How much does it cost to start an event planning business? Today, we’ll answer this very question! Starting your own event planning business can be an extremely lucrative and fulfilling endeavor – but it doesn’t come cheap. In order to start an event planning business, you’ll need to invest in a variety of equipment, supplies, software, office space, and marketing materials.
The good news is that we’ve done the research for you and have created an exhaustive list of all the estimated expenses associated with starting an event planning business from scratch. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how much money you need to save up and invest in your new venture!
PRO TIP: Before we get started, it’s worth knowing if YOU should start an event planning business in the first place… Check out this article to find out once and for all!
Event Planning Startup Costs: How Much Does It Cost to Organize an Event?
Now that we know you should start an event planning business, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – how much does it cost to organize an event?
To get a better understanding of how much it costs to start your own event planning business, we’ve broken down all the estimated expenses into 8 categories:
- Business formation expenses
- Equipment + supply expenses
- Software expenses
- Office space expenses
- Website costs
- Advertising + marketing costs
- Employee expenses
- Freelancer expenses
Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of each category!
1. Event Planning Business Expenses
The first thing you’ll need to do when starting your event planning business is to choose the legal structure of your business. Will you operate as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation? The type of business entity you choose will affect how much money you’ll need to spend on formation expenses.
For example, if you decide to operate as an LLC, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with your state and pay a filing fee – which can range from $50-$500 depending on your state. You’ll also need to obtain the proper business licenses and permits, which will cost you an additional $200-$500. Finally, you’ll need to purchase insurance for your business, which can cost anywhere from $500-$5000 per year (depending on the type and amount of coverage you choose).
All in all, you should budget for at least $1000 in business formation expenses when starting your event planning business.
PRO TIP: You can save a lot of money on business formation expenses by forming your LLC or corporation online! Two common resources for this are Incfile and LegalZoom.
2. Equipment + Supply Expenses
In order to start planning events, you’ll need to have the proper equipment and supplies on hand. This includes items like a laptop or computer, printer, scanner, and digital camera. These can cost anywhere from $500-$2000, depending on the quality and brand of the products you choose.
You’ll also need to purchase office supplies like pens, paper, folders, and sticky notes – which will require an additional investment in the ballpark of $100-$200.
PRO TIP: You can save quite a bit of money on equipment and supply expenses by shopping for refurbished or used products online! Popular websites for this are Amazon Renewed and Best Buy Outlet.
3. Software Expenses
To help you run your event planning business smoothly, it’s strongly recommended that you invest in various software programs. These can include project management software (like Asana or Trello), accounting software (like QuickBooks or FreshBooks), and email marketing software (like Mailchimp or Constant Contact).
Prices for these types of software programs can range from $0-$100 per month, depending on the features and functionality you need. For example, here are the current fees associated with each of the above programs (as of May 21st, 2022):
Asana (Note: 30-day free trial offered):
- Basic: $0.00 USD/month
- Premium: $10.99 USD/month
- Business: $24.99 USD/month
- Asana Enterprise: Must contact Asana for full info and pricing
Trello (Note: Premium Plan offers free trial):
- Free: $0.00 USD/month
- Standard: $5.00 USD/month
- Premium: $10.00 USD/month
- Enterprise: $17.50 USD/month
QuickBooks (Note: All plans are currently on sale for 75% off + free 30-day trial offered):
For small business accounting:
- EasyStart: $5.50 CAD/month
- Essentials: $11.00 CAD/month
- Plus: $16.50 CAD/month
- Advanced: $35.00 CAD/month
For self-employed expenses:
- EasyStart: $5.50 CAD/month
- Self-Employed: $3.75 CAD/month
FreshBooks (Note: Currently offering 90% off for 3 months + free trial offered):
- Lite: $1.90 CAD/month (normally $19.00 CAD/month)
- Plus: $3.20 CAD/month (normally $32.00 CAD/month)
- Premium: $6.00 CAD/month (normally $60.00 CAD/month)
- Select: Custom pricing, to be determined by contacting FreshBooks
- Free: $0.00/month
- Essentials: Starting at $11.00/month
- Standard: Starting at $17.00/month
- Premium: Starting at $299.00/month
Website & Commerce:
- Free: $0.00/month
- Core: Starting at $10.00/month
- Plus: Starting at $29.00/month
Constant Contact (Note: All prices are based on number of contracts + free trial offered):
Digital Marketing Subscriptions:
- Core: $13.00 CAD/month
- Plus: $59.00 CAD/month
Sales Accelerator Subscription:
- All-in-one CRM platform: Starting at $449 USD/month
4. Office Space Expenses
Starting an Event Planning Company in a Commercial Space
If you plan on starting your event planning business in a commercial space (such as an office suite or retail store), then you’ll need to factor in the cost of rent, utilities, and internet service into your budget.
For example, the average cost of renting a small office space in the United States is currently $600-$700 per month. Moreover, depending on your location, utilities can add an additional $100-$200 per month to your expenses. Lastly, business-grade internet service can also cost you around $50-$100 per month.
In total, you should expect to spend at least $850-$1000 per month on commercial office space rental expenses in order to start an event planning business.
Starting an Event Planning Company from Home
On the other hand, maybe you’re looking to save some money on office space rental expenses. In that case, you might want to consider running your event planning business from home!
Of course, this option isn’t for everyone. After all, some people simply prefer the structure and discipline that comes with working in a commercial space. But if you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind a little bit of extra noise and commotion in your living space, then starting your event planning business from home could be a great way to save some cash each month.
Just keep in mind that even if you do decide to start an event planning business from home, you’ll still need to factor in other associated expenses like internet service (approx. $50-$100/month) and office supplies (approx. $50-$100/month).
In total, you should expect to spend at least $600-$800 per month on office space and associated expenses when starting your event planning business from home.
Want to learn more about running an event planning business from home? This article will help you get started in 3 easy steps!
5. Website Costs
If you want to be taken seriously as an event planning business, then you’ll need to have a professional website!
Of course, you could always try to build a website yourself using one of the many DIY website builder platforms out there (like Wix or Squarespace). But unless you have some previous experience with web design, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend this option.
Instead, we recommend working with a professional web designer to create a custom website for your specific event planning business. Depending on your needs and budget, this can cost anywhere from $500-$5000+.
Alternately, if you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution, you can always use a pre-made WordPress theme to build your event planning business website. This will still require some basic web design knowledge, but it’s a great way to get a professional-looking website up and running without spending a ton of money. Currently, WordPress offers a basic (free) plan, a $10.00/month plan, and a $29.00/month plan.
To learn more about what needs to go into creating your official business website, check out this article!
6. Advertising + Marketing Costs
As with any business, one of the key ingredients to success is advertising and marketing. After all, how else are you supposed to let people know about your event planning business and attract new clients?
There are a multitude of different ways that you can market your event planning business. However, some methods will obviously be more effective (and more expensive) than others. For example, TV commercials, print ads, and social media ads (such as on YouTube and TikTok) can be costly. However, they also reach a wide audience and can generate a lot of buzz for your business.
On the other hand, targeted online ads and social media campaigns tend to be much less expensive – but with a smaller budget will come a smaller audience reach. So, that’s definitely something to keep in mind.
Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide which marketing channels makes the most sense for your specific event planning business. But as a general rule of thumb, you should expect to spend at least $100-$1,000 per month on advertising and marketing expenses.
7. Employee Expenses
If you plan on growing your event planning business beyond a one-person operation, then you’ll eventually need to start hiring employees.
Of course, the number of employees that you’ll need to hire will depend on the size and scope of your specific business. But regardless of how many people you end up hiring, you should expect to spend a decent amount of money each month on employee-related expenses.
This includes things like salaries, payroll taxes, benefits, insurance, and other associated costs. Depending on the number of employees that you have and the type of benefits that you offer, these expenses can range anywhere from $500-$5000+ per month.
8. Freelancer Expenses
In addition to (or instead of) hiring employees, you may also need to hire freelancers to help with specific tasks and projects.
Just like with employee expenses, the amount of money that you’ll need to spend on freelancers will vary depending on your specific business needs. However, you should generally expect to pay freelancers by the hour, and rates can range anywhere from $20-$100+ per hour.
So, How Much Does It Cost To Start an Event Planning Business?
Based on everything we’ve discussed, the total (estimated) amount that you should be saving up in order to start your event planning business is approx. $12,000+. Of course, this number could be higher or lower, depending on a variety of factors – such as whether or not you already have some of the necessary equipment, how big/complex your website will be, etc.
At the end of the day, starting an event planning business is definitely not a cheap undertaking. However, if you’re passionate about event planning and are willing to put in the hard work, we believe it’s definitely worth it!
So, what are your thoughts? How much did YOU spend when starting your event planning business? Let us know in the comments below!
And as always, don’t forget to check out our other articles on event planning tips and advice. Thanks for reading! 😁
Become an internationally-certified event planner in just 3-6 months by enrolling in QC Event School’s self-paced, online certification training today!
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