Not all event suppliers are created equal
In the business of events, planners and suppliers are as unique as your business or organization. I have found over the years that when asked by my clients to work with new suppliers on projects in or outside of our normal market, that often price can be the final deciding factor. Moreover, what I have learned time and time again is that you often get what you pay for, such that, the low bid reflects inexperience and/or you will end up paying in other ways before the end of the event. The following three segments identify key areas to pay attention to when venturing into contracting suppliers for your events.
Portfolios / References
In a business where much of what we do is to create experiences for people, portfolios often speak to the work that is being produced. The term “event planner” in any market can bring up everything from wedding planners to someone who plans children’s birthday parties. From event agencies to small boutique planners like me, meeting planners and everything in between. Depending on what your needs are, looking at portfolios and references is a great way to narrow down your search.
Research / Bidding
In any market it is easy to google what it is your looking for and while star ratings help, it is important to have conversations / meetings to ask all the questions and to ensure that you are comparing apples to apples. If you put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) and 2/3 of the bids come back at a similar price and one comes is much lower – this often gives me pause to consider why? As it turns out, this is often where the inexperienced bid comes in. Knowing if your planner and or supplier has experience in the realm of what you need to produce is key.
You get what you pay for
There has been a hand full of times in my career where I have been pushed to work with a supplier not within my normal network. I will be the first to admit that we all started with little to no experience. BUT, a red flag should come up if you are getting a low-ball bid and an overconfident sales pitch.
Two such occasions come to mind – In both cases the underbidder won the contract and ultimately it ended up costing my client more.
In both cases – additional bills were presented after the fact and the level of unprofessionalism and incompetence by the contractor caused so much stress and overcompensating by all involved – that ultimately the lower price was not worth it in the end.
Now – to be clear, I am not advocating that the most expensive bid is the best choice either. BUT what I have learned is that when working on large social corporate events, meetings and conferences – doing your due diligence is imperative and that more often than not – you get what you pay for.
If you’re wondering what you should be budgeting – we wrote post a while back that can help you think through all the things that you need to consider budgeting for too: https://www.jenniferjamesevents.com/event-budgeting-101/
We built the Ultimate Event Planning Guide that may help you navigate the questions you may want to ask, when interviewing event partners for your next event!