Hiring an event company is one of the first major steps you take once you decide to move forward with your event and it can be the most crucial. Ideally an event company will not only work for you, but also work with you and help guide you through the entire process start to finish.

Your Requirements

The first thing you want to do before even looking for an event company is define what you expect, need and want from them. For example, will you need logistics, budget management, vendor support and production? Keep in mind that not all companies provide all services, but may partner with great companies that provide what they don’t. This is not at all a bad thing. Some of the best event companies I have worked with use partners for different aspects of the events and the results were fantastic. You do however want to avoid working through a company to exclusively work with one of their partners. In my experience this can lead to internal issues and even your needs being lost in translation from one company to the next.

Request for proposal

Once you have defined your needs you then need to create a Request For Proposal (RFP) to send to prospective companies. When crafting a RFP try to give as many details as you can so that each company that is bidding on your business is able to give the best and most accurate information and pricing. This helps prevent addendums and add-on’s to your original scope and helps avoid budgeting issues in the long run. You may think that is a given, but I have received RFP’s before that have no date, no location and very little detail and have been expected to come up with numbers. Trust me when I say that the same event you do in Warsaw, Poland costs twice as much (if not more) to do in New York City. You don’t have to divulge the name of the conference, but you should throw the company a few key details to help them navigate the expectations.

Investigate options

Now that is all done, how do you choose the company to work with? The RFP round is great because you can learn so much about each of the companies in this process alone. Did the company ask any questions or for clarifications on any of the sections? Did they address every aspect of your RFP, even if it was to say they are not able to provide that section? Were they able to provide clear and concise information in a way that you can understand?

If the answer was yes to these questions I highly recommend these companies go to your next round pile. If it you have a no to more than one of these questions, that company may not be the right fit. The RFP process is the chance for each company to make it’s first impression and reading the entire document, following up with questions and making sure you understand all aspects of the answers should be their number one goal.

Select the best

The final round is where you get to go back to your next round companies to get more detailed information from them. This can be clarification on the numbers or you simply getting to know the company a little better. Feeling comfortable with your event company is so important that this step can’t be overlooked, but should also not be the only aspect of your decisions. Once you have gone through each of the final companies, write down what you like best about each company. Most likely they all bring something different to that table that you like about them and this can help make it a easier to narrow down what is most important to you and your event.

The process is not always this easy, but these small suggestions can help make sure you are headed in the right direction!

Shannon

Shannon Anderson has been an active member in the event industry for over 15 years trying out every job she could from banquet server to Director of Events. Taking on challenges from the screens at the Sundance Film Festival, the exotic locations of destination weddings and the slightly scary convention centers in Cartagena, Columbia, she has been there, done that and made small children and clients happy.

Currently she can be found traveling the globe, providing an educational experience about her job in creative production and spreading her wisdom to anyone within earshot. As a person who spends equal time on two different continents she chronicles her explorations on her daily lifestyle blog for sanity and admiration.
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