As part of my job I make a point to visit new vendors and make sure they are qualified for the job. Earlier this week I decided to do just that and visit a few vendors other planners were raving about. For one of these vendors the price was alluringly low and as one planner said “you just can’t pass it up”.
I must say that what I saw reminded me of my old job as a project manager in construction, were ten-year old relationships didn’t mean a thing, because five other vendors could provide the client with the same exact item specified and we would let the vendors slash their price til we could get it for what I call “dirt cheap”. The problem with dirt cheap is that there was always a catch. No matter how many scope meetings I had with the vendor to make sure he had everything in their proposal, that they knew the construction schedule or be in line with the contract terms, when it came time to perform at the jobsite…..something ALWAYS went amiss. Maybe it was that the vendor got the product two weeks later (throwing everyone’s schedule off and in construction that means major money!), or the quality that we wanted wasn’t there. In the end, the two people that really suffered was the ultimate client (usually in commercial construction there is a developer and the ultimate client the tenant) because they got a subpar product and the project manager (aka. me) dealt with a lot of stress trying to “whip” the dirt cheap vendor into shape, but somehow the developer never heard about it because they never cared, they just paid a low price.
What does this have to do with wedding planning? Dirt cheap vendors are alluring, they are in every industry, come in every vendor category and the event/wedding industry is no exception. How can you pass up on that rental chair that is going for half the price. But somewhere along the planning you will pay the price. It may be with money hiring a new vendor on the day of the event (with the rush fee added on!), the time spent to fix the mess or from the stress of unreturned phone calls. I’m not saying go hire the most expensive vendor out there, I’m saying hire the most competitive vendor for your budget and the most qualified for the job. I could go on and on about dirt cheap vendors, one thing is for sure it always hurts the industry and ultimately the client. If it’s too good to be true… it is.