Congratulations on your event and let the planning begin. The lead up to your event and the planning stages should be as exciting as the event itself. You’re now an event organiser, so “let’s get the party started”.
John Middleton with our previous trading entity has won 4 Meeting Industry Awards, including the State (SA) MEA Award 3 years in a row and the National Award for Australia’s Best Technical and Creative Production Company.
“We’ve managed and planned over 20,000 events, so we know what it takes to plan a seamless event and understand the pitfalls and hiccups that can happen”
At Middleton events we want your event to be a life long memory and the best event your guests have attended. One of the biggest and most important decisions you’ll make, are who will I engage as my preferred suppliers in all aspects of your event.
We’ve seen too many times clients having their events ruined by backyard operators who are happy to take your money and deliver nothing in return. The cases of clients being told the day of their event, or the day before they are a no show or simply fail to turn up, is horrendous. It’s also disappointing when your suppliers do turn up to find out they are not up to par and have not delivered what was promised……and it’s all too late.
Unless you’ve chosen a package through your venue and they’ve presented all their preferred trusted suppliers to you, then you’ll need to start planning and commence researching suppliers given your budget and event objectives.
Don’t base your decision purely based on price. The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. The practical aspects of the venue are important such as atmosphere, décor, lighting, access, departure times and the venue’s location. Food and service are the most important aspects of the function and experience the venue’s hospitality prior to booking. Always have a tasting dinner prior to booking, as most venues provide this service. You are under no obligation to use the venues preferred suppliers, as some make commissions from forcing you to use them. This practice is illegal and is called third party enforcement. Always negotiate direct with the suppliers and take advice from the venue as to their top 3 recommendations. Refuse to pay any penalties a venue may demand for not using their suppliers, as this is also illegal. Remember nothing is for Free! You’re paying for it in the package price. Ask the venue how much they charge if you extend the duration of your event. Generally they will charge by the hour for service only, as the bar will still be open. Don’t pay additional room hire as you’ve more than likely already paid this. See Recommended Venues!
We recommend you seek 3 written quotes from all your suppliers, along with terms and conditions of bookings, for each market segment of your event.
Do your due diligence, be thorough and expect the unexpected from dodgy operators!
Be mindful of suppliers who work beyond their capabilities and do not have the resources, infrastructure nor experience. You do not want your event to be their biggest event and outside of their capability or furthermore be their first of it’s kind.
The events industry has thousands of independent part-time operators who prey on suspecting clients and promise the world and deliver very little. Whilst their intentions are initially good, they quite often are at the limit of their capabilities and simply don’t have the resources or know how.
It’s important to understand that your event is live and a once of opportunity to get right, so do your due diligence and do not engage a supplier without a booking agreement and understand that any deposit and or payments paid will not be refunded, so be sure and confident in your selections.
What attributes should I look for in an event supplier?
1. Professional full time Supplier versus Hobbyist (part timer)
2. References – Proven experience
5. Resources and capability
Let’s have a quick look into each of these points;
1. Full time Supplier versus Hobbyist
Are they a hobby business part- time or a fulltime business?
Some businesses work from home after hours, which means communication is restricted until after hours and you are not their priority.
A full-time business is committed to providing an unparalleled level of service that is second to none and at your service to respond to any query or request when you need them.
A professional supplier will be able to produce insurances, licenses, personnel and technical back up and service support systems to offer you peace of mind and security.
Are they GST registered, this is always a good indication as to the volume of work they do, as the threshold is over $75,000 turnover? Most part timers are not registered for GST.
If you’re in the early stages of planning your event, it’s difficult to understand the price difference and the difference in level of service and performance standards. When you haven’t seen before how great your event can be, then an average service is ok.
The question we ask a lot of our clients is…“What importance do you place on the entertainment for your event”. In the case of a wedding, most brides unless they’ve been to a wedding and have experienced an exceptional performance, simply don’t know how good their wedding can be and quite often find themselves going for the cheapest quote. That’s all they know. Don’t be fooled by comparing quotes purely based on price. A Hyundai Getz can’t be compared to a BMW, however they are both cars and will get you from A to B, however provide a completely different driving experience, along with reliability, customer care and service.
“If you can’t see the difference in the value of the product of service, then the decision to purchase will be purely based on price and price alone”
Happy and satisfied clients are the best testimonial and reference for any business. You don’t know what you don’t know and you don’t know how good your event can be, until you’ve experienced the best. Don’t just rely on industry awards…..Most happy clients are willing to help their favourite suppliers by offering verbal references and discuss with you their performance given expectations and budget.
Even if clients recommend them via social media and testimonials on websites, ask and seek previous client contact details and call them and have chat. Talk to these clients at random to get a good cross section of feedback and have a list of key questions that are most important to you. It’s our view you should talk to reputable established proven suppliers, who have a proven track record of consistently providing a high level of service for your event. Most importantly you need to ascertain whether your supplier is capable of providing the level of service you expect and, in most cases, can exceed your expectations.
It’s our experience that most medium to large suppliers will have a team of people working on a most events. Whilst they may have casual staff or regular contractors, the crew are extremely familiar with company procedures, work ethos and practices.
Ask questions about back and service support process. The show must go on regardless of any inefficiencies with your supplier …..and are they going to show up.
Do they have back up staff and personnel in the event of an accident or illness?
What if equipment breakdown?
Is there a technical and service support processes in place?
How will information and meeting notes be communicated to an alternative employee, events manager and or entertainment director?
4. Honesty – can they be trusted and what do I actually get for my money?
Is your supplier telling the truth about their expertise and experience or are they telling lies and exaggerating the truth to simply secure your business and get another booking?
Are they who they say they are and have they been honest in previous business dealings?
Did they exceed expectations of past clients and seek examples of this?
Ask for case studies of similar like events to yours.
Will they and have they delivered on promises and will I get what I pay for?
Are there any bad reviews on social media and google from genuine clients?
Talk to venues and other suppliers as to whether they’ve had previous dealings and what has been their experience?
What are the guarantees of service and delivery – do they have a money back guarantee in the event they don’t deliver?
What are their cancellation and refund policies?
“When it comes to making a contractual or financial commitment to a supplier, it is important that you know precisely what you are getting. Vagueness will invariably work against you, not for you”
We recommend that you ask your suppliers for the following documents so you can have peace of mind knowing you’ve covered all bases.
- A detailed list of specific items/services to be provided and quantity of each.
- A detailed schedule of how they will deliver their product and or service leading up to and on the day of the event.
- An itemised breakdown of the pricing in the form of an official written quotation. Don’t be fooled by a one of fee. Always ask for it to be itemised so you know exactly what you’re getting.
- Site their business public liability insurance certificate and keep a copy on file. This is a legal requirement for any service provider bringing staff and or equipment services on site at your event. You are deemed the client and are part liable and responsible. As a rule, NO Public Liability… NO Show!
In the event of booking Musicians and or DJ’s, a PPCA and orAPRA license maybe required to legally play licensed copyright music for public performance. Talk to your supplier about this and they will provide copies for you.
Do they have the capability and resources to do my event?
Be active and ask around on forums via social media and talk to venues and other suppliers as to who they work with on a regular basis and ask about their service and or product.
What is their equipment like? Out dated, old technology, unreliable?
Do they have an office and showroom where you can meet and see first hand exactly what your’e getting?
Talk to the least 3 clients they have worked for and ask for the telephone number and date of event that is similar to yours.
Check and ask for photos of previous work that is similar to your event and ensure they own the photos and that the photos are of their work and not purchased or stolen photos and that they are current and not old?
Do they have the personnel and equipment and or stock to deliver and set up on time?
Some suppliers can also provide case studies of their work and show examples of their offerings.
Have an active conversation about personnel, staff, dress standards etc and get a feel for their work ethos and business values.
In summary it’s an exciting time and we want you to have the very best experience. Choose your suppliers carefully and do your homework and be relentless is your research.
“You get one shot, One Opportunity”
Our events team is on hand to help you at any stage throughout the planning process (without fees), to ensure you make the right decisions. We want you to have a night to remember!
Happy Planning, we hope you have a fantastic event and we’ll….