Compiling a Budgets Checklist for Your Meeting or Event

The good news today is that meetings and events are still happening – even in this economy. Budgets, however, are usually one of the first words you hear from a potential client. For those of you that are working on your own events, compiling a budgets checklist is a vital part and will help you get a clear picture of how much that event will cost. Or, rather, how much you can afford to spend on that particular event.

Meeting and Event Budgets Checklist Items to Be Included

In this post were going to talk about a budgets checklist for an event. The goal here is to provide you with the basic framework that you can use and tailor to your event. The purpose of the budgets checklist is to make sure you’re preparing for every aspect of the event. In other words you do not want something to pop up unexpectedly that you did not necessarily plan for when budgeting for your event.

The following items are what you would consider when hosting an event;

Transportation – if you’re providing transportation by coach, paying for parking, valet service etc.

Facility rental – if you’re using a venue exclusively quite often you will have to pay the facility rental fee to have it privately.

Additional facility costs – don’t get caught off guard. Double check to see if there are additional charges for items such as audiovisual, coat check, cleaning costs etc.

Food – many venues have a preferred list of suppliers. One tip to help keep your costs down is to check with the venue to see if they have an in-house caterer. Quite often an in-house caterer is less expensive than bringing a caterer inside even if they are on the preferred list.

Beverage – if you’re hosting a bar make sure you’re budgeting properly. An early evening function usually sees around three drinks per person. Of course the later in the evening your function is occuring chances are your consumption may also increase. Also check with the venue and/or the caterer to see if there are additional charges in obtaining special occasions liquor license.

Gratuities – do not get caught off guard as this could increase your food and beverage cost from 15 to 20%. Make sure that the prices you are being quoted include gratuities, if applicable,

Service and equipment charges – many venues do not have in-house kitchens. This can double your catering costs. If you’re looking to save on your budget I suggest you look at facilities that have an in-house kitchen as it will greatly reduce or keep your cost down. However if your venue does not have an in-house kitchen make sure you get a quote from your caterer on what the additional service and equipment costs are.

Entertainment – of course live entertainment is more expensive than recorded music. Even if you choose recorded music there are often union fees that are associated with playing such music in a public area. Not that it will blow your budget but it is an item line that you should be aware of.

Decor – I often discuss decor with clients at the very beginning. My advice is to keep your decor cost low looks for venues that offer an ambience that can fit your event and thus keep your decor cost down. However, even table centerpieces can have an impact on your budget so make sure you include that.

Taxes – no one likes to pay taxes but, like death, taxes are a certainty. Sometimes if you’re out of country you’re able to recoup any value added taxes (VAT or HST in Canada). Check with your local suppliers and even the country’s government websites for information on getting any applicable tax refunds that you are entitled to. You’d be surprised how many people do not apply for refunds that are rightfully theirs.

A budgets checklist is not necessarily an exciting part of the meeting planner’s job. However it is a vital part of doing their job correctly. If you want to avoid unexpected costs it’s recommended that you take the time at the beginning to put a budgets checklist together. You don’t want any additional cost surprises as a result of poor event planning.

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