Let me tell you a story. It is 4:30 in the afternoon of an amazing day.
I have a super cute couple that will be walking down the aisle at 5:00.
My assistant and I are in the reception hall setting up the final details when a friend of the bride asks me
where the flowers for the bride and bridesmaids are.
I’m slightly perplexed as I spoke with the florist and she assured me that everything was set and ready to go. I go over to the bridal suite and look around. I see a cascading orchid bouquet that is falling apart, a few individual calla lilies and not much else.
I text the florist (this is the only way she will communicate as she has a full time job that doesn’t allow her to take phone calls during the day) and ask where the bouquets are at
and I will never forget her response –
“when I went to the wholesaler yesterday, the roses that the client wanted didn’t look right so I just substituted individual calla lilies instead.”
I was floored and the bride is almost in tears.
Communication was rough all along with this vendor, but for her to make the call to just change the order, without prior knowledge or agreement of the client was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
While I took up this huge mistake with the vendor I was driving to the local Trader Joe’s (this was a destination wedding) picked up some gorgeous white roses, created beautiful hand tied bouquets and my couple walked down the aisle on time (this is the main reason I highly recommend you hire a wedding coordinator by the way).
So there is a happy ending and a moral to the story.
Throughout the whole process this vendor was difficult to talk to, she could only meet on certain days, at certain times and would only communicate through text. She would not return phone calls, would not confirm details and was very unprofessional. She was a weekend warrior and didn’t take the commitment she made to clients, that paid her, very seriously. While not all part-time vendors are this egregious when it comes to taking care of clients, it does happen more often than not.
In the end my team was able to save the day, maintain the timeline and stave off tears and stress, but we shouldn’t have had to.
When choosing your vendors, don’t be afraid to ask the question – “Do you do this full time?” and if the answer is no find out what limits their job will place on their ability to do their job properly.
1. Limited availability
Part-time vendors usually can only meet when they are not working or do not have other life commitments. While all vendors will have limits to their availability most full time vendors will have ample options during the day and at night, during the week and on weekends.
2. Unable or unwilling to utilize all forms of communication
Part-time vendors usually cannot take personal phone calls while they are working their “real” job. They may also be limited as to when they can check and respond to emails and text messages. Full-time vendors can answer their phones whenever they are not with another client or working with another client and have fewer limitations as to when they can respond to email and text.
3. Unprofessional business approach
Part-time vendors have a tendency to skip the necessary items to running a business – business licenses, insurance, contracts, back up plans and staff. Full-time vendors know that they are holding your dreams in their hands and they want to ensure that you have every confidence in them and their business.
While my story had a mostly happy ending, the vendor never apologized for the stress and drama she caused. She didn't willingly refund any money. She didn't care and that is probably the hardest lesson that clients that hire part-time vendors may have to learn - some of them just don't care about their clients.
Full disclosure and reality check - I have worked with loads of "part-time" vendors, but you would never know that they were running their business part-time. They are fabulous!! At the beginning of my journey I was a "part-time" vendor, but none of my clients knew it. It has a lot to do with you as a person, how well you can handle multiple tasks and how you structure your business. I won't say that you have to steer clear of "part-time" vendors, but do your due diligence and understand exactly what you will be signing up for.
Happy Wedding Planning!