This post is authored by guest blogger Heidi Brumbach, CMP, CTA. Heidi is the general manager of Technisch Creative. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So you’ve decided to have an event, and you’re not sure whether or not you need professional assistance. A good event management company should be an asset to your event, not a liability. They will bring knowledge and experience to the table which can help you save time and money. But not all event managers are created equal. Here are a few tips to help you find the right professional.
Ask about their experience. Event planning sounds like a glamorous job, which is one reason why event planning and management companies are popping up all over the world. However, there is no licensing or education required for one to call themselves an event planner, so ask to see examples of past jobs. And if they have beautiful pictures to show you, make sure they explain what their involvement was in the event pictured. Did they actually manage the event, or were they a volunteer helping with a small portion of the event?
Ask for references and follow-up with them. It’s invaluable to find out what a past client’s experience was like. Make sure that you get a list of past client references and not personal references. Also, does the company have a list of repeat clientele? Consider checking with these clients, because repeat business is a testament to the quality of their work.
Ask about the company’s relationship with venues that you are considering for your event. An experienced professional should be able to work in most environments, but it can be an added bonus if they are experienced working with a particular venue. This can help save you a lot of time and expense with labor scheduling, site visits, and any union issues that could arise.
Ask how the company will charge for their service. Is it an hourly charge or is it a percentage of the event? Are they contracting and paying the vendors or will you be responsible for payments? If the company is responsible for paying the vendors, do they have good credit terms? If they are not responsible for contracting and paying the vendors, you will need to make sure that each vendor is properly licensed and insured.
Ask if the company owns/operates their own equipment. Some event management companies are able to provide services such as audio/visual production, decor, rentals, etc. in-house, which may help reduce the end price. If they do not own or operate the equipment themselves, find out who are their partners in service.
Ask about the company’s network. Do they have access to unique ideas and services for your event? Are they current on industry trends?
Ask the name of the individual on staff who will be in charge of your event. After the contract is signed, will you work with an event coordinator throughout the process? Will that individual be on site for the event? If there is an intern or assistant coordinating the details during the planning phase, how are they being supervised?
Ask if they will be responsible for assuring the load out and clean up will be completed according to the facility’s requirements. Every event has an ending, and the clean up is an important part of the production. There may be fees involved if anything is left behind, so someone needs to be in charge to be sure the job is complete.
Ask for an example of how they’ve handled an emergency. If there’s one thing all experienced event managers will agree on, it’s that things never go exactly as planned. A good event manager will be able to analyze the situation and make quick, informed decisions to keep the event on track. The ability to make good decisions is what makes a good event manager great.