Negotiating is a skill that most of us are not familiar with. After all, we don’t really need to negotiate much on a day to day basis. It’s not like we walk into our local Wal-Mart and haggle about the cost of paper towels. And the best part of having set prices is that you know that everyone pays the amount.
Unfortunately, set prices are not the norm in the wedding industry. Because in the wedding industry, the old saying “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate” is extremely true.
And the biggest mistake you can make when negotiating is not getting quotes from multiple vendors when shopping for something.
Because now the vendor has the upper hand in your negotiations
They can quote any price they want, and you won’t know if that is too high, too low, or just about right. After all, how would you know what the right rate is for a wedding photographer?
Now if you had quotes from three or four photographers, you would have a better idea of where everyone stands.
So if a vendor is charging 30% more than other vendors who provide the same service, you now have the knowledge to be able to say “Well, how come your prices are 30% higher than so and so vendor. What justifies such a big difference? Can you do better”
Saying the above will immediately tell the vendor that you have done your homework. They will know that you have been shopping around and that you are a serious buyer, not someone out looking for quotes, wasting their time. And that’s not the only advantage of getting quotes.
Being informed is a good thing
Getting competitive bids means you will talk to more vendors. And that will make you more knowledgeable about the products and services being offered.
For example, let’s talk about blocking hotel rooms for your wedding guests. While you may have a hotel in mind, what is the harm in talking to hotels nearby? You may learn that one of them offers a free shuttle to your wedding venue. At worst, you can use that knowledge to get a discounted shuttle out of your primary hotel, right?
And it’s not just hotels either that you should be shopping around for.
You should be doing this for caterers, photographers, bakers, florists and anyone else that you are spending a chunk of money on. Just make sure you prioritize.
Well, there is only so much time that you can commit to calling vendors and then calling their competitors. To maximize your time and savings, make a list of the vendors from most expensive to least and then start getting competitive quotes from the top.
In general, your wedding reception and caterer are going to be your biggest expense. Start by calling caterers and wedding venues first to see what they have to offer, and then call their competitors to see what you can learn. Who knows, you may just like the competitor more.
You’ll be surprised how competent the competitor is
In calling competitors, you will be surprised at how many are just as good or even better than your primary choice. In your conversations, let them know that you have another vendor in mind but that you are looking to find someone that can offer similar services at a better price.
As you can see, getting competitive quotes from vendors is a great way to lower the cost of your wedding. But does it have to take a lot of time?
How can you get competitive quotes fast?
Gone are the days when you would have to do laborious research trying to find reputable vendors. With the internet, you can research vendors reputations, and get quotes without lifting the phone. What used to be a difficult and annoying chore can now be done in less than a half hour.
For example, twenty years ago, if you wanted to block hotel rooms for wedding guests, you would have called five or six hotels, and spoken to the sales managers. After playing phone tag and living in voice-mail hell for a week or so, you would have quotes from half of the hotels.
Not so anymore. Now you can simply go online, fill out one form, and have the same hotels respond with competitive rates for your wedding group in less than five minutes.
As you can see, getting competitive quotes from vendors will not only save you money, but it will also provide you the assurance that you are getting the right person for the job.
And once you get used to getting quotes from multiple vendors, you may find yourself haggling at the local Walmart after all.
What should you read next?
Read our guide on how to negotiate with hotels for a block of rooms.