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The MBA Bride | October 24, 2021

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Hiring vendors? 3 biz-savvy approaches to vendor evaluation

Source: Red Coral Weddings

As the bride to be, there is so much ladies have to do to plan the wedding. The knot rattles off the responsibilities like it’s no biggie. But the fact of the matter is that accomplishing all of those individuals tasks can feel incredibly overwhelming. The most overwhelming of all is hiring vendors. Things like the venue, the photographer, the videographer, the DJ, the florist – how can you possibly choose the right one?

My brilliant strategy professor, Erik Molander, presented a proposed approach to finding successful investment opportunities. His suggestions can apply directly to those business-savvy brides seeking a objective approach to hiring any vendor.

The approach is called “Conditions for Success” and it requires three things of business-savvy brides:

  1. Have a vendor investment thesis
  2. Be realistic about one-time vendor costs
  3. Agree to vendor synergies that at least one vendor owns

Your vendor investment thesis

Don’t be frightened by the “t” word. A thesis is simply an approach for your decision making. In essence, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck – otherwise known as a Return On Investment, or ROI. When hiring a vendor, you should be willing to pay more if you value their services more than other vendors or you should be looking to minimize costs if you value their services less than other vendors. Let’s be specific: if you want your reception hall to be rocking to the beat but could care less about flowers, you should be willing to pay more for your DJ or band and less for your florist. Make sure your investment thesis is specific and clear so you know exactly what you care about.

Being realistic about one-time vendor costs

Keep in mind that on your wedding day, you might not want to shell out thousands upon thousands of dollars to vendors. Although accounting- and finance-oriented pros would tell you to keep as much of your money for as long as you can so that you earn interest on the money, your mind will surely be on the thousands of dollars sitting in your bridal suite instead of having a good time. Review vendor contracts carefully and negotiate for different payment schedules so that you don’t cause yourself unnecessary stress the day of your wedding.

Agree to synergies that are owned by one or both partner vendors

Intimidating sentence, I know. But let’s break it down. Synergies = the benefits that you receive as a result of your vendors knowing one another. Specifically, if your photographer offers a video package from a partner firm, the synergies are the good vibes coming from the photographer and videographer working together on your big day, plus a discount to you.

Only believe that synergies exist when they are “owned” by one or both of the vendors. Specifically, don’t believe your videographer when she says that photographer will offer you a cheaper price unless you first talk to the photographer and they agree to the cheaper price. Either party promising a discount or additional services somewhere along the line without one person owning it is a loser’s game. Your BS detector should be sounding the alarm if someone makes an empty promise with no accountability. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. 

As long as you are truthful with yourself about your investment thesis, one-time costs, and synergies that are owned by a party, your wedding will have greater success with outrageously fantastic vendors.

What other criteria do you use when considering your vendors?

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