There are a few tricks to negotiating venue costs. We’ve tracked down some tips to help event organizers keep their venue costs as low as possible.

Here are our top 5:

1. Be up front about your budget.

Many planners feel that initially being blunt about a budget puts you at a disadvantage. However, if you truly have set a budget for your venue costs this allows you to quickly cut to the chase with a possible venue. If you do have a budget in place, let the venue know a number that is lower than what your actual budget is, allowing some room for negotiating.

2. Be flexible about date and time.

Similar to buying airline tickets, the dates and times you choose for your event can dramatically effect the price. Narrowing the date down to a few different days gives you some wiggle room with pricing. Try and pick dates where the venue has a low demand as this will work to your advantage.

3. Show proof of value.

Venues are trying to make a profit off events, so it’s important to prove to them how profitable your event can be. Providing the venue with accurate headcounts, as well as reassuring all room requirements and food and beverage requirements will be met reinstates that your event is profitable to the venue.

4. Compare different venues.

Getting quotes from different comparable venues allows you to help compare costs and make sure you’re getting a good deal. Even if you have your mind set on a particular venue, competitive quotes can be used in negotiations to help drive the costs of other venues down.

5. Don’t wait until last minute.

Make it a priority to book your venue far in advance. Planning your event early gives you the most bargaining power. As the turnaround time gets shorter, you have less room to negotiate.

Following these helpful tips can keep both your costs and anxiety down. Happy planning!