When calling any business to hire for your upcoming event, it is critical for you to ask the right kind of questions. For your convenience, we have listed the most important questions you should ask ANY service professional before hiring.
No matter if you are planning a wedding, party, or other type of event; minimize the chances of getting stuck with a "dud" vendor by making sure you get clear, specific answers to each of the questions below.
This is probably THE most important question you will ask. Ideally, the professional you are interviewing should have ample experience.
Why it's Important: Not only will an experienced vendor be obviously more skilled in their profession, it also ensures that they have a track record on working with other vendors and handling matters if something goes wrong.
The hiring, booking, or retaining of the majority of professional services found will absolutely merit a contract. Remember that a contract is designed to protect both you and the business, and virtually all reputable vendors will have one available for your review. If the vendor you are interviewing does not use contracts, you should seriously consider moving on to the next one on your list.
Real referrals from satisfied clients are hard to fake. If they do not have any reviews posted from previous customers, ask why not. Most reputable businesses will have at least a few reviews regarding the quality of their service.
After you are satisfied with the vendor's qualifications, price will naturally be the next highest concern when making your final determination on which professional you hire. Remember that pricing for professional services is relative, especially when you factor in experience, skill level, and reputation. The better quality (most talented/experienced/sought after) professionals will naturally cost more because their reputation and level of skill justify their rate.
What is included in specific packages will vary from vendor to vendor, so it's likely that you won't be able to compare which best suits you without first doing a little figuring. Don't make the common mistake in assuming that the lowest cost package will automatically be the best deal. Take into account that higher quotes may include services you want or are considered "must haves", but are not included in lower priced packages.
Make sure you ask what (or if) additional costs such as travel fees, setup fees, taxes, service charges, etc will be included in the final price. These costs should be itemized and clearly defined in your contract before you sign, which leads to our next question.
Sometimes life does not go as planned, and a cancellation of services is needed. Ask if the contract has a provision for cancellations. Also ask if part of your payment is refundable if you cancel before a certain date. Finally, ask if the vendor has a back up plan if something happens to them and they unexpectedly cancel.
Liability insurance protects you in case an unfortunate accident occurs on the date of your event. Reputable businesses will answer "Yes" to this question, as most "fly by night" operations do not invest in insurance.
Just like with liability insurance, reputable businesses will appear online in various ways, including Facebook, Twitter, and other forums. Less reputable businesses will tend not to participate in social media, as new customers will be able to quickly learn from the feedback posted by previous unhappy customers and stay away.
Using the questions above as a guideline will absolutely minimize the possibility of you having a bad experience ... so have fun and enjoy your event! Remember that you are the customer. If you don't feel comfortable with how any vendor responds to something you consider important, then ask them to clarify. If you still get a "funny" feeling, then your intuition is telling you to consider interviewing someone else. But if you want the best we are it no need to look elsewhere.