Six Event Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid

This guide will share six common budgeting mistakes to avoid to ensure your next event goes smoothly and seamlessly.

Everyone loves a good event. But not everyone knows how difficult — and costly — they can be to plan and execute. 

But you do.

You must consider everything from the venue and food to the entertainment and guest list. As event managers, you know that there are many factors to consider, and it can be easy to make mistakes that cost you more money in the long run. 

This guide will share six common budgeting mistakes to avoid to ensure your next event goes smoothly and seamlessly.

Mistake #1: Not Asking for Discounts

Discounts are a fundraiser’s best friend. But all too often, organizations overspend because they failed to ask for them when planning an event. 

For instance, many organizations don’t realize they can get a discount on the space rental fee for their venue if they host their event during the week instead of on a Saturday night.

Not asking for discounts is leaving money on the table that could be used to make your event even better, like investing in a mobile event app to keep attendees informed and engaged before, during, and after the event.

How to Avoid This Mistake

The best way to avoid this mistake is to ask for discounts whenever possible.

When you’re speaking with potential vendors, always inquire about any discounts that may be available. For instance, you might say, “Are there any discounts available if we book your services for a weekday instead of a weekend?”

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • For the venue: Many venues offer discounts for events held during the week or certain hours. Some may also offer a discount if you’re a nonprofit organization.
  • For the food and drinks: Caterers and restaurants may be willing to give your organization a break on the cost of food and drinks if you order in bulk or if you host your event during a slow time for their business.
  • For any other services: When renting tables, chairs, or linens, setting up audio/visual equipment, or hiring security, always ask if the company offers discounts. The worst they can say is no!

Mistake #2: Not Checking the Fine Print

Often, organizations will find what appears to be a great deal on a vendor only to realize later that the deal isn’t so great. This is usually because they didn’t take the time to read the fine print.

For instance, you may find a great deal on renting audio/visual equipment for your event, but when you get the bill, you realize that the price doesn’t include setup or breakdown. Or, you may find a great deal on catering, but you later discover that the gratuity has not been included.

How to Avoid This Mistake

Ensure you understand the terms and conditions of any deals or discounts you’re considering. If you’re unsure about something, don’t hesitate to ask questions. It’s better to clarify things up front than to be unpleasantly surprised later.

It’s key to clarify the following:

  • Total cost: Ensure you understand what’s included in the price and what’s not. For instance, find out if taxes, setup and breakdown are included in the price of renting audio/visual equipment.
  • Delivery fee: If you’re ordering food or other supplies for your event, check their delivery fee and negotiate it upfront.
  • Cancellation policy: You should always plan for contingencies such as cancellations due to events out of your control. Before signing the agreement, clarify the cancellation policy, including any penalties you may incur.

Mistake #3: Not Shopping Around

Just because you’ve used a particular vendor in the past doesn’t mean they’re the best option for your current event. It’s vital to shop around and get quotes from multiple vendors before deciding to ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal.

Even if you are set on one vendor, getting a quote from another doesn’t hurt. This way, you may be able to use the quote from the other vendor as leverage to negotiate a better price with your preferred vendor.

How to Avoid This Mistake

Whenever possible, get quotes from three or four vendors before deciding. Make sure you compare apples to apples by getting quotes for the same services.

To get the most accurate picture, give each vendor the same budget and see what they can do within that budget, so you’re making a fair comparison.

Further, look at the quote holistically. In addition to price, also consider things like:

  • Reputation: Check out online reviews to understand the vendor’s reputation.
  • Quality of service: A vendor may be willing to lower their price, but if they’re not going to provide good quality service, it’s not worth it.
  • Flexibility: Some vendors may be inflexible regarding things like delivery times or cancellations, which can create a lot of headaches down the road. So, it’s best to avoid them if possible.

Mistake #4: Not Having a Contingency Fund

No matter how well you plan, there’s always the possibility that something will go wrong. That’s why the key part of budgeting is giving yourself some wiggle room by setting up an emergency fund. This will help ensure you have the finances to deal with unexpected issues.

For instance, if you need to make last-minute changes to your event or if a vendor cancels on you, having a contingency fund will help ensure that you’re still able to pull off a successful event. 

Additionally, some guests might RSVP at the last minute, so it’s essential to have some extra money set aside to cover their expenses.

How to Avoid This Mistake

When you are in the event planning stage, set aside some money in a contingency fund. This will help ensure you have the finances to deal with unexpected issues.

Deciding the amount of money to set aside in your contingency fund can be tricky. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 10-20% of your budget for unexpected expenses.

Here are some points to keep in mind while setting up a contingency fund:

  • Decide the amount: Make sure the amount you set aside is realistic. You don’t want to save too much money, which will cut your event budget. On the other hand, setting aside too little money could leave you in a difficult situation if something goes wrong.
  • Try to predict issues: Consider the worst-case scenario when setting aside money for contingencies. This will help ensure you have enough money to cover any unexpected expenses.

Mistake #5: Not Getting Everything in Writing

Getting everything in writing will help ensure that both parties are clear on the terms of the agreement. It also provides a written record in case there are any disputes down the road. 

You might have worked with a vendor in the past and had a verbal agreement, but things can always change. For instance, if you’re renting a space for your event, make sure to get the terms of the rental agreement in writing. 

This way, there’s no confusion about the length of the rental period, the price, or any damage deposits that may be required. The same goes for any other agreements you make with vendors, suppliers, or contractors.


How to Avoid This Mistake

Here are some tips to help you avoid this mistake:

  • Get everything in writing: Make sure you get all agreements in writing, no matter how big or small, to validate that all parties are about their rights and liabilities.
  • Review the agreement: Once you have the agreement, take some time to review it carefully. Make sure that everything is in order and that you understand the terms of the agreement.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate: If there’s something in the agreement that you’re not happy with, don’t hesitate to negotiate. It’s better to get the terms of the agreement sorted out before signing anything.

Mistake #6: Not Checking References

When working with a new vendor, it’s always a good idea to check their references. This will give you some insights into their work ethic and the quality of their work.

References will give you an objective view of the vendor. For instance, a client might tell you that the vendor was constantly late or that they did a poor job. You cannot get this information if you only talk to the vendor.

Asking for references is a simple process, but it can go a long way in helping you avoid problems down the road. When you check references, ask about the vendor’s punctuality, communication skills, and overall quality of their work.

How to Avoid This Mistake

We cannot emphasize this enough – always ask for references. Here are some points to keep in mind while checking references:

  • Ask for references! This will give you a better idea of how the vendor works with clients in your industry. For instance, if you want to host a virtual event for small business owners, look for references from clients with similar requirements.
  • Don’t just rely on references: Checking them is a good idea, but you should not rely solely on them. Make sure to do your due diligence as well. A trick is to go through the social media account of the planners and see their comments – this will often tell you more details than any marketing material.
  • Follow up: Once you have the references, follow up and talk to them to get a better idea of the vendor’s work ethic and quality.

Optimize Event Organization with Yapp

We understand that organizing an event is no easy task. There are a lot of moving parts, and it’s easy to make mistakes. This is why we created Yapp – to help you organize and manage your events more effectively through a mobile event app.

Whether you’re looking to streamline communication with attendees or enhance your event’s branding, Yapp has you covered. And because we know that no two events are alike, we offer various customization options to suit your unique needs. So if you’re ready to make your next event a success, sign up for Yapp today.

You can create a personalized event app in minutes without coding or design experience with Yapp’s award-winning editor. You can use your app  to keep your attendees updated on the latest event information, send push notifications, and track their engagement.

Start your free trial today and see how Yapp can help you make your next event a success.