Occasionally when engaging with new clients for the first time we get asked to explain and motivate our fee structure. We are completely transparent will all of our costs – indicating each and every line item in our quotations and we clearly indicate our mark-up. Here are 6 of the most frequently asked questions and answers – Hope this will shed some light on any queries you may have.
“I received a comparative quote from [so-and-so] and they come in cheaper than yours – why are you charging [x] when they charge [y]?”
Please keep in mind there are many many new decor companies popping up all the time, saturating market and offering unfeasible rates; mainly due to inexperience, undercutting the industry to try grab the market share and paying staff below minimum wage and not compensating them for overtime – none of these practices we at Ninirichi are / nor willing to entertain. We place an extremely high value on providing excellent products and service – which our quality clients have come to expect and enjoy.
This is a very demanding industry and we are all expected to work long and hard hours. We also know that we are only as strong as our team and believe our staff should be well treated, incentivised, motivated and compensated fairly to enjoy a good quality of life.
We have stood the test of time and understand the ins-and-outs of running a sustainable successful decor business. We are not running our business from our home garage and using our domestic workers to do our setups. We have big overheads running a professional well organized business with showroom, offices, warehouse, vehicles, equipment etc…, with a full quota of 14 skilled professional staff members – all which enables us to be able to provide a quality service which is expected of us.
The stock management process alone is a huge undertaking; keeping 50% of our staff members busy full time in-between events. We have a huge range of stock that needs constant upkeep, cleaning, photographing, editing, quality and quantity control, tracking bookings, packaging, storage, etc…
We have positioned ourselves as a high-end event styling business – we are not a mass party decor hiring company. Our clients come to us to provide an upmarket, high quality, En-trend and feasible decor solution for their functions.
Yes you can hire white table cloths for R40 from some party hire suppliers – but you get what you pay for! Moth eaten, horribly stained (as they have been over-used to maximize profits), cheap quality fabrics which either crease terribly or have a tacky texture and ghastly sheen. Unsightly seams joined in the wrong places which more than likely pucker due to poor fabric quality and poor mass produced workmanship.
We do not ever recommend hiring in a cloth that costs less than R100 + vat. Most cloths we recommend are R120 + vat. The life span of a quality cloth is on average only ten rentals. However, it can easily be damaged on the first rental. Considering the cost price of an average quality cloth is in the region of R500-R800 for the fabric alone (excluding sewing) and the laundry bill per rental is anything from R50-R80 (depending on stain treatment and weight of the fabric) – stocking linen is a high risk low return stock item for us. We only stock and sub-hire quality linen to ensure we can provide a polished high-end product to our clients as prefer to avoid the nasty surprised that can crop up when sub-hiring linen.
Please also consider that when different decor companies / people receive the same brief – it is highly interpretive with endless variables at play – so it can be challenging to compare apples with apples on multiple decor quotes – as most items suggested vary greatly in quality and style.
As outlined above, with the tablecloth example – quality and specific design of stock, the age of stock, the price paid for the stock originally – can and will largely impact the rental rate from supplier to supplier.
No single decor company has every single thing in-stock either and we all need to sub-hire from time to time. We have positioned ourselves as a styling service provider rather that a decor hire business – gathering all the ideal elements to deliver a harmonious and perfectly styled whole with the event objectives and budget parameters in mind. At Ninirichi we are not ever limited to only working with our own stock. We will gladly sub-hire, buy in, manufacture and even import items if a reasonable lead-time is provided. We pride ourselves in offering the best, most feasible, quality, freshest, most innovative and trend-setting solutions in the high-end eventing industry!
“Why is your setup fee higher than my other decor supplier quote I received?”
To reiterate – supplying decor quotations is highly interpretive and each business will have their own fee structure based on their overheads and targets. There is a huge difference between having a skilled experienced styling team managing your setup as compared to utilizing unskilled truck staff off-loading and randomly plonking the stock down and off they-go!
Even if we are just managing a furniture rental order on behalf of our clients – these furniture pieces need to be styled in visually pleasing configurations that fit in with the event vision, not creating clutter and congestion for traffic flow for guests and catering staff, positioning in-keeping with health and safety regulations (keeping passages clear to emergency exits) etc…
It goes without saying that more detailed setups that incorporate both furniture and decor – require skilled decor styling staff. Our staff understand the setup and clearing process backwards – dealing with load-in / load-out challenges, working alongside other expert industry suppliers negotiating timings and sharing available space, they understand the order in which the various tasks need to be tackled, the time and manpower required to meet the setup objectives, the experience and character to handle curve-balls & crisis management, a can-do attitude (as our quality clients know well – always willing to go way beyond the call-of-duty), resourcefulness, problem solving capacity, the ability to handle and manage the entire decor setup without any supervision, trustworthy with a 100% success rate, and most importantly that special Ninirichi touch that leaves a lasting quality impression.
As mentioned above – these skilled experienced styling staff members are rest assured being paid a deservedly professional rate.
Happy staff = happy supplier = stress-free experience = beautiful event = happy client = repeat business!
Having understood our stand-point – when those challenging projects arise with limited budget – we are more than willing to find a more feasible solution. Sometimes this will mean taking a financial knock by us not reaching target, negotiating with our valued suppliers’ to give us better rates on these projects, recommending more cost effective solutions – dry-hiring (collect, set-up and return the stock yourself), cutting down on the order, going for cheaper options, cutting down on supplier deliveries / selecting available stock from one supplier instead of using multiple suppliers to get all the desired items on the initial wish-list, negotiating with venues to set-up during business hours (8am – 5pm) to avoid after-hours surcharges, etc…
We pour our lives and passion into this business and really offer a quality and fair industry standard pricing structure (on a number of occasions we have been told we don’t charge anywhere near enough for our services and products – our clients recognizing the immense value we offer them and rely on us to make them look good to their respective clients).
“On your quote you charge a “styling fee” over-and-above the decor order and logistical expenses – what is this for and how do you calculate this?”
We are primarily a service driven business and for this service we need to charge a fee for our time and expertise to conceptualize, cost, plan and execute the décor plan. Unfortunately décor does not arrive at a function all perfectly planned, styled and co-ordinated without lots of work and preparation. Our stylists / project managers are experienced, talented, full of passion, creativity and enthusiasm for bringing your event vision to life. In order to provide the service we do, carry the work-load we do and cope with the industry demands and to be able to meet numerous short deadlines; we require a full quota of full time styling, management and support staff – not to mention all the office, storage, vehicles, insurance, IT expenses, etc… regardless of income or not.
We estimate how many full work days it will take a stylist to execute the plan and we charge a daily industry standard rate accordingly. In reality we spend on average double / if not triple the amount of time estimated on the quotation to prepare a function – but we endeavour to keep these costs as low as possible in order to remain feasible.
“On your quote the styling fee, setup and strike, transport costs are taking up a large percentage of my (small) decor budget – how do you justify this?”
Unfortunately on small budgets the ratio of décor to logistical fees is going to be higher than on larger orders. Basically if we are styling a function for 50 guests / 5 banquet tables or styling a function for 500 guests / 50 tables – it takes us the same amount of planning and preparation time – which is the real time consuming and skilled work. The setup on the actual day is the easy part and we may just need an extra vehicle and a few extra staff members on the day for bigger functions. Even the mileage is comparative on both small and big orders.
“In your quote there is an admin fee (blue column) of a 10% mark-up – what is this for and how do you justify this? “
Every single line item in our quote requires some level of work and incurs expense in order for us to supply it on the function day – be it management / sourcing time / phoning around, jumping in the car and hunting for it from shop to shop, preparation time and material expense, maintenance, packaging materials, transportation costs, sourcing, material costs to customize etc… This 10% covers these “administration” costs which are direct expenses to us. It does not benefit us to supply these items to our clients if we run at a loss in the process of doing so. The décor elements we source and sub-hire are not great money spinners for us at all – however, we prefer to manage and supply all the creative elements so the event styling is professionally co-ordinated and we are not presented with unwanted complications on the setup day when a client insists on supply an item and has not taken into consideration all the ins-and-outs of styling, co-ordination and setup details, skills and equipment required. We deal with these challenges on a daily basis and know how to make educated and informed decisions involving each and every little detail.
“At the bottom of your quote you stipulate a required pre-production / lead-time of [x-weeks] – if we confirm later than this why do you state that the quote may need to be re-evaluated and may go up?”
Based on experience we know how much time we require in order to execute the plan and meet the event objectives. However, if a shorter and even unreasonable time is give due to late confirmation and payment / unforeseen complications – we will may very well need to go into overtime and even employ more temporary staff, in order to be able to pull off the order. These additional expenses cut directly into our profits and prevent us from reaching target. At the end of the day we are a business that needs to remain feasible in order to keep going and keep providing the services and products needed of us.
We hope this Q&A session helps address any questions you may have had with regards to our fee structure.
We hope to have highlighted some of the challenges we face running a feasible décor business and that you have gained some insight into motivating a quality décor supplier service in your events budget. Thank you for taking the time to understand our point of view and interest in what we can offer you.
If you have any further questions please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org