How to Handle Demanding Event Organizers

Not every event will go smoothly, and you need to be prepared to deal with some difficult clients
How to Handle Demanding Event Organizers

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After many years in the event industry, I have worked with some amazing event planners and some not-so-amazing event planners. Restrooms are very low on the list of important things for many event producers. It’s very common for us to be handed off to a first-year employee or, even worse, an intern. These people have very limited knowledge and sometimes have terrible communication skills. These factors always equal extra work for you.

Each event planner is different, from their planning process to the actual production of the event. Some are structured and outline a plan to the very last detail. And some are so loosey-goosey that it drives delivery drivers and dispatchers insane. 

In my opinion, the worst of these is the “Budget Cutter.” She’s the event planner who wants 500 toilets but only really budgeted for about 100. The Budget Cutter is the most frustrating planner to work with because she is setting you up for failure. You know 100 toilets are not nearly enough restrooms. They will be over-used and the lines will be long. 

You have to make this work, since your name is on the line. Your first choice is to walk away from the event. But event planners move from event to event, and production company to production company. So eventually that decision will come back to haunt you. The second option is to lower your price, so more restrooms fit in the budget. I do this a lot to make sure an event is successful.

Another type of event planner is the “Last-Minute Louie.” He calls you Thursday afternoon for a Friday morning delivery. If you take on his event, it will throw off your entire day of deliveries and pick-ups. But this event will bring in extra money that you know would be great for your company. 

If you have the restrooms sitting in your yard, try to make this work. Ask for the money up front, due to the last-minute nature of the order, and charge higher prices. These two things will justify you rearranging your other deliveries and pick-ups. It also makes you a bit of a hero for that event planner and he almost always will come back to you for his future events.

Lastly, you have the “Know It All.” This planner has been in the event industry for years and she knows everything. She does not take suggestions well and can be very frustrating to work with. For these types of planners, I try to keep all communication to email. She commonly comes back after the event, complains about a handful of things and asks for a discount. By keeping all of my communication to email, I have a solid backup of our discussions, which helps me when I am fighting for payment. 

Don’t let these descriptions frighten you. There are so many wonderful event planners and production companies out there. They are professional, put on wonderfully thought-out events, and pay well. These unicorns do exist! But bad ones do pop up from time to time and you have to be prepared to work with them.

About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.


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