How to start a party and event planning business

A step-by-step guide to setting up a business in the events management industry

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Event and party planning costs and potential earnings

“It’s an extremely difficult industry to break,” warns David Jamilly of Theme Traders. “It’s incredibly competitive, the margins are extremely low – and the salary is very low too!” But that’s not to say it’s not a great industry to work in. And your company may break the mould.

If you’re coming from a large corporate events company, things will be a lot easier in terms of establishing good relationships with venues and suppliers, and making a list of contacts to get good rates in printing etc. “If you’ve worked with an events company before, you already have those contacts set up,” says Michael Newsome of Connect Events. “That way, when you set up on your own, you’ve got a starting point.” But don’t underestimate the effort it takes to build up your supporting infrastructure. Just because you’re successful in an established events company, doesn’t mean you won’t have to push hard when you’re on your own. You will not have a separate marketing department, or a tech guy to call on when your site crashes. The devil’s in the detail.

According to Michael, your supplier costs will dictate your pricings for the most part. Just how low you can swing your venue rentals and printing costs will, alas, depend on your contacts. Your overheads, if you are working on your own, could be as little as the cost of a phone line and a website. Marketing and promotions are considerations too (more of that, below). The biggest costs in big companies are in staff and you shouldn’t have to worry too much about that during the early days.