Four Tips for Bartering With Wedding Vendors

Wedding Professionals:

There are all sorts of predictions about where the economy will take us in 2010. One thing that I’m sure about is that during these economic times, small businesses are being much smarter about utilizing their investments, talents, time and resources. As I mentioned in a recent blog post titled 2010 Wedding Industry Predictions, wedding professionals with the most entrepreneurial mindsets will thrive in 2010. We'll see many entrepreneurial minds partnering together, bartering and cross-promoting each other's services.

Bartering usually makes the most sense when two vendors have determined that the exchange of their individual talents or assets can achieve each other's goals. In some cases, it can be easier to barter with a wedding vendor that you already have a relationship with. This will make it easier to have honest conversations about how you can help each other. However, sometimes you will need to go outside of your immediate circle to find a vendor that has a talent or asset that you need. For those cases, social networks can be a great place to identify and connect with those types of wedding vendors.

Here are some tips to consider when bartering with other wedding vendors.

  1. Brainstorm. Once you have identified a partner for bartering, it is important to have a brainstorm. Be up-front about your needs or goals as well as your talents and assets. Together, create an exhaustive list of all of the ways that you can help each other to drive toward your respective goals. Then, be honest and narrow down the list based on what you can reasonably deliver. It is critical that you do not over-promise during this process because that can tarnish both your relationship and your reputation.
  2. Set reasonable expectations in advance and lay out the terms of your agreement. Even if you are friends with the other wedding vendor, don’t be shy or afraid to put things in writing. Create time lines and details about the work that will be delivered. It’s incredibly helpful to have a document or email that you can refer back to.
  3. Deliver what you promised and feel comfortable sticking to your defined terms.However, going above and beyond your agreement could enhance your relationship with the other vendor. It’s always nice to throw in extra favors along the way. You’ll have to think through the pros and cons of this. Every situation will be different.
  4. Regroup. After the bartering is complete, be sure to check in with each other to ensure that both of your goals were advanced as a result of your partnership. Discuss what went well and what you would do differently next time. Discuss your newly evolved goals and how you might be able to help each other again in the future.

If a vendor is not willing to put your agreement in writing or if they do not want to agree to regroup afterward, carefully consider whether that vendor is the right partner for you.

What best practices can you share about bartering your talents or assets with other wedding vendors?

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About This Blog: Christine Dyer has an MBA in marketing and shares over ten years of marketing expertise with the wedding community. In this weekly blog called Supercharge Your Wedding Business, you'll find advice on an array of wedding business topics such as how to market to brides, social networking, wedding PR, wedding sales, vendor networking, branding, pricing and much more. .Please pass this news along to your own professional wedding network. To receive this advice in your email inbox each week, Sign Up for a Free BridalTweet Membership.

Views: 264

Comment by Annette Aaron on March 22, 2010 at 11:55am
Try to see your bartering pal"s work first hand. Don't just rely on letter's of reccomendation.
Comment by Annie Byrne on March 23, 2010 at 5:19am
Very good Christine. It made me think and I just posted a discussion about difficult vendors on LinkedIn.
"Have any of you come across vendors who just seem to NOT want to work with planners? Totally avoid contact and correspondence with you at all costs? How do you handle this?" Maybe you can reply?
Comment by Pizzuti Studios Photography on March 23, 2010 at 8:59am
Great post!!! Bartering is huge right now and as Photographers/Graphic Designers and a future bride and groom, we've actually bartered a large portion of our own wedding.
Comment by Anita Brown on March 23, 2010 at 11:06am
I have had great sucess with bartering with fellow vendors. It's serious relationship building though and so as with any relationship you will win some and lose some.
Comment by James Fenno on March 23, 2010 at 12:22pm
As a band leader that plays many, many weddings a year in and around Austin and buys other talent here (and just about anywhere) I have found it hard to locate coordinators and planners willing to trade or barter services. It seems to the planner or coordinator that I am looking for someone willing to "take a cut" of the entertainment dollar rather than my potential "barter-buddy" realizing that a percent of an entertainer's income usually does go to the referring party when that party is an entertainment buyer or agent. A secured contract with a wedding client is incredibly valuable to me and is worth sharing a 5% or 10% finders fee to the planner or coordinator that sends the client to me. It's the way business has been run in the entertainment world for decades. If not asked, I will offer the payment. It's neither non-ethical nor illegal. It's the way business is done. Any other ideas how an entertainment buyer or band leader can barter with planners and coordinators? I would be very appreciative of your feedback. Thanks!
Comment by Platinum Style Weddings on March 24, 2010 at 7:40pm
great information, I have been working on extending our services and working more with others that specialize in the beauty part of wedding preparation, so the bride can be offered the "Total Package". In the past most of our partnerships have been with Photographers and Planners, which is great but I think there is also an opportunity with bridal shops as well. It's important for the bride to experience a head to toe wedding day makeover!

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