Events by Divine Creations | Professional vs. Rookie... Are You Hiring the Right Vendors?
Events by Divine Creations

Professional vs. Rookie... Are You Hiring the Right Vendors?

by Valerie DiVecchio 21. July 2014 16:31
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With the dramatic increase of reality television shows, the event industry has boomed... but not in a good way.  These days it seems that anyone with a camera thinks they can be a professional photographer or someone who helped plan their best friend's wedding can be a professional wedding planner.  I easily get 5-10 resumes a week that come across my desk from individuals who planned their own wedding or maybe a friend's and the common statement is "I think it would be so much fun!".  Yes, it is fun and fulfilling, but there is a ton of hard work that must also go into planning someone's event with whom you don't have any personal knowledge.  You may not like what they have in mind, but it's their special day - not yours - so you have to learn to love it!

So how do you separate the professionals from the rookies?  I have narrowed it down to 5 simple questions for a place to start: 1) How long have you been doing this professionally; 2) is this your full-time profession; 3) do you have a business license with the city/ county; 4) do you carry insurance; and 5) on average how many weddings/ bar bat mitzvahs/ corporate functions (pick the one that matches your event) have you done in the last 12 months?  

Question #1 is obvious - hands-on experience is what makes a professional a true professional.  We all have to start out somewhere, but if you think you know it all, and can do it all, after one year in business, there's a problem.  I've been doing this 17 years and I learn new things all the time.  You can learn only so much through books, experience is what will take you to the next level.  Question #2 - if you can't support yourself with doing what you love as a profession, it's a hobby.  Unless you can dedicate yourself to improving your skills, learning new things and polishing technique 100% of the time, you just can't be all that you can be.  Question #3 - basically, if you don't have a license you're operating your business illegally.  Question #4 - all vendors should carry general liability insurance at a minimum.  Additionally, professional liability and workers compensation insurance are also a very good idea.  What if your DJ has lots of cords runnning all over where someone can trip over it?  If he/she doesn't have insurance that person who fell can sue you.  What if videographer slipped and fell because one of your guests spilled a drink on the dance floor? That's right, they could sue you.  And what if the photographer didn't take proper care of his/ her equipment and it is faulty?  That means not only do you not get your pictures, but also if you sue them, with no insurance, you won't get any compensation either.  Insurance is expensive for vendors to carry, but it's also what separates the professionals from the rookies.  And lastly question #5 - say you are planning your son or daughter's bar or bat mitzvah and the planner that you are considering hiring has never been to one, nonetheless planned one.  Will they know what the horah is?  Will they know how to coordinate the candlelighting?  Will they even understand the importance of this milestone occasion? 

Obviously getting recommendations from friends who have planned an event similar to yours is a good idea, as well as asking for additional references.  Ask to see their work.  And not just the pictures they put on their website, but photos or a video from start to finish of an event day. And don't be afraid to ask questions... you are about to pay this person a good deal of money and you want to be sure that you are selecting someone who can do the job according to your expectations and vision.  And remember what mama said, "you get what you pay for".  You can never recreate this special day so be sure you are hiring a professional.  They may cost a little more, but they are well worth it in the end!

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Valerie DiVecchio Valerie DiVecchio

President
Divine Creations

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