Creating Guideline Costings

Posted on 15/07/2013 by Chloe

It’s imperative to consider costings at an early stage to ensure you’re always in control of each event, particularly if you’re subject to a tight budget. Here’s our guide to creating guideline costs (we prefer to use spreadsheets but adjust accordingly to whatever you’re comfortable with)

Guideline Event Costing (Subject to VAT)
Event Costing Numbers Price per Head Total
* Invitations      
*   Delegate/Supplier/Organiser Packs      
* Signage      
* Seating Plan      
* Place Cards      
Transportation/Shuttle Bus      
Location/Room Hire/Ground Hire/Dry Hire      
Setup Fees      
Team Building      
Luggage Storage      
Bag Drops      
* Breakfast      
* Lunch      
* Breaks      
* Dinner      
* Refreshments      
* Canapes      
* Pre-Dinner Drinks      
* Dinner Drinks      
* Dinner      
Additional Staff      
Staff   Accomodation & Meals      
Table Centres      
* Upgrades for VIP's      
Furniture Hire       


Essentially the key is to think about all aspects you’ll be paying for or anything that needs to be covered if sponsors are involved. For each type of event there are different cost implications. We’ve tried to be semi-comprehensive with our sheet to show sample costings for a Conference/Team Building/Celebratory event.

Considering costs at this stage will also help you to get a further grasp on location if not already selected and will equally help you to determine anything that needs to be eliminated due to budgetary constraints.

Input the costings you already have after the proposal and site visit. Remember to keep in mind VAT. Some venues/suppliers quote plus or inclusive of VAT (and occasionally VAT exempt). Our suggestion is to adjust all costs accordingly on your spreadsheet so they fit in with the way you/your organisation works.

Once the known costs have been input it will allow you to see what’s left in the budget for other elements of the event. Equally if need be, this is the stage we can see if there’s further room for negotiation with the venues to fall in line with your budget. Remember to revise costs if such a thing as a venue or supplier adjusts their costings.

I like to keep a separate portable single A4 sheet of paper for extra costs. I take this everywhere so if you’re caught suddenly thinking of an extra element you need to include on your master costing sheet you can scribble it down so nothing to the best of your ability is missed. Once each extra has been incorporated onto the master cost sheet you can cross it off your extra sheet so you’re always on top of amendments. Why a single page? I like to keep additionals, including to do lists all on one page. When you’re on the phone for example and something crops up in conversation that needs to be actioned – instead of writing on a random piece of scrap paper, you know will be lost, keeping everything in one place means you know where your to do lists will be.

In terms of the room hire think about whether you need additional time to setup/theme/rehearse. Ensure it’s available for these requirements and reserve accordingly. Input the cost implication into the spreadsheet. If you’re happy to do so and able, not reserving the space for setup up until a week out will dramatically save on setup costs. Many venues will offer complimentary setup costs subject to availability if the room is not being used. In this sense, leaving it to a week out will enable the venue to judge whether they will be able to sell that space and therefore be in a position to offer it on a complimentary basis.

Another element to be mindful of is the rate inclusions. Some offer inclusive rates such as Day Delegate Rates (8 or 4 hours) and 24 hr Rates, others offer split rates so you’re paying for everything on an individual basis and others offer Dry Hire whereby you literally hire the venue as a shell and hire in the furniture such as chairs, tables etc.

I’ve also included a 10% contingency into the budget as at this very early stage all the logistics of the event may not have been firmed up so enables you to cover yourself for unforeseen eventualities.