No matter how successful your wedding business is, you probably still see a decline in business and profits during the off-season. The fact of the matter is that more weddings occur in the summer and fall than any other time of year. (If you are in Florida or another hot region of the US, your seasons are likely opposite.) Even though your business may be in decline during these months, you still have bills to pay. So what can you do to stay profitable during the off-season? Below you will find four tips for maximizing profits outside of wedding season.
Offer Off-Season Incentives
If you want to entice potential clients to book their off-season wedding with you, you may want to consider offering some incentives. Incentives don’t necessarily need to come in the form of ‘discounts’. (A word that I like to stay away from, particularly when trying to show the value your bring clients.) You can incentivize potential clients in the following ways:
- Offering an additional service, free of charge
- Offering additional product, free of charge (As a stationer, throwing in thank you notes was a great way for me to book an invitation job and didn’t cost me too much.)
Become a “Winter Wedding Expert”
A way to identify yourself as THE go-to person for winter weddings is to feature your winter work. Show potential clients how lovely a winter wedding can be. The key with marketing a new idea/service/niche/etc is to broadcast it loud and proud. This means: put it on your website, put it in your blog, get published, do style shoots, introduce yourself as “I specialize in…..”. Take advantage of this challenge! There are still people who marry in the snow. You have to help them identify with what YOU do.
Expand Your Offerings
While it is important to identify and maintain your position within a particular niche in the wedding industry, there is no reason why you can’t expand your business to increase your off-season sales. To increase business during the off-season, you might consider adding corporate events, birthday parties, and holiday parties to your docket for a little extra income. You can always limit these events to the off-season if you want to reserve the busy season for your most profitable events — weddings.
Manage Your Cash Flow
You still have to pay your bills during the off-season, but there may be some easy ways to save money, and manage cash, so you stay in the black all year long. If you take a deposit and a final payment, one thing to consider is taking a ‘middle payment’ (3 payments in total). Here’s what I see happening:
- Cash comes in the Fall when client pays deposit/retainer
- Cash comes in Spring when client pays final balance
WINTER is painful with little money coming in.
A way to fix this is to look at your slowest time for cash inflow and schedule a client payment during that time. In the Midwest, it’s likely January & February. In the South and Southeast, it’s likely July & August. (Email me if you need help managing cash flow.)
Just because most weddings happen during the summer and fall doesn’t mean that you have to let your business die during the off-season. Fortune favors the bold, so go out there and find new and exciting ways to make your wedding business profitable even in the off-season!
How do you stay profitable in the off-season? Share with us in a comment below.