Staying on budget


I’m wondering what people do to keep their events on budget. We’ve had a few examples the past six months where costs have been increased at the last minute.

  • AV Firm say seven days before the event that the cost we’ve agreed doesn’t include transport. We feel that we have no choice but t accept the extra charge or risk losing the supplier at short notice.

  • A venue manager casually says during set up, ‘should we add an extra thirty chairs to make delegates feel a bit more comfortable’ without mentioning any cost for these then charges us for the extra chairs.

  • The venue manager says during set up ‘the stage that is on the floor at the minute is bigger than the one which you ordered, is it okay just to leave it’ then charges us for using a bigger stage.

It’s normally small things, but it seems that on every event the venue throws in some last minute charges. How do other people avoid this happening?



Hi Jim, Wow… you’ve had some really bad service! Firstly, I would definitely contest the latter two charges (but maybe that’s just me).

I recently took my costs management a step further by implementing purchase orders for everything I order. Happy to explain how I did this in detail, if its of use to you. In short, I ask for a contract or quote in writing for the amount in full - then I reply with a reference for them to add to my invoice/bill. If the costs don’t match and I haven’t agreed/authorised extra… I request a credit note and politely state that the amount won’t be paid until the adjustment is received.

It took a while to get used to and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve stuck a very bright post-it note reminder on my screen to help me with this new habit :smile:

The result have been totally worth the this tiny bit of extra effort.

Hope this is of some use!



Totally agree you should kick back on those last two charges. As Julianne says, get all costs in writing and verify there won’t be any hidden charges/extra costs.

Ouch! Definitely push back on those charges and highlight the issues in your post event feedback to the venue. Generally I get quotes for everything (3 if I’m not tied into using a given supplier or don’t have a trusted supplie I can go to. Also I usually build in some contingency budget into my marketing budget. A bigger problem for me has been having my original signed off budget later slashed by the client (previously cut by up to 2/3) without much if any adjustment to the target visitor numbers/revenue!

On what basis do they do that? 2/3 is a massive reduction - that must make your job incredibly hard? What on earth can you do to make cost savings in those circumstances?