An event planner is hired to plan and coordinate meetings, conferences and seminars for business professionals. Individuals may employ event planners to organize reunions, parties, weddings, and bridal and baby showers. Other organizations and groups need event planners to help them with fairs, festivals, fundraisers and workshops. Many event planners specialize with family, school and military member reunions. This involves locating attendees by searching computer databases, making telephone calls, searching marriage records, voter registration files, alumni associations and previous employers. With this type of planning the focus is on the people and not the party.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:
You will need good organizational skills and excellent people skills. Almost anyone can start an event planning business as long as you are comfortable working with the public and are able to manage a wide variety of elements needed to organize a successful event.
To get started, begin with smaller events. Maybe you could consider planning your own high school or college reunion! Organize a baby shower or birthday party for a friend and then use attendees for references. Much of your business will come from networking. Make contact with hotels, printers, caterers, florists, photographers and restaurants because they will be an excellent source of referrals!
START UP COSTS:
You will need business cards, stationery, a brochure and a computer with contact management software. You might want to invest in a professionally designed web site to help advertise your service.
You will price by the event, calculating the fee based on an hourly rate of $25 to $40 plus expenses. For example, if a business Christmas party takes 30 hours to plan and coordinate as well as $1,000 in expenses, your price for the even is $1,900 (at $30 an hour) or up depending on your mark-up. You can also price per attendee: if you are expecting 50 people, you could charge $40 per person. (This helps to put the event in terms your client can understand.) Other planners (like reunion planners) usually take their fees from the money paid by each attendee. So, the more people that show up, the higher the income for you! Reunion planners are generally rewarded for their efforts in generating large turnouts. This helps to market the service because reunion committees do not risk any money. A new event planning service may struggle but once established you can earn $60,000 per year or more.
Event planning is a difficult business to grow quickly. It takes lots of promotion, networking and word-of-mouth advertising. Start by placing an ad in the local Yellow Pages. Distribute your brochures and marketing documents to hotels and restaurants and ask for referrals in exchange for holding the event at that particular hotel or restaurant. Research your area. Find out who has an upcoming reunion and contact the reunion committee to find out if they already have an organizer.
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