From time to time, I assist other planners that I know in the event industry. A few weeks ago, I was assisting at an event when my planner friend and I caught ourselves looking at each other like a deer in headlights. A client casually mentioned that they were so grateful to find a special supplier, and they proceeded to mention that they had interviewed and received quotes from 20+ other vendors before making a decision!!!

We couldn’t believe what we were hearing! What?! Who?! Why?! How does anyone have that much time on their hands? Let’s be realistic… they don’t!  They just didn’t know how to research properly and they clearly were overwhelmed with the decision making process.

This client wasted so much of their precious time, finding one vendor – I am still in shock that it’s even reality! I wanted to make sure that you don’t struggle doing the same so I’ve listed out some guidelines so you’re not stuck with too many quotes, exhaustion, confusion and a lack of direction.

Don’t waste your time on suppliers that aren’t the right fit for you. Find the right vendor for your event, faster by following the five steps below.

1. Make a “Must Have” List

For the sake of this post, let’s use the scenario that you’re looking to rent chairs. Make a “must have” list, and stick to it! Write down your budget, style of chair, and whatever else is important to you. Other things could include choosing a local vendor or specific delivery needs, maybe you require them to set the chairs up for you instead of dropping them off and leaving.

Make this list, and check it twice.

2. Do your Research

There are so many ways to find vendors but with the amount of competition out there, it can become overwhelming. Take your time doing your research.

Start with Google and make a list of 3-4 vendors that you see come up. Check out their site, social media platforms, do they have good reviews? Do you like the products that they offer? Do they have the style of chair that you’re looking for?

If all of these signs are pointing to yes, a quick phone call should help you determine if they’re someone you could see yourself working with prior to taking time to meet with them. Are they clear on the phone and do they answer your questions with ease? Are they helpful and do they offer solutions?

If they’re not able to accommodate something on your “must have” list, move on. They’re simply not the right fit for you.

3. Ask for References

Ask family, friends or colleagues. Do they have a preferred supplier? In today’s day & age its easier than ever to get references. I am not a huge FaceBook-er myself but look how fast people get responses when they post their status “Looking for a recommendation” on (blank) in (blank) city.

A reference is a strong indication that a supplier has done a great job in the past and are likely to do the same for you. Also, think of who is referring them… are they a trustworthy person? Make sure that they’ve actually used their recommendations services before.

4. Trust your Gut

What is your gut feeling when you pick up the phone and talk to this supplier? Do you get a good vibe or do you feel like they’re being pushy to get you to sign that contract before all of your questions are answered? Take a step back and take a moment to breathe. If you’re not sold, take your time.

5. Check the Contract

Did this supplier send you a contract to sign with all of the details you spoke about? Make sure, if details you agreed upon are not listed in the contract, that they are added before you sign and send it back. It is in your best interest and the suppliers best interest to provide a professional & legal contract to you where all of the terms of your agreement are clearly stated.


I hope this helps you choose the best vendor for your event and helps you avoid 20 in person interviews & quotes before you make a decision! (because no one has time for that!) Don’t waste your time meeting with everyone. If you’re looking for a supplier that you’d like to meet in person… go through this process above with and choose your top 2 or 3 choices and meet with them.

And remember, don’t be afraid to walk away if it is not the right fit.

If you’re stuck thinking “I don’t have time to go through this process, it sounds like too much” there’s always an option to hire an event planner to do the research for you and present you with your options.