How to find the right vendor for your event
Finding the right vendor for your event is like finding the right partner in life. You should be meticulous because the future success of your event will depend on how well you work together as a team.
They need to be receptive of your suggestions and attentive to your needs. There has to be some chemistry too. Otherwise, your ideas will clash and this may result to a heavy break up.
The last thing you need is some petty arguments on your timetable. So don't let this happen just by hiring anyone available and affordable.
Remember that as event planners, you can’t be too picky with your clients. You need to embrace them no matter how difficult they may seem or no matter how odd their choices are. But with vendors, you can. So use the power to choose wisely.
Here are 9 tips in finding the right vendor for your event:
#1 Preliminary List
Make a comprehensive research on the website. List at least 5 vendors per category and place it on a spreadsheet to compare pricing.
Check the websites and reviews to get pretty much an idea on how well they do in terms of online presence and testimonials.
Put your comments on each vendor. If you’re not satisfied, you can scout more vendors online or you can use your connections to give you recommendations.
Don't settle for anything less. List as many as you can if possible.
Find vendors whose values are aligned with yours. It is essential that your vendor understands your vision. Compatibility is something that can work well to your advantage because it will minimize disputes and misunderstanding.
Disagreements can simply spoil your ideas and ruin your time frame. It causes a lot of unnecessary delays. So find a vendor that is easy to get a long with.
Don’t just base your choices on compatibility alone. It is also essential that you find the ones that are expert in the kind of event you are dealing with.
For instance, wedding event is entirely different from corporate events. So make sure that the vendor you’re hiring is experienced on the event you’re organizing.
Otherwise his expertise will be useless and might just screw up your event big time.
Narrow down your search from the preliminary list based on the qualities you look for in a vendor.
You can discuss this with your team or your client so you can have a different perspective and opinion. Perhaps your client would prefer a specific vendor more than the other,
List down 5 non-negotiable qualities: cleanliness, responsiveness to queries, punctuality, assurance of delivery and professionalism are just a few examples.
If you think they meet these criteria, then you can move forward.
#5 Long term Relationship
Finding the right vendor like what I said is much like finding a partner in life. It need not be a sweet and shortened relationship, then bye-bye.
Don’t waste time with short-lived business partnership. Find the ones you can rely on for the long haul.
There has to be willingness on both sides to continue the teamwork, so communicate your concerns with your vendor and discuss your long-term goals.
Agree on a specific discount that you can incorporate in paper. Vendors who are willing to partner with event planners usually offer a good deal.
#6 Staffing and Equipment
Make sure that you know how your vendor works.
Do they have in-house staffing? Do they have their own equipment?
Knowing these details will help you evaluate them properly.
If they are outsourcing staff, in means it will be difficult for you to gauge the performance of their manpower because the staff changes every after event.
It is best to have in-house staffs that are working with them full time because they already know these people’s performance.
Having their own equipment also gives you assurance that there will be minimal delay on their part because they already have it in hand as to renting from a third party supplier.
#7 Contingency Plan
Make sure that you know your vendor’s contingency plan.
There always has to be a back up plan for every event.
If they don’t have such, it is better to find the ones who have.
Your vendor must be as organize as you are. They need to be the one to do the saving if things go wrong. But if they don’t have any back up plan themselves, then it will add up to your list of worries.
Find a vendor you can rely on.
#8 Site Visits
Organize a site visit and see how your vendors respond.
They need to be on time and willing to spare a few hours for ocular visit.
They need to have ideas on how to execute the event according to your vision.
If they are punctual, attentive, responsive and involved, then I guess you found your match.
For catering services, your vendor must organize a tasting test.
They need to provide an impressive menu and if you are not satisfied, they need to give you alternate recommendations.
They have to be flexible with the type of food they are serving: vegan, spicy or non-spicy, gluten-free, etc.
Don’t miss out on going over the contracts.
Read carefully and incorporate some details if necessary.
Be bold and open to your prospective vendor because miscommunication can lead to disaster.
If you seem not satisfied with something in writing, let them know so you can discuss further and agree to meet halfway.
Make sure that insurance and cancellation policy is covered. Clarify the details on the delivery agreement in case items or services are not delivered accordingly.
This will help you a lot once the event is over. Having everything written in clarity will prevent you from having post-event disputes.
About Stride Plus Events
Stride Plus is an events organizing and management company based in the UAE, focused on business, networking and community events.
Learn more about our services here.