Price and Value In Events

Event Planning BudgetPricing and budgets are always important when planning events. You don’t have an unlimited budget and usually one of the first questions asked of an event planner is “How much is this going to cost?”

At Pierce Events we serve three very different and distinct clients.

  1. Social event clients who are planning a private event on a limited budget.
  2. Corporate clients with larger budgets and internal and marketing goals
  3. Non-Profit clients who are looking for fund raising opportunities and a solid return on event investments

Creating a pricing structure for a variety of clients, budgets and events can be a challenge. Pricing need to work of all parties involved. Social events require a different pricing structure than corporate and non-profit events. Many social event planners charge a time based fee. Depending on the type of event a planner creates, average hourly rates vary greatly.

Corporate event planners may change a flat fee or planning and project fee based on cost and time estimates. Often we plan an event with a specific budget defined. Choices and vendors are chosen based upon the budget restrictions.

At Pierce Events, we plan and produce events from coast to coast. Our internal costs of vendors, labor and staffing varies based upon geographic location. Everything from time of the year to local tax rates can impact the cost of events.

While pricing is certainly important to most clients, choosing the lowest bidder in events is often a mistake. It’s just as important to consider value along with pricing. Spending more with an event planner or company that has experience, vendor connections and production knowledge is money well spent.

It’s important to remember that a large portion of the money paid to planners does not remain with them. From the fees we charge clients, we pay venues, vendors, equipment rental, permits and license fees among other costs.

Educated clients are often the best clients and provide for a powerful working relationship. Be sure communication is clear and your planner understands your budget and goals.

Raising Dollars – Investing in Events for Non-Profits

Fundraising Social MediaOne of our key areas at Pierce Events is non-profit events. It’s not hard to find non-profit groups that want and need to raise money and many do that through events. Yet not all are ready to bring in a professional planner. It’s important that both organizations and planners understand realistic goals, challenges and expectations.

It’s a learning process for everyone and one that must be taken seriously to be successful. If there are large committees, differing ideas, communication obstacles, objections to change and a reluctance to view an event not only as an investment, but as an ongoing marketing program, often times it becomes a disappointment.

For groups that are used to relying on volunteers and donations of goods and services, hiring and paying a professional event planner can be uncomfortable. They idea is to raise money and spending it on an event can be scary.

The time to hire a professional planner is when you are ready to go beyond a typical fundraising event. To create and grow a marquee annual event takes planning, branding, marketing, sales, public relations, sponsorship development, production, data collection and most of all … patience. The well-known, talked about, “must attend” events are the ones that have been developed over time.

The first year of marquee event is very important and not just from a financial standpoint. Media and attendees often only talk about an event after it’s over. You have to have an impact and sustain that interest throughout the year. Remember, this is an investment that has the potential to raise a lot of money over time. Most organizations see a substantial increase in funds raised with a professional event production, but the benefits go beyond that.

A key element that is often not considered when organizing a fundraising event is brand awareness and social marketing. Many of our non-profit clients are surprised at what we offer in this area. Supporters have the ability to share your event and brand to thousands of people who haven’t been reached before through social media platforms. Your logo and messaging reaches thousands of friends, families and colleagues. All of these become potential supporters.

Our services create not only amazing and fun events, but they connect supporters, volunteers and the community to the mission and message.

Not every organization is ready to make the jump to a professional planner, but the ones that carefully consider all the risks and benefits to improving existing efforts may want to consider it.

If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation please contact our office.

Pierce Events

Should You Be An Event Planner?

People are often interested in what we do as event planners and producers. We love sharing what we know, what we learn and the challenges we face along the way. We want people to be interested, because what we do is for them. We need a audience for what we do. Yet it’s rare that someone actually sees the true planning process from beginning to end.

Most people considering a career in the event industry have an interest sparked by events they were personally involved in. They planned college events, family parties, maybe a wedding. That’s a great introduction to the event world, but it’s also a very small deceiving part of it.

An event can be everything from a meeting or conference to a fundraiser, product launch or marketing effort. A good planner must be able to adapt to different personalities, budget constraints, deadlines, changes and keep track of every detail along the way. So to answer the often asked question of “what do event planners do”?…. the answer is everything.

For someone truly interested in being a part of the event industry a journey of self discovery is required. The journey never ends and you must adapt and change with each new trend, each new client and each new challenge. You have to create your own success formula, your own style and your own clients who believe in you and what you do. It’s part sales, part production and part smoke and mirrors. You can’t show anyone an event until it’s happening. The idea in your head is only seen by you, so you must find people who trust in your idea. People who trust in you.

It’s never easy and I can’t tell you how to do it. What I can tell you is this, embrace failure. It’s the best teacher there is. Abandon all hope of a normal, stress free life. You will do things and go places most people never will, but there is a price to pay for it.

Get a sense of humor and learn to laugh at the person in the mirror. Be real. Never offend on purpose, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind even at the risk of offending. Understand that you don’t want everyone as a client. Nurture your drive, confidence, patience, listening skills, always deliver more than promised and never take anyone for granted.

Those are principles for life, not just event people.

Should you be an event planner? Probably not, but you already knew that. All planners do.

Spending Wisely – Planning Your Budget

Pierce Events Pittsburgh event Planning Budget

Event Planning Budget

It’s imperative that planners do the most with the least for clients.  In our planning process we represent our clients to vendors and always seek about he best values on their behalf. We never exceed a projected budget without prior approval and we must have a darn good case to present to even ask a client to amend an agreed upon budget.  In the rare event that we do seek an increased production budget a complete explanation as to why the cost overrun exists and the benefit of the additional cost is always explained to our clients.Last year some of our national events increased in production cost for several key reasons. Rising fuel costs can have a big impact on your budget. Everything from deliveries to generators to food costs go up as the price of fuel rises.

Trust is very important in the client/planner relationship. Our client know that we explore the most cost effective options for each production and clearly understand the goals of every event. Without spending wisely, our clients would not come back to us again and again. Creating a wonderful event can be accomplished while sticking to your budget.

Often times we start of with the “Cadillac Plan” and whittle it down to the “Chevy Plan”. That’s because client like to know what the event could be but needs and wants must be sorted in the budgeting process. This is true of corporate events, weddings and any other event.

Needs and Wants are not always easily identified. A want disguised as a need can reveal itself in later stages of the event planning process. You may think you need live entertainment, but space and acoustics could limit options and push that live band into the “want” column.

Often times we must eliminate unnecessary items once the event starts to come together. Often keeping a few items on the list that can be removed without a major impact on the production provides a nice buffer for your budget.

There is always more than way to get a job done. When it comes to event services, sometimes there are non-traditional options. We have used local talent, volunteers, community groups and schools to assist in everything from entertainment to marketing.

Staying within budget requires us to value good business dealings, be cognizant of the current economic climate and understand the needs of our clients.