Event Budgeting: Making Informed Budget Estimates

When you’re deep in the excitement of planning a new event, sometimes the last thing you want to have to think about is the B word… Budget. We get it: Nothing puts a damper on big dreams, big ideas, and big plans quite like a limited budget, but there’s no denying that developing a budget (and then sticking to it!) is key to having a successful event. After all, you don’t want to book a huge act to perform, only to find that you’ve blown the budget and now don’t have anything left to spend on things like a venue and food – definite Event Must-Haves.

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While we’ve already worked hard to cover the Basics of Event Budgeting and have even given you a few tips on How to Save a Little Money, one of the strongest skills you can develop and then hone is the ability to build an estimated budget that is both informed and as accurate as possible. Our experience has taught us that it’s near impossible to come in exactly to the Rand at the end of your event, but with these tips and tricks, we bet your final tally will be a lot closer to the estimated total than you expected – that’s the beauty of an informed estimate!

Start with honest numbers

Before you do anything else, it’s important that you sit down and look at the numbers. Like we said, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, so before you lose your head over selecting the perfect colour balloons, make a clear list of all of your expected income and expenses. Do you know how many people you’ll be hosting? Will they be paying entrance? What kind of event is it, and what will it entail? Don’t be afraid to go a little over the top here with the details – note down every single possible expense you can think of and be honest about these so that you don’t leave anything out.

Make a wish list

While you’re busy going over the top with the details, feel free to go a little over the top with your ideas. If you make an exhaustive list of absolutely everything you don’t just need but also want at the event, then you can break it down into needs and wants, and you’ll know what to prioritise. Once all the needs are covered, then you’ll be able to move onto the wants! Need a little guidance? We’ve broken down the basics of must-have vs. nice to haves.

And then overcompensate

Unfortunately, surprise costs are just an unavoidable part of what we do. With pretty much every event we take on, something ends up costing a little more than anticipated, or something happens that means you need to bring in backup at the last minute, and these costs can take their toll. So, build a little fat into your budget. There’s no need to go overboard – we’re not talking about doubling your expected expenses, but you’d definitely rather have budget available should something go wrong than have to scramble to make a plan at the last minute, so we’d recommend at least a 10-20% contingency. And if there’s something left at the end, even better!

Ask around a bit… and then a bit more.

We’re all about the obligation free quote. Don’t be afraid to shop around a little for an idea of what something might cost, and unless you have a standing relationship with a supplier who you know is definitely giving you the very best deal, don’t just accept the first quote you get. Some suppliers might give you discounts if you use them for more than one service, so be willing to have open and honest chats with them about your needs, and they might supply you. And if a quote seems either unreasonably high or unrealistically high, get a few more quotes from some other companies to compare it to. And hey, you might even end up developing a great relationship with a whole new supplier!

Consult the archive

Done an event before? Each and every event delivers a wealth of knowledge with it, so don’t be afraid to look back a little in order to move forward. What were the biggest financial learnings from your last event, and where were your biggest surprises? While each event you host will be a little different, there are always certain costs that will be relevant, so consult old budgets and use some of those as a guide where appropriate. Just don’t forget to factor in things like price increases and inflation.

When in doubt, contact the professionals

At the end of the day, we’ve been successful because we’re good at what we do. If you’re really unsure about how to build a truly informed budget, don’t be afraid to chat to your preferred event planning partner, like Worx Group. Not only can we help you to steer your budget in the right direction, but our skilled event professionals have trained eyes when it comes to recognising a great deal. Remember, we’re always here to help.

get the 2018 trends ebook here