Hiring The Right Event Planner
March 3, 2015
Finding the right event planner is no easy task. There are many items to consider, from services offered, to confidence in their ability to execute, pricing, their quickness to respond, and the overall feeling you get from this company and/or individual.
Planning events can be quite stressful and time consuming. You want to ensure you are hiring someone you feel compatible with and won’t mind speaking to multiple times a day. There are hundreds of moving parts to consider and the quality of your event is all in the details. You want to get along and share some common interests with your planner, as it will make the entire process more fluent and will likely yield a better production in the end.
When combing through the various companies online, you want to ensure the services you need match the services they offer. Many times a client is looking for full-service planning and production needs, but hires a planner with specific skill-sets, rather than an ability to plan the entire event. Be clear with your planner on what you are looking for and what you are hoping to get out of the relationship.
Full-service planners are very different than specialized, niche planners that only focus on specific aspects of an event. A full-service planner will handle all aspects of the event-planning process from concept development to venue selection, contract negotiations, menu design, staffing solutions, guest check-in/registration, invitations, gift-bags, entertainment, audio/visual, and final execution of the production. If your needs seem to be larger and you don’t have the time or bandwidth to handle yourself, always side on being conservative and hire a professional that can guide you and take over the entire process. There is nothing worse than overextending yourself, falling short in the end, and having your guests or boss unhappy with the end-result. On the other hand, if you want something super specific and more boutique, while working with a limited budget, your best bet may be to go directly to a venue or catering company or to find a specialized planner that only focuses on exactly what you are looking for.
The last factor to consider is your overall budget and how the planner prices their services. There are various ways planners approach this, from a flat fee, to a percentage of the overall budget, to an ongoing retainer for consecutive event-activation. A general rule of thumb we use for full-service planning is that the services should not amount to more than 15% of the overall event budget. As with anything, this is generalization and may not apply depending on the scope of services, time frame you’re working with, customization needed, special requests, and other criteria needed for the planner to properly price out their services. Your needs will determine the type of fee-structure that is best for you, meaning, if you have 20 events to produce over a 12-month period, a monthly retainer relationship may be more beneficial than an event-by-event basis, as you will save considerable dollars and have access to more of their resources and services.
If you find the right planner, their fee should not be a concern, as they should be able to leverage their relationships with vendors and venues to provide cost-savings to their clients. If you hire the right event planner, you will save yourself a considerable amount of time and energy, you will be less stressed, your budget should be optimized where you’re able to receive more goods and services for the same amount of money, and the event should go off without a hitch with all of your guests thanking you and complimenting you on a job well done.