This blog series was inspired by industry leader Cam Petty’s fantastic talk on how to create and use SOPs in your event rental company, which she presented at Goodshuffle Pro’s 2021 Annual User Summit. To learn more about Cam and the amazing work she does, check out her companies: Render Events and Render Educate.
In previous posts we’ve talked about how important Standard Operating Procedures, a.k.a. SOPs, are to your business and how to create them. While we recommend making SOPs for all of your processes, there are five particularly important SOPs for event pros. These will help to streamline your business and establish clear expectations for your team members, so they always know what they need to be doing to move projects and tasks forward in a way that aligns with your company’s core values. SOPs can also help protect your team and company from potential disaster by giving you a plan in the event of inclement weather, delivery complications, and problem clients; in short, without SOPs your team is just winging it. Having an efficient and cohesive team will go a long way toward creating an amazing client experience!
1. Building a quote
Establishing SOPs for building quotes will quickly become a huge time-saver. If all of your team members build quotes the same way, then you’ll always know where to look for important information and notes on all of your different projects. Not only will this save you time searching for information within a quote, but it will also mean that another team member will be able to easily hop on a project and understand what needs to be done at a moment’s notice.
2. Delivery & pickup
Delivery and Pickup should be two separate SOPs. While it may be tempting to have them as one, as the process may be similar, there are different things that your crew will need to look out for on delivery vs. pickup. For example, your pickup crew may have to manage damaged items upon pickup, whereas your delivery crew may have to improvise an alternative drop off point if the original drop off location is inaccessible.
Providing your crews with SOPs specific to their responsibilities gives them approved options to take when things don’t go as planned and reduces the need for them to call when something does happen.
3. New hire training
New hire training will likely include many of your other SOPs, but should be designed so that information builds off of core knowledge. Giving a new hire all of the information they will need all at once will likely overwhelm them, so it’s best to start with the basics and build up as they learn. Like building a house, starting with a solid foundation if key for creating a structure— or in this case, a team member— that lasts.
Additionally, if a new team member has questions about processes during their training, it’s probably worth adding to your training SOP. If one person has questions about something, it’s likely that others will too!
4. Inclement weather
Weather will happen. There’s no stopping it, and often no avoiding it. That’s why it’s important to have SOPs for different types of weather and how to handle an event when weather strikes. If the planner or client you’re working with doesn’t have a plan in place for weather, ask to create one with them. If they refuse (“the forecast said it’ll be sunny!”), then having your own pre-planned SOPs will give you options in the event of a sudden thunderstorm. Because no two events are exactly the same, it may be beneficial to create a custom weather plan based on your weather SOP for each event, using your core weather SOP to get you started.
5. External communication
External communication includes any time you communicate with someone outside of your team, whether it be a client, potential client, or vendor. It includes emails, phone calls, and any sales and marketing campaigns you run. This SOP should establish any dos and don’ts for communication and inform your team members of the goals for communication under various circumstances.
While you may have specific SOPs for each department regarding communication, it does help to have a broader SOP for all event pros to set tone and expectations for your entire team.
The purpose of an SOP for event pros is to create a cohesive team by establishing understandable expectations. This will not only help create an environment where your team thrives, but will also improve the client experience. Establishing guidelines for client communication will help clients feel cared for, while having consistent quotes and projects will make sure team members can assist clients quickly and accurately. When challenges do arise, your team will have tools in place to address them— and if not, make a new SOP for it!