Carpe Annum! Seize the year by taking these steps now to ensure big fiscal payoffs without sacrificing creativity, however big or small your productions will be.
By partnering early-on with a small business you could find ways for big savings throughout the year. Even though you may not have a detailed outline of everything you will need or produce in 2014, taking these “prep steps” for working closely with a company will significantly impact your budget and overall success of any show.
- Calendaring and Clustering: A good old time rap session around a calendar is the best place to start! Circle the prospective show dates and make short lists of the main things that will be needed/wanted. (Example: If you plan to do The Nutcracker in winter, you may want to list candyland backdrop, large nutcracker prop, Sugar Plum Fairy and nutcracker costume, venue, etc.)
- Print out a vendor list and connect with those you do business with the most.
- Compile a new list of small local businesses you have not utilized in the past that would supply the performance material you need.
Many companies offer loyalty programs and are more willing to provide discounts or charitable donations if they have a strong relationship with an existing client. Many businesses plan and budget for what charitable donations they can make for the year so ask early and you may receive. (Example: Grosh is a small business that offers loyalty and multi-item discounts).
Inquire with all prepared vendor lists:
- An outline of the company’s planned discounts dates for the year.
- Ask about availability ranges for specific items from your calendar clustering (especially rental items). This way you have a better sense of when you might want your show to be, avoid higher prices renting an item outside its peak season and may be able to negotiate a discount. (Example: Shrek is a very popular show with local theatres and schools. Ask your costume vendor which part of the school year these costumes are in high demand, and then negotiate a discount to rent it during low demand.)
If the vendors you frequently use do not have loyalty programs or are unable to partner with your company then:
- Ask current vendors for referrals of other companies they may have worked with or have heard good things about. (Example: Your venue has probably worked with many set designers and may provide referrals for props, advertisements and much more!)
- Go on the internet and find out who your usual vendors competition is and talk to both to try and negotiate deals when it comes to high demand and high priced items.
Taking time out delineating your year and compile vendor lists for partnership can make a huge difference in shaving your bottom line from the previous year.