freed hands

Let's Talk About Minimums

BusinessJesse Jo StantonComment

Once upon a time, I was hired by a bride to make two signs for her wedding. After over eight months of conversation (regarding colors, lettering style, wording, general questions, process questions, hounding for guest list, etc.), I probably pocketed $100.

If I did that every time, I’d have diaperless babies running around.

Difficult (okay, overly communicative) brides are a reality of our business. It’s also just a reality of humankind; stressful situations stress people out. She wasn’t mean, and I don’t think she was knowingly torturing me — she was just a stressed bride. BUT, as a business owner, I need to build my business in a way that is profitable. So, this is what I decided.

Photo by Marisa Belle Photography

Photo by Marisa Belle Photography

I had to ask myself “what is the minimum amount of money I am willing to make off of an order?”. Don’t forget that this isn’t just profit that I can spend on diapers at Target. Since I am a small business owner, what I “pocket” at the end of an order covers my taxes, business expenses, supplies, software, subscriptions, etc.

I decided on a number, and have had some interesting results.

  • About half of my prospective clients just add more items to their order to be able to meet the minimum. It’s usually table numbers, an assortment of small signs, or something like place cards. They don’t bat an eye at the minimum and just add on some things they’d be getting off Etsy anyway.

  • About a quarter of my prospective clients decide to go another direction. They sometimes ghost me, or give me a terse response suggesting they’re irritated with the policy, but most of the time, they understand and move on to another option!

  • The remaining quarter of my prospective clients actually just pay the balance. If it’s $40 or $50, I think they just frame it like a gratuity or something and go for it anyway? Or, my pricing is so under their budget that they don’t care? Or maybe, they’re just so damn tired of wedding emails that they’ve given up on reading?

The result? I have less orders, but bigger orders. I’ve weeded out the one-offs and referred those to hand-letterers who are a little bit more flexible and maybe don’t have two infants at home!!! It’s great, because I’m interacting with and managing less clients, while still making money.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

If you’re a small business owner, I highly recommend cranking up the minimum, watching your client count go down but your overall profit increase or stay the same, and drinking some wine in the backyard with your new free time! (LOL what is that)