I can't believe some of these vendors charge so much! They only work a few hours and the work isn't even that hard! I think I'll go with the photo booth guy that charges $200 for five hours. He seems nice and he said all the same stuff is included.
Why DO vendors charge what they do? With price ranges varying so much, it's hard to understand exactly what's going on behind the scenes.
Your wedding day. It is the ONLY chance you get to experience that day. You want it perfect, right?
Of course you do. That's why it is important to understand what you are getting when you hire any vendor.
Do they have insurance? Some people overlook this and don't think twice to ask. Any reputable business will be registered with the IRS, have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) or be doing business as (DBA) depending on their company structure. And based on this, they will have insurance that covers liabilities in their respective industry.
Vendors pay taxes. At least they should be. Nobody likes paying taxes, but it's part of the cost of doing business in America.
An excellent vendor is constantly reinvesting in equipment or supplies to make their business better. They have a passion for what they do and work on acquiring the best tools of the trade to get the job done. They want to deliver amazing results to you because they love what they do and want to keep growing. A business can never grow on mediocracy.
Vendors have varying amounts of overhead. Some need constant supplies, while others are self-sufficient on limited amounts. Some have brick and mortar storefronts and some are all online.
Vendors get a lot of wear on their vehicles and often travel to places that aren't exactly local.
Now about the hours...
You may see a vendor for a couple hours or you may have a vendor with you all day. It's easy to assume that vendors are making an outrageous HOURLY wage.
What you don't see is the 10-20-30 or more hours worked prior to and after each event. Most of a vendor's working hours are before and after an event. Planning, designing, and most importantly, COMMUNICATING with you. A good vendor will always be easy to get a hold of.
Many, many hours go into making sure the event runs perfectly. You can't just have Uncle Joe record your wedding on his iPhone 7 and expect it to look like a professional, cinematic film.
Get to know who you're dealing with. Ask questions. If they can't answer, I'd move on.
Consider what type of experience you'd like to have...
Mediocre or AMAZING?