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How to Start an Event Planning Business

Which type of event planning is right for you? Learn more about how to choose and start your ideal events business. It’s all here.

Events business owner planning with clients.
February 22, 2023
Mollie Jackman
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Reading time about 5 min

Events can be lucrative, but since the pandemic, event planning has become a more specialized field. In the best of times, gatherings are a way to celebrate prosperity and enjoy the spoils of hard work. Events create a cheerful escape where we can unite and set aside our daily lives.

Even during global lockdowns, we created virtual events to maintain our social traditions. While the events sector saw a slight decrease during 2020, the market has reached its largest size since 2017. As we adjust and adapt how we gather, events continue to be a great — and necessary — business platform.

Types of Event Planning Businesses

Events planner at a wedding.

Event planning spans many smaller specialties encompassing business, personal, and community needs. You may already know the exact niche you want to corner. For those still working in that direction, we’ll start by breaking down the main types so you can determine the best place to start:


Private Event Planning

As a private event planner, you handle celebrations like milestone birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, baby showers, and any personal events your clients may want to host. Graduations, work promotions, just because — the sky’s the limit.


Corporate Event Planning

Corporate events serve many purposes, from employee bonding to education. Corporate event planners organize seminars and conferences, retreats, team events, and trade shows that showcase other companies in the same space.


Charity Event Planning

If you go the charity event route, you’ll manage fundraisers, benefits, and awareness events for charity and nonprofit organizations. These events may procure funding for nonprofits, raise awareness for a cause, or both.


Athletic Event Planning

Athletic events range from single games with tens of thousands of attendees to local school district tournaments. Athletics events planners may also handle peripheral responsibilities like fundraisers or vendor and media relationships. You can truly run the gamut of event types in this niche.


Wedding Planner

Perhaps the most iconic event planners of all are wedding planners. Covering every detail, including music, food, wardrobe, and more, wedding planners do everything their clients need to make their special day perfect in every way. Weddings require scrupulous attention to detail and communication, so set yourself up for success with tools like wedding text messaging services.

If you’ve got the chops, the first step is to choose what type of event-planning business you’ll start. Each option offers unique potential for entrepreneurs, and it’s important to choose the space you feel passionate about. When you’ve settled on a niche, it’s time to learn how to start an event planning business.

Creating an Event Planning Business Plan

Person at computer making a business plan.

When creating a plan, you need to determine your market. Your connections can help narrow your focus. If you worked in corporate America, you may have business contacts interested in hiring a planner for retreats, seminars, and team events. If you volunteer regularly, start by reaching out to familiar organizations to see if they need assistance planning fundraisers, galas, or other events.

After you define your target market, create a checklist of elements to help solidify and organize your business plan. Here’s our starting an event planning business checklist:

A mission and company values statement helps customers ensure they’re hiring the event planner that fits their unique needs.

A description of your services shows anyone who wants to fund your business exactly where they plan to invest.

Business and growth goals are helpful for investors but also for you. They make a solid road map to come back to as your business expands.

Framing your business structure is necessary to ensure things operate smoothly. You need to map the hierarchy within the operation: who is the manager, and what tasks are assigned to each employee?

Use the target market you created when determining the concept for your business to conduct market research. You need to show there’s room for your concept in the current market and that you’re meeting a need.

Any investor or lender will need to see your financial plan. List your expenses, including supplies, salaries, and office space, and explain how your pricing will garner a profit for your business.

Marketing objectives give you a way to get the word out right away. Once you have happy customers, you can share their experiences to gain positive word of mouth.

Read more about how to write a business plan.

Legal Requirements for Event Planning Businesses

Licensing and tax requirements change depending on where you’re located. These usually include a business license, insurance, and the proper tax documentation required by your state and the federal government. While not required, a certification in event planning is a smart way to give your business extra credibility.

FAQs About Starting an Event Planning Business

Event planners determine their fees based on a few factors: the cost of supplies, outside vendor fees, and wages for themselves and their employees. Typically, these costs are added together and the event planner will charge an average of 15% of the total cost of the event as a fee. These fees are the main source of income for an event planner.

Creating a plan is one step but figuring out how to start your own event planning business requires you to put this plan into action. Your marketing strategy should cover the launch of your company through social media and other channels, but you can also partner with local businesses and offer incentives for customers to create a buzz. The best part about event planning launches? Hosting your own is the perfect opportunity to show your customers your capabilities.

You know you have the talent and drive to start your event-planning business. Now it’s time to take the first steps. We hope this guide gives you the extra nudge to get your event planning business plan off and running. When the time comes to start promoting, we can also give your marketing a leg up, whether you opt for fundraising event planning or private celebration coordination.

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