Tips For Choosing The Best Event Vendors
EVERY successful event relies on a combination of trustworthy and competent vendors. It can be a challenge finding the right vendor you need for each piece of the event you’re planning. If one vendor makes a mistake, it could reflect on you and damage the relationship you have with a client or other vendors. This is why vetting vendors and knowing exactly how to negotiate with them is such an important part of the event planning process. Here are a few tips for choosing the best event vendors:
Determine your needs
First, have a brainstorming session and come up with what you want each vendor to provide on the day of the event. Having a comprehensive list of the things you want the vendor to do and provide makes it easier to judge their proposal as well as give them a good understanding of how your event should be.
It is worthy of note however that sometimes these vendors know what you need better than you do. Therefore to get the best of both worlds, ask for recommendations and combine those with your own expertise and list of needs. The recommendations given to you by vendors will also indicate how experienced and skilled they are. Be sure to take note of that.
Make a connection
When first approaching a vendor, make sure they meet your predetermined requirements and first see if they have availability for the day(s) of the event you’re planning. There’s no point in wasting anyone’s time, and if they aren’t available, they can probably give you suggestions for other vendors. Here are some examples of the types of information you should obtain when having this initial conversation with a vendor:
Can they do all of their own tricks?
Some vendors don’t own their own equipment or have their own staff in house. This means that if they need extra equipment or extra personnel, they’ll most likely markup their costs to still make money on any services. This isn’t always an issue, but if it is, you might be losing money by going with this vendor.
How reliable is their team?
While email is a great way to clarify information, a phone call or a face-to-face meeting can give you a much better sense of the kind of people you’ll potentially be working with. Take time to ask about the crew that will be onsite at the event. Are they punctual? Do they clean up after themselves? You’ll want to make sure that you talk to the people who will actually be working with you, not just the salesperson. There’s nothing worse than getting sold by somebody charismatic and knowledgeable about your event, but then passed on to someone else who doesn’t uphold that impression.
What kind of work can they produce?
Avoid simply relying on glossy brochures or website information. When talking with a vendor, try to learn about the types of events they’ve done in the past or recently. Find out what types of clients they typically work with. If they have experience working in your industry, that’s always a plus. Ask for client referrals to validate the information they provide. If the information they give checks out, then you’ve started to build trust with them and if it doesn’t, then you know you can move on.
It’s also good to start a genuine relationship with the vendor from day 1. After all, they’re helping you pull it all together so the stronger the relationship you have with them, the more likely it is that they will bend over backwards to make sure it all goes off without a hitch.
Request multiple quotes
Don’t get a quote from just one vendor. Even if you’re sure you’re going to use a specific vendor, getting more than one quote is a great best practice. These quotes will serve as a benchmark for comparing vendors now and in the future. You’ll also get to see what the industry price standards are by looking at multiple vendors. The quote from one vendor you may not like might have some inclusions that your preferred vendor overlooked.
Don’t make costs your bottom line
As a seasoned event professional, don’t choose a vendor purely on price. If your budget is a real problem, find other areas to trim it down and only hire the vendors you absolutely need. In the end, the value of the vendors will be determined by how well they performed, not just their costs.
Also, be sure to check that the quoted prices include everything and there are no additional costs. The last thing you want is to be done with the event (and event budget) and have a vendor send you additional bills that were not anticipated.
Go with your gut feeling
Weigh out all of your options, make a master spreadsheet, if that’s your thing, and choose a vendor who aligns with your needs and who you feel the most confidence in for the actual event.
If you don’t feel confident with all of your options, ask for more information, or go back to the drawing board and get another quote or two from other vendors. When you do find the best choice, things should just “feel” right. The way they talk about the event makes sense, their advice is useful, and the vendor is excited about making the event a success.
We wish you a happy planning.
Do you desire a career in Event Planning? Then join our upcoming Training class in October for the right start up in the industry. For more details, please use any of our contact medium. We will be glad to serve you.
Also for more tips on Event Planning, please visit our blog www.royalsdelightblog.com.