Thursday, October 15, 2015

Event Guide: Staying on Budget

Budgets are tough! No matter if it’s an event budget, a personal budget, or a business budget, restricting your spending always seems to limit the fun factor. As an event professional, keeping to a budget and calculating all the expenses is an absolute must. Your clients trust you to take their budget, provide services, and ultimately create the event of their dreams. Going over the allotted amount only leads to hurt feelings and unhappy customers.

We’ll give you an example:

Without naming names, there is a reality TV show that redesigns a person’s home to make them fall in love with it again. However, the show also takes the homeowner to view other home options if they decide to list their current house on the market. Per usual, the couple provides the designers with their budget. But it never fails, the budget is repeatedly adjusted to accommodate for extra expenses. The homeowners become discouraged, there’s usually a disagreement, and the only way to get what they want is to increase their spending.

Want to know why this happens? Although the clients have big dreams and a certain vision of what they want their house to look like, the designers never fully prepare the homeowners for the hidden fees and realistic costs of their wants.

Your clients hired you to help them stay within their event budget. Don’t give them a vision of their event you know will not work, or force them to spend more than originally planned. But that’s what we’re here forto prevent hurt feelings and crushed dreams before they happen. Without further ado, we’re proud to present this week’s event guide—staying on budget.

Quick Percentage Rundown

Based on percentages provided by our friends at theknot, here’s a quick rundown on how much of the budget is typically dedicated to each part of the event.

We find this approach to be super helpful and a great tool! However, there’s more you can do to make budgeting easier. Borrowing from our previous blog, we suggest dividing the budget up into different sections and categories. For a wedding, you have three events to plan for: the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, and the reception. Allot a certain budget for each of these events, before delving into figuring out the flower budget, food budget, etc.

An Example:

Rehearsal Dinner
Grand Budget Total: $17,000
*budget isn’t based on actual wedding.

Now that you’ve helped your clients get a budget in mind, here’s a few tips on how to get them to stick to it. 

Record, Record, Record

Recording every payment and IOU is a great way to keep on track of the budget. Luckily, if you’re an Inspherio user, you have an accounting feature built into your membership to help you monitor all payments and spending activity.

Learn all the Hidden Costs and Fees
Forgetting to factor in tips or overtime for vendors is the surest way to stumble upon bills at the end of the event. Remember there is usually someone who cleans up after the event, service charges for venues, florist’s demo costs, license fees, etc. Also, be sure to include enough money in the budget to provide gratuity for the extra help. 

Pad the Budget
The best way to avoid overages is to build in a budget safety net. We suggest earmarking at least 5% of your budget for the unknown. You might need to purchase umbrellas if it’s raining, more flowers, or cleaning supplies. You never know what could happen, so it’s best to be prepared!

3 Ways to Save the Budget
Sometimes you are given a budget that doesn’t match your client’s dream event plans. Well, we have some tips on how to work with that, too. 

What’s Important
What are the top priorities at the event? If you are helping your clients plan a wedding, their top priorities might be the venue, the catering, and a DJ. The items they can probably use less of the budget on is flowers, invitations, and the cake. Deciding on what’s most important early on can be a big money saver.

The Guestlist
The more people they invite, the more money spent. It might be tough for your clients to draw a red line through guests’ names, but it’s the fastest way to save money. We suggest having your clients sit down with the guest list over a span of several days to really think about who they want to invite. 

Instead of going for filet mignon, why not choose the sirloin? If it’s winter, choose a flower like a rose or a Star of Bethlehem instead of a sunflower. By simplifying the menu or choosing decor that’s in season, your clients will save more money.

Never let a budget scare you away from planning your client’s dream event. Give us some tips in the comment section below on how you stay under budget!

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