If you don’t have a preferred event partner the first point of call is usually the internet. The first few pages of results on a certain search engine gives a real mixed bag of suppliers. Some own their own kit, others are agents.
Geographical location is one way of narrowing your choice. Most team building companies offer a countrywide service, but usually are cost effective within around 200 miles of their location. This is, roughly, the distance that they can cover in one day without having to stay overnight which will add cost to your bill.
Large corporates often have substantial procedures covering health and safety, risk assessment and best practice. In 20 years I would say that less than 1% of companies who have contacted us as a new supplier have asked to see risk assessments and proof of insurance. We have always been surprised by this.
Some event companies specialise in corporate events and others provide corporate and stag events. There is no question that the stag event business model is very hard on equipment and that corporate specialists tend to have a better standard of kit. If you have a large, high profile event it may even be worth visiting the event company and taking a look at their standards first hand as they do vary considerably.
Ultimately the choice will come down to the suitability of the events offered, pricing and the relationship with the individual you speak to at the company.
In summary there is a lot to consider when you are organising an event. A systematic approach with checklists and notes will give you a much better chance of success and if you save your notes and pass them on to your successor for the next event your reputation will only ever be enhanced.
One of the key documents in the management of safe and successful events is the risk assessment. Essentially this document proves that every possible situation has been thought through. The sequence is a description of the activity, a list of potential outcomes along with an assessment of likelihood and the steps that have been taken to avoid unwanted outcomes. This sort of systematic approach to any project is a good basis for project management.