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Summer is event season

When planning an event, it’s always good to start planning ahead of time.

There are often dozens, if not hundreds, of details to corral, so the more lead time, the better. Getting a jump on planning an event also gives the time needed to research suitable businesses and vendors — and avoid getting scammed in the process.

Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers some practical tips to people getting ready to plan their event.

Though problems may arise with even the best companies, BBB offers to assist in finding find reliable businesses.

Tips include:

•Research all facilities, suppliers and vendors at

• Watch out for estimates that are far lower than elsewhere in the marketplace. Some less than scrupulous operators will throw out low quotes just to get the business. However, when it comes time to deliver, they may leave a customer in the lurch.

• Get everything in writing. A contract protects and clearly outlines the obligations of the parties involved. If there are any changes to the agreement, make sure they are noted in the contract.

• Gather as much information as possible. Get a physical address for all vendors and the best contact information to reach them on an emergency basis, including a phone number and an email address. If a business or vendor refuses to provide any of this information, watch out.

• Be leery of being asked to pay the full amount for something upfront. Most event sites, clothiers and vendors will ask for a deposit, with the bulk of the contract to be paid later. If told a price is ‘only good’ for a very short period of time or something about an offer doesn’t feel right, it may be a good idea to go elsewhere.

• Ask for references and speak to previous clients. Also, research online reviews to get a sense of previous customers’ experiences with businesses.

• Consider making purchases closer to the date of your event with a credit card. This will offer protections if products or services aren’t delivered or if merchandise is received in damaged condition.

• Always comparison shop and get multiple estimates. This will provide an idea of the price ranges and help in budgeting.

• If there are problems, it’s always best to try to resolve them directly with the vendor first, but if that’s unsuccessful, file a complaint at

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. The BBB is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 800-646-6222.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889