How to Start an Event Planning Business

Events hold a special place in people’s lives. They can mark milestones like weddings or birthdays. Some, like corporate gatherings, are specifically designed to strengthen connections. Events capture the emotions of your friends, family, and coworkers. They make for lasting memories.

That’s why it’s smart to start an event planning business. Plus, the median pay was $52,560 in 2022. Read on to find out how to start an event planning business.

The Event Planning Industry

The event planning industry is diverse and growing. It’s always evolving, and the demand is always increasing as technology revolutionizes the whole process. Globalization has opened it up so planners can work on multicultural celebrations and international conferences.

Today, it involves everything from exhibition and tradeshow planning to virtual event celebrations.

Choosing Your Own Event Planning Niche

Various niches are available for those learning to start a party planning business. Try to find one that lines up with your passions and expertise.

  • Virtual events include webinars that are excellent fits for tech-savvy people.
  • Sustainable-focused events look at Eco-friendly practices.
  • Destination events planners look at picturesque and unique locales. This is a good fit if you love to travel.
  • Corporate events need planners to organize business-related gatherings like teambuilding events and product launches.
  • Of course, one of the big categories is weddings.

A Closer Look at the Wedding Planning Niche

A wedding planner needs to have several balls in the air.

  1. They must be creative to satisfy a client’s entertainment and decor needs.
  2. Good wedding planners know the latest traditions, legal requirements, and trends.
  3. They are also experts in logistics, including managing seating arrangements, transportation, and guest accommodations.

Steps to Launching Your Own Event Planning Business

Read about the steps for how to start a business in the event planning niche.

Market Analysis for a Successful Event Planning Business

how to start an event planning business

A market analysis is critical and needs to include the following.

Client Profiles

Putting together a list of your target market’s budgets, preferences, and needs defines them.

A Demographic Profile

Understanding local demographics and your target market helps to influence the venues you pick. Cultural norms need to come into play.

Competition Profiles

Look at what other event planners are doing and their pricing strategies.

ElementDescriptionImportance & Influence
Client Profiles- List of target market's budgets.
- Preferences of the target market.
- Needs of the target market.
- Helps tailor your services to meet the specific needs of your clients.
- Provides insight into pricing and package options.
- Enables more personalized marketing strategies.
Demographic Profile- Local age distribution.
- Income levels.
- Cultural backgrounds and practices.
- Educational background, etc.
- Influences the type of venues and services you might offer.
- Helps in understanding cultural norms, which can influence event themes, food choices, and more.
- Can guide advertising and promotional strategies.
Competition Profiles- Services offered by competing event planners.
- Pricing strategies of competitors.
- Strengths and weaknesses of competitors.
- Identifies gaps in the market that you can exploit.
- Helps set competitive prices and package deals.
- Enables you to differentiate your business from others.

Crafting an Event Planning Business Plan

how to start an event planning business

A good business plan serves as a roadmap. Event planners can use one to identify and streamline bottlenecks in their operations.

The financial projections are invaluable because they overview profitability, expenses, and revenue.

Remember a SWOT analysis ( Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, Opportunities).

Licensing and Certifications for an Event Planning Company

how to start an event planning business

Depending on where you start your business, you might need the following:

  • An alcohol license if you plan on serving alcohol at the events.
  • A general business license is required to operate most enterprises.
  • Event planners that charge for their services need a sales tax permit.
  • You may also want to register your business name with your state. Check out our list of event-planning business names for inspiration.
  • Catering often requires a food-service permit.
License/Permit TypeDescriptionPurpose & Importance
Alcohol LicenseLicense required to serve or sell alcohol at events.- Ensures that the business adheres to local and state laws regarding alcohol consumption.
- Avoids legal penalties.
General Business LicenseA license required to operate most business enterprises.- Legally allows the business to operate within a municipality or county.
- Ensures the business adheres to local regulations.
Sales Tax PermitPermit required for businesses that sell goods or services and need to collect sales tax.- Allows the collection of sales tax on chargeable services.
- Ensures tax compliance and avoids potential penalties.
Business Name RegistrationRegistration of the chosen business name with the state.- Protects the business name and ensures no other entity uses the same name within the state.
- Gives legal proof of business name ownership.
Food-Service Permit (for Catering)Permit required to serve food, especially if the business offers catering services.- Ensures compliance with health and safety standards.
- Avoids potential health issues and legal liabilities.

There may also be other requirements, depending on where you work. Connect with local business groups or consider taking event planning courses to learn more about the requirements.

Setting Up Your Event Planning Business Workspace

how to start an event planning business

Setting up a home or office space requires some planning, too.

Location Matters

If you work from home or lease a commercial space, you need to consider room for a meeting space and your budget. Any office setup needs to comply with zoning regulations and permits.

Technology like event planning software and project management tools are important. Keeping track of your finances is easier with software like QuickBooks.

Customer Relationship Management Tools

CRM tools like HubSpot or Salesforce can make a big difference

Building a Portfolio for Your Event Planning Service

how to start an event planning business

A complete portfolio showcases your past successes and highlights your consistency. It provides an excellent networking and marketing tool. Select your best work and highlight big achievements.

Leveraging Social Media Accounts for Your Event Planning Business

how to start an event planning business

Social media is important. This platform can showcase past events with high-quality images and foster partnerships and networking.

  • LinkedIn is good for B2B networking.
  • Facebook is excellent for posting event details.
  • Instagram showcases videos and photos.

Pricing Your Event Planning Services

how to start an event planning business

Calculating your business expenses is important here. That includes labor and marketing costs. Corporate conferences and weddings have different requirements, so your pricing strategy can change for them.

Don’t forget to charge for services above the basics.

Marketing Your Party Planning Business

how to start an event planning business

A professional website needs your portfolio, a list of your services, and client testimonials. Don’t forget to consider video marketing services focusing on event planning.

Network at industry conferences and tradeshows.

Building a Network and Partnerships in Event Planning

how to start an event planning business

Printed business cards and brochures can be distributed at community centers and local businesses. Press releases help you to gain exposure.

Hosting educational workshops is great for networking and building partnerships.

Embracing Technology in Event Planning

how to start an event planning business

Technology comes in handy in many ways during event planning. Here are a few types of tools to consider:

  1. Event Management Software includes tools to create schedules, budget, and handle event registration. CRMs like Salesforce help promotions.
  2. Collaboration software like Hubspot and Zoom keeps everyone on the same page.
  3. Marketing tools like Mailchimp handle email campaigns.
  4. Live Streaming Platforms like Webex and Zoom host events.
  5. Feedback helps your event planning business improve. Think Google Forms and Google Analytics.
  6. Apps related to your niche — for example, you may use a wedding planning app like The Knot to connect and share information with clients.
Technology TypeDescriptionPurpose & Importance
Event Management SoftwareTools to create schedules, budget, and handle event registration.- Streamlines event planning processes.
- Enhances productivity and efficiency.
- Simplifies attendee management and registration.
CRMs (e.g., Salesforce)Customer Relationship Management systems for handling client interactions and promotions.- Centralizes client information and history.
- Facilitates targeted marketing and sales efforts.
Collaboration Software (e.g., Hubspot, Zoom)Platforms for team communication, video conferencing, and collaboration.- Improves team communication.
- Centralizes shared documents and information.
- Facilitates remote work and meetings.
Marketing Tools (e.g., Mailchimp)Platforms to handle email campaigns, newsletters, and promotions.- Simplifies email marketing efforts.
- Enables targeted promotions and engagement.
- Analyzes campaign performance.
Live Streaming Platforms (e.g., Webex, Zoom)Tools to host, stream, and record live events or webinars.- Expands event reach to global audiences.
- Enables virtual events and hybrid models.
- Increases flexibility for attendees.
Feedback Tools (e.g., Google Forms, Google Analytics)Platforms to gather attendee feedback and analyze website traffic.- Collects valuable feedback to improve future events.
- Understands website user behavior and interests.
Niche Apps (e.g., The Knot)Apps specific to certain event types like weddings or conferences.- Provides specialized tools tailored to the event niche.
- Enhances communication with clients.
- Provides a competitive edge in the market.

How Much Does It Cost to Start an Event Planning Business?

There are several costs.

Legal and Licensing Fees

Business registration or incorporation fees might be included. There also might be legal fees for consulting with an attorney to set up contracts and your business structure.

There are also costs for software tools for things like accounting and project management. You might need to incorporate leasing or renting costs for a physical building.

Branding and Marketing

Don’t forget branding materials like brochures and flyers. A proper logo design can be used in both print and online marketing. Put together an online advertising package that includes social media advertising and something like Google Ads.

A good website needs domain registration and includes web hosting fees.

There are a variety of other costs to look at, like utilities, insurance, and employee expenses.

Navigating Challenges in Planning Events

There are some challenges for planners like the following:

  • Event planners have clients who can ask for last-minute changes or additions.
  • They also need to handle unforeseen circumstances in outdoor events like the weather.
  • Event planners need to find quick solutions to vendor issues.

FAQs: How to Start an Event Planning Business

Are Event Planning Businesses Profitable?

Profits in the events industry depend on different factors, like a steady stream of diverse and loyal clients. Specializing in a certain niche, like weddings, will make you more money.

What Qualities are Needed to be an Event Planner?

Planners need to be meticulous and pay attention to detail. They also need to be able to work outside regular business hours and be culturally sensitive. There are tons of other event planning tips that can help this type of business thrive.

What are the peak seasons for an event planner?

Spring and summer are popular for weddings. Winter is a high-demand time for corporate year-end events.

How to start a party planning business with no money?

There is no overhead if you work from home and offer your services for free to build a portfolio. Connect with local businesses to see if they need help with special events. For example, you may learn how to plan a bar crawl and offer services to a few local pubs. By providing a positive experience, those businesses may hire you for paid gigs the next time they want to host something similar.

Image: Envato Elements

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.