Scott Shuemake volunteered as a forklift driver at the annual San Francisco Pride Parade and Festival when he was just 18 years old. Now, 16 years later, as principal at IDK Events, he and his business partner Jacob Dornan hold the contract to produce the massive show.
The San Francisco Pride Parade & Festival is famous around the world for its size, scale, and vibrancy. It takes a team of organized and motivated individuals to pull it together every year. While the San Francisco Pride Parade and Festival is by far the biggest event IDK Events is responsible for, it’s by no means the only one. IDK Events, a certified LGBT owned small business, also puts on events in several other cities. They have a reputation for knowing just what to do to pull together an amazing event, and their track record shows success after success.
Right now, IDK Events is growing—with Fundbox’s help. Business is good and IDK Events is highly profitable. Still, Scott often has to wait 6-8 weeks for the profits from the last job to reach him, but he has to pay his employees every 2 weeks. Their cash flow struggles hit most while they’re in the thick of production and expenses are both high and sometimes unexpected.
Parades and outdoor events are highly seasonal, and in the off-season (November-February), Scott and Jacob have fewer expenses and less of a need for Fundbox. In the on-season when they have to reserve spaces, pay vendors, and hire additional labor, IDK Events uses Fundbox to get the cash they need to pay their bills and put on the events that get international attention – regardless of their customers’ payment terms.
Needless to say, putting events together keeps the duo busy. While Scott coordinates the subcontractors and city services to make sure the event can go on, Jacob sells and manages the parade and exhibitor entries using a custom designed software platform. IDK Events reinvests every dollar of profit back into the company, eliminating any need for investors – a rare feat for an 18 month old company in San Francisco.
Cash flow isn’t always strong for many businesses, but the reason is a core differentiator for IDK Events. Scott explains their billing practices, which are designed with their customers’ cash flow in mind: “If you do an event with most ticket vendors, they’ll hold onto your money and deposit it whenever they feel like it. We don’t do that. When we sell a parade or festival entry on your behalf. You get your money immediately.”
While this is great for the people IDK work with, it does mean money can get tight–especially when so many checks have to be cut simultaneously to city agencies for licensing, food safety, fencing, security, sanitation, and fire permits. Fortunately, during one of those crunches in December 2014, IDK Events signed up for Fundbox, and we’ve been working together ever since.
“Sometimes we use Fundbox to clear invoices that have nothing to do with the labor to cover cash for the labor.”
If it sounds like IDK Events has a lot of outbound expenses, just wait until you hear about staffing, which can easily cost more than $10,000 for a single event. Since you can’t pay for labor with a credit card, Fundbox makes itself useful in this situation–and any other situation where IDK events has to cut a check. “Without Fundbox, IDK would be forced to change its accounting practices to the detriment of its customers and its business model.” Scott said.
Things just keep looking up for IDK Events. In 2015, Scott and Jacob thought they’d have a great year if they could just break even, but they beat their own goals and quadrupled revenue for the year by the end of September. Though profits were strong, they continue to rely on Fundbox to ensure they can maintain their great reputation for fast payments amongst their employees, contractors and vendors.
“We’re thankful to know Fundbox will have our back every step of the way as we continue to grow”
Here’s to another record-breaking year for IDK Events and San Francisco Pride in 2016!