If you’re excited because you found a vendor who’s willing to work for dollar-store prices while claiming they’ll deliver designer results, well then, buyer beware. For example, in my experience as a caterer, I’ve seen catering companies undercut someone else’s quote to get the job. This “competitive” pricing might have you feeling like a winner but too often I see cheers turn to tears as it becomes clear that you made the wrong choice.
There are many details that go into catering. From ordering and preparing the food to service and clean-up a caterer’s job is really never done. Each company sets its own standards for service which may not be fully defined in their contract. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for the price. From serving size per guest to the number of staff on hand, it’s important to discuss with your caterer what your quote includes. One caterer’s quote may include bartending services and trash removal whereas another may only include bartending and clean-up. Trash removal may be left for the client to handle. Leaving a very big job for you at the end of the night.
Other pitfalls to be mindful of is vendors with vague contract pricing. Often giving you an incredible quote while including “additional fees” in the fine print. Hidden fees can be added just about anywhere and if you sign a contract you will be held responsible regardless of whether you knew they were there or not. You can see how these amazing deals can snowball into amazing headaches! That is why it is important to get your services in writing as well as to read and understand your responsibility as outlined by the contract.
I’m all for price shopping to ensure you get a great deal. Just do it intelligently. When price matching ask the right questions and be cautious. I suggest making sure both vendors contracts are clear-cut and void of hidden fees. Talk to them about your expectations are regarding their roles. Discussing this in detail will help you understand what they are prepared to provide and what they expect from you. Speaking to you vendor in detail will also help you gauge the type of business person he/she is. You might find that the “higher” price is actually the better value simply for the ease of dealing with a more capable and prepared vendor. It is important you know you are comparing apples to apples when looking for a good price. If one vendor is drastically cheaper chances are there is a good reason why. Remember, as the old saying goes, “if it seems to good to be true it probably is”.