One word: spreadsheets. No event planner is complete without them. However, before you start creating your Excel masterpiece, here are a few tips to help you budget for events.
At Venueseeker we find it helpful to start by pinpointing what the focus of the event is. Doing this can help you to decide what to prioritise in your budget and what is less important.
Where is your budget coming from?
Once you have your key goals written down, it’s important to work out how much cash you’ve got to play with. To do this you need to be realistic about how much money you will get from each source. Is your event guest invitation only or are they paying to be there? How many key sponsors are you sure you can get on board for a conference? All of these aspects will shape your budget, so it is important you know what financing model you are working with.
Where is your budget going?
Split your trusty spreadsheet into four categories: the item that you’re spending on; the projected expense of this item; the actual expense and then any additional comments and details you need to include.
It is important to confirm your venue as soon as possible as not only will this one of your largest costs, but it will also shape the budget for most other expenditures. For example, some costs may be included with the venue, such as sound systems. If the destination is hard to reach you may need to include extra transport costs and its size will dictate how many people you can invite.
The technology available to you is also tied in with your venue choice. The space may not allow a DJ set or it may come with cinematic screens built in for example.
Beware for extra costs in the small print
Some venues will also charge to external catering firms or it may limit the number of people that can have a seated meal. Some venues may charge for bottle corkage. All of these things will be listed in the terms and conditions of the venue, so be sure to read through them carefully to avoid any nasty surprises. This will also allow you to start filling in your catering ‘projected expenses’ and possibly some of your ‘actual expenses’ too.
What if something goes wrong?
At any event it is vital that you have a contingency fund in case of disasters. Depending on the size of your do, this could be as much as 20% of your budget. Even the most meticulous planners will experience unexpected costs that go above your projected expenses. By factoring such a heavy margin you can ensure you always work within your means.