Have A Pricing Strategy…And Stick To It

During the pandemic and post-pandemic, you will likely have to deal with “price shoppers”: potential clients who want you to reduce your charter rate. What do you do?

We Live in a “Priceline” World

The Internet is littered with websites and services dedicated to saving you money on everything from travel to hotel rooms to sneakers to jewelry. It’s just a fact of life. I’ve come to realize that many people have come to expect to negotiate down the rate of a charter fishing trip. If my hotel can knock off $200 per night, why can’t my charter captain?

Have a Strategy

You are running a charter BUSINESS. You are not running a charter CHARITY. On a charter trip, you need to bring in more money than you are spending on the charter (fuel, bait, tackle, boat insurance, boat maintenance, etc.) plus try to squeak out a PROFIT margin. Yes, that dirty word, PROFIT. You won’t be in the charter business very long if you can’t make a reasonable PROFIT.

Therefore, you need to price your charter rates in such a way that you cover your expenses as well as earn a decent profit – at least a 30% profit margin if you can.

Once you’ve priced your charters to earn a certain profit margin, STICK TO THE PRICE!!!!!!!

You’ll receive a call from a potential client and you will discuss what’s biting, how many anglers can fit on your boat, the weather, etc. Inevitably, the conversation will turn to the price of your charter. Personally, I like to bring up my charter rate early in the conversation to “smoke out” the price shoppers. If they can’t afford my rate, why waste time on the phone with them.

Many callers will be fine with your rate as they likely already checked out your website for rates. The remainder of the callers will be the problem. They are going to try to beat you up on the price. Don’t let them.

The PRICE is the PRICE

There is a saying that “everything is negotiable.” I believe that there are some things in life that cost what they cost. A charter fishing trip is one of the latter. There are many who believe the former. During COVID, times were tough for charter captains all over the world. This caused many captains to accept lower rates just to make something, anything to survive. This has carried over to the present day. You have to decided whether you’re willing to “play ball” with a price shopper.

For me, THE PRICE IS THE PRICE. PERIOD. My time – and yours – is too valuable to reduce my charter rate just because someone demands it. I reserve a lower rate for my loyal, recurring customers – not someone off the street. If my rate is too expensive, there are plenty of other captains who are cheaper. Give THEM a call.

I’ve learned over the years that “price shoppers” make for a miserable fishing trip. They seem to never be satisfied, which leads to a LONG 5 hours on the water. They will often leave poor reviews even though you did everything humanly possible to make them happy. The clincher is that “price shoppers” rarely tip, if ever. Just a miserable experience all the way around. Honestly, I’d rather stay at the dock than take “price shoppers” fishing.

What you will find over time is that, by sticking to your pricing strategy, you’ll attract clients who are happier, will tip and will likely become recurring clients – the ideal charter clients!

I hope this helps.

Tight Lines,

Captain Mike