How To Start An Event Planning Business

By Kari Andrews

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If you have a passion for logistics and organization, and the ability to network and promote yourself effectively, you may have a future in the event planning industry.

You don’t need any special training or education. Although if you have a degree in hospitality, event planning or tourism, it can add weight to your credentials. You can also get certified as a special events or meeting planner, as well as read books to get a handle on event planning basics.

It will help if you enjoy thinking creatively to create a desired ambiance or impression, liaise and negotiate with suppliers, solve problems and work with a budget. If you have the time management, marketing, and organizational skills for event planning, you can start up the business with relatively little capital and equipment.

How Big Is The Event Planning Industry?

Entrepreneur reports that people around the globe spend $500 billion every year on special events.

Why Starting An Event Planning Business Now Is A Good Idea 

There are no shortage of birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, weddings, graduations, parades, fairs, conferences, meetings, product launches, political rallies, fashion shows, memorials and civic events in need of a savvy planner to oversee the logistics, organization and myriad details that go into making an event run smoothly. More and more businesses are hiring outside services to plan their events. The profit margins for event planners have risen from 15 to around 40 percent in the last few years.

Event Planning Business Facts

Here are some facts and figures about the event planning business you should consider:

Event Planning Business Startup Costs

Rent: $0 – $2,300

Equipment: $5,000 – $17,000

Inventory: $0 – $500

Licenses and Taxes: $250 – $350

Communications: $100 – $250

Payroll: $0 – $4,000

Advertising & Promotion: $500 – $2,000

Legal Fees & Accounting: $650 – $1,500

1st Quarter Insurance: $800 – $1,500

Miscellaneous: $750 – $1,500

Total Startup Cost: $8,050 – $31,110

 How much do event planners make?

An event planning service can gross between $85,000 to $250,000 per year depending on the structure of the business.

How much do event planners charge?

The size and complexity of events vary widely, so generally event planners calculate the cost of all the materials and services for any given event and then tack on a 10 to 20 percent markup as a service fee.

How do event planners find customers?

Social media and networking in the community, yellow pages, and a professional business web page. Your target markets include hotels, resorts, non-profits, conventions, country clubs, theme parks as well as brides, Fortune 500 companies, universities, and colleges.

What skills are required?

Creativity, communication, organizational and time management skills, passion for budgeting, planning and negotiating, ability to network and coordinate with suppliers and service providers for an event, a cool head under pressure, and ability to think and solve problems on the go.

What do I need to operate an event planning business?

Computer, printer, telephone, fax machine, business license, a basic stock of common party supplies, a truck or a van, social media accounts for the business, a professional website and a portfolio of your work.

Event Planning Business Ideas

Effective promotion is the key to your success and social media is gold when it comes to promoting your event planning business and landing event contracts. Use it for more than promotion, though. If you leverage your social media presence as a way to make connections and build a solid following, people are more likely to think of you and give you a call when they have an event to plan.

When you first start out in event planning, specialize on one type of event and master it. Charity balls, proms, and corporate galas are the spectacular end of the spectrum while meetings and conventions fall on the comparatively simple and straightforward end of the spectrum. Don’t try to do it all at once. On the other hand, seasoned event planner Liz King says diversification of services is important to the success of a small company. Add services one at a time as you gain experience.

Are catering services included?

Offering outdoor/indoor venue options

Struggling with what to name your event planning business? Here are a few ideas:

Perfection Catering Elegant Occasions
As You Wish Events Fabulous Fiestas
Idyllic Wedding Planners Your Day Your Way
Happily Ever After Productions Style and Class Events
Once in a Lifetime Events Abracadabra
StarStruck Productions An Event to Remember
Shooting Star Catering Enchanted Events
Dreams Come True Events Sparkle and Magic

Related Content

Event Planning by Judy Allen

Top Magazines and Publications for Event Planners



Event Manager Blog

Top 15 Event Planning Blogs, Are You Following Them?


Entrepreneur: How to Start an Event Planning Service

Event Manager Blog: How to Start an Event Planning Business from Home

The Work at Home Woman: Event Planning

Small Biz Trends: How to Start an Event Planning Business

Small Biz Trends: 42 Tips For Producing A Memorable Small Business Event


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