June 25, 2016
What does it really cost all in? These days, planning anything can be so challenging when it comes to managing a budget. I find this experience to be even more overwhelming in my beloved events industry. When I first started, I learned very early on that when planning events everything is subject to change, and one of the biggest items was the bottom line. For the most part our industry is set to send out quotes factored on base prices, and mentioning different service fees, taxes and gratuity that will be added to the final bill. In many cases these additional fees are not tallied in the quote, and they all combined can add almost another 1/3 to the price!
I remember purchasing my first new car; I had spent hours at the dealership negotiating the price, the time seemed totally insignificant, because the goal was so important! After much haggling I was able to get the prize, which fit my budget. Elated with this accomplishment, envisioning myself driving down the street in the new car, I was eager to push vision into reality. As my new best friend, the car salesman ushered me back into the accounting department of the dealership. Gone was the shiny floor, the big plate glass windows and all the beautiful polished cars. I now find myself in a small windowless room with a very nice lady, she eagerly awaits my arrival with a pile of paperwork. One by one the paperwork was reviewed, car set up fee, rustproofing fee, upgraded maintenance fee, the list went on and on. Thoroughly intoxicated with excitement and anticipation at this life-changing moment, I quickly expedited all of the paperwork thinking wow! These guys really are taking care of me. Then the bomb drops, the final document comes out and the 10% I had work so hard to negotiate, had been totally consumed along with an additional 10% in additional services, and add-ons & taxes. My heart sank as the vision of driving that new car off, seem to fade into the distance. I asked the nice lady what happened to the price? She informed me, we have honored your price and you are getting a great deal these other items. These are required costs that every one has to pay. Right away I felt thoroughly overwhelmed, and uneducated in what appeared to be such a basic process. Millions of people have cars; do they all go through this? Was I incorrect to assume that the negotiated price would be what I was paying?
Still to this day my answer is no. As time went on, I realized so many purchases are obtained through this similar process. And for the most part I have begrudgingly adjusted, and I understand how it works. Where the wheels fall off the wagon for me, is when it comes to a major purchase such as a car, a house or a wedding. These purchases are packed with so much emotion, and desire, it sometimes can cloud our better judgment. Regretfully, I feel that many companies and service providers are aware this and use it to their advantage. Right from my first day working in the special events industry, I fell in love with helping people make memories! I have had the good fortune of working with some brilliant people, they have helped me understand how to build and create, a memory that can sustain a lifetime. As time went on, I became more comfortable with the process, and realized it was not only the end result of an exceptional happening that made the moment. It is more about the journey, from the original inception, all the way to completion. The ability to manage and maintain, and hopefully exceed expectations all across the board. I soon realized that these inherent costs, that were not so clear upfront, had the ability to have an adverse affect of the overall memory. Even if the project has succeeded on all levels, but the final budget was well beyond their expectation, the lifelong memory was severely tarnished. I’ve heard people say things such as, it was absolutely in credible, mind-boggling, but we are still trying to get over how much it cost.
Even though this process is common and legal, the results can affect our memories, which to me is more valuable than anything material. I am enamored with the ease and access of information, available so freely online. I utilize online services to buy just about everything, from travel, to food, to household and office items. I like the fact that I can shop and obtain prices quickly, that are all-inclusive. From there I can make an educated decision, confident that my purchase will be 100% in line with what was represented at the point of sale. This budgetary stigma in the special events industry, although often not talked about, I do believe has played a role in many people deciding that the process is too complicated and costly. I am very proud of the fact that we have built, the first of its kind, online special events planning management and production company. That oversees all logistics from inception to completion. The system we have created, allows for clients to come in and quickly create happenings. We offer a wide array of offerings, that provide complete and accurate pricing, allowing for decisions to be made with full budgetary awareness. I realize that this process at the onset is going to deter some customers. That our prices might in some cases appear slightly higher than can be obtained elsewhere, however when all costs are tallied our competitive pricing will prevail. I feel that over-time building a reputation of being able to deliver and exceed expectations, within an agreed budget is a much better position to take. It is our goal to build a solid reputation to deliver within price points, providing a favorable alternative in the industry by building a transparent process that leads to truly magical experiences for all!