I was slightly frustrated in contacting another potential vendor lately. I think it's mostly because he's rather new to catering weddings in general, but he just wouldn't give me a straight answer in terms of estimating the cost, which is just so irritating. So with that in mind, here's what I look for when judging potential vendors:
- Have a website with current contact information, with email address for initial inquiry. As Becca recently wrote, there's something about needing to call someone to get a vital piece of information that makes the task seem really difficult. Welcome to a generation of people who would do everything over the internet if they could, I suppose. I'm slightly wary of how well I'd mesh with a vendor that isn't online.
- Respond quickly (a couple business days or so) to inquiries. Some people have gotten back to me within 60 minutes, but some dig up my email from their spam filter after we've already decided to go with someone else. Some people (as mentioned above) never even got back to me when they said they would.
- Being upfront about your range of rates, if not the exact package costs, results in lots of extra bonus points. Even if not on your website directly, at least when directly asked over email. It just boggles my mind why any business person would insist on meeting in person first and wasting everyone's time if it's never going to happen within our budget. I know some people are great salespeople but I don't want to be sold something I can't afford and it frustrates me when some vendors try to corner you into that position.
- Avoid using the word 'invest' to put an overly positive spin on cost. In my research I came across a lot of photographers in particular who would do this and it just kind of irritates me.
- More bonus points for actively seeking feedback. LeahAndMark.com actually sent out this survey to the clients that did not hire them to find out more about why that was the case, which I thought was really quite admirable.
- If they advertise on A Practical Wedding, that's also many additional bonus points. This is one of the best examples of targeted advertising around, in my opinion. The audience of APW does want to find these kinds of practical-minded, budget-friendly, non-WIC vendors, and Meg, bless her, helps us find them. I bet a lot of WIC-type vendors do reach out to her but she knows to turn them away, I'm sure.