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An Events Budget is Your Best Friend
A successful event can be a great boost to a company’s image and morale, while a poorly planned and executed event can be, well, a nightmare. One of the first steps in creating a great event is not the content, the decor, the location or the food — it’s the budget.
So we’re sharing the top five things that people don’t think about when it comes to budgeting an event.
- Service fees
When budgeting for food especially, you must take into account service fees. These fees include tax and gratuity and will average about 30% on everything. Be careful not to spend your entire food and beverage budget before taking these fees into account!
- A buffer
As with many things in life, events and event planning don’t always go as planned. Make sure to leave a buffer for “just in case” money before divvying up the entire budget. 10-20 percent is usually plenty.
- Payment schedules
This one applies in particular for large events. When planning an event months or years in advance, keep in mind when you will be charged for different aspects of the event and when those payments will fall. Be prepared to see some charges coming in at different times of the year — these might fall in different fiscal years or different parts of the fiscal year. Clarify these schedules upfront so there aren’t any surprises!
- Food & beverage
Minimums and room fees. These costs are often applied, but as with everything else, are negotiable. For example, if you are planning on spending more than the food minimum, you can ask for the minimum to be raised and the room rental fee to be lowered so you can save. The venue will often agree to reduce or even waive the room fee in this case.
Repeat after me: everything is negotiable. Everything! Being upfront and honest about what your true budget is can help you in securing your ideal venue and price point —remember, venues want to work with you!
The items above can be tricky and confusing, so we’re also sharing our tips for how to handle the chaos and manage an event that goes off without a hitch.
Here are our top four tips for handling the above.
We are firm believers that a good spreadsheet can benefit everyone. Keeping track of everything before, during and after an event can be super helpful for budgeting and staying within specific guidelines. Airtable is another program that is visually easier to use than Excel and can link sheets together. This can be helpful to connect things like rooming lists and is useful when there’s a lot to keep track of such as many vendors. Organization is key when planning a successful event!
- Be upfront
Many event planners claim that they don’t like to go into a conversation with a vendor telling them their full budget — but that can be the easiest and best way to go about it sometimes. Vendors want to work with you and your budget and will often try to work around their guidelines in order to gain you as a customer and help you have a great event. If you stick within 10% of what you have to spend and try really hard to stick within that number, you can often get exactly what you need within your budget.
- Know what you want
Before you even begin researching venues, understand what factors will be most important in making your decision. What are the top three aspects you must meet? Maybe the budget is flexible, but fine dining is a must. Maybe the budget is extremely strict, but the location is most important. Whatever these factors may be, understand the driving factors behind your decision and recognize that these factors may be different for each individual event.
Again, negotiation is key. Often times when an event planner is creating an event, they approach a venue in order to inquire about hosting said event. The venue did not have to work hard to find your business, and they often want to earn it. While chain hotels and venues don’t often have as much room to negotiate, smaller or independent venues are often easier to negotiate with. As we say, you’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond — get as much bargaining power as you can and use it!
If your organization needs help planning an event, you know where to find us!