How Much Should You Charge for Event Planning Services?
Charging clients for your services is tricky – unless you’ve been running your event planning business for a while, there are a number of factors to consider before offering a quote. Depending on the type of event, how many guests you’ll be working with, and how much work you’ll be doing, your compensation can change drastically. So, how much should you charge for your event planning services?
Read on to find out!
First Thing’s First: Knowing How to Set Your Event Planning Rates
Step 1: Know the Different Pricing Structures
There are many different pricing structures you can choose to set your event planning rates. However, the 5 we’ll be focusing on in this article are:
- Flat project fee
- Percentage of expenses/the event as a whole
- Hourly rate
- Percentage of expenses plus hourly rate
- Commissionable rates (e.g. vendor commissions)
So, let’s break each one down a bit…
1 – Flat Project Fee
This refers to an agreed-upon flat rate for the entire project, regardless of how much time it takes. For instance, if you’re hired to plan a wedding, you and your client may agree on a flat fee for the entire event.
2 – Percentage of Expenses/the Event as a Whole
If you choose this pricing structure, how much you’ll charge will be based on a percentage of the overall cost of the event or expenses. For example, you may charge 15% of the total event costs. If the total event costs came out to $20,000, you would then receive $3,000 for your services.
3 – Hourly Rate
This is a great option if you’re doing event planning on an hourly basis. How much you charge for your services can depend on the type of event you’re planning. For instance, you may charge a higher hourly rate for more complex tasks such as corporate events or luxury weddings.
4 – Percentage of Expenses Plus Hourly Rate
This pricing structure is similar to the percentage of expenses/the event as a whole. However, you’ll also be charging your clients an hourly rate on top of that. How much you charge will depend on how much time it takes to plan the event, as well as how much the total event costs.
5 – Commissionable Rates (e.g. Vendor Commissions)
Lastly, this pricing structure is a great option if you’re working with vendors to plan the event. How much you charge will depend on how much commission you receive from each vendor.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re working with a catering vendor and they offer 10% commission on all catering orders placed. How much you charge your client will depend on how much they spend on catering.
PRO TIP: Does your client need help finding a caterer for their event? Our Quick Guide to to Choosing the Best Catering Style for an Event can help you guide them in the right direction!
Step 2: Consider the Type(s) of Planning Services You’re Offering
For instance, does your event planning business offer full-service planning? Partial planning? Day-of coordination?
The amount you charge will depend on the type of services you’re providing. For instance, if you offer full-service planning, your rates may be higher than if you were just providing day-of coordination.
Step 3: Find Out What Your Competitors are Charging
It’s also essential to know what your competitors are charging for their event planning services. After all, this will give you an idea of how much you should be charging in order to stay competitive.
It’s also important to note that this doesn’t mean you should automatically set your rates lower than the competition. Obviously, if they have considerably more experience and/or qualifications than you do, then you may need to set your rates lower in order to attract more clients.
However, if you’ve put the time into getting your certification (such as by completing a certification course from QC Event School) and/or you’ve been in the game for some time, then your rates should reflect that!
PRO TIP: Want to learn more about QC Event School’s self-paced, online certification courses? Check out our full course list for more info!
So, How Much Should You Charge for Event Planning Services?
Wedding Planning Prices
Full Wedding Planning
As a full wedding planner, you’re in charge of your clients’ every detail. Meaning, they can sit back and relax as you work your magic! So, how much should you charge for planning a full wedding?
Well, it depends…
According to industry expert, Dr. Joe Goldblatt, wedding planners generally charge their clients about 15% of the total cost of the event. This includes the venue, caterer, decor, florals, and anything else your clients want. Depending on your level of training and experience in the industry, you can gauge your fee higher or lower than the average. However, you still want to remain competitive!
Thus, if you’re a trained wedding planner who’s been in the game for a while (say you have 5 weddings under your belt) and the total cost of the wedding is $15,000 USD, you’ll make $2,250 if you charge 15%. At 20%, you’d make $3,000.
Of course, you’ll charge on a per-service basis. Meaning, you need to show your clients the final cost of each detail. This ensures transparency and builds a trustworthy name for your event planning business!
Partial Wedding Planning
As a partial wedding planner, you’ll obviously be making less than you would by providing full service. Nonetheless, you can still make a pretty penny! Considering the fact that you’ll have more time to plan other weddings, you can make a killing by offering partial wedding planning services.
With this model, it’s probably easiest to charge your clients an hourly rate. Track what you’re in charge of and how many hours of work you put into their wedding. If you’re in charge of the venue, catering, and transportation, you’ll also need to time your meetings and conversations in order to keep an accurate count of your hours.
Most event and wedding planners pro-rate their hourly fee at 30-minute intervals. So, having a 45-minute meeting with a caterer means you’ll still be paid for a full hour! And as this is a common standard, most clients will be expecting it.
Remember: the typical hourly wage for a planner running their own business lies between $50-$75. But of course, there’s always room to increase your fees as your experience and business grow!
Event Planning Prices
When it comes to planning corporate events, it’s important to take the size and expectation into consideration when outlining your fees. Mainly, you need to know how many guests will be attending, and whether the event will be low-key or high-functioning. This will determine the scope of work you’re taking on for each event!
For instance, say you’re planning a corporate fundraiser for a large company. This client is expecting approximately 500 employees to attend. If the company asks you to plan a three-course meal (plus dessert), a band for dinner, a DJ for dancing, and an open bar, you can assume the cost per person will be around $150-$200.
And since the client forecasts approx. 500 people to be in attendance, you can then calculate the total cost to be between $75,000 ($150 x 500) and $100,000 ($200 x 500).
With such a high budget, you can easily charge a percentage of the total event cost! That said, you could also work out an hourly wage based on both the amount of work you’re doing and the budget of the event. And, of course, you could always choose to charge a percentage of the total event plus an hourly wage.
It really depends on how the numbers work out for each individual event!
PRO TIP: Interested in becoming a corporate event planner? Our Ultimate Guide breaks down the process in 6 easy steps!
When you’re hired to plan the decor for an event or wedding, this means you’ll be in charge of the event style or theme, florals, and much more. Working as an event decorator will allow you to dive into the creative aspects of event planning – and make great money while you’re at it!
For an event decorator, the average compensation varies depending on the level of services needed. Some events will only require table settings and centerpieces, whereas others will ask for a full styling of the venue. To give a proper quote to clients, we recommend providing service bundles and build-your-own package offers.
Have your own list of what you charge for each service, with a variant for the size of venue and number of guests. This will help you build a stable pricing model!
PRO TIP: Discover how YOU can become a certified event decorator in just 6 simple steps!
As an event planner, you usually have much more to do than just worry about scheduling and management. However, there are times where clients will only want these services! To please every client, offer event management or coordination on a per-service basis as you would for event decorating.
This structure is quite similar to offering partial wedding planning services. So, using an hourly pay structure can simplify your fees!
10 Important Things to Consider When Setting Your Event Planning Rates
1 – Who Your Current Market Is
Your current market will determine what your potential clients can afford to pay. So, research the average rate of event planners in your area. It also wouldn’t hurt to know what the average income for your current demographic is in your area, too. From there, you can price your event planning services accordingly.
2 – The Types of Clients You’d Like to Have in the Future
Who you work with now is important – but so are the people you’d like to work with in the future. Take some time to think about the type of clients you’d like to target and work with going forward.
In your mind, how much can they afford? Are they willing to stretch their budget (and if so, how far)? Moreover, how much can you reasonably charge without scaring them away?
3 – How Long it Takes You (on Average) to Plan an Event from Start to Finish
The amount of time it takes to plan an event will have a lot to do with what you charge your clients. So, ask yourself: how long does it take you to plan an event? How many hours of your time are you dedicating to the project? And how much work is required for each event (on a scale of 1–10)?
Once you have the answers, factor in your time and come up with a number!
4 – Your Event Planning Business’s Investments and Expenses
When running your own event planning business, there are costs like advertising, vendors, and materials that you must take into consideration. So, when calculating your rates, make sure to factor in any investments and expenses associated with the company. Doing this will help you ensure you’re staying profitable!
5 – Your Deposit Fee
Your deposit fee is the amount of money that you charge clients upfront to secure your services. This should reflect the level of commitment and trust you require from your clients. How much of a deposit you require will depend on the size and scope of the event, as well as your experience level.
6 – Consultation Fees (if You Charge for This)
Consultation fees are similar to a deposit fee, in that they’re usually charged upfront. However, consultation fees cover the cost of your initial meeting with clients and giving them a quote. How much you charge for consultations depends on the size of the event, number of guests, and how detailed your services are.
7 – Miscellaneous Charges (e.g. Event Decor Charges)
When you’re charging for your services, make sure to factor in any miscellaneous charges that might be associated with the event. This could include extra charges for event decor, photography, floral design, or any other services your event planning business provides.
8 – The Profit Levels of Your Business
Knowing your profit and loss levels from the past few months can help you determine how much to charge for your services. How much of a profit do you want to make from each event? Furthermore, how much do you need to charge to cover your expenses and stay in the black?
9 – Put Everything in Writing
If you’re charging clients for services, make sure to put everything in writing (such as in a contract). This will help protect both you and the client, as well as ensure everyone is aware of the terms and conditions.
PRO TIP: Make sure to avoid these 20 mistakes when writing your event planning contract!
10 – Know Your Worth
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you should charge what your services are worth. Don’t undervalue yourself or your work. Your time and expertise are valuable, so make sure you price your services accordingly!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many hours does it take to plan an event on average?
A: How long it takes to plan an event varies depending on the size and scope of the project. On average, though, most event planners dedicate anywhere from 10 to 40 hours of their time to plan an event.
Q: What does an event coordinator do?
A: An event coordinator is responsible for overseeing the planning, preparation, and execution of events. This may include tasks such as selecting a venue, booking vendors, managing budgets, and dealing with any issues that may arise during the event.
Q: What is the purpose of an event proposal in event management?
A: A well-crafted event proposal is important for any successful event management project. An event proposal serves as a roadmap for the entire planning process, and outlines the goals, timeline, budget, and any other information needed for a successful event.
Q: What are the 7 stages of event planning?
A: The 7 stages of event planning are:
- Venue selection;
- Contracting vendors;
- Promotion and marketing;
- Organizing logistics;
- And post-event evaluation.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your event runs smoothly and is successful!
Q: What is a typical day like for an event planner?
A: You can see what a typical day for an event planner is like here!
Q: How much time should be spent planning for an event?
A: How much time you should spend planning for an event depends on its size and scope. An event with a large guest list, multiple vendors, and an intricate theme may require more planning time than one with a smaller guest list, fewer vendors, and a simpler theme. Generally speaking, it’s recommended to allocate 10-40 hours of planning time for most events.
Q: How much do party planners charge per hour?
A: How much party planners charge per hour depends on their experience and the type of services offered. Generally speaking, though, party planning rates can range from $25-$100 per hour.
Q: Any tips on how much to charge vendors at events?
A: When charging vendors at events, make sure to price your services in a way that’s fair and competitive. Consider factors such as the type of services they’re offering, their experience level, and any additional costs that might be associated with their participation in your event. Moreover, it can also be helpful to research the going rate for similar services in your local area to ensure you’re competitively priced.
Q: Should I use an event planning cost estimator when setting my rates?
A: Sure, if you want to! An event planning cost estimator can be a helpful tool in determining what to charge for your services. This type of calculator helps you determine the cost of your event based on factors such as the number of guests, venue size, and other expenses associated with hosting an event.
By using this information, you can get a better understanding of how much to charge for your event planning services.
Just keep in mind that you are the expert and your services are valuable. Don’t undervalue yourself or your work – make sure to charge what your services are worth!
Q: What is the average flat fee for event planning?
A: Again, how much you charge for your event planning services depends on a variety of factors, such as the size and scope of the project. On average, though, most event planners charge a flat fee of anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 per event.
Q: What are the typical corporate event planning packages pricing?
A: Corporate event planning packages can range in price depending on the size and scope of the event. Generally speaking, though, most corporate events are priced between $2,000 and $20,000.
However you go about pricing your event planning services, be sure not to undersell yourself. Do your research and know what your competition charges, and base your own fees on your level of experience. Your salary will be booming before you know it!
Got any questions or comments for us? Leave them down below!
Thanks for reading, and happy event planning!