All Insights

Event Production: The High Cost of Under-Planning

Cameron Magee
on February 25, 2020

Event planners across the country consistently realize once they’re on-site that they’ve under-planned for their event needs. Does this sound like you? Are you stretching budget dollars by hiring bottom-dollar vendors? Bottom-dollar vendors are not motivated to help you think in advance, and consequently you may be paying double or triple for last-minute needs on-site from this lack of planning.

The best way to safeguard your budget is to actually plan on spending more.

I know, I know. It sounds crazy. Here’s what happens over and over again. The event planner is under pressure to decrease the budget. It’s understandable. Your responsibility is to make sure all the budget dollars are advancing the mission. So in the attempt to spend less, planners regularly leave necessary production equipment and support out of their event production process.

The problem is that that equipment and support is necessary. You have to have it. And that becomes clear on event day. Now, however, the equipment and AV support have increased in price and there’s nothing you can do about it. So instead of saving 5%, you’ve overspent 10%. The alternative is to plan for production that appropriately supports your event. This is where your production partner should be your best ally.

You can’t be an expert in everything. If you got into event planning for dÃcor, your weakness may be venue contracts. If you’re in it for the catering, chances are you’re not passionate about production. This is why you need vendors who are committed to mitigating waste in your budget. If your vendor isn’t anticipating your needs, you may have the wrong partner.

One Team, One Dream

Your event team has one mission: to make this event flawless. In a perfect world, everyone in the event industry would be on that team. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case in reality. Your event deserves to be spruced up, to look its best, to be better than last year. You can’t do that if your budget is tapped. And you can’t make any room in that budget when so many expenses are fixed. The solution is to increase the efficiency of each dollar by relentlessly eliminating last-minute premium expenses. Your vendor partners are your best resources here.

The Not-So Hidden Cost of Under-Planning

The old adage, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is true. In the effort to decrease your event’s budget, you may inadvertently remove production equipment and support that are necessary. You’ve “saved” money before the event. But you end up spending more at the end. A trusted production partner will be transparent with you about what you need and what you don’t. Then you can make decisions with all of the information. Despite our best efforts, time and again, we see budget dollars wasted due to under-planning. Budget waste comes from:

  • Overnight shipping and rush fees
  • Overtime costs from inadequate labor
  • Premiums charged for same-day rentals by some production companies.

Overnight shipping costs more than Ground, but you get the same item delivered. Whether your production company brings you a printer on the truck or you spend two hours driving to a print shop and paying rush print fees, you’re getting the same thing printed.

The savvy event planner knows about the high cost of last minute fixes. She avoids them and serves her organization by appropriately planning for the needs of her event.

Knowing A/V and Production

Most event planners know dÃcor, catering, and how to maneuver venue contracts. The biggest mystery seems to be in A/V and Production. It makes sense! The AV geek at your high school was likely the opposite of the event planner type. But, the stakes are higher now. You’ve matured in your expertise. If production is going to be a major part of your budget, you have to become an expert or find one you can trust.

Peace is a byproduct of planning

The most stressful hours of your year are those hours onsite. This industry can burn people out. If you love what you do, lengthen your career by minimizing your stress. There are 365 days a year, but that one day, your biggest day, is extremely taxing. A huge portion of that anxiety can be wiped away simply by eliminating all the last-minute additions. Those pop-up needs and requests consume your day. If you ordered those items in planning, they may very well add up to a small percentage of your overall budget, but onsite, you’re going to pay double or triple. The cost of your time and worry is incalculable.

You can spend the event day frazzled and distracted. Or you can spend it calm and composed. You can be available to engage meaningfully with your stakeholders on the one day a year when they can really see all of your hard work. The choice is yours.

The Goal

Free-up your budget by cutting the waste. Your leadership is always going to be looking to cut your budget. Be proactive. Cut the waste from behind the scenes, not the features on stage. By cutting the waste, you repurpose that money towards your ultimate goal: a flawless event. Spruce up the room. Make this year special. Do something more unique as a stage backdrop. Really make this year shine. You can do so by recycling the waste. Just like a recycled water bottle, with the right production partner, you can take the garbage of overnight shipping and rush fees, and recycle it into a beautiful, flawless event.

Related Content