What If? Why Not? And What For? Answering Client Questions Requires Patience…
When you deal with the general public- you often encounter “a mixed bag of nuts.” When you help clients with no money- that bag of mixed nuts contains more peanuts than almonds and Brazil nuts or even cashews.
The truth is that clients and prospects know far more about me than I do about them. Initial contact is generally through my websites but occasionally via text or messaging through social media which is why “I heard” or “We don’t have any money” are generally the headers of an email or beginning of a text message.
Blind dates and client meetings over the past 6 years “prompted me” to write a blog regarding not knowing what I’m walking into a few months ago-Appraisal Appointments And Client Meetings Are Often An Eye-Opener For The Pawning Planners.
Whether it is someone wanting to barter or simply “wanting something for nothing,” my emails requesting services are somewhat surprising to say the least! Today, we will revisit my reasons for having rules and why a few requests are so bizarre that I put my coffee down and read them again prior to simply responding to ensure the person was being serious.
A good sense of humor is a “must” in my business. My twin sister brings comedy to nearly every adventure we share and is pretty entertaining to boot! It’s not uncommon for Cindy to ask a client if they are being serious by saying “seriously?!” Her reasons for being shocked revolve entirely around client expectations and consideration. With a “they sky is the limit attitude” our clients rarely realize that what they are offering and asking for don’t always “add up.” We’ve been in several “hoarder homes” lately and one had at least 9 cats! Furniture that has been “marked” will never be “flippable” and although we are junksters, Cindy and I cannot take trades that no one will buy even after they are refurbished. Telling someone that the trade they are offering has no real value is never easy but, it’s always necessary in the bartering business of The Pawning Planners. We know what the expenses are to “fix up” a flip and we understand the market.
Yesterday I met with my sister Cindy and my niece Leigh Ann Blais to once again plan her birthday party. My niece “celebrates” her birthday all month long and while I find this “tradition” somewhat strange along with everyone else in my family- she (apparently) doesn’t.
Leigh Ann was Cindy’s first born child and “accustomed” to getting her way. My son occasionally rolls his eyes and says “it’s all about Leigh Ann” when she has the best electronics, car or something else that he and her sister don’t.
Robert & Stephaney have always thought Leigh Ann is the “favorite.” What they don’t realize is that Leigh Ann often had fairly lucrative jobs for Microsoft and AT&T that provided the “latest” gadgets. Neither her mother or I have ever treated our three adult children differently but Leigh Ann is far pickier than anyone else regarding gifts and restaurants. Like many of my clients, Leigh Ann sometimes “forgets” the expenses involved.
Party Planning is always based on budget and desires whether I’m planning with my family or a client. All of our children “traditionally” celebrate birthdays at Japanese Palace but Leigh Ann loves going to new restaurants and her favorite spots so “planning her parties” often leaves me worn out.
Her father, Steve Daniel is currently on the road driving for Ryder and we plan to “tie in” both of their birthdays in the same fashion I do with my son and other niece for their birthdays in July. Sometimes, our kids argue over who had the best party or got the best gift. Cindy and I refer to these “incidents” as Competing Kids & Chaos Affairs. I have no idea why everyone thinks they need to “one up” the other but it happens all the time.
While “visiting” with my niece yesterday, I went over a few emails from clients of Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners. Occasionally, clients or prospects “mimic” my family due to their expectations- and budgets!
One prospect had viewed my FB business page photos and told me she wanted free photography “but I want my photos to be touched up to make me appear younger. Some of your photos aren’t as nice as others and I want mine perfect.”
Well, while I found this statement a little offensive, I responded and advised her that occasionally photos posted on my FB business page are taken by volunteers or previous clients and I post their photos along with my team photos. “Why do you have volunteers?” Well, during wedding season, we are often at several places at the same time and effectively- have to split up.
Complimentary photography is offered as a courtesy at no charge to booked clients and if you want photo shopped pictures, I’m going to advise you (and her) to hire a photographer at a minimum cost of $500 an hour. We do not photo shop pictures and we do not provide photo booths but are happy to refer you to another vendor who does and it isn’t a complimentary service-photo shopping and photo booths are fairly expensive endeavors.
“I want to get married but not at the JP, I can’t afford anything else and heard you help people so I need you to give me a beautiful event.” For my dedicated readers who are often shocked by a few blogs regarding Demanding Diva’s, you can already “guess” where this was going.
Let’s break this down-you “heard that I help people but you don’t have any money and want a beautiful event?!” I’m going to step out on a limb here and explain (to those who don’t know) the cost of a JP Ceremony. First, you will need a license and the cost is $75. Second, you will need to pay the JP a fee to perform your ceremony and the cost is $75. As you can see–the cheapest possible expense to marry is $150 at the Justice Of The Peace.
Here’s what isn’t included at a JP Ceremony: Photography, Cake & Champagne, Loaned Bouquettes & Bouteniers, Crystal Champagne Glasses, Cake Stand & Serving Set.
So, for $150.00 you get the license and pay for it and then you have a JP officiate your ceremony and sign your license.
After emailing the “facts” to this young lady- I elaborated and explained the differences between a JP Ceremony and my Elopement Package which includes all of the “extras.” The cost of a ceremony at my location or a park for $175.00 (a discounted rate due to being a Military Member).
The $25 dollar difference in price caused her to email me again and inform me of my “price match guarantee.” I do price match when the services are exactly the same. I don’t “price match” when you are comparing a JP Ceremony to an Elopement Package because my “package” offers far more than a simple ceremony.
Since I’m well aware of other “on location” Minister/Officiant Packages that are $300 and up to officiate your ceremony and sign your license without any of the extras my package includes, I instructed her to contact another officiant and discuss it with them. Occasionally, I have to “weed out” people who want everything but don’t want to pay for it.
“Why do you have so many events at parks?” Well, if you can’t afford to rent a venue we help you find a free place for your event. Most of our clients from The Pawning Planners could never afford a venue so we often use a park, loan flowers and “gift” photography.
“I have an event coming up and need 125 chairs but can’t afford to rent them. I noticed that some of your events have chairs and want you to loan and deliver them to my event.” Although I’ve often said that it’s hard to catch me off guard and surprise me, this email did. Chairs in photos are at events booked through Texas Twins Events. These clients not only paid for their venue, they also paid to rent the chairs and have them delivered. If you need to rent chairs or tables, I’m happy to refer a vendor. We do not provide chairs or delivery and set up.
“I’ve been paying storage for years and need you to rent a truck and sell my items because I could use the extra money.” Estate Liquidations require the client to cover truck rental and a minimum deposit to set up and orchestrate your event as well as 35% of the sales. Please don’t “assume” we have box trucks laying around to clean out and liquidate your storage unit or home for free- we don’t and require “up front fees” when a truck and orchestration are involved.
“I need a size 18 wedding dress and I want ivory not white.” Borrowing a dress that I own and loan is a courtesy for booked clients. If you live in another state and “heard” that I loan wedding dresses, you “heard” what you wanted to hear. I do not have an unlimited inventory of wedding dresses-what I do have was either bartered or purchased by me as a courtesy to Pawning Planners Clients who cannot afford to buy a wedding dress-I do not loan wedding dresses to strangers.
“My marriage license has expired-can you just sign it and backdate it?” Absolutely not. I’m going to strongly suggest you get another license and even published a blog regarding Marriage Fraud to “enlighten” people about the reasons Marriage Laws exist to protect other wedding officiants of the laws pertaining to marriage-Marriage Fraud-What Is It And What You Need To Know. I will never operate outside of the law for anyone or for any reason. Officiating a wedding is a legal act and should be taken seriously by anyone conducting a marriage ceremony!
“I don’t want my parents to know I’m married. How can you “hide my license from people seeing it?” I can’t in Texas, there are other states I’m licensed in that honor a “Confidential License” but you need to check your state and if you need more information, read this blog-Confidential Marriage License Information.
“Why do you charge for a wedding rehearsal? Isn’t it part of the package for a wedding?” No. I charge a separate fee for a rehearsal because I’m usually required to travel to the venue and spend an hour “going over” the process with the wedding party. If you don’t need a rehearsal, we can quickly “go through the motions of the procession” prior to the wedding and save you the additional fee.
It sometimes amazes me that the folks writing don’t consider what they are asking.
My blogs to address these questions in order to educate and elaborate on why some of these folks may be asking for more than I’m willing to give.
Wendy M Wortham