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Expectation Part 3 – The Estimate of Charges

Who doesn’t want something for nothing?

There are times, when I have considered (not so much), going in to the butchers, and asking him if I can have a really nice prime steak, and as he bags it up for me, I announce that may I will pay for it, next week. Or perhaps, next time I am shopping, I might pop in to Hackett and see if I can’t barter with the shop assistant, as I tell him that if he lets me have the suit for half price – and a little less, he has no idea the kudos it would do for Hackett – to have me be walking around in one of their suits – and they will get sooooo many more purchases from future clientele who see me wearing it.

I am not sure what it is with certain clients with whom I have worked over the years, but they certainly have gotten more ballsy when it comes to playing “hard arsed salesman” within their own right, no matter what industry they work in day to day.

So, the challenge.

You price up an event, and send the quote across to the client.  The client responds saying that it is somewhat out of their price range, but they really want to confirm with you. You review said quote (it should make no difference of course that they want to come to your venue, as they push a four star budget in to a five star location) and send it back over.

Having indicated they are likely to end up with 250 guests, they want the quote to be based on 200.
When all indications talk about beverages being free flowing through the course of the evening, they want to the quote to stipulate a per person spend way lower than you know the consumption is likely to be.

Are the bells ringing yet?

Or, as you send the quote over for a final time, they “remind you” that they also want to include a full dessert buffet and live stations within the original quote and “don’t you remember, you said this would not be a problem”


To a seasoned Events Manager, the above may sound like something you would not let get past you, but I assure you that you would be surprised at how a different version of the same scenario might – as you  recognise the fine balance that currently exists between the level of business within the market at the moment, and what you will do to win it. One of my first ever posts spoke about value – how we value ourselves and the products we represent but this is a little different, and we have to be extremely careful and remember some key points when it comes to pricing an event;

We are all part of a bigger business, one we play a part in, or own ourselves. Either way, no one can afford to be under estimating the cost of an event

Better to over estimate, and give money back, than ever think it will be anything other than a nightmare to chase for money owed post an event taking place

If a client can get away with paying less, they will. No one wants to part with $70,000 until they really have to. It’s why you have clients sign a contract, so that they can’t say they never knew the date on which the payment was required

If a client wants to argue with legal terms and conditions, there is usually a monetary reason “why” behind all the smoke and mirrors

If a credit card declines even the smallest amount, there may be no credit. Why then should you offer any?

Have an authorised credit card as a guarantee for incidentals

Estimate based on what you know, not what the client wants you to put on the pro forma / contract

BACS, CHAPS or CC – all come with an authorisation which can be verified, checked, tracked…..if a client says “I sent it” ask for verification

There are more, probably a lot more – areas we need to be careful of, and things we need to ensure we have in place, when estimating an event and then asking for money from a client.  I would love to hear some key pointers or lessons learnt from your experiences that have made you a little more steely  when it comes to hearing “I sent it yesterday”. It can actually be quite stressful, putting together an estimate, tinkering with it before sending it over to a client – and then having to chase for money as the months tick by – with the final two weeks a real battle – to clear the pre payment by the deadline stipulated.

On two occasions only in the last ten years, I have found myself one sentence away from pulling an event because the required payments had not cleared. Both occasions were weddings, and on one, we already had security on the door ready and waiting. Not a nice situation at all, and my advice would be to ensure that doesn’t happen to you.


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