How To Start a Party Planning Business in 12 Steps
So, you want to start a business as a party planner? That’s great! Party planning is a fun and exciting industry, and there’s a LOT of potential for success in this field. However, if you want to learn how to start a party planning business, it’s important to remember that it won’t be easy. It actually takes hard work, dedication, and lots of elbow grease to make it in this competitive industry.
But don’t worry – we’re here to help!
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to start a party planning business in 12 easy steps, right from scratch. We’ll cover topics like choosing the right niche, building your brand, creating a business plan, and more.
So, let’s jump right into it!
What Is a Party Planner?
A party planner is someone who plans, organizes and runs events for their clients. They’re responsible for all aspects of the event, from planning to execution. A successful party planner should have exceptional organizational skills and be able to handle any type of event – from birthdays, baby showers, and anniversaries to corporate events and weddings.
PRO TIP: Discover the full range of what a party planner does so you have a clear idea of what you can expect!
The Benefits Of Starting Your Own Party Planning Business
Starting your own party planning business has tons of potential rewards! It gives you the opportunity to be creative, work with clients and build relationships, and make a good living. Plus, when you’re your own boss, you have the freedom to choose how much or how little you want to work – giving you more flexibility than working for someone else!
What Are the Steps to Starting a Party Planning Business?
Starting any business is no easy feat, and that’s especially true when it comes to party planning. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication if you want to make it in this competitive industry. But don’t worry – if you’re willing to put in the effort, we have the perfect guide to help you get started…
How To Start a Party Planning Business in 12 Steps
1. Choose Your Niche
The first step is to decide what kind of parties you want to specialize in. This is also called finding your niche. Think about the types of events that interest you and the ones you have experience with – this will help narrow your focus so that you can build a successful business.
For instance, as a professional party planner, you can specialize in any of the following types of parties:
- Baby showers
- Corporate events
- Engagement parties
- Bridal showers
- Bachelor parties
- Graduation parties
- Retirement parties
- And SO much more!
2. Get Professionally Trained as a Party Planner
It’s essential that you have the right skills to be a successful party planner! When you have proper training and a legit certification on your resume, it gives your clients confidence in your ability to deliver a great experience. As a result, you’ll be able to:
- Book more clients
- Network more successfully
- Offer better party planning services
- Stand out from your competition
- Make better money
Not to mention, the right certification course will also give you some business training, too. Since you’re here because you want to know how to start a party planning business, this is obviously a must!
So, consider getting professional training in event planning and take courses offered by reputable organizations like the QC Event School.
PRO TIP: If you’re looking to be a party planner, we recommend QC Event School’s self-paced, online Event & Wedding Planning Course! This 7-unit program can arm you with a globally-recognized International Event and Wedding Planning Professional™ (IEWP®) certification in as little as 3 short months!
3. Know Who Your Target Audience Is
Now that you know what type of parties you’re going to specialize in, it’s time to figure out who your target audience is. Consider demographic factors like age, gender, location, and income level. How old are they? Are they married or single? What type of events do they usually host? How much money can they spend on a party planner?
By understanding these details, you’ll get a better idea of who your ideal client is and be able to tailor your services, brand, marketing efforts, and overall business accordingly!
4. Build Your Brand
Once you know what kind of parties you want to specialize in and you’ve been professionally trained, it’s time to start building your brand. As a business owner, your brand is what will make you unique and stand out from competitors.
In a nutshell, it’s that special thing that will help convince clients to book with YOU instead of somebody else!
So, think about how you want to present yourself and your business to potential clients. For example, do you want a fun and colorful brand or a more sophisticated vibe? How do you want to come across in your messaging and marketing materials? What kind of logo and website do you want? How will you capture the attention of your target market?
These are all key questions to consider when building your brand. From there, make sure your brand (and its visual identity) remains consistent across ALL of your marketing materials. This includes:
- Your website
- Social media accounts for your party planning business
- Business cards
- The tone of voice you use whenever speaking (both online and in-person)
- Emails, etc.
5. Know Where You Plan To Run Your Business From
As a party planner, you have numerous options in terms of where you want to operate your business. For instance, you can run it from home or rent a space in an office building. Or, you can also become a virtual party planner and offer your services online.
It all depends on your preferences and budget, but whatever you decide – make sure it allows you to accommodate all of the necessary party planning supplies and materials. That way, you can provide the best possible service for your clients!
Interested in virtual party planning? Learn everything you need to know in less than a month with the help of QC’s Virtual Events Training mini course!
6. Set Your Party Planning Service Rates
When starting a party planning business, you want to make sure that you set the right price for your services. Depending on what kind of parties you specialize in and the amount of time required to plan them (not to mention the cost of materials), your rates may vary from client to client.
So, it’s a good idea to have a few different pricing options available, such as hourly rates or flat-fee packages. Just make sure that whatever you decide to charge your clients is both competitive and fair for the market you are serving in.
Remember: you don’t want to undersell your services – but you don’t want to overcharge for them either!
7. Create Your Party Planning Business Plan
Creating a business plan is the next step in starting your business as a party planner. A business plan is like a roadmap that outlines the key details of your business, including:
- Your mission statement
- An executive summary of your party planning business
- Short-term and long-term goals
- A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)
- A detailed description of the services you offer
- Your target market
- Competitor analysis
- Financial highlights and future projections
- Marketing and advertising plans
- And so forth!
There are several reasons why you should develop a business plan. For starters, it’ll help you articulate your strategy for success and gain the confidence of any potential investors (such as a bank). It’ll also serve as a reference guide if ever need to make changes down the line.
At the end of the day, though, it’s important to remember that your business plan is unique to your business’s needs and objectives. Furthermore, it should also be reviewed and updated regularly as your business evolves and grows.
Need help writing your business plan for the first time? Small Business Administration has an article that breaks the process down into more detail – and even offers a couple examples to better help you visualize what you should be doing!
7. Get the Necessary Licenses and Insurance for Your Party Planning Business
When starting a party planning business, you’ll need to obtain the necessary licenses and insurance. The type of license you’ll need will depend on your location and the services you offer as a party planner.
Generally, though, some of the licenses you may require include:
In terms of insurance coverage, this will vary depending on the type of activities and services you offer as a party planner. At the very least, you should look into getting general liability insurance to protect yourself from any potential claims or lawsuits.
You can also speak with an insurance broker to discuss more specialized coverage that may be suited for your business (such as event cancellation/rain insurance).
8. Get Some Experience Under Your Belt
Unless you already have some experience planning events, it’s a good idea to get some practice before launching your party planning business.
This could involve taking on some volunteer projects or low-budget gigs at first. That way, you’ll have the opportunity to gain more experience and build up a portfolio of successful parties to showcase!
Another awesome idea is to take part in a stylized photoshoot. Working with a photographer and stylist, you can create a few mock parties to provide potential clients with visuals of what they might expect when working with your business. No, you probably won’t get paid to organize a styled shoot – however, the high-quality content you can then use in your portfolio will be worth its weight in gold!
Lastly, another idea for getting real-world experience is to turn to people you know, such as friends and family. Offer to plan small gatherings and get-togethers, or even help out with other people’s events. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about the industry, even if it isn’t in a paid capacity.
9. Put Together a Solid Professional Portfolio
Your professional portfolio should be the envy of any potential client. Therefore, it’s important to put together one that stands out and is reflective of your skills as a party planner!
How To Build a Party Planning Portfolio
When building your portfolio, make sure to include visuals of any parties you have organized in the past and provide details such as:
- Short description of the event
- Purpose of the event
- Goals/objectives achieved
- Challenges faced
- Details of how you overcame them
- How you exceeded expectations (if applicable)
The more detail and visuals you can include in your portfolio, the better. After all, it will give potential clients a good idea of what they can expect when working with you!
10. Build Your Business Website and Social Media Presence
Creating an online presence is necessary for any business, especially if you’re starting a party planning business. This will help potential clients discover your services and showcase your work online.
When setting up your website, make sure to include information about yourself (including experience and qualifications), the types of services you offer, and examples of past work. You can also create some sort of booking service/application form on your website to make it easier for potential clients to get in touch with you.
Social Media Accounts
In addition to your website, you’ll also want to set up a presence on the various social media platforms, such as:
This will help build an online community and increase awareness of your business. You can then post pictures from past events, details about upcoming parties you’re planning, industry advice, and other awesome types of content. Just make sure that you’re posting on a regular basis and always replying back to anyone who comments or DMs you!
11. Determine (and Implement) Your Marketing Strategies
Having a solid marketing strategy is key to the success of any business, so it’s essential that you come up with one for your party planning business too. How will you reach potential clients and how are you going to market yourself?
Some ideas include:
- Creating online ads (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc.)
- Making use of influencer marketing
- Working with local media outlets (newspapers, TV, etc.)
- Maximizing email campaigns
- Attending industry events and networking
- Creating a newsletter
- Utilizing traditional outdoor advertising (billboards, flyers, etc.)
Real talk: your marketing strategy can be the very thing that makes or breaks your party planning business. I know, no pressure, right? We’re not trying to freak you out or anything… But seriously, make sure to think through your strategies and come up with ones that fit your budget and target audience!
11. Start Networking
Networking is another important step in the process of starting a party planning business. The reason for this is quite simple: networking will help you get the word out about your services, as well as give you the opportunity to learn from other party planners.
So, how should you network?
Well, the best way to network is to attend industry events and meet-ups. Here, you can make connections with other professionals in the field, share ideas, and learn from each other. You can also join online forums, groups, and association to continue building up your network.
12. Keep Learning and Stay Up-to-Date With Industry Trends
Finally, in order to stay relevant and up-to-date with the latest industry trends, it’s important to set aside time to continually be learning.
This may include attending workshops or seminars related to party planning, reading books and articles from experienced professionals in the field, or subscribing to industry websites/blogs for updates. By doing this, you’ll be able to stay on top of the latest trends and make sure that your parties are always ahead of the curve!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know how to start a party planning business from scratch, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this journey:
Q: How much does it cost to build a professional party planning business?
A: How much you have to invest in your business depends on what kind of services you plan to offer and how much overhead costs (such as rent, utilities, advertising, etc.) you have to pay. Generally speaking, the cost of starting a party planning business can range from a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands, depending on your budget.
Q: Can you start a business as a party planner while earning your certification, or should you wait until you’re certified?
A: That’s really up to you! If you’re confident in your skills and have enough experience, then there’s no reason why you can’t start building your party planning business while you’re still earning your certification. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t have enough experience yet, it may be best to wait until you finish the certification process before jumping in.
Q: How long does it take to start a party planning business?
A: How long it takes to start a party planning business really depends on how much research, planning and preparation you’re willing to put in. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the type of services you offer and how quickly you want to get started. Once you have a plan of action and have taken the necessary steps to bring your business vision to life, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful party planner!
Q: How long should you expect to wait before seeing a profit?
A: It again depends on a few factors, such as the types of services you offer, how much time and effort you’re willing to invest in the business, and how much of a budget you’ve allocated for marketing and promotion. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year before you start seeing consistent profits.
Q: Is party planning a good side hustle?
A: Absolutely! Party planning is a great side hustle for people who love planning events and have an eye for detail. It’s also a great way to make a part-time income without having to take on full-time hours. Plus, as your business grows, you can always consider taking on more clients, expanding your services, and making your business a full-time endeavor down the road.
Q: How much do party planners make per year?
There’s no definitive answer to this question as every party planner’s income is dependent on their services, expenses, and how many events they take on. Generally speaking, though, ZipRecruiter reports that party planners in the United States alone tend to make anywhere from $13,500 to $79,500 USD annually.
Q: What are some must-have supplies that all party planners need?
A: Some of the most important supplies you should have as a party planner include things like decorative items, catering supplies, sound systems/PA equipment, and event planning software. These will help you ensure that all of your parties are well-prepared, organized, and run smoothly.
In terms of running your party planning business, we recommend investing in the following items:
- A business plan
- A registered business name
- Organization tools, such as a calendar and daily planner
- A proper website domain
- Marketing materials (flyers, brochures)
- Accounting software
- And any necessary legal documents such as insurance, contracts, etc.
PRO TIP: Check out our full list of the BEST tools to help you grow your party planning business successfully!
Q: Where can you buy party planning supplies?
A: You can buy party planning supplies from a variety of suppliers, both online and in-person. Online stores such as Amazon or Party City are great resources for finding decorations, catering supplies, sound equipment, and more. Local party supply stores can also provide you with everything you need to make your parties memorable.
Q: How do party planners get clients?
A: The best way to get clients as a party planner is through networking and building relationships. You can start by attending local events or industry conferences and introducing yourself to potential clients. Additionally, you should also consider marketing your services on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.
Another business-savvy way to attract and book clients is by offering them some sort of pricing incentive. For example, you could offer discounts on services or free consultations in exchange for referrals. This will help build your reputation, and it’s a great way to get new clients.
Finally, don’t forget about word of mouth! Ask friends and family to spread the word about your business and refer you to anyone who’s looking for a party planner.
Hopefully, this guide has given you all the information you need to start a successful party planning business from scratch. When it comes down to it, running a successful business is all about staying organized and having the right resources at your disposal. With the right planning, dedication, and effort, you can turn your party planning business into a thriving success!