So what is Everything You Need to Know About Event Management Companies ?
Running an event is a huge responsibility. Year-end parties. Business meetings. Annual conferences. Weddings. These landmark events can involve hundreds of guests and a handful of speakers. They need decorations, caterers, entertainment, and more. That’s why you shouldn’t organise it alone: you need an event management company.
Event management companies exist to handle major functions.
Where most HR departments will struggle to manage such large-scale events – they simply lack the resources. Event management companies do this day in and day out. They have the expertise and experience to run an event smoothly and successfully.
In short: you’ll save money and have an event people will talk about for years.
But there remains some confusion about event management companies in South Africa.
Whether you’re looking for event management companies in Gauteng or Pretoria, we’ve answered all your burning questions.
Below we’ll discuss event managers pay, how to join the industry, how many event companies exist in South Africa and more.
How many event companies are in South Africa?
That’s a tricky question.
South Africa is a major economy with a vibrant and diverse event planning sector. According to Sort List, at least fifteen different agencies are located in South Africa.
However, that’s likely to be a significant underestimation of the true number.
Indeed, the list doesn’t even include BW Productions!
Better to consider how many event management companies exist in your area. Even estimating event management companies in Gauteng or Joburg is difficult, as each city hosts a dozen or more such companies.
Needless to say: you’re spoilt for choice.
That’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because you’ve got plenty of companies from which to pick. More choice means there’s more likely to be an event management company perfect for you.
But that’s also the downside.
How on earth do you know which one to pick?
How to choose the best event management company?
Searching for event management companies in Gauteng isn’t hard if you know what you’re looking for. You can quickly sort the good from the bad with a few simple criteria.
Follow these easy-to-follow tips:
- How many events have they finished successfully?
As with any industry, experience matters. Knowing how many successful events they’ve completed can give you a simple gauge of their experience. The more events, the more they’ve learned.
It’ll also give you an indication of what kind of events they’ve done before. Big or small. Formal or informal. Did they hire caterers, entertainment, and more?
- Use references
Word-of-mouth – it might be the single greatest advertisement of an event management company. After all, events get people talking. When managed well, they’re hard to forget.
It’s also a guarantee of high quality. If an event management company has done it before, they’ll be able to do it again.
- What are their qualifications?
While you don’t necessarily need qualifications to enter the industry, lots of event planners and managers have one. Unlike the other tips, it’s not a sure-fire guarantee for success, but it does indicate high quality.
- How are their contacts?
After working in the industry for a few years, an event management company in Gauteng should have a list of contacts. These are the people they routinely rely on – their team.
That could include caterers, bands, singers, waiters, venues, and more. These are high-quality resources that can transform an evening. You may also be able to get a special deal – as the event management company may carry the savings over to the client.
- How much will it cost?
Ultimately, for a lot of companies, the cost is the deciding factor. There’s only so much money that can be spent on a big event.
Transparency around costs and fees is therefore pivotal to understanding the final bill. Ask what the payment structure looks like.
Will you be charged hourly or a set sum? Get quotes from multiple companies. And make sure to avoid any last-minute surprise costs?
Here at BW Productions, we’re always upfront about the cost. We’ll take your initial inquiry, run through pre-production and do a walkthrough. Before finally delivering a quote that’s reflective of our services.
Not all companies are quite so honest, however.
How much does an event organiser cost?
Are there a hundred people attending or a thousand? Will there be a band? How many decorations do you want? Should the caterers serve only canapes or a full three-course meal?
These are critical questions when planning an event. But they also determine the cost of hiring an event management company.
As we’ve discussed, there are many different payment structures employed by event organisers, including:
- Flat fees
- A percentage of expenses
- An hourly rate
- A percentage of expenses plus an hourly rate
Customers often prefer either a flat fee or a percentage of expenses – as these rise proportionally with the size of the event. In contrast, an hourly rate can balloon if something goes wrong.
Often event management companies charge between 15 to 20 percent of the final expenses. For example, an event that cost ZAR 160,000 would also include an event organizer fee of ZAR 24,000 to ZAR 32,000. In contrast, a much larger event costing ZAR 300,000 would cost between ZAR 45,000 to ZAR 60,000 in event management fees.
Sounds like a lot?
Well, consider how many months of work event organizers spend putting together a big event. Even smaller events like business meetings still require venues, food, and even a speaker. All that takes time.
If you tried to do it in-house, you’d probably spend a lot more on lost employee hours. And the end results would never be as good.
Other fee structures could work similarly – putting the fee relative to the number of attendees. For example, charging ZAR 3,000 per guest. With 40 guests, the final fee would equal ZAR 120,000.
Always be aware of the nuances of these different fee structures – as they can make a comparison between companies difficult.
How much does an event planner make in South Africa?
At first impression, you’d be mistaken for assuming event planners make a small fortune. Remember, although you’re paying in lump sums – they’re doing months of work for the final payment.
But how much do event planners actually earn? What can they expect to take home when the money is finally allocated into a salary?
Well, that depends on who you ask.
According to payscale.com, the average event planner in South Africa has an average base salary of ZAR 107,129 per year. However, that ranges from ZAR 8,000 to ZAR 329,000. Naturally, the most experienced event planners will command the greatest salaries.
On top of the base salary, some event management companies in Gauteng also pay either bonuses, profit sharing, or commission.
Together that translates to a total pay somewhere between ZAR 23,000 to ZAR 459,000.
That’s quite a salary!
Indeed, at the highest end, the salary would put event planners amongst the highest paying jobs in South Africa. Roughly equivalent to a general practitioner, software developer or pilot.
Of course, not all event planners earn so much. For many, it’s an intense, all-encompassing profession with certain financial perks. Still, it is by no means the most lucrative job on the market.
Nevertheless, it’s understandable why young people would want to join the industry.
Which field is best for event management?
One of the questions we get asked most often is: how do I become an event manager? Do event management companies in Gauteng hire anybody?
It’s a fantastic question.
It’s understandable why there’s so much confusion. Unlike other professions, there’s no clear career trajectory.
In fact, there are multiple routes into the profession. Here are a few:
- Site management. Start off finding a venue that manages events. There you’ll learn the basics of running an event on the day. Ask to help out – become involved in the planning of the events. It’s all about learning and building up skills.
- Marketing. Many event managers get their first break in marketing. It’ll teach you how to manage a budget, communicate with clients and vendors, and plan events.
- Get a degree. Event management degrees will teach you everything you need to know. They’re not essential – but they can help get you your first job.
Most of all, it’s about work experience. Prospective employers want to see you’ve worked on events before. The more you do, the more experience you gain, the more impressed they’ll be.
It’s really that simple.