’s no big deal. That’s why that’s happening. Okay. So if this is a common recurrence for you and I see this mostly in the fall with family photographers, okay, they will offer 50 mini sessions in the fall and the deposits only 50 and they have a ton of no shows.

And then they get frustrated because they could have booked other people in those slots. And yes, it’s frustrating a hundred percent. The whole point of doing mini sessions is to make a bunch of money in a short amount of time. And when you have a bunch of cancellations and a bunch of no shows, you’re not making your full amount of profit for the day.

It is very frustrating, but the reason that’s happening is because your deposit, your reservation fee is not large enough. Okay. It’s not large enough. So that is a huge red flag that you need to either raise that deposit reservation fee amount, or it could also mean that you need to raise the whole fee, right?

Because if you’re only charging a 50 deposit and the mini session is only 100, that’s why people are not showing up. That number needs to be so much higher. Okay. Number eight, you find yourself in a position where you are ready to add additional support to your team, but you cannot afford it. This might seem obvious to some of you who really have a handle on your numbers, on your finances, but what I als, what I often hear.

Is I would love to have an editor. I would love to have a VA. I would love to have a social media manager. I would love to hire a coach, but I can’t afford those things. And I, I get on a little bit of a soap box every time I have this conversation and I hear this frustration because I want to gently and lovingly.

Yeah. Put my hands on your shoulders and shake you a little bit and tell you, of course you can’t afford it right now. You have to build that in to your prices as a new expense line item, which means you have to raise your rates. It goes hand in hand. I don’t want you to hire these people and grow this team out of your own personal pocket.

No, no, no, no. I’m not telling you to take less of a paycheck so that you can add team members. I’m not telling you to pull out of your personal savings account or get a credit card so that you can add team members. I’m telling you to raise your rates so that you make that money to pay the team members.

Do you see what I’m saying? It’s different. It’s different. And yes, it does take a little bit of forward planning. This is where goal setting comes in. You guys, if you are telling yourself, I am so ready to have a VA. Great. Let’s put a timeline on that. When would you like to hire this VA? Maybe it’s, you know, right now we’re in April.

Okay. Maybe it is. I want to hire a VA by October 1st. Perfect. You need to raise your rates now, and you need to start putting that little extra amount from every session booked into an account into a, into a bucket somewhere so that when October 1st comes, you’ve got that first month of your VA covered.

And then all of your expenses going forward are covering the fee of this VA on a monthly basis. Do you see how it works? If you are ready for additional support and to grow your team, but you currently cannot afford it, that is a sign that it’s time. That’s time to raise your prices. Number nine, if you are ready to work less.

Okay. Yes. If you’re reading between the lines here, I’m telling you that you are going to be raising your prices high enough that you are going to turn a lot of people away. But It also means that you need to shoot significantly less sessions to hit your financial goals. Okay, this is a big, big reason why so many of the industry leading photographers charge 2, 000 or more for a family session.

Yes. People pay that price because those artists have so much experience and their work commands it. And yes, they charge that much. These artists charge those high prices because they have support teams and therefore their expenses are high. But hear me when I say this, they also charge that much because they only want to shoot a handful of sessions a month.

This is an intentional setting of prices. Okay. And maybe you’re not there yet. Maybe you’re not ready to only have three sessions a month. But if you’re currently shooting six days a week, okay, and you are just You’re shooting so much and the editing is so much and you don’t have a support team and you just think to yourself, gosh, if I could just get down to two sessions a week, that would feel great.

Okay. That still requires a price increase because you are going to have to make up the difference financially so that you’re still making the same amount of money, but working less. And you’re also going to have to raise your prices enough to start turning people away. Right? So if you are ready to work less, It’s time to raise your rates.

Number 10, this is the last one. And this one’s a really simple one. And you’ve probably expected me to say this. If it’s been a while since you’ve raised your prices, It’s time. Okay. I am not necessarily going to tell you that you need to raise them every year. I think every situation is different. Um, it depends on how high your rates already are.

It depends on your profit. It depends on if you have other money making things going on in your business. Uh, it depends on if you’re happy with your clients. If you’re happy with your work, there’s a lot of pieces that go into that. Okay. But if you have not raised them in a while, I just want to remind you lovingly that There’s things called inflation.

There’s things called your experience level. Every year you shoot 30, 50, a hundred sessions. Okay. You’re getting better. You’re fine tuning your customer service is getting better. Okay. So you need to raise your rates from time to time. If it’s been a while. You might consider them. Okay. And that is just assuming that you were profitable before.

Okay. Again, remember the very first thing was, if you are not profitable, it’s time to raise your prices. Okay. So we’ve gotten to the end of today’s episode. So I’m recapping the 10 red flags that it’s time to raise your prices. Number one, you’re not profitable. Number two, you are booked out with sessions months in advance.

Number three, you sell out a special offers and calendar releases almost instantly. Number four, you offer some sort of upgrade option and all of your clients purchase it. Number five, your booking percentage is at or close to a hundred percent. Number six, your clients are high maintenance. Number seven, you often have people cancel or no show.

Number eight, you want to add support to your team, but you can’t afford it. Number nine, you want to work less and number 10, it’s been a while since you’ve raised them. So what do you think? When you hear this list, did anything resonate with you? If so, I hope you’ll take the leap, do the work, raise your rates.

I know it’s scary, but it’s a necessary step to having that longterm profitable and successful business. And that’s definitely what I want for you. That’s it for today, my friends, we’ll see you next week. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at sabrinagebhart.

com backslash podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhardt photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review until next time, my friends shoot it straight.

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