When someone contacts you because they're interested in your wedding planner services, assuming the price-point and your availability are a match, the next step is usually to schedule a face-to-face meeting.
Keep in mind that this very first meeting isn't a ‘true' consultation. Your goal is not to spend hours providing them with an extensive this-is-how-to-plan-your-wedding blueprint.
Instead, think of this initial consultation as a meet-and-greet; an opportunity for both parties to learn a bit more about the other and to see if there's a ‘fit'.
How to Decide
The majority of the professional wedding planners that I've communicated with do not charge for this meeting. The professional wedding planners who do charge a fee for this first-time meeting, however, seem to have little to no resistance receiving payment for it.
The bottom line: If your experience and research determines that your ideal customer is willing to pay for your initial meeting (without it hurting your business), go for it.
And, just so you know, currently, my initial consultation with interested prospects is free and lasts approximately 45 minutes. (And, I like to think that because of the questions I ask beforehand, I don't waste a lot of my time meeting with unqualified tire-kickers). But, I do charge a fee, if I have to travel outside of what I determine to be my local area — 25+ miles away.
Would love to know what you're doing. Any success with charging a fee for the initial wedding planner consultation? Please, post your comments, below.