This is the second of a multiple part series. Click here for part 1.
Dear Event Vendors,
Here’s how to work with me on a job…
So you got my business. But that’s only the first step. Now it’s time to show me what you got. I’m going to be frank with you. It’s a crowded field out there, and I’ve got at least five more vendors standing in line, waiting to take your place. But I like you. So I’m going to give you a few tips on the best way to build and maintain a good relationship with me.
1) Be up front with me.
Please, don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Give me the truth, even if you think I’m not going to be happy. If we’re in the middle of an event, and you’re experiencing an equipment malfunction or some other kind of problem, I’d much rather know exactly what’s going on, so we can troubleshoot together, than to have you make things up, only to have it blow up in both of our faces later on. Besides, remember the story about The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf? You want me to trust you, right? We are building what could become a long term partnership, but it won’t go anywhere if I can’t believe the things you say.
2) Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
I’m relying on you to give me realistic estimates of production, delivery & installation time. I would suggest always factor in what I lovingly refer to as “crap time.” That would be the margin of error you build into how long it takes to do things like mix sound, edit pictures or video, hang artwork, hang lights, or deliver printed material. We all know that “shit happens.” Please build this into your schedule of deliverables. If you end up being early, it will be a happy surprise for both of us.
3) Make realistic estimates.
Both for the sake of cost and to ensure a proper outcome, be as accurate as you can regarding quantities of food, drink or other supplies required as well as all associated labor. Just as I need to know that you will support my time frame, I also need to know that you are calculating realistically. I have budgeted a certain amount of money for your goods and services. I need to know that I’m going to get what I require for the amount I’m expecting to spend.
4) Educate me about your process.
Help me understand the way you work and what you will need from me in order to facilitate your process. We are both learning about each other and the way we run our businesses. We need to learn one another’s priorities so that we can help one another. At least for the sake of this event, we need to think of ourselves as a team and work together.
5) Communicate with me clearly and accurately.
Remember that you are one of many vendors with whom I’m communicating for this event. I may also be juggling multiple events, so the need for absolute clarity is great. Make sure that all terms and costs are spelled out specifically in writing, via hard copy or email. Confirm that I have received all important documents such as proposals, contracts, timetables and other schedules of deliverables. Please communicate any changes in a timely fashion, and make sure that all appropriate members of my team have been included in emails. If you think that there has been any miscommunication, speak to me directly. Sometimes, subtle meanings or intentions can get lost in texts or emails, and voice to voice or in person contact is the only way to make sure everyone is on the same page. This is especially important at the beginning of our relationship.
Of course, things sometimes go awry, and I’ll be looking to see how you operate under pressure. Stay tuned for Part 3, where I share some best practices for dealing with the worst of times.