Event Management and the DIY Dilemma

3 Factors to Consider Before Self-Managing Your Next Event

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I’m the kind of guy who likes to take home maintenance projects into my own hands. Sometimes, because I have the skills for the job; other times, because I’m stubborn. A few months ago, I decided to install a fence in my backyard. In making the call about whether I would install it myself or hire professionals to do the job, I did my due diligence. I researched different fence types, vetting each for my fencing goals and purposes, and looked into building permits. I calculated the cost of materials, and got bids from professional fence installers. When I received bids from the professionals, it was clear that I could save about 40% by installing the fence myself. This savings was a big motivator, ultimately leading to my decision to install the fence myself.

Flash forward to today. The fence is finished, proudly installed by yours truly. Now, the question can be asked: was the cost savings worth it? The answer to that question is a clear and confident no.

When all was said and done, I didn’t save 40%. It actually cost me more to take the project on myself than if I would have just hired professionals to work their magic. The three main reasons that my DIY fence project turned out to be a bad decision aren’t just relevant to backyard projects. They apply to anyone considering hiring a professional for any job, event management included.

1. (Opportunity) Cost

Will managing your own event save you money? In my fence example, the project actually ended up taking three days longer than if I had a professional do it. My time—your time—has value. Every minute you spend on one task is a minute taken away from another. It’s called opportunity cost: the cost of the lost opportunity you had to spend your time elsewhere. The amount of time spent installing the fence myself was far more costly than my 40% savings. Professional event management will cost anywhere from 20% to 40% more than doing it yourself. But that cost is worth every penny when you have an event professional managing your event.

While I was installing my own fence, another project that required my focus and attention was suffering. As a result, the quality of both my fence and my other commitment fell short. Your time is the most valuable resource you have, because there is nothing you can do to get more of it! How you use your time, and what you spend it on, is priceless. Yes, we can all take projects on ourselves, and that includes events. But is a DIY task the best use of your time at that moment?

2. Process

For many of us, casting a vision for a project comes easily. We have a dream event that we can see and perhaps even articulate. That clear vision gives us confidence that we can see it through. But it’s much tougher to not get lost in all the details of the process.

I could picture a beautiful, finished fence in my backyard. But didn’t realize the amount of detailed work it would take to complete the project. Events are the same way. As an event management professional, I often have event attendees come up to me during the party or meeting and say how much fun my job must be. And don’t get me wrong: it is fun. I love my job. But in these moments, what the guest can’t see is the detailed planning process that led to this moment.

It may seem like an easy task to install a fence or manage an event. But in reality, there are countless details that go into both projects. If you don’t have a deep understanding of the process, you’ll be faced with surprises along the way. Those surprises will ultimately equate to more costs, more time, and the worst of all: more stress.

3. Results

Curious how my DIY fence turned out? After taking more time than I thought, requiring more costs than I expected, and creating more surprises than I imagined, ultimately, I had a fence in my backyard. (One that even passed county inspections!) But it’s a fence with blemishes and faults. Yes, I ultimately had a fence. I’d even call it a good fence. But it’s not an excellent fence.

What the point? Any event that I have the privilege to manage has one goal: excellence. There is no such thing as a perfect event, but we can—and do—manage excellent events each and every day.

With both fences and events, success is considerably more likely when left to the professionals. The opportunity for celebration that events provide are vital to our communities. They serve as benchmarks for grand successes, important transitions, and symbols of gratitude. These moments should always be done with excellence. We can always take projects on ourselves. But first ask yourself, “Will I be able to achieve event excellence?” If not, delegate it to a firm that can answer that question without hesitation.

Here’s the bottom line: when it comes to events (and fences), my strong advice is to hire the professionals! When you consider cost, process, and results, it’s a no-brainer. Do your due diligence, hire someone you trust, and then let them take care of the rest.

P.S. If you’re looking to have a fence slowly installed at sub-par quality and high cost, give me a call!

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