How to find a great event vendor: 5 easy steps

November 7, 2020

Hosting an event or a party can be an extremely frustrating and confusing experience. It’s even more stressful if it’s the first you’re hosting. The whole process of organizing an event has some predefined stages, like deciding on the date, venue, shortlisting a guest list and sending out invitations. We divided the process into 5 easy steps in our infographic on what to think about when organizing an event.

The process of planning an event

But, what we would like to cover in this blogpost is maybe one of the most important things to have in mind when organizing an event. It’s picking out the best vendors for your party. You’ve been through it if you have ever thrown a party. It’s always the same: you try to google event vendors and end up having problems shortlisting candidates because you’re afraid of getting disappointed, or, even worse, scammed. You always get caught up scrolling through search results, wondering what would be the best pick and which vendors won’t deliver on their promises and which might. So, we are bringing 5 easy tips to have in mind when choosing the vendor for your event.

Picking out a great vendor in 5 easy steps

Determine your needs

Every successful event is always, among other things, a result of great teamwork. Often, you just want to hire a third-party expert to make things easier for you. It’s often a challenge to find a reliable vendor. If a vendor makes a mistake, it affects your event and, suddenly, it’s not what you thought it would be anymore.

When organizing a bigger event, you’ll probably need more than one vendor. You need someone to take care of the food, drinks, decorations, furniture, flowers. That’s why it’s best to start with listing out your needs. Try thinking of everything you need for your event and put these things into a list.

So, before even trying to search for vendors online, it’s important to know your needs. Vendors, good or less good, are professionals making a living. They will try to make your event look exactly as you imagined it, but to do so, they have to understand your needs clearly. Having said this, don’t forget that these people are actually professionals, so, if you’re not sure about what your event needs, you can ask for advice at any moment of the road.

Make a shortlist

The second tip is to start doing research. It might seem overwhelming to look through all these webpages, searching for the right solution, but it’s very important to make informed decisions. You’ll want the guys you’re going to be working with to be serious and responsible. One of the simplest ways to find this out is skimming through their webpages and see what they do. Make sure to write down the contact data of the ones you like at first sight.

Make sure to compare reviews and actually read real-people's experiences with the vendor. Social media makes this part much easier because all the data is out there, you just have to reach out and find it. For example, on Facebook you can find groups, where people actually discuss their own experiences. Also, sites like Yelp, blogs about the event industry and other sites related to events can help you find just what you are looking for.

This kind of research will definitely help you to make a shortlist of 5-10 vendors that made a good impression and with which you would be ready to make the next step. Make a spreadsheet that will help you keep all the data organized.

Of course, the internet is not your only source of information. You can always talk to people in your social circle about their experiences. Most of them will have some sort of experience organizing a birthday party or just a simple get-together. People love to share their experiences, so people surrounding you can also become a great source of information. And we all know that personal referral carries much more weight than what you read on social media.

Make sure to know your needs before making the first call

Initiate a conversation

Online information is great to make a shortlist, but actually the best way of “feeling” a person you’ll be working with is by making a phone call. So, we suggest making a quick call to your shortlisted candidates and ask them about their business, prices, find out about their experience and capacities. If they have experience with events that are similar to yours, that’s always a plus. Make sure to direct the conversation into finding out if they would be a good fit for your event. 

Try finding out if they are available for the date you are planning your event for, whether or not they have their own team that can get everything done and how reliable that team is. It’s much easier to understand in a direct call than via email. Always try reaching people who will actually do the work itself instead of discussing with a sales guy.

Get quotes

After these phone calls, you’ll end up with 2-3 vendors on your list. And this is crucial. Never take a quote from just one vendor. Even if you’ve already made up your mind, it’s best to have a couple of quotes. Of course the price is not everything and that good service is always a bit pricier than a bad one, but you want to have data to compare different offers.

That’s why it’s smart to get a couple of quotes to know the price movement. And, of course, even having in mind that the price is not the most important thing, you have to have your budget in mind, and price will be a factor in making your decision. But, take our advice - don’t choose a vendor solely on the price, because, mate, you might end up not getting what you expected.

Also, always define the quote to the last detail and make sure that there are no additional bills and costs.

Make your decision

Making a decision may seem as the hardest part, but, trust us, it’s not. Sometimes it’s just about following your gut. You’ve done your research, you know exactly what you want in your partner-vendor, you’ve talked to them. It’s time to listen to yourself. After all the phone calls and quote gathering, think about who made the best impression. And, trust us, that’s the right person for you. Maybe they are not technically the best choice (maybe they have some flaws in comparison with the competition), but your gut isn’t wrong. 

What does this mean? Well, actually it means that it’s important that you have that “click” with the people you’re going to work with. That’s why it’s important to have that feel of understanding. This is the magic touch that will make your party perfect.

Sounds complicated?

Well, that’s actually because it can get complicated. All the googling, phone calls, comparisons, reference checking, conversations… It does sound overwhelming. But, if you are planning a party, you want it to be perfect. You want your guests to enjoy themselves and talk about the event in the upcoming days. That’s why vendors are quite an important part of the event - they are the people that make your ideas come to life.

Good news is, there is a way to make things easier. You can hire an experienced event manager that will take care of this for you, but that’s quite pricey. Try thinking about using an app, like Spotfood, that helps you organize your event end-to-end, and makes choosing an event vendor quite simple. Just by posting your event details to the app, you’ll start gathering quotes in minutes, you’ll be able to check out reviews and comments, all in one place. It’s time and money saving. It’s party planning simplified. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, because it lets you organize virtual events and stay connected during the holidays.

And it’s coming soon, so follow us for more news and advice about organizing your events.