We all can attest that life sometimes gives us lemons. There are times when they get dropped on us in bulk. Either it’s from results of choices we have made or from those around us. Occasionally, it’s a combination of the two. When it’s from people on the outside that are causing the adversity, there is a choice to be made, stay the course or cut loose.
As a Show Manager, part of your job is hiring people to do specific jobs for your event, from general service contractors to housing companies and AV. All these jobs play crucial supporting roles that can either make or break your entire event. How do you know if the person or company you have hired are incompatible with your needs, or neglectful? The following information will let you know when it’s time to start looking for a new partner and the hindsight you wish you before you hired them.
It’s not you, it’s them.
Warning signs usually come in small trickles. One small discrepancy here, one little excuse there. There are times when honest mistakes are made, or when things happen beyond anyone’s control. Those are the times when need to realize that we are all human and there is plenty of room for grace. Then there are times when those small trickles start to gush and before long you are knee-deep in trouble that could and should have been avoided had proper care taken place. This is when you know that you are swimming with bad company and for survival’s sake alone, a change needs to be made. Heed the following warning signs to avoid further problems:
- Deadlines are consistently being missed.
There are times when there are legitimate reasons for why deadlines need to be pushed back, and times you know you are being taken advantage of. If deadlines are consistently being dragged out with excuses piling up, you may need to do a little bit of investigating to see if how much of it is valid. Chances are most of the excuses have little to do with reality and more to do with time mismanagement and neglect.
- Your primary contact is constantly changing.
When your contact, usually the account executive, is always being replaced or shuffled, the burden is on you to explain the entire process to someone new. You have too much to do without having to catch a newcomer up to speed every year. This frequent interaction shouldn’t happen and can’t be tolerated year after year.
- Quality isn’t what it used to be.
As consumers, if a product isn’t of good quality or it’s never consistent, we take our business elsewhere. The same is true for the equipment that is used for your shows. If the quality has changed, especially if they are taking your relationship for granted, you need to let them know that it’s unacceptable. With most relationships, both parties work hard to impress each other at the beginning, and after a while, comfort starts to set in. Don’t let them get comfortable.
- Status Quo is the way to go.
When you hire a company to carry out a task there is an expectation that they are experts in their field. An important aspect of specializing in a particular field is to be continually making improvements and keeping up with innovations. If they have no idea what the current trends are, or are complacent when it comes to new ideas, find a company that won’t settle for the status quo.
- Transparency has become opaque.
Transparency in any relationship is vital. Being able to trust your partner to have those tough conversations that need to take place is what keeps your relationship above scrutiny. If your contractor is hiding inconvenient details like cost add-ons, and surprise you with extras due to gray areas in the contract, find someone else. Without trust, there is no relationship.
- Your Partner is MIA.
No news is supposed to be good news, but not when you are dealing with contracted workers. If your contractor is eager to call you with good news but is nowhere to be found when a problem arises, this is a red flag. When this occurs it’s time to have a conversation about their lack of availability. Good communication won’t be successful if it’s one-sided.
- You have been put on the backburner.
When it becomes clear that you are no longer a priority and nothing has rectified the situation, you need to find a new partner who will value your relationship. Don’t let your business be the by-product of neglect.
To help prevent any future bad hires, always present your expectations before a relationship is created. Do your homework before you hire a contractor or a company and always check references. This isn’t guaranteed foolproof, but it can potentially save you money and a major headache. With anything in life, mistakes happen and the best thing to do is let it go and move on.