When you’re planning an event, it’s always good to start planning ahead of time. There are often dozens – if not hundreds – of details to corral, so the more lead time you give yourself, the better off you’ll be. You don’t want to rush when it comes to your special occasion. Getting a jump on planning your event also gives you the time you need to research businesses and vendors, letting you find companies that best suit your needs – and avoid getting scammed in the process. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers some practical tips to people getting ready to plan their event.
“Every year, we hear from people who didn’t research businesses ahead of time,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “In some cases, it’s simply a minor inconvenience, but in others it’s led to special days being ruined unnecessarily.”
Though problems can arise with even the best companies, BBB is here to assist you every step of the way. To help you find reliable businesses and ensure your event is a success, here are some good tips to follow:
- Research all facilities, suppliers and vendors at bbb.org. It’s fast and it’s free!
- Watch out for estimates that are far lower than you can find elsewhere in the marketplace. Some less than scrupulous operators will throw out low quotes just to get your business. However, when it comes time to deliver, they may leave you in the lurch.
- Get everything in writing. A contract protects you and clearly outlines the obligations of the parties involved. If there are any changes to the agreement, make sure they are noted in the contract.
- Gather as much information as possible. Make sure you have a physical address for all vendors and the best contact information if you need to reach them on an emergency basis – including a phone number and an email address. If a business or vendor refuses to provide any of this information, watch out!
- Be leery of situations where you’re asked to pay the full amount for something upfront. Most event sites, clothiers and vendors will ask for a deposit, with the bulk of the contract to be paid later. If you’re told a price is ‘only good’ for a very short period of time or something about an offer doesn’t feel right, it may be a good idea to go elsewhere.
- Ask for references and speak to previous clients. Also, research online reviews to get a sense of previous customers’ experiences with businesses you’re considering.
- Consider making purchases closer to the date of your event with a credit card. This will offer you protections if products or services aren’t delivered or if merchandise is received in damaged condition.
- Always comparison shop and get multiple estimates. This will give you an idea of the price ranges and help you make a budget.
- If you experience problems, it’s always best to try to resolve them directly with the vendor first, but if that’s unsuccessful, file a complaint at bbb.org.