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Five Things To Consider Before Starting Up A Party Planning Business

Mar 23, 2008
So you adore planning parties and your friends have been telling you for ages that you should start up your own party or event planning business. It's something you're seriously considering but aren't sure exactly what will be involved. Here are a few things to think about before accepting that first job.

1. Start Small. If the thought of planning a large event overwhelms you, start with a small get-together. Offer to plan your friend's bridal shower or a niece's baby shower at no charge, to get a feel for just what is involved with planning a party for someone else.

Another option is to volunteer at a couple of large social events or shadow an established party planner for an evening. Write down your questions to ask when the party winds down so you're not interrupting during the whirl of activity.

2. The Name Game. Creating a clever and catchy name for your business is essential. Sue's Party Planning Business simply won't cut it. Ask for opinions, brainstorm, even do some research to come up with a name that not only encompasses your business, but is easy to remember, particularly when you create a website for people to check out.

3. Costs involved. This really depends on the size of the parties you intend on planning. In most cases, the supplies will be paid for by the client, not by you. If anything, you may need to pay for the items and get reimbursed for them later. For birthday parties, showers, and small gatherings, these supplies will mainly consist of items purchased at a party store, florist, or grocery store. For larger events, you may need to hire outside vendors and services.

You may also choose to invest in specific party props, equipment and decorations that your clients will be able to use. Whether or not you charge for each one individually or include your items in the overall fee is up to you. Another option is for you to rent specific items as needed.

The nice thing about party planning is you are providing a service, not a product. Besides a computer and a good organizing system or planner, your costs are minimal.

4. How much to charge. Again, this will vary, depending on the amount of work involved. You may want to set a standard flat fee per event type (such as bridal shower, kids birthday party, etc.) and add the necessary additional costs. The client will be responsible for all of the party supplies and items, and will pay you to ensure that everything is set up, arranged, and runs smoothly. If you choose to charge by the hour, be sure your rates are competitive. While you don't want to be the most expensive in town, your time and expertise is valuable. It's great to offer deals from time to time but don't regularly undercharge so that when all is said and done, you end up earning a mere $4 an hour. This sets you up for word getting around that you are willing to do a lot of work at an extremely low cost. Burn-out, not to mention disappointment, are inevitable.

5. Do your homework. There is no such thing as too much research. Cover all of your bases when it comes to technical things like taxes and contracts. Call around to local vendors you may need to call at some point. Inquire about prices and the exact products and services each company offers. Have all of this information available to show potential clients. The more you have to present, the more professional you will appear and the more appealing your service will be.

The party planning business can be fun and lucrative. And starting a successful business will give you an excellent reason to celebrate!
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