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

How much does it cost to start an event planning business? Today, we’ll answer this very question! Starting your own event planning business can be an extremely lucrative and fulfilling endeavor – but it doesn’t come cheap. In order to start an event planning business, you’ll need to invest in a variety of equipment, supplies, software, office space, and marketing materials.

The good news is that we’ve done the research for you and have created an exhaustive list of all the estimated expenses associated with starting an event planning business from scratch. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how much money you need to save up and invest in your new venture!

PRO TIP: Before we get started, it’s worth knowing if YOU should start an event planning business in the first place… Check out this article to find out once and for all!

Event planning startup costs: how much does it cost to organize an event.

Now that we know you should start an event planning business, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – how much does it cost to organize an event ?

To get a better understanding of how much it costs to start your own event planning business, we’ve broken down all the estimated expenses into 8 categories:

Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of each category!

How much does it cost to start an event planning business in-post image 1

1. Event Planning Business Expenses

The first thing you’ll need to do when starting your event planning business is to choose the legal structure of your business. Will you operate as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation? The type of business entity you choose will affect how much money you’ll need to spend on formation expenses.

For example, if you decide to operate as an LLC, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with your state and pay a filing fee – which can range from $50-$500 depending on your state. You’ll also need to obtain the proper business licenses and permits, which will cost you an additional $200-$500. Finally, you’ll need to purchase insurance for your business, which can cost anywhere from $500-$5000 per year (depending on the type and amount of coverage you choose).

All in all, you should budget for at least $1000 in business formation expenses when starting your event planning business.

PRO TIP: You can save a lot of money on business formation expenses by forming your LLC or corporation online! Two common resources for this are Incfile and LegalZoom .

2. equipment + supply expenses.

In order to start planning events, you’ll need to have the proper equipment and supplies on hand. This includes items like a laptop or computer, printer, scanner, and digital camera. These can cost anywhere from $500-$2000, depending on the quality and brand of the products you choose.

You’ll also need to purchase office supplies like pens, paper, folders, and sticky notes – which will require an additional investment in the ballpark of $100-$200.

PRO TIP: You can save quite a bit of money on equipment and supply expenses by shopping for refurbished or used products online! Popular websites for this are Amazon Renewed and Best Buy Outlet .

3. software expenses.

To help you run your event planning business smoothly, it’s strongly recommended that you invest in various software programs. These can include project management software (like Asana or Trello ), accounting software (like QuickBooks or FreshBooks ), and email marketing software (like Mailchimp or Constant Contact ).

Closeup view of Male hand typing on laptop keyboard.Businessman working at office on modern notebook.Concept of digital diagram,graph interfaces,virtual screen,connections icon.Blurred

Prices for these types of software programs can range from $0-$100 per month, depending on the features and functionality you need. For example, here are the current fees associated with each of the above programs (as of May 21st, 2022):

Asana (Note: 30-day free trial offered):

Trello (Note: Premium Plan offers free trial):

QuickBooks (Note: All plans are currently on sale for 75% off + free 30-day trial offered):

For small business accounting:

For self-employed expenses:

FreshBooks (Note: Currently offering 90% off for 3 months + free trial offered):

Mailchimp :

Marketing Platform:

Website & Commerce:

Constant Contact (Note: All prices are based on number of contracts + free trial offered):

Digital Marketing Subscriptions:

Sales Accelerator Subscription:

4. Office Space Expenses

Starting an event planning company in a commercial space.

If you plan on starting your event planning business in a commercial space (such as an office suite or retail store), then you’ll need to factor in the cost of rent, utilities, and internet service into your budget.

For example, the average cost of renting a small office space in the United States is currently $600-$700 per month. Moreover, depending on your location, utilities can add an additional $100-$200 per month to your expenses. Lastly, business-grade internet service can also cost you around $50-$100 per month.

In total, you should expect to spend at least $850-$1000 per month on commercial office space rental expenses in order to start an event planning business.

Starting an Event Planning Company from Home

On the other hand, maybe you’re looking to save some money on office space rental expenses. In that case, you might want to consider running your event planning business from home !

Of course, this option isn’t for everyone. After all, some people simply prefer the structure and discipline that comes with working in a commercial space. But if you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind a little bit of extra noise and commotion in your living space, then starting your event planning business from home could be a great way to save some cash each month.

Just keep in mind that even if you do decide to start an event planning business from home, you’ll still need to factor in other associated expenses like internet service (approx. $50-$100/month) and office supplies (approx. $50-$100/month).

In total, you should expect to spend at least $600-$800 per month on office space and associated expenses when starting your event planning business from home.

Want to learn more about running an event planning business from home? This article will help you get started in 3 easy steps!

How much does it cost to start an event planning business in-post image 3

5. Website Costs

If you want to be taken seriously as an event planning business, then you’ll need to have a professional website!

Of course, you could always try to build a website yourself using one of the many DIY website builder platforms out there (like Wix or Squarespace ). But unless you have some previous experience with web design, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend this option.

Instead, we recommend working with a professional web designer to create a custom website for your specific event planning business. Depending on your needs and budget, this can cost anywhere from $500-$5000+.

Alternately, if you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution, you can always use a pre-made WordPress theme to build your event planning business website. This will still require some basic web design knowledge, but it’s a great way to get a professional-looking website up and running without spending a ton of money. Currently, WordPress offers a basic (free) plan, a $10.00/month plan, and a $29.00/month plan.

To learn more about what needs to go into creating your official business website, check out this article !

6. Advertising + Marketing Costs

As with any business, one of the key ingredients to success is advertising and marketing. After all, how else are you supposed to let people know about your event planning business and attract new clients?

There are a multitude of different ways that you can market your event planning business. However, some methods will obviously be more effective (and more expensive) than others. For example, TV commercials, print ads, and social media ads (such as on YouTube and TikTok) can be costly. However, they also reach a wide audience and can generate a lot of buzz for your business.

On the other hand, targeted online ads and social media campaigns tend to be much less expensive – but with a smaller budget will come a smaller audience reach. So, that’s definitely something to keep in mind.

Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide which marketing channels makes the most sense for your specific event planning business. But as a general rule of thumb, you should expect to spend at least $100-$1,000 per month on advertising and marketing expenses.

7. Employee Expenses

If you plan on growing your event planning business beyond a one-person operation, then you’ll eventually need to start hiring employees.

Of course, the number of employees that you’ll need to hire will depend on the size and scope of your specific business. But regardless of how many people you end up hiring, you should expect to spend a decent amount of money each month on employee-related expenses.

This includes things like salaries, payroll taxes, benefits, insurance, and other associated costs. Depending on the number of employees that you have and the type of benefits that you offer, these expenses can range anywhere from $500-$5000+ per month.

Happy group of successful company employees in office

8. Freelancer Expenses

In addition to (or instead of) hiring employees, you may also need to hire freelancers to help with specific tasks and projects.

Just like with employee expenses, the amount of money that you’ll need to spend on freelancers will vary depending on your specific business needs. However, you should generally expect to pay freelancers by the hour, and rates can range anywhere from $20-$100+ per hour.

So, How Much Does It Cost To Start an Event Planning Business?

Based on everything we’ve discussed, the total (estimated) amount that you should be saving up in order to start your event planning business is approx. $12,000+ . Of course, this number could be higher or lower, depending on a variety of factors – such as whether or not you already have some of the necessary equipment, how big/complex your website will be, etc.

At the end of the day, starting an event planning business is definitely not a cheap undertaking. However, if you’re passionate about event planning and are willing to put in the hard work, we believe it’s definitely worth it!

So, what are your thoughts? How much did YOU spend when starting your event planning business? Let us know in the comments below!

And as always, don’t forget to check out our other articles on event planning tips and advice. Thanks for reading! 😁

Become an internationally-certified event planner in just 3-6 months by enrolling in QC Event School’s self-paced, online certification training today !

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How Much Does It Cost To Start An Event Planning Business? (In 2023)

Wondering how much it costs to start an event planning business?

Here's a detailed list of an event planning business startup costs:

Learn more about starting an event planning business :

Where to start?

-> Pros and cons of an event planning business

Need inspiration?

-> Other event planning business success stories -> Examples of established event planning business -> Marketing ideas for an event planning business -> Event planning business names -> Event planning business Instagram bios

Other resources

-> Event planning business tips -> Email templates for an event planning business -> Blog post ideas for an event planning business -> Event planning business quotes

Equipment & Supply Expenses

Starting an event planning business may require purchasing some equipment, whether that's for producing the product or packaging the goods, or equipment needed in the back office.

Business Formation Fees

There are a few key costs associated with forming your business entity, such as setting up an LLC and getting trademarks, copyrights, and patents sorted.

Software Expenses

Your event planning business needs software to run efficiently!

Why spend money on software? Because it can help you save time and automate certain parts of the business, so you can focus on the most important matters. Software and technology can help you grow your business, and save you from expensive personnel costs.

Office Space Expenses

It will be your call to determine if you need office space. It is not a requirement but may be necessary as your event planning business grows.

Employee & Freelancer Expenses

Website costs.

Every business should have a website, and it's worth spending a bit of money to set it up right.

Advertising & Marketing Costs

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how much is a event planning business

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How To Start An Event Planning Business

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how much is a event planning business

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?

how much is a event planning business

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 

how much is a event planning business

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

how much is a event planning business

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

1 st 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.

how much is a event planning business

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.

how much is a event planning business

Are catering services included?

Offering outdoor/indoor venue options.

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

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1. Build a solid business plan

I can’t tell you how many small event planning businesses fail because the founder didn’t put together a business plan in advance.

Start by researching successful plans and businesses that are similar to your scope of work. Then reach out to others in the events industry who may be able to guide you! 

Reach out to others in the events industry that may be able to guide you. Click To Tweet

Even if you’ve never seen a business plan, there are plenty of resources and templates online that can get you started. Additionally, when you look to grow your business, an up-to-date business plan is vital to secure any kind of investment.

Start with the right event tools for your business

Get Started Free

2. Set a marketing budget and use a PR company when possible.

When starting your party planning business, your marketing budget may be 30% or more of your business expenses. Does that seem like a lot? Think about all the things you’ll need:

Don’t leave anything out! You will need to spend money to make money, ultimately. The goal in the early months is to secure your base of customers as quickly as possible. If you deliver on the promise of creating memorable events, your clients will stick around and recommend you. As a result, your marketing costs will start to drop.

hotel crm strategies for growth

Here’s How to Start an Event Planning Business Click To Tweet

3. Clearly define your scope of work, mission and goals for your event business.

Your event planning business may evolve over time, but even when you’re just starting out, it’s important to clearly outline what you are and aren’t willing to do. You can even put this on your website to attract the right type of clients.

When you’re still building your business, saying “no” to clients  is one of the hardest things to do. But it might save you from dealing with the kinds of customers that take up too much time and don’t offer enough value in return.

Guide: How to Create an Event Planning Checklist

4. Have your elevator speech ready.

After I set up my first events business, I had a hard time selling it to people because my 30-second pitch wasn’t refined. Make sure to spend time developing this ” it is the key to introducing everyone to your business.

Pro tip:  Don’t stress about the name of your event planning business. At the end of the day, the name of your business doesn’t matter ” as long as you produce truly memorable events. However, a catchy event business name idea might stick in someone’s brain better during an elevator pitch.

5. Do your market research

Before jumping, in I always tell people to understand their market and competitors. What is your unique value proposition? Are your fees similar to, better than or higher than others in your area? Understanding your competition and your clients will give you the leg up in this market. Don’t skip this step!

how much is a event planning business

6. Spend some time learning tax laws and business filing in your area.

No matter what kind of business you want to start, there are lots of legal pieces to understand. I spent time researching which type of business would be best for me (LLC made the most sense for my consulting business).

It’s also critical to understand the tax implications before you dive in. For example, when I moved my business from Virginia to California, I had to go through the process of dissolving the business. I should have taken more time to research other possibilities!

There’s a lot to navigate, but some great resources exist for building small businesses. Here are a few I recommend:

One of my favorite resources in Women In Events . New event planners can take advantage of our mentoring/coaching program after signing up.

Now You’re Ready to Start a Great Event Planning Business!

Have questions? We’ve got answers. Connect with @socialtables on Twitter.

Up next, here’s how to pick an event company name for your business . Or check out Social Tables free event planning tools to manage seating, meals, and so much more.

Try the event management software planners love

More tips for aspiring event planners.

Still searching for answers about starting an event planning business?

Do your research, make a plan, set a budget, define your scope of work, and throw amazing events!

You should plan to set aside at least $15,000 to $25,000 to start a small event planning business.

Event planning can be quite a profitable career choice. The best event planners will make a name for themselves and be able to charge high prices for their vision, creativity, execution, and results.

Average cost for an Event Planner ranges from $500 - $900

The average cost for a event planner is $650 . Hiring a event planner to help plan your party, you will likely spend between $500 and $900. The price of event planning can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local event planners or get free estimates from pros near you.

How much does event planning cost?

how much is a event planning business

Event planners play important roles for coordinating a variety of events from weddings to conferences alike and are useful for helping to plan any type of event that celebrates an occasion or event.

The cost of event planning can be as much as 15 to 20 percent of the cost of the event in addition to the event planner's base fee.

However, the exact cost of event planning can vary. In fact, there are several factors that can impact the cost of event planning. Here are some of the most important ones to consider:

Planning and Coordination

There are several aspects that are involved in event planning and the more detailed these plans are or the more event coordinators needed to handle the event, the more it can increase costs.

Event Planning

For example, if a wedding planner requires a team of coordinators to handle each aspect of the wedding, this can increase the cost of the event. Also, the level of assistance required for the event can also directly impact the event planning costs.

For example, Vero Beach, Florida-based event planning company Wedding Bells and SeaShells charges $875 for its basic package that includes wedding planning services and wedding ceremony coordination. But patrons can also get a full-service wedding with a reception and decorations for $3,925.

Food and Beverage

The type of food and drinks can directly impact the event planning costs. While event planners often have connections that help discount these costs, food and beverages that require more labor to make or cost more to source and transport can increase the price of event planning.

Event Planning

For instance, serving aged wine with filet mignon and potatoes with truffle sauce at an event will cost more than serving non-alcoholic beverages with chicken and rice. Moreover, the time of day can also make a difference in the type of food that is served. For example, an evening wedding reception that serves dinner only will typically cost more than a late morning or mid-day reception, where lighter portion meals can be served.


Decorations are often a key part of any event to help set the tone. However, decor can impact the price of event planning. For instance, live flowers versus faux flowers tend to cost more than faux flowers. Also, faux flowers can still cost even more than balloon decorations.


Event planners often can book entertainment that offers unique experiences for their clients. Some typical entertainment options include music provided by a live band, DJ or singer. Entertainment can also include comedians, guest speakers, face painters, artists that provide live paintings of the event or the event-goers and photo booth rentals.

Event Planning

The costs associated with these special entertainment options vary based on the uniqueness of the form of entertainment. DJs may provide a cheaper entertainment option than a harpist or string quartet since DJs are typically more common to access. However, they can cost more than live musicians.

For example, Enchanted Weddings & Events of Florida offers popular upgrades, such as a live musician starting at $499 and a DJ starting from $700.

The destination of the event can also impact the event planning price. So, it's important for patrons to inquire about additional fees associated with location.

Some event planners may require compensation that is built into their contracts to cover travel and expenses for destination weddings. Whereas others may charge a separate fee that may be variable based on mileage costs.

Also, the type of venue can impact the event planning price. For instance, a wedding's overall cost may be increased if held indoors at a five-star hotel versus an outdoor wedding venue on the beach or at a local park or restaurant.

Since many wedding planners use a fee structure that is based on the percentage of the wedding costs, this venue can significantly impact the final costs of the event. Also, the geographical location can impact costs as prices in the Northeast may cost more than the Southern part of the country.

Type of Event

Event planners often plan parties to celebrate special events, such as graduations, birthdays, anniversaries or the arrival of a baby. The type of party can impact the cost of the event. For example, a marriage proposal event coordinated by Lisa Presnell Productions can cost between $500 to $850 where full service party planning starts at $500 in addition to 15 percent of the costs of the party.

Moreover, the type of event can also impact the cost of event planning. For example, corporate events tend to have a different price structure than social events.

Corporate event planners may charge a project fee or handling charge on top of their base fees. But much of this may be due to their specialization and expertise in corporate events. For example, corporate event planners Meetings in Medicine offer specialized services, such as contract negotiation, budget development and design support, which all can impact the final price of the event.

How to Save

While event planning costs can vary and can add up quickly, there are strategies patrons can put in place to keep costs at a minimum and accessible. Here are a few tips for saving on event planning costs:

how much is a event planning business

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Party Planners on Thumbtack cost $250 - $850

Average price

How much does a party planner cost?

Aug 26, 2020

Nationally, the average cost for party planning services ranges between $500 and $750 .  Common party planning tasks include finding and booking vendors (such as catering), coming up with a vision for theme and decor, coordinating setup and cleanup, designing and installing the decorations and floral arrangements, making party favors, and coordinating things the day of the party.

Even if you're only inviting 25 kids for your son's third birthday party, it can be a huge relief to have someone else handle the decorations, setup, entertainment, and cleanup. Before you  hire a professional to help , get an estimate of how much a planner will cost and whether or not you can work it into your overall event budget.

What's in this cost guide?

Complexity of party

What are the benefits of hiring someone to plan my party?

Planning a party can be downright stressful, but most people don't even consider hiring a professional event planner for anything other than their wedding. However, hiring an event planner is more affordable than you might think and they can help coordinate any type of party, such as:

No matter what your event is, enlisting a professional for your event planning has many benefits:

Help with event planning details

An event planner will help figure out location, seating, food and drinks, and entertainment to make your event unique and a smooth and seamless production, no matter how large or small. They're experts in coordination, and know what details to consider -- even when you don't.

It saves you time and stress

Event planning can feel like a full-time job. Hiring an event planner will take pressure off you and free up your time. Instead of handling everything on your own, they will take charge of creating an event plan, coordinating vendors, sending invitations, and handling the day-of coordination.

They have access to discounts

Event planners can save you money through industry discounts and vendor relationships — often to the tune of 10% percent of more.

Get as little, or as much, planning help as you need

You don't have to hire a party planner to oversee every detail, especially if that's not within your budget. For minimal help, consult with a party planner on an hourly basis to fine-tune your theme and decoration ideas, then do the rest yourself.

For larger parties, you can hire a party planner to handle the vendor contracts, manage the caterer, coordinate with the venue, and book any entertainment — freeing you up to deal with invitations, decorations and day-of logistics.

If you want to hand off all of your event planning, you can also hire a party planner to take care of every detail: arranging food, entertainment, venue, decor, parking and transportation, bartenders and bar orders, setup and cleanup, and day-of coordination. Full-service party planning costs more, but your only job is telling the planner what you want and helping make design decisions.

What impacts the cost of hiring a party planner?

What you pay for an event planner's services will mostly depend on their rate and the complexity of the party you want to host.

You may encounter a handful of payment models when hiring a party planner. Usually, they charge per hour, a percentage of the total party budget, or a flat fee.

Hourly rate ​

Hourly rates for event planners range from under $50 to over $150 on national average. Many party planning companies offer consulting and small-scale party planning services on an hourly basis, depending on the company, their location, and experience.

Hiring a planner for a few hours is a great option for a DIY host who just needs a little extra help. For example, you might hire a coordinator to draft up a professional plan you can execute on your own or help with one specific aspect of the event—like outsourcing all the decorations for your parent's 50th anniversary party because you're short on time.

Percentages: 15-20% of event budget

For more involved party planning services, some companies charge a percentage of the total party cost. This is usually 15-20% of the event budget.

In some cases, paying a percentage instead of an hourly rate can save you money. This is especially true if the event is quite large or you use multiple party planners from the company. In general, party planners are very transparent with their pricing models, so be sure you understand what percentage you will be charged for their services.

Flat fees and commissions

Some party planners charge flat fees or commission. A fee-based party planner will meet with you in person or on the phone, evaluate your planning needs, and quote you a flat fee to accomplish all the agreed-upon tasks. If your party planner charges an hourly rate but you want to keep within a certain budget, you can cap the total number of work hours in the contract to ensure you never exceed a certain amount.

Though rare, you might also encounter a commission-based payment model, where party planners receive financial rewards from vendors for selecting them over other vendors for job event contracts. Experts generally say that party planners should not receive both an hourly rate and a commission.

The more elaborate the affair, the higher the cost for party planning services. For complex parties, planners need to supervise more vendors and orchestrate more moving parts, which results in more work and a higher rate to you. There are a few ways a party can increase in complexity:

Party planners an also be on hand in the final hours and days to make sure each detail is perfect when the guests arrive. This is why a seated formal meal for 150 people with theme-specific furniture, a live band, videographer, photographer, and shuttle transportation requires far more party planning than a children's backyard birthday party for 20.

Examples event planner costs

To give you an idea of how much you might pay to have a professional organize your next party, here are some example party costs from a Thumbtack event planner in Danville, CA:

Princess-themed, high-end children's party: $2,000-$2,500 total budget

Western-themed party: $23,400-$24,400 total budget

"Mad Men"-themed birthday party: $20,000 total budget

Tips for hiring a party planner

Before you hire a professional to handle all of your next event planning needs, be sure to:

The overall cost of a party will often be higher if you hire a party planner, but their service brings expertise, vendor connections, and time savings. If you're ready to get an expert's insights for your next event, find an  event and party planner near you  on Thumbtack.

Millions of people ask Thumbtack for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, conduct our own research and then we share those prices with you. The prices reflected in the article above are for informational purposes only and are subject to change at any time. Contact a professional near you to receive a personalized cost estimate for your project.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Charging for your Event Planning Service (Updated for 2023)

Published by eventcertificate on.

Let me ask you a few questions about charging:

Do you ever wonder how much to charge clients for your event planning service? Have you ever felt like you might be charging more/less per hour to plan an event? How often do you say “yes” to working with a low paying client and then regret it later?

Charging for your event planning service pinterest

Pricing can be a complicated thing to figure out for event planners. But it doesn’t have to be. What you charge will vary according to the event, the demand for your service, and your location (to name a few). My goal is to help event planners build, launch and grow their businesses. I’m here to show you exactly how to win the pricing game and finally be able to charge your clients with confidence.

I’ll be showing you step-by-step how to determine an hourly rate for your event planning service.

The most important thing to know when pricing, is that charging for your event planning service is not magic, it’s math.

Also included is a handy worksheet that will help you to develop a baseline for creating other pricing structures such as flat rate pricing and event planning packages. Here are the exact steps to get started:

STEP 1: Research what your Competitors are Charging

Just like you price match when shopping, event planning customers do the same. What your competitors are charging will affect how much customers are willing to pay for your services. The idea here is to not copy your competitor’s pricing but to use this information to inform your own pricing calculation. This is one of the best ways to gauge where your fees should start.

How can you confidently say you are the most reasonably priced or the best value if you are not aware of what you’re up against? Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Before you settle on a price for your services, call around and find out what other event planners in your area are charging.

According to industry expert Patty Sachs , event planners make anywhere from $12 to $75 per hour, plus vendor commissions.

Once you have done your research list the three (3) most common prices quoted by event planners in your area.

event planner charging competitor

Now that you have your three (3) comparison prices, sit with these prices for a moment and try to determine where your price should fall. Think about the ranges above, your skills, experience, and knowledge, and pick a price.  

You read correctly, just select a number that would work for you – I promise you there is a method to this madness.

Remember to never price your services lower than the range above. It might seem like a good idea if you are new to the industry; however, it takes just as much effort to plan a wedding at $25 per hour as it does at $75 per hour.

how much is a event planning business

STEP 2: Determine Your Ideal Salary

Even if you don’t end up using an hourly pricing structure, you should always be able to easily answer the question:

“How much is an hour of your time worth?”

To determine this, start by asking yourself how much you want (or need) to make each year. From there, you can easily determine what your ideal hourly rate should be.

The average event planner works 50-60 hours per week. That is equal to approximately 3000 hours in a work year, assuming a two (2) week vacation.

(50 weeks x 60 hours per week = 3000 hours)

To determine your minimum hourly rate, take your ideal annual salary and divide by 3000. For example, if you want to earn $75,000 a year, you should charge a minimum of $25/hour. This would be the lowest price you could charge.

($75,000 / 3000 = $25)

Go ahead and try it out on your own. Take the ideal salary number in the second column below and divide it by the number of hours in the first column to calculate your hourly rate. Try a few different options to see where your idealy hourly rate should fall.

event planner charging 2

STEP 3: Determine your Realistic Hourly Rate

Now that we have calculated the lowest satisfactory rate that sufficiently values your time (Step 2), let’s take it up a notch.

If you are a single-person operation it will be almost impossible to work on events for 60 hours a week, 10 hours per day (assuming 1 day off during a 7 day work week). In fact, most entrepreneurs find that only about 50% of their time is actually billable (at 10 hours that is equal to 5 hours per day), while the other 50% is spent looking for new business, managing clients and taking care of the administration of the business. That means if you still wish to make $75,000/year, you will need to increase your rate, you should be charging at least $50/hour.

(3000 x 50%) = 1500 x ($50) = $75,000

Go ahead and try it out on your own. Take the ideal salary number in the second column below and divide it by the number of hours in the first column to calculate your realistic hourly rate. Try out a few ideal salary options to get a better idea of where you would like to be.

event planner charging 3

You now have the formula needed to determine your rate and obtain your ideal salary, or set your ideal work hours and use this to determine your best rate. Now let’s adjust for costs.

STEP 4: Add in your Costs

Once you have determined how much you want to make each year, you will have to do a little math and calculate your operating costs. Take a moment to think about all of the costs that you will have to cover, from indirect costs such as your Internet, website operating cost, software or programs, electricity and phone, to direct costs such as office supplies and event insurance (Grab this info from your  business plan !). Once you have broken down all of the costs, remember to add those to your final rates. For example: Let’s say it costs you a total of $10 per/hr to operate your event planning business.

event planner charging 4

You will need to add this to your realistic hourly rate to determine your NET HOURLY RATE.

And that’s the Math.

With this formula, you can calculate the best price for your event planning service. This will help you to determine without a doubt what you should be charging clients.


Remember the “random” number you selected in STEP 1 after reviewing your competitor’s pricing?

How does this compare to your Net Hourly Rate from STEP 4 above? If it is fairly close your pricing guessing game is over!

If the price you believe you should be charging is significantly lower than your Net Hourly Rate, I would like you to explore why.

Time to get your thinking cap on!

4 Tips for Booking your First Paying Client without a Portfolio - EVENT PLANNING CERTIFICATE · at

[…] to develop your event planning business processes as well. For example, If you were unsure of how to price your event planning service. Use this experience to track the number of hours it takes to plan each event for your future […]

How Much Do Event Planners Charge? - EVENT PLANNING CERTIFICATE · at

[…] See an updated version of this post here. […]

5 Items to Include in Your Event Planning Proposal – Event Planning Templates · at

[…] If you need help pricing your event planning services, check out this pricing guide. […]

3 Reasons why Low Pricing Doesn't Work - EVENT PLANNING CERTIFICATE · at

[…] For a more in-depth look at how to effectively charge a fee for your event planning services be sure to check out our blog post and Workbook. […]

10 Blog Posts Every Event Planner Should Read - Event Planning Templates · at

[…] 1. A Step By Step Guide to Charging For Your Event Planning […]

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How to Start an Event Planning Service

Want to be an event planner but not sure how to start your own event planning service? Discover how to start this business in our step-by-step guide.

Feb 22, 2001

Some people get a lot of personal and professional joy out of making big events and special days even better for their attendees. If you have the hosting itch, and if you love to tackle complex problems and make big days go smoothly, you might have a future as a professional event planner.

But whether you choose to work alone or with a small team, starting an event planning service is no small task. Today, let's break down how to start an event planning service step-by-step.

What are the basics of event planning?

Event planning is the art (and sometimes science) of event ideation, planning, coordination and operation. When a big, important event needs to go smoothly, it's time to call an event planning service or coordinator.

Event planners are key service providers who can ensure event production and execution happens smoothly. They perform these duties for trade shows, senior events, nonprofit galas and much more.

Related: Find Your Event-Planning Niche

Event planning is most often used for purposes like:

Event planning is highly important to make sure the above and other major events go off without a hitch, especially so that the most important guests can enjoy themselves.

The primary duties of full-time or part-time, on-site event planner jobs include:

The events industry, both for wedding planning and other events, requires good communication skills. Additionally, obtaining a bachelor's degree in public relations or related areas can be helpful but is not absolutely required. Let's look closer at this job type and business.

Why do people hire event planning services?

People primarily hire event planning services for two reasons:

Imagine a typical example of a wedding. Many engaged couples hire event planners or event planning services to coordinate, organize and carry out their wedding plans. In this way, the couples can enjoy their special days and focus on getting married rather than worrying about things like catering, parking and kicking out rowdy guests. Instead, the wedding planner takes care of that stuff.

Furthermore, some events are so complex – particularly those with hundreds of guests or more – that it's almost impossible to properly plan and organize them without the help of a specialist. Knowledgeable, experienced event planners know how to organize groups of people, how much food to provide and other details that can make or break an important event.

Related: The Price Is Right: Turning a Profit in the Event Planning Business

Who should become an event planner?

You might consider becoming an event planner if you love hosting parties and the thrill of organizing a complex event and running it without an issue. Planners often have to handle many moving parts at once. Many event planners have histories as managers or coordinators in other industries. You should become an event planner or start your own event planning service if you feel that you would enjoy this kind of work.

It's also worth noting that event planning often requires you to work on weekends or holidays (since these are the days when people have free time to schedule and hold events), as well as handle chaotic, sometimes confusing work and competing agendas. You should also consider acquiring certification for your event planning service, as it can help you acquire relevant professional skills and attract more job opportunities . Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is an association that offers a list of degrees and certificates from colleges and universities. The right degree or certification can lead to more job opportunities and even pave the way to a higher salary.

Alternatively, try to become a CSEP or Certified Special Events Professional or CMP or Certified Meeting Planner. Both of these are given out by the MPI or the ISES (International Special Events Society), which also highlight your skills and designate you as an expert event coordinator.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's get into the steps you need to take to start an event planning service:

Step 1: Make your company

Your first step involves making your company and filing the right paperwork. You should first draw up a business plan, which will include details like:

Related: Check out these business plan templates to get started.

You'll also want to get an EIN, or employer identification number. This will allow you to hire employees for your event planning service if you desire later down the road.

How to Start an Event Planning Service

Step 2: Choose your target market

Next, do market research and pick the target market you want to work for. For instance, if you want to primarily work with weddings, you need to research that target market to know how much to charge for your services, what's involved and what you need to be experienced in.

By doing some research ahead of time, you won't find running your first events to be too overwhelming. You'll also know how much to advertise your event planning service to be competitive relative to other services in the area.

Step 3: Consider startup costs

When you start an event planning business, you'll have to consider startup costs. Working from home or primarily by yourself will keep costs low as opposed to hiring employees (who will require salaries).

However, if you want to expand your event planning business, you'll eventually need extra equipment, business premises like an office or warehouse and more. All of these things can add up, impacting the kind of business you begin.

Note that you can always scale your business after acquiring steady work. For instance, you can start off as a one-man event planning service that only provides services to small events you can tackle by yourself. After you save up some money from some successful jobs, you can hire a few more employees and rent out a warehouse for your equipment, like cameras, chairs and more.

Step 4: Understand the work involved and hire employees (optional)

For your event planning service to be successful , you need to fully grasp the nature of the work involved and understand whether you should hire employees.

Planning and executing an excellent event generally involves:

There's a ton of work that goes into planning even the smallest event. Fortunately, as you acquire experience, you'll be more adept at anticipating and completing this work.

Related: The Event Planning Recipe for Success

Generally, the larger the events you want to manage and coordinate, the more employees you need to hire. At a certain point, you can't be everywhere at once! Consider hiring employees when you have the cash to do so; this will allow you to plan events for larger groups of people and make more of a profit.

Step 5: Settle on a price structure and fee basis

How you price your event planning business will impact how often you get requests. You can determine your pricing structure and fee basis by things like:

Step 6: Start marketing your event planning service

Once you have all of your ducks in a row and you know how to charge your clients, you can start marketing your event planning service. Do this online through Google PPC (pay-per-click) ads, social media marketing and other efforts. Don't hesitate to use in-person marketing materials, like posters or TV ads, as well.

Related: 8 Savvy Ways to Promote Your Event Planning Business

As you can see, starting an event planning service is a matter of preparation and deep consideration. If you plan everything properly, your event planning service will launch smoothly, and you'll get your first batch of clients in no time.

Check out Entrepreneur's other guides and resources today!

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Event Planner Fee Structure

Whether you’re starting an event planning business for social events, business events or a combination of both, you should know how to charge for services.

Several factors go into determining your rate, including event planning and operating expenses, salaries, and profits. Rates vary based on where you operate your business, types of projects you take on, and what the market is willing to pay.

Ways Event Planners Structure Their Fees

If you want to start a part-time or even full-time business, there are roughly five ways to structure your event fee and quote your fees to your clients:

For the following explanations and examples, let's assume you want to earn an average of $75 per hour for your services. 

Fees Based on a Flat Project Rate

Many clients prefer to know how much a project will cost, inclusive of all fees.

Flat project fees are typically used for packaged events, such as those found with sports marketing programs, and may be calculated on a per-person basis with many stipulations and caveats. In this scenario, the client may contract directly with the event planner to coordinate all logistics, catering, venue, lodging expenses, etc.

For example, assume you are being hired to organize a one-day historic city tour for 15 guests. Your client wants you to quote a flat fee for transportation, a private guide, lunch and any/all admission fees to venues. However, they also ask that you provide a high-level breakdown of each expense item.

As an event planner , to offer this, you must come up with a flat fee by determining how much all aspects of the project will cost. You must negotiate and calculate the cost of all services, including your time, and quote a combined total for expenses.

This puts the responsibility of managing to a budget directly on you and requires anticipating a variety of scenarios in which circumstances may change. It's your responsibility and risk to identify required deposits, pay for all services, and hold responsibility for all service agreements.

Fees Based on a Percentage of Expenses

On average, event planners should charge between 15-20% of the total cost of an event as part of their fee. Depending on the complexity of the program and the amount of time it takes to plan and execute an event, sometimes this is enough to cover a planner’s entire cost and source of profit.

For example, assume you are being hired to organize a private dinner at an exclusive restaurant for 40 guests with an average of $175 per person. Let's estimate that it takes you a total of 15 hours to meet with your client, plan, attend and complete all follow up on this event. If you charge a rate of 18% of total expenses, you will earn just a little more than your targeted hourly rate of $75/hour:

$175 x 40 guests = $7,000 x 18% = $1,260 15 hours x $75/hr = $1,125

If the client is contracting with you for all services directly, the subtotal event expense charge to the client would be a total of $8,260.

Fees Based on Hourly Rate

Some clients prefer the event planner to quote an hourly rate for services and to estimate the total number of hours to manage and execute a given client program. It may seem similar to the flat project rate, but it allows for more flexibility on the part of both parties to adjust to changes that may be needed along the way.

Many business event planners will bill hourly for services. It allows a client to know just how much it will cost to hire your services and allow them to calculate a reasonable budget. Frequently, the reason for this is because the client wants to have a better handle on any unexpected expenses.

Always remember to define careful parameters around expectations so that both parties are in agreement as to what services will be provided. As an event planner, you should include a reference to billing for all reasonable business expenses that may be incurred.

Some event planners may mark up operating expenses such as shipping, car rentals, and other miscellaneous expense items by as much as 15-20%. If you do, you should disclose such markups and obtain agreement with your client in advance.

When it comes to hourly event planning rates, it is also important to determine how frequently you may bill for your time.

For example, let's assume that a client is hiring you in October to organize a one-day seminar in March. Your services are being contracted to source and negotiate for the venue,  catering services , A/V, and contribute to the content creation for a limited number of communications items (i.e., invitations, agenda, evaluation forms, etc.).

Your client is also hiring you to provide on-site management. You establish an agreement upfront that you will bill for identified services at different times, and will submit invoices for all services performed to date on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.

Under this agreement, you and your client should both work out a detailed statement of work that includes the expected responsibilities of both parties. Then, you may estimate a total budget of so many hours plus reasonable expenses (be clear on what those details may include).

Fees Based on Percentage of Expenses Plus Flat Fee/Hourly Rate

Sometimes you’re being hired to organize an event, and for whatever reason, the client prefers a rate based on a percentage of expenses. However, this isn't enough to cover the cost of your total time and services. In these situations, it is reasonable to present your fees at a combined cost in two different categories.

For example, a client hires you to organize events associated with a conference. Your assignment is to organize two private dinners and a golf outing, each with 50 guests. The total cost for these combined events run approximately $20,000, but it requires about 60 hours of your time, and the complexity of this project may justify a higher profit margin. Keeping that in mind, you may come to your final flat fee and hourly rate with the following calculations:

Percentage of Expenses Estimate: $20,000 x 18% = $3,600 Hourly Rate Estimate: 60 hours x $75/hr = $4,500 Hourly Deficit: $3,600-$4,500 = -$900

If you come to a deficit, as we did in the example above, you may choose to quote 15 hours to manage the logistics of multiple outside vendors. Your quote then may reflect the following:

Subtotal Event Expenses: $23,600 Flat Fee: $1,125 (based on 15 hours at $75/hr)

In this scenario, you will need to carefully determine that you have estimated your hours appropriately (an account to cover non-standard operating expenses such as personal travel). As expected, few clients are pleased to see increases in expenses later on unless justifiable reasons are provided.

Fees Based on Commissionable Rates

Another way that event planners may collect fees for services is by securing event space through venues that offer a commissionable rate. These are fees typically provided to travel agents for booking tickets, hotel rooms, and other forms of transportation.

For example, many hotels may extend a commissionable rate up to as much as 10% for guest rooms and other expenses.

Although some event planners will embrace commissionable rates as a source of income for themselves, savvier clients may question the event planner’s sense of loyalties when commissionable rates are involved. For that reason, many seasoned planners will limit any planning selections that include a commissionable rate or negotiate non-commissionable pricing for their programs and pass that source of savings directly to their client’s bottom line.

Further, some clients may be aware that commissionable rates exist and do not expect their outside consultants to bill using any of the other identified billing methods we've outlined and still pay a commissionable rate. In general, it isn’t considered good form by many event planners to essentially “double-dip” their revenue stream this way.

If accepting commissioned rates, it's best not to charge your client fees for your services using alternative billing methods.

There are scenarios when commissionable rates do make the most sense, such as a smaller nonprofit or association that may be hiring your services for a membership event or meeting and the bulk of the fees are paid directly by the attendees rather than the organization.

Another scenario may be if your client is purchasing client gifts from you, and you may also offer promotional items distribution services. In that case, simply negotiate for the promotional items and do not charge for your services on an hourly basis unless your client is aware of all charges upfront.

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