Your response to: “WOW, That’s expensive!”

  • Participant
    alyssa-michalsky on #149859
    Hi Guys! I have always wanted to start a response page for the typical questions and rude comments we all get as professional harpists.

    Now, I would like to put any type of “explanation” out of the responses – like the ones we feel we have to do to justify our services – price of harp/lessons/strings/mobility/professionalism etc – so I’m looking for witty and smart replies without being rude and without going into everything a harpist has to do /has done / will do – that substantiates our fee.

    So go ahead and start listing your favourite replies (ones that you would say to a client over the phone and not feel that you were rude)

    “WOW! That’s expensive” they say,……. when you tell them your fee

    I really need a good one that I can live with. I’m tired of trying to explain the polite way – I really can’t bother any more because they’re not hiring you anyway, or even if they are I don’t want to explain it any more, but I have difficulty being rude to any one at any time or simply just finishing the convo and hanging up the phone- so something smart and intelligent without being rude!


    dawn-penland on #149860

    I’d say, “It’s really going to make

    tony-morosco on #149861

    In that situation I would simply rely that, “no, my prices are actually quite competitive.”

    carl-swanson on #149862

    I would ask them what the next least expensive item is on their wedding. Probably the flowers, for which they are spending several thousands of dollars. Point out that your fee for the music is about one tenth of the next cheapest item. Then ask them what they are going to remember in 20 years, the flowers or the music?

    Karen Johns on #149863


    While I can appreciate your comparison from a musician’s point of view, I would ask you not to use other wedding services as a way to “one-up”your own. All aspects of a person’s wedding is important, from the beautiful flowers to the dress to the music. What if the bride is doing her own flowers, or her Mom is? You could really offend someone by using that last statement in particular.

    alyssa-michalsky on #149864


    I just used your phrase today and I was so pleased with the closure and no need to explain anything!! Very good phrase, I will keep it in my books!

    Although, I will have this answer on my evil back burner:

    “Yes, and so is the price of a Big Mac Meal at McDonalds these days – fancy that!” lol

    Thanks for a great response!

    Mel Sandberg on #149865

    Karen, your answer is really very beautiful, and it is a good thing you pointed out the issue of the flowers.

    Mel Sandberg on #149866

    Alyssa, it’s a great thread, and I hope we see more interesting responses.

    adam-b-harris on #149867

    I’ve found that whatever price you quote

    Karen Johns on #149868

    Now that is a good one, Adam- I would use that as a follow-up after my own. This gives the customer an “easy-out” if they hesitate, shows your professional status as opposed to an amateur, and gives you an “easy-out” as well! :-)

    vince-pierce on #149869

    You make a good point. I work for a floral business, and it’s tough to keep business coming in. And I like your response, it’s hard for a bride to say no to that!

    laura-stokes on #149870

    Although this may be a good “way-out” in some cases, I don’t agree with your tactics.

    All throughout high school I played for weddings and parties in my area and was told by my teacher to never undercut other local harpists and that she would like me to charge almost the same as she did–about $50 less.

    Although many high school musicians will do things for free, by encouraging this you are devaluing your own art. Most bride’s won’t be able to tell the difference between a well trained harpist and someone who has just started playing wedding music (assuming that the wedding rep for the occasion is fairly easy).

    By telling people to find free musicians you are simply setting yourself up for more responses of “WOW, that’s expensive!” in the future.

    It also needs to be said that in many smaller towns, sometimes the high school musicians are actually far more talented a better trained than many other local harpists. I certainly don’t want to sound pompous but it can get very annoying when self taught beginner harpists market themselves at lower prices to steal jobs away from those who truly deserve them and are charging a fair amount.

    I am sorry that this turned into a sort of rant. 🙂

    adam-b-harris on #149871

    Quite a valid point Laura, I should probably qualify my statement. I live in Western Australia, there ARE no high school harp programs to my knowledge, precious few harps

    steven-todd-miller on #149872

    “it can get very annoying when self taught beginner harpists market themselves at lower prices to steal jobs away from those who truly deserve them and are charging a fair amount.”

    I have to write this response quickly as I’ve stopped vomiting long enough to type. DESERVE THEM? DESERVE THEM? I’ve been reading this type of arrogance on this blog without responding long enough. Who died and made “classically trained” harpists “Gig Gods”? If someone plays an instrument and the client likes what they hear SO WHAT??????????????? If the harpist sucks then the truth will be made known- end of problem. But if they are making music that people like and are happy doing it more power to them! “Steal away jobs”????????? Do they sneak in the night and raid your contact list? Isn’t this still America and a free market economy? If you’re not getting the amount of gigs you “deserve” then maybe you’re not providing the music people want to hear. Sure, you want to play as many beautiful and traditional harp pieces that you can– but I spent three years learning “Scintillation” yet play “To a Wild Rose” every weekend to delighted audiences. Does that make me a gig thief? I have to stop now–I feel another hurl coming on…

    steven-todd-miller on #149873

    Whew– I just got back from running 5K and have calmed down considerably… I know that the vast majority of classical harpists, many of which are blog friends here at Harp Column, would never entertain this gig-entitlement mentality.

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