If you are creative and love throwing parties, you should consider a party planning business, but be aware that the type of party adults will trust you to plan will be limited – mostly kids’ birthday parties. On the other hand, teens might actually prefer another teen to organize their parties.
- High-demand field: planning parties takes work and attention to detail and a lot of people do not have the time or patience to do it.
- Doing what you love
- Honing organizational skills
- No formal education or training is needed to start
- This is a stressful business since anything that can go wrong generally will (for instance, what if it rains when you have an outdoor event planned?)
- You may need a lot of equipment (tables, chairs, decorations, costumes) and you might need to establish partnerships with others, such as magicians, face painters or deejays.
How to get started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
- Consider serving as an assistant or apprentice to an established event planner to gain knowledge. You can also offer to organize parties for free for family and friends in the beginning.
- Think about the type of parties you would be good at organizing: birthday parties for kids? Which age range? What services would you offer? Will you offer entertainment? Or do you want to focus on parties for teens?
- Find partners who can help you distinguish your business – for example, magicians, face painters or (for parties for slightly older kids and teens) a deejay.
- Draft a standard contract detailing what services you will provide, how many guests are expected, and what your fees will be, and what would happen in case of something unexpected such as rain on the day of an outside party. But be aware that, in most states, contracts with minors are not considered legally binding so you might need a parent or another adult to sign for you to make the client comfortable.
- Create fliers and a website to advertise your business.
How much to charge:
Research the current rates in your area by googling “party planner rates,” talking to other planners or searching a site like Craig’s List where people offer services. (You probably will have to call and give them details for a hypothetical party to get an actual rate.) Be sure to estimate the cost for all the supplies you will need so you can set a price that covers those costs and provides a profit for you. The more work you provide (e.g., if they want you to set up a lot of decorations) the more profit you should make.
If you have partners that provide entertainment, draw up agreements with them – if you are essentially finding work for them, they should consider giving you a small portion of their fee (or perhaps you give the customer one fee that covers their services and part of it goes to you.)
It’s smart to price your services slightly lower when first establishing a clientele to encourage customers to give you a chance. Offering a special discount rate to first-time visitors is another sure way to get new clients in the door.
Taking it to the next level:
Once you have gained an appreciative customer base and feel that you are ready to expand, here are some steps you can take:
- Distribute your fliers to a wider audience – maybe door-to-door throughout your neighborhood and on any community bulletin board you can find around town.
- Create online ads on social media.
- Consider giving away gift certificates or discounts for your services
- Blog about party planning. This will expand your exposure and establish your expertise
- Expand your services, for example offer more themed parties
- Offer your services to schools or community organizations
Taking it online:
People still have reasons to celebrate and gather (virtually), despite the recent coronavirus pandemic. Kids and adults are still having birthdays, national/cultural/religious holidays are still happening, etc.
Thanks to Zoom and other video conferencing apps, people can see their friends and family from the comfort and safety of their respective homes.
That’s where you come in. You can help your customers throw different kinds of virtual celebrations to make birthdays, milestones and holidays feel special. Here are some tips to keep in mind for running a virtual party planning business.
- Keep a small guest list. The old saying “the more, the merrier” doesn’t always apply to virtual parties. Talk with your customer about the kind of activities they want to include. If the customer wants to encourage conversations between adults, then inviting around 10 guests will work. If you’re planning a children’s party, consider inviting 20 or fewer guests.
- Keep in mind any guests with limited tech skills. Zoom may seem like one of the few winners during recent times. But not everyone is completely familiar with video conferencing apps. After choosing an app to host your customer’s event, include some instructions while sending invites to party guests.
- Keep it fun! There are still plenty of ways to entertain your client’s guests. For children’s parties, consider presenting a musician, magician or puppet show. You can fill these roles yourself if you have any of these skills, or have a creative friend or family member help. For events with older kids, teens and/or adults, consider having guests sing karaoke or compete during a themed trivia game.