How To Start An Event Planning Service

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Target Market
The Corporate Market
Broadly speaking, there are two markets for event planning services: corporate and social. The term “corporate” includes not only companies but also charities and nonprofit organizations. Charities and nonprofit organizations host gala fundraisers, receptions and athletic competitions, among other events, to expand their public support base and raise funds. Thousands of these events occur each year, and although the large ones require specialized event planning experience, you may find smaller local events to start out with.

Companies host trade shows, conventions, company picnics, holiday parties, and meetings for staff members, board members, or stockholders. There is a huge market for these types of events. According to the Convention Industry Councils 2012 Economic Significance Study, 1.83 million corporate/business meetings, trade shows, conventions, etc. took place in the U.S. alone.

The Social Market
Social events include weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, Sweet 16 parties, children’s parties, reunions and so on. You may decide to handle all these events or just specialize in one or more of them.

The market for social events, especially birthdays and anniversaries, is expected to continue to increase over the next few years, as baby boomers mature. This group has children getting married, parents celebrating golden anniversaries, and their silver wedding anniversaries to commemorate.

Startup Costs
How much money will you need to start your event planning business? That will depend on the cost of living in the area your business serves and whether you work from home or rent office space. It will also depend, to a lesser degree, on your taste and lifestyle choices.

Keep in mind that while working from home will keep your costs low, you can’t start any but the smallest of event planning business on a shoestring.

This chart lists the startup costs for two possible event-planning services. The first business is home based and has no employees. The high-end business occupies 1,000 square feet of office space. The owner/manager of this business employs a full-time junior planner and a part-time bookkeeper, as well as temporary employees who handle clerical work and who may help prepare for various events. Both owners will derive their income from pre-tax net profit. Annually, these businesses will gross $85,000 and $250,000, respectively. The startup table lists pre-opening costs for the businesses.

Operations
Few, if any, event planners have 9-to-5 jobs. By its very nature, event planning tends to involve evenings, weekends, holidays and sometimes even specific seasons. How much time you must commit to working will depend, once again, on the specialization you choose.

As a general rule, social events involve more weekends and holidays than corporate events do. Some areas of the country and some types of events have “on” and “off” seasons. However, no matter what your specialization (except parties for young children), you can count on working at least some evenings as you coordinate and supervise events. The planning of these developments, however, will be done mostly during business hours.

Operations
Few, if any, event planners have 9-to-5 jobs. By its very nature, event planning tends to involve evenings, weekends, holidays and sometimes even specific seasons. How much time you must commit to working will depend, once again, on the specialization you choose.

As a general rule, social events involve more weekends and holidays than corporate events do. Some areas of the country and some types of events have “on” and “off” seasons. However, no matter what your specialization (with the exception of parties for young children), you can count on working at least some evenings as you coordinate and supervise events. The planning of these developments, however, will be done mostly during business hours.

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