Top 5 Permitting Myths, Debunked


November 13, 2018

Google isn’t always right! Save time and money with these expert tips straight from a permitting pro. 


Permitting Tips

By Jennifer Respondi, Partner
EventPermits, LLC

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in the world of permitting, nothing is more evident than this.

We’ve worked with countless agencies and brands on their permitting requests across the country and regardless of program specs, footprint, location or scale – pricing is ALWAYS one of the questions that come up. “Why is permitting so expensive? I can see online that a curb-lane permit is only $25 so why are you charging so much money?” Oy!

The first thing I want to say about this is Google is NOT a permit expert! The same can be said when “Dr. Google” will diagnose you with a terminal illness when Googling about your headache, that late nights with an international client, too much caffeine and lack of sleep probably gave you. Anyone with ‘mad’ Google skills can find what they believe to be the perfect permit online for their activation in Dallas, DC or Miami Beach so why doesn’t this approach work? The 5 reasons below may shed some light on this:

  1. Just because you’re having your event in a curb-lane, does not mean you need a curb-lane permit for your event. Depending on the city you want to be in, there are numerous categories and permits that are required for your event that may or may not include what you think you need when searching online. Each city has its own deeper regulations and departments that require approvals and/or sign off – and those are NOT listed on the website.
  2. I don’t need a permit if I’m on private property, right? Being on a private venue space eliminates a part of the process, but not everything. There are still regulations and policies that require sign-off and permits regardless of where you are. In some cases, this can be more expensive or time-consuming so don’t assume this is the best solution.
  3. Jane Doe from ABC Agency did this same type of thing in NYC, Los Angeles and Chicago last year and it didn’t cost that much! Why is it costing me this much? Depending on the location and market, every year the rules can change. What has been the status quo for years can change on a dime and take months for the process to make itself known. Unfortunately, without being on top of this, it can be weeks into the permitting process before you know you’ve gone down a dark rabbit hole and need to start over.
  4. We need a 40×40 footprint with a 15’ statue, sound and a food truck. Our budget is $5K. That’s enough for the footprint, sound permit and health permit, right? Please – before you go back to your client with a completely unrealistic budget for permitting – call the experts! We can help you set the record straight and help you to manage your client expectations with regard to what their event will actually cost – not what they ‘think’ it may cost.
  5. We don’t have the time or money to hire a permit expert, we’ll just have our staff do it. This is exactly the type of thinking that costs more money and time in the end! Your staff is GREAT at what they do, but getting onto government and city websites looking for the RIGHT permits takes the experience only the experts have. You’ve done the hard work on selling your idea through to your client; you’ve thought about production costs, travel, impact, social media, ROI and all the goodies that go with it. WHY would you step outside of your expertise into the realm of time-sucking permits? Would you want a permitting expert to put together your PR plan & media spin? Trust me, you don’t.

By working with a professional team who knows how to cut through the red tape and obtain everything you need to have a LEGAL event, you will provide your client with a successful and spectacular event. Plus- just think of all the extra zzzzz’s you can get by not worrying about whether or not you’ll get shut down or worse, get bad PR for the client you’ve been working with for months.