Last week I had an experience with a client that wanted me to do work outside of their event for free. Huh?
Unfortunately this seems to happen more than it should and friends, family and clients don’t seem to think anything is wrong with it. And unfortunately I hear this complaint from our event community all too often.
“How do I make money as an event planner when people don’t want to pay me?”
Are you struggling to grow your event business because you don’t know how to make money as an event planner?
When I started my event business in 2004, I lost money on the first event I planned on my own. I didn’t have the experience, knowledge or a pricing strategy in place to account for the time required to plan an event from start to finish.
This is the #1 mistake event planners make.
How To Make Money as an Event Planner
It’s important to account for the many hours you put into your business and the tasks that no one pays for.
As an event planner, you spend time on tasks, like:
- writing event planning blog posts and newsletters or RFPs
- networking with industry professionals, potential clients and vendors
- negotiating with suppliers
- preparing for client appointments
- answering potential clients’ questions in advance
- scheduling and re-scheduling appointments
- traveling to and from meetings
- follow up calls (before, during and after the event)
- keeping track of client expenses
- shopping for supplies
In order to have clients hire you and make money as an event planner, you need to account for your work hours outside of each event and charge accordingly.
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling embarrassed about your rates or expertise or into the trap of thinking you lack the skills or experience to charge what you’re worth. If you find yourself making these excuses, or you hear yourself say “it’s a slow economy so my clients aren’t going to spend money on my services,” or “I don’t have enough experience to charge for my services…”
If hiring you to plan your client’s event saves them time and money, how much is it worth to them? Event planning is an investment with a potentially significant return for your client. Consider this when determining your rates and how much money you should charge as an event planner.
Remember that when you’re in a service business you’re selling YOUR time.
You have a limited “inventory” of time.
You can’t manufacture more hours in a week and the only way to earn more is to charge more for your time. You will never make money as an event planner until you get your pricing strategy right and charge for the time it takes to plan an event.
I’d love to hear from you.
In the comments below, share two tasks you spend time on outside of planning your client’s events that you don’t get paid for.
Remember, we love hearing from our global community, but links to outside videos and posts are seen as SPAM and will be deleted. 🙂
Here’s to your success,
I absolutely loved this article! My partner and I have been in the business for 16 years and this continues to be a huge problem. We are a full service company providing coordination along with decor design, floral design and full execution all in house. However, we have found that our clients are often opposed to paying for decor showings. My argument is that if you use a banquet facility you are required to pay for a tasting. Our fee for a showing is no different as both services are offered in house but add to the package being provided to you. We have also ventured into the floral design segment and have found that while clients want the convenience they don’t want to include the extra cost associated with the service. We work hard to produce flawless events that reflect the desires of our clients and I think we deserve fair compensation for our commitment. Thanks again for voicing our frustration!
We couldn’t agree more, LaVonne. Do you clients know ho much time it takes to set up a showing for them? Sometimes, that’s all it takes so they understand. We often find people don’t want to pay because they don’t understand what it takes or see the value in it – at first. Keep up the good work!
Hi Melanie, I’m from Scotland in the U.K. I have been following you on youtube and love your videos and the advice you and your guests provide. I am in the process of planning to start my event business. Above you mention what you don’t directly charge clients for. But what are the main services on an hourly rate do you charge directly for that specific event?
HI Nicola, if we understand you correctly, you are charging for your time (an hourly rate) so you’d charge your client for whatever work you do. Keep track of it. All vendors invoices, etc should go in your client’s name so they’re responsible for paying them, which you need to discuss with your client before the event and update them on payments, etc.
Don’t forget education! Webinars and videos (thanks, Melanie!), conferences, books and blogs are all necessary time investments to learn everything from negotiating skills and financial management to technology and tips & tricks for success.
absolutely! Education is important but don’t let that stop you from taking action. Analysis Paralysis won’t get your event career or business started. 🙂
Hi Melanie I am a new follower and have been very pleased. This arrival especially is important to me cause I have fallen in that trap several times since I started my business. I like to charge a flat rate price for difference services ( day of coordinating, decor set up and full service) I’m not sure what a good base start would be. I have 3+years of experience and I always feel like my price is to high..
Welcome Danielle, we’re happy you found us!
Charging is a common issue that many event planners struggle with. Here’s an article that will help you: http://eventplanningblueprint.com/how-to-charge-for-event-planning-services/
Hello, I am just starting out my event decorating business right now we are only doing social events such as Birthdays, engagement parties, Baby Showers. Is it best to offer packages? If so how do I make money off the packages? Should I add a service fee on top of the packages or include it in the package price. What is a good percent I should charge?
Congratulations on starting your event decor business.
There’s no short way to teach you how to charge for your services but there are a few options that you can consider, and creating packages is one of them. However, unless you know exactly how long it’s going to take you and what’s involved for each event, we recommend you charge an hourly rate to start. This way you’re covering your expenses, paying yourself and tracking the time it takes to plan your events, etc.
Here’s a course that will help you with learning the technical skills of event planning, including what and how to charge for your services: http://eventplanningblueprint.com/howtobeaneventplanner
Hey. This article gave me really good information about event management. I Have started my company 4 years ago. Its basically a company that provide almost every kind of services for almost every kind of event. At the start, the business was good but now due to many competitors in the business, I find it very difficult to set meetings with clients or even find the clients. What strategies can we use to attract the clients?
Secondly, How can I engage more audience on social media? and what are the key tips for developing a good website for event management?
Thanks for your comment, but sorry to hear you’re struggling after 4 yrs. There are a few things that ‘pop’ out:
1. It’s very important to define who your client is and choose a niche vs. planning all events for any person. There’s a saying that goes, “riches are in the niches”!
2. If you’re finding that there are too many competitors then you haven’t defined your value so clients will base their choice on price or who they like best. That’s a very hard game to play or win. Here’s a video to watch that will take you through 3 steps to define your value: http://bit.ly/2tPAtPr
3. For social media and website training, we cover this in our course Boost Your Event Business and you can find more info here: http://eventplanningblueprint.com/BYBlearnmore
I love your article, I am currently trying to get in event planning business. I just received my certification in event planning and I am not sure where to start. I have already planned and hosted event but nothing outside of family. I’ve done gender reveals and baby showers, i’ve even had guests from the event asked me to do their event and I am fine doing them but im not sure where to start with pricing. Any tips or advise would be amazing!
Congratulations on your certificate and wanting to start a business. It’s very exciting.
Here are a number of posts to help you get started: http://eventplanningblueprint.com/category/event-management-2/ I’d also recommend you sign up for our emails so you get other tips. We have a business course that helps too: http://eventplanningblueprint.com/courses/