As a wedding planner, you spend a lot of time working with your couples. From initial consultations to dozens of emails back and forth to researching décor and vendors, it adds up quickly! Oftentimes, planners never take the time to track how much time they work on each client’s wedding. But we are going to change that today!
It’s imperative to have an understanding of all of your costs in your business. And one of those costs is our time! As I’ve talked about before, time is money in business. Just because you are booking weddings does not mean you are profitable and running a sustainable business!
Not tracking your time is hurting your business.
I speak with planners and coordinators who choose to price themselves based on only what their competitors are charging or what sounds fair and have no real reason behind it. They often don’t think they can or should charge more, when in reality, they’re only hurting themselves (and quite frankly, the industry) by pricing themselves so low.
Wedding planners often don’t track their time, so they often have NO idea how much time they’re really putting into a client project, let alone if they’re making money off a client. Especially once you start adding in the costs of assistants, other planners, client gifts, meetings, mileage… and countless other costs that come into play for each couple.
Just because you are booking more couples due to your low prices doesn’t mean you are making any money or profit. Imagine the financial freedom you could have if you didn’t have to book as many weddings every year because you were charging the right rate!
To make this an easy process, today I am sharing 4 reasons why you should be tracking your time spent on client work. Trust me, after reading through these important reasons, you will be tracking your time from now on!
01. It’s key to understanding how you spend your time.
Time tracking gives you an average of how much time you are spending per client type. When you start to track your time per client type, you have a better understanding of whether or not you are spending too much time on that project. First, break down your time spent on different packages (wedding management, partial planning, full service, etc.)
Are you spending too much time on a certain area of their wedding day or part of the package? If you start noticing trends of spending more time on a specific client type, this is a sign that you need to increase your pricing. For example, maybe you spend double the amount of time you thought you did sourcing rentals for your full-service clients. Or maybe you didn’t realize you were starting to work through wedding management client details earlier than you’re technically contracted for and therefore not getting paid for that additional work and time spent.
02.Time tracking allows you to keep projects profitable + price your services correctly.
It is SO important to know how much time you are putting in. Your time is money. And once you are ready to grow your team, you need to know your profit margin.
When you start to bring in team members, knowing how much time you spend on each package will help you guide them through the training. It will also help you set boundaries for the different types of clients your company works with. And it ensures that you (and your team!) don’t overextend yourselves! There is nothing worse than hitting burnout in your business.
It’s also about the averages. Not every full planning client will take up the same amount of hours. Some clients will be much needier and require more time – and that’s okay! Some clients will require a lot less time, and some more. So this task is about figuring out the average time spent. Time track every single client so you can get an average of what you spend per service offering.
03. It creates a record of your work.
Not only does time tracking help you learn your numbers, but it also lets you create better systems! Maybe your onboarding process is taking too long. Time tracking will let you see how you can improve this process for your couples (and to save you time!)
I encourage you to track your time in three major buckets. This way, you can see where you spend the most time and become more efficient and/or increase your pricing.
- Consultations. This will be all client-facing meetings or calls, including the complimentary consultation.
- Prep work. This includes any and all emails, timeline creation, creating and updating details, vendor phone calls, etc.
- Wedding weekend/day of. This is all the time you spend the wedding weekend, from the rehearsal, to day of, to brunch, etc. including drive time.
04. It improves HOW you work.
One of my favorite educators is Shanna Skidmore! She teaches powerful ways to run your business without leaving time and money on the table. One of my favorite processes she teaches is to consider yourself as two people – the business owner and the creative performing the work. You need to get paid for both roles.
As a service provider and wedding planner, time spent is a significant factor we need to be aware of. We need to be mindful of the time we’re putting forth so that we can price ourselves for profit! But it’s not just about being paid to do the emails and timelines – you need to be paid for being creative! You deserve to be paid for the hours you spend designing, thinking through the logistics, preparing the details and ultimately the execution.
How To Start Tracking Your Time
As you start to time track, there are quite a few tools you can use! First is Toggl. Toggl is a free service that lets you quickly track time right from your computer. If you use Honeybook, they also have a tracking feature! This way, you can track right inside your CRM. Honeybook is hands down my favorite CRM for planners.
If you are more of a paper and pen person like I am, you can easily do it that way too! I love what I call the “sticky note method.” For each client, I have a folder with their details and paperwork. Inside that folder, I write down my time spent in 5-minute increments, jot it down on a sticky note, and stick it inside the folder. This way, whenever I grab their folder to work on their wedding, I am reminded to track my time!
Time Saving Templates
As you go through your services, make a note of what is taking you too long to do! I have templates inside my shop that will make so many parts of your business go much faster. By automating tasks and using templates, you can save dozens of hours for every client project! And that means you are adding much more to your profit.
My set of email templates for instance, can make emailing your clients and their vendors go much quicker and let you have canned templates ready to go for every single situation. Implementing email templates into your wedding workflow will not only increase your productivity but save you so much time!
Affiliate Disclaimer – We are participants in the Honeybook, Flodesk and Quickbooks Referral Programs, affiliate referral programs designed for active users like ourselves to provide a means for us to earn fees by referring genuine leads to their CRM, email marketing and accounting software. I only refer products and services I KNOW make a difference in growing a successful business!