Choosing the Right Vendors for your Company Event

By: Patricia Ernst

Lucky you! Your name was drawn and this year you have been labeled the “Party Planner.”

Choosing the right vendor or vendors can be a painstaking and burdensome task when planning a large corporate event such as a Company Picnic or Family Fun Day.

Decisions, Decisions!

You are now the quarterback and it’s Super Bowl Sunday. You have to find something fun and unique to satisfy not only your boss, but hundreds of your colleagues and maybe even their families. On paper it sounds fun, but once you start to dig into each aspect of the event, things start to get real. Finding the right caterer, entertainment company, logistics specialist, décor and arranging payments can turn this task into a full time job that requires an exhausting amount of organization and attention to detail.

Below is a short list of things to consider when selecting vendors for your big day.

Cheap vs. Expensive

Everyone knows the saying “You get what you paid for”. This could not be truer in the event industry. You have a budget that you have to stay within, but what good have you done if you come in under budget and the event is a disaster? Things to consider:

  • Do your homework! Do not be afraid to ask each vendor for references.
  • Ask about the systems and procedures the vendor has in place to ensure success.

Taking the time to sort through rental companies vs. true professional event vendors can save the day.

Customer Service and Communication

Perhaps this should be # 1 on the list. The worst vendor you can hire is the one who has you sign a one page contract and says we will see you on your event day. You never hear from them again until it is time to collect the final payment. The event planning process is very much a living, breathing creature that is constantly changing and adapting to ensure one aspect of the event fits the next. Things to consider:

  • Find a professional experienced vendor who will guide you through their process from start to finish.
  • If you call a vendor and it seems like they are taking your order at the fast food window, run away!

Communication is key! The vendor who will hold your hand throughout the process will set you up for success infinitely more than the cheap solution guys with poor communication.


Your vendor should be as ambitious as you are when trying to achieve success. A good event planner understands the value of teamwork. Things to consider:

  • When you feel each vendor has clear understanding of your vision and desire to impress…magic happens.
  • Do not be afraid to share your creative thoughts even if event planning is not your day job.

You will learn very quickly which vendors have the experience to help you achieve your goals versus those who just want that deposit check to come in.


Simply put, do not put your company or your guests at risk. Things to consider:

  • Before you discuss any specifics about what service you are looking for, ask for the vendor’s insurance certificate, run it by your legal department, and be sure they have the ability to add your company as additional insured for the event.
  • With live entertainment comes the risk of injury.

What training and safety measures does the vendor have in place to ensure a safe atmosphere for your guests?

Turn Key Solutions

While there are not a great number of Turn-Key event production companies in the marketplace, if you look hard enough, you can find a company who specializes in covering every aspect of your event. They will handle the catering, entertainment, décor, logistics and clean up. This is a great option and eliminates the burden and headache of coordinating multiple vendors. Plus, you look like the hero for pulling it together at the end of the day.

  • When speaking with Turn-Key vendors, be sure they are not simply a third party planning or marketing organization that will outsource each aspect of your event and mark the price up 30-40%.
  • Make sure the Turn-Key vendor owns their own equipment and will send out their own professional event managers to ensure the success of the event.

Keep these bullet points handy when the job of planning an event falls on your shoulders. It will make the job a lot easier, less stressful, and more rewarding!