How To Find Event Vendors That Make Up Your A-Team
You know the saying, ‘it’s now what you know. It’s who you know.‘
No matter how great your ideas are, without a great team of event vendors you can’t compete in the event industry. This is one of the most important aspects of your event business because it creates long term success.
How To Find Event Vendors
Having the right event vendors is like a good marriage.
They’re going to be around for a while so choose them carefully. We get excited about people we meet but it’s important to take time to get to know potential vendors (I typically wait 90 days), then decide if they’re right for your preferred vendor list, the occasional event or maybe you decide not to use them at all.
If you have great vendor relationships but there’s one ‘C’ player who is dragging you, other vendors and the event down, identify this person and replace them immediately. It’s important to trust your vendors, to establish strong relationships with them, and to use (and test) their services or products before you hire them for a client’s event.
Event vendors can also help you sell your event services to their customers through word of mouth advertising, updates on their website or by mentioning you in their newsletter.
The easiest way to make your events shine is to hire super star vendors, not just someone who gets the job done.
Your team is going to vary based on the type of event planning you specialize in. For most event planners, here’s a shortlist of vendors to have in place:
- Floral designer
- Specialty baker
- Liquor distributor
- Graphic designer
- Printing company
- Labor contractors-carpenters, electricians, painters
The vendors you work with form the backbone of your event planning business so make sure your relationships are compatible long term.
Aligning your values
You can build longterm relationships by ensuring your values are aligned by asking questions about their values, business standards and what their business represents.
Your vendor’s reputations forms your reputation. Imagine not being able to deliver the pièce de résistance centrepieces you promised your client because your florist canceled at last minute. This actually happened to me and it ended up costing us thousands to get new arrangements from a new florist we’d never worked with before.
Pay attention to results
Don’t make excuses for your team. Find event vendors by paying attention to the results they produce.
The vendors you choose must have a great reputation. You cannot afford to entrust your events to a vendor that doesn’t produce great results and gets the job done – consistently.
How To Find The Right Event Vendor
How do you know whether a vendor is trustworthy before you hire them?
You can never be 100% certain, but there are a few guidelines that give you a good idea. Begin by checking their Better Business Bureau rating and read their reviews on sites such as Angie’s List or Yelp.
I find referrals from other clients, vendors or event planners to be the best way to find event vendors; And be sure to visit the vendor and see their work before you hire them!
Keep in mind that your network of vendors is not just people you use to subcontract work. This is your team.
Who are you going to call when your events starts in 30 minutes and you realize that the special feature you promised your client is nowhere to be seen?
Tips for Keeping Event Vendors Happy and Productive
Ensuring you have a healthy relationship with your team is a must to your event planning business’s success. Going the extra mile to make sure your team is taken care of can go a long way toward ensuring they are there for you when you really need them.
- Keep beverages on hand to offer to your workers and delivery people. Much appreciated, especially on hot days!
- Offer meals to workers who are setting up events. This is a great way to avoid downtime and builds a sense of camaraderie.
- Party it up. Don’t be like the shoemaker’s wife. Put your skills to work and host company parties for your staff and your vendors.
- Remember the details. Get to know your event vendors and remember special days and events with complimentary special touches like birthday cards.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear from you…
How do vendors add value to your events? Please comment below.
Thank you, as always for your comments. I can’t wait to see what you share!