With only a week left until your next big event, it’s time to give your event planners budget one last evaluation. After grouping cost figures, working out a break-even point and setting aside money for generous amounts of SWAG, the budget is finally complete. What a relief! Delicious catering, budget-friendly rentals and keynote speakers are all accounted for and it’s time for us to project our profits.
While event planners mainly focus on the big ticket items in their budgets, there are costs that often go overlooked. These costs are unanticipated, sneaky, and in the end add up, cutting into what you thought was your profit. Before you give that budget one last look, be sure to account for these 9 budget items that go overlooked in the average event planners budget.
Speakers Travel and Accommodations
Since every event you plan won’t require multi-day speakers, a common oversight in the event planners budget is overnight accommodations. Be sure to add a line item under speaker’s fees for accommodations because this cost will not be coming out of their pockets. The hotel doesn’t need to be the most expensive in town, but ensure you’re putting them up in a comfortable place near the venue. If your speaker is not walking distance from the venue, add a line item for their travel expenses to and from as well. This includes metro fares, gas, parking and Ubers if agreed upon beforehand.
The venue you choose for your event may include an in-house AV company for you to use. More often than not, the services are efficient and cover certain necessities like microphones and speakers. However, plenty of venues don’t have the best on-site lighting which makes your photographer’s job impossible!
To get those beautiful shots of guests, food and speakers, you’ll want to have a good lighting setup. By hiring an outside lighting company, you can set the tone of your event as well as get back awesome photos which can be used as marketing material in the future. Double win in my book!
Odds are, any company that is dropping off purchased or rented goods will include delivery costs. Florists, caterers, decorators, AV and more will charge for drop-off and/or pick-up to your events venue. In many cases the items you purchase or rent will cost the same to receive it. If you are hosting an event on the weekend, your costs can double easily. To maintain an accurate budget, definitely add a line item for delivery costs on your spreadsheet.
Do you plan to have open flames (ex: candles) or pyrotechnics at your event? Get that credit card (with good rewards hopefully) ready to swipe for fire permits from your host city. In San Francisco, “Depending on the type of Fire Department permit, certain regulated activities require a supplemental application, additional information, site plans, floor layout plans and proof of insurance.” This is an easy oversight on the event planners budget and can save you stress and time when done right off the bat.
You know that feeling when you’re struggling with little service and a bad WiFi? Slightly frustrated, a little annoyed and the impending thought of “are we cavemen here with this WiFi signal?”. We’ve all been there… and never want to go back. Take into account the feeling of a failing WiFi signal when you’re planning the budget for your next event. WiFi can be easily overlooked when you’re accustomed to having good connection wherever you go, it’s second nature.
When you have a good WiFi signal, you’ll be able to add cool features to your event like a live social media wall and other interactive displays. Depending on the number of attendees, size of the conference and venue space, you’ll want to put aside $5,000-$10,000 for WiFi on your next budget.
In today’s day and age, it’s easy for event planners to forget about printing costs. What I found helps my event run smoother is a printed, up-to-date RSVP list. Instead of unlocking my phone and tapping around for a few minutes for the list, a hard copy right on my clipboard has done wonders.
But will a few RSVP lists really put a huge dent in your budget? No! Definitely not. But event items like table tents and speaker handouts will if not accounted for properly. When your workshop leader sends you a handout with typos, it’s back to the printers you go.
“100 copies of these please. Stapled, double-sided”. Color printing can cost an event planner upward of $500 in last minute situations. Do yourself the favor and put money towards your contingency budget for last-minute printing costs when you are planning your next event.
As an event planner, the safety of your attendees is equally as important as how good the food is. Whether the event takes places in a busy area or at night, hiring a security team will bring peace of mind to your attendees so they can continue to enjoy your event. Many venues will require you to use their security, or you can hire a third party if there is none. Expect this line item to cost you between $40-$50 per person on the hour, while a second security office will bump the price up significantly.
What type of insurance you’ll need for your venue depends on certain elements surrounding your event. If your event is small, with no alcohol, your insurance won’t cut deep into your budget. Should you be planning a huge event with aerial entertainment, open bars and live animals, your quote is going to be a lot higher.
The term amounts for each insurance policy varies, but most venues require $500k Property Damage Liability, $1,000,000 for General Liability and $2,000,000 in the aggregate. [Maybe an external link to more description of terms for reader?]Add between $300-$500 for this line item to accurately plan for event insurance in your budget.
For new companies and nonprofits, the security deposit can be a taxing budget item right off the bat. After locking in a venue, you immediately have to fork over a few thousand dollars, all in hopes of getting a full refund in the end. It’s frustrating, but a necessity in case there is damage done during the event.
If a rental company damages a wall or guest knocks a sculpture over, you could lose your deposit entirely. Fortunately, the venue normally deducts a cleaning fee from your deposit and gives back the rest. The last and final unexpected line item that’ll pop up in your venue rental budget if left unaccounted for.
At this point you may be thinking how you will make a profit with all these added costs! Don’t stress it, you will still go home with money in your pocket at the end of an event. By taking into account overlooked items such as printing costs, security measures and venue insurance, your forecast will accurately reflect projections. In the end, we want your profits to be on point, rather than disappoint. Create an accurate event planners budget today by including these 9 line items on the spreadsheet for your next event.