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How To Start an Event Planning Business in 6 Easy Steps [2024]

Caitlin Greyling Caitlin GreylingFinance Specialist June 21, 2024
June 21, 2024
DALL-E image. A refined 2D vector art illustration in the style of Adobe Illustrator, titled 'HOW TO START AN EVENT PLANNING BUSINESS' in a simple, clear font with no letter stylization except for the choice of font itself. The scene depicts two individuals decorating a wedding venue in muted pastel and neutral colors. One person arranges a floral centerpiece, while the other hangs fairy lights. The setting is elegant with draped fabrics and a romantic ambiance. The title at the top is professional and clearly readable, using a straightforward sans-serif font.

Starting an event planning business is an exciting journey that can turn your passion into a thriving career. While there are several steps to get started, this guide will help simplify the process so you can focus more on what you love most – planning amazing events!

First, we’ll dive into how to crystallize a solid business idea for your event planning company. Identifying your niche market, doing competitor and market research, and writing a business plan are a key part of this.

Next, we’ll tackle the legal and administrative aspects of starting an event planning company. From registering your business to obtaining permits, I’ll guide you through each step to ensure everything is set up correctly. This might sound tedious, but getting the admin right from the start will save you headaches down the road.

Marketing and client acquisition are crucial for success, too. Together, we’ll also explore effective strategies to attract clients and build a strong online presence. After all, networking and word-of-mouth will play a vital role in establishing your reputation.

With a clear plan, you’ll be well-prepared to launch and grow your business. Ready to get started? Let’s turn your event-planning dreams into reality!

Short on Time? Here’s A Quick Guide to Starting Your Event Planning Business

  1. Do market research and write a business plan. Identify your target market, analyze competitors, and outline your business structure and strategy to ensure your venture’s success. Ideally, your event planning company should offer something unique and better than competitors.
  2. Choose a name and register an LLC. Pick a unique, memorable name and legally establish your business by registering it. I recommend using ZenBusiness for hassle-free LLC formation1 as it offers free formation with freebies like compliance services.
  3. Apply for tax IDs and obtain permits and licenses. Secure your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and apply for any necessary permits or licenses to operate legally. Though not mandatory, you will need an EIN to hire or open a business bank account.
  4. Open a business bank account and get funding. Keep your personal and business finances separate by opening a business bank account. You can also explore funding options like loans or investments to support your start-up if you wish to go national or expand.
  5. Acquire any required materials, resources, or outsourced services. Ensure you have everything needed to operate, from equipment to third-party services. As an event planner, you’ll also need to build a network of suppliers and professionals like florists and photographers to fulfill your event requirements.
  6. Launch and market your company. Build an online presence using a website builder like Squarespace to attract and engage customers effectively. It’s a code-free builder featuring tons of stunning website templates and AI tools that allow you to design a site for your event business quickly with no design or coding experience.

1. Do Market Research and Write an Event Planning Business Plan

When starting an event planning business, the initial step of market research is crucial to establish the viability of your business. This will help you avoid investing in an unsuccessful venture, and assist you in formulating a winning plan and getting funding. You should also collate your findings and business information in a business plan.

How Do I Do Market Research for My Event Planning Business?

First, assess whether there is a demand for your event planning services. This involves researching your potential clients to understand their needs. Next, determine if your unique offerings meet these needs better than the competition. It’s also essential to evaluate the availability of resources – be it information, materials, or potential partners and customers.

Next, consider the feasibility of your business. This means evaluating whether the potential revenue will cover the costs and eventually lead to profitability. The good news is that most event planning businesses require minimal initial investment. Because you can take a deposit or charge customers the full fee upfront, you can start without needing substantial loans.

Lastly, it’s imperative to understand the legal and regulatory landscape of your event planning business. This includes acquiring necessary licenses and permits and adhering to zoning, health, safety, and data privacy regulations and laws. Each state or region may have different requirements, which can seem daunting to navigate.

However, utilizing an LLC formation service like ZenBusiness can significantly ease this process by identifying all specific legal prerequisites in your area. ZenBusiness can generate a report on all the permits and licenses you’ll need for your business.

What Should I Include in My Event Planning Business Plan?

A business plan covers all of the workings – including the operation and goals – of your business. You can find business plan templates online to print and fill in. However, an event planning business should detail your:
  • Business offerings: Describe what your event planning business provides, detailing every service available, such as consultations and specific event planning packages. You may also sell or hire out complimentary products and services like decor and floristry.
  • Target market and competitors: Identify your target customer and your competitors. Highlight reasons why potential customers might choose your business over others. You can also include other key takeaways you discovered during your market research.
  • Business structure and operations: Explain the roles within your business and its organizational structure. Clarify whether you operate independently, with partners, employ, or use outsourced services, and who’s responsible for what in the company.
  • Customer acquisition and retention strategies: Detail your approach to marketing your business and attracting and keeping customers. Marketing, advertising, networking, competitions, referrals, and other promotional activities all fall into this category.
  • Financial projections: Provide an overview of your anticipated revenues and expenditures and explain the financial mechanics of your business. If seeking investment, specify the amount needed, its intended use, and your repayment plan.

2. Choose a Name and Register Your Event Planning Business

Choosing a suitable name for your event planning business is a crucial first step in establishing your brand identity and can significantly influence public perception.

Here are a few business naming tips to help you select the right name:
  • It’s important to choose a name that is catchy and memorable.
  • Consider a unique name that conveys the specific services you offer, whether it’s weddings, corporate events, or social gatherings.
  • Make sure the name is easy to spell and pronounce, which will help with word-of-mouth marketing and online searches.
  • Additionally, you might want to include keywords related to event planning in your business name to improve SEO and attract more organic traffic to your website.
Once you’ve settled on a name, the next step is to ensure it’s legally available. This involves conducting a thorough search through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and your state’s business filing agency to check if the name, or something similar, has already been trademarked.

This is crucial for several reasons. The first is that you might face legal issues if your name is too similar to an existing business. You’ll also need to be able to get a unique domain name for your website, which could get complicated if something similar already exists. Lastly, you won’t be able to register your company as an LLC if the name is too close to another business.

Registering your business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the United States provides several benefits, including personal liability protection, tax advantages, and increased credibility. To register your business, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the state where you plan to operate. However, you can also use a free or paid LLC formation service to save yourself time and stress.

ZenBusiness: Hassle-Free LLC Formation with Amazing Support1

ZenBusiness LLC formation sign-up process
Signing up for LLC formation with ZenBusiness is risk- and stress-free
ZenBusiness provides everything you need to start your LLC. Not only does it offer free LLC formation (minus state fees)1, but it also has two other value-packed paid packages. Essential services like name availability searches, a 100% Accuracy Guarantee, and preparation and filing of your Articles of Organization are included in every plan. You can also add services to its free plan as needed.

I found that ZenBusiness’ customer support truly stands out, though. With helpful and responsive phone, email, and live chat, you can get assistance whenever you need it.

For peace of mind, ZenBusiness also includes a free year’s worth of its Worry-Free Compliance services with all plans, including upcoming event notifications and filing of your Annual Return. So you can focus on growing your client list instead while still staying compliant.

Features:

  • 30-day Money Pro trial. Money Pro is ZenBusiness’ proprietary accounting software that assists you in tracking expenses and income, as well as taxes. All you have to do is link your business bank account.
  • Website builder. ZenBusiness has its own no-code website builder featuring website templates and drag-and-drop elements. Use of it, a domain name, and a business email address are included with ZenBusiness’ Premium LLC formation plan.
  • $5,000 Grant Program. ZenBusiness’s Grant Program awards 40 grants to community-oriented small businesses each year. Only ZenBusiness customers are eligible to apply.

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Tailor Brands design and branding tools and services
You can get your branding and digital presence sorted simultaneously with Tailor Brands
Tailor Brands offers an efficient and user-friendly LLC formation service that simplifies the process for entrepreneurs. With its all-in-one platform, you can easily complete the necessary paperwork and register your business online without hassle. Plus, Tailor Brands offers a free LLC formation package1 for those looking to limit start-up costs.

Tailor Brands is also an excellent choice for event planning start-ups looking to establish a professional image from the get-go. Its standout feature is its branding services. These include creation tools for logos, business cards, merchandise, social media posts, and websites.

Features:

  • Business license and permit check and registration. Tailor Brands won’t just research the necessary permits and licenses you need. Its team will also apply for them for you. This service is available as a paid add-on separate from LLC formation.
  • Affordable add-ons. Tailor Brands offers a range of add-ons, including an Operating Agreement, EIN registration, and expedited filing, priced lower than many competitors.

LegalZoom: Legal Advisory and LLC Formation at Your Fingertips1

LegalZoom's Business Advisory plan
LegalZoom’s Premium LLC formation plan includes 30 days of its Business Advisory services
LegalZoom stands out amongst LLC formation services with its free LLC formation plan1 and reasonably priced legal service add-ons. This makes it one of the best options for those wanting or needing to iron out the legalities, for example, large or multi-member event planning companies with multiple consultants and a nationwide presence.

Additionally, LegalZoom’s paid plans offer access to a vast legal advisory document template library and a free tax consultation. For those needing even more comprehensive support, its Premium plan includes unlimited attorney consultations, and free LLC document changes for 30 days.

Features:

  • Free digital welcome packet. A step-by-step checklist to guide you through the LLC setup process.
  • Business Advisory Plan. You can activate or extend your legal support by signing up for a paid LegalZoom Business Advisory plan separately. The option to sign up for and pay yearly or in biannual installments further enhances accessibility to legal services.
To discover more great options, see our list of the top 10 LLC formation services of 2024. We’ve tested and evaluated all the top LLC services based on support, features, and pricing.

3. Register for Tax IDs (EIN and/or state), Permits, and Licenses

When starting an event planning business in the US, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a practical step for business operations. Even though it’s not mandatory, an EIN is needed for hiring employees, managing payroll, and opening a business bank account. Additionally, this number is often required to deal with certain federal excise taxes that might apply to your services or products.

Permit and license regulations can vary significantly based on the location and nature of the business. Event planners might need specific licenses and permits for hosting large public events, alcohol service, or food distribution, depending on local laws. Because the specifics can differ, business owners must check with local government agencies or a professional advisor to ensure they meet all legal requirements.

Utilizing an LLC formation service can be particularly beneficial for those unfamiliar with the complex tapestry of local and federal tax and licensing regulations. Services such as ZenBusiness provide tailored advice on the necessary tax IDs, permits, and licenses required for your event planning business. This helps you comply with all legal obligations right from the start, avoiding any potential legal issues that could arise.

4. Start Tracking Your Accounts and Get Financing

Organizing finances meticulously is crucial for operational efficiency and compliance with U.S. tax regulations. This step involves setting up a dedicated business bank account to separate your personal and business finances. This simplifies accurate financial reporting and tax preparation.

Event planners need to document every cost related to their events, from venue rental fees to transportation and staff wages. Keeping detailed records not only aids in financial management but also maximizes potential tax deductions. Regularly updating records can prevent the year-end rush and ensure smoother financial audits. It’s also beneficial to set aside a portion of income for taxes to avoid large, unexpected tax bills.

Regarding funding, many event planning businesses start with minimal capital investment, instead relying on the owner’s personal savings and existing assets. However, if additional funding is needed, options may include loans from family and friends, small business loans from banks, or even venture capital. Each funding source has its own implications, so it’s vital to choose one that aligns with your business’ growth and financial plans.

5. Network, Hire, and Source Materials and Third-Party Services

In the competitive world of event planning, establishing a reliable network and sourcing high-quality supplies are pivotal for delivering exceptional experiences. Below are some practical tips on how to build relationships with third-party professionals and source essential supplies for your event planning business efficiently and affordably.

Building a Professional Network

Creating a network of reliable suppliers and professionals is key to the success of any event planning business. Start by identifying top-rated names in the industry, such as florists, makeup artists, musicians, DJs, caterers, and photographers. Then reach out and organize a meet-and-greet. Trade fairs are another route for network building. Make sure to vet each person or business you plan to partner with to ensure they align with your standards and expectations.

Sourcing Event Supplies

When it comes to sourcing supplies for any additional services you may offer directly – like floristry, decoration, or catering – a strategic approach can save time and money. Develop relationships with wholesalers or manufacturers to obtain bulk items at a lower cost. Leverage online marketplaces that cater to event planners for unique or custom items.

Expanding Your Team

If you plan to offer in-house services such as floral arrangements, catering, or decoration, it’s essential to build a capable team. Hiring skilled professionals or training enthusiastic beginners in-house can ensure that the quality of these services meets your and your client’s expectations. Additionally, consider partnering with culinary schools or design institutes to discover emerging talent eager to showcase their skills in a real-world setting.

6. Launch and Promote Your Event Planning Company

In the digital age, launching an event planning business requires more than just a knack for organizing stellar events; it demands a strong online presence.

This process begins with:
  • Securing a domain name that resonates with your brand,
  • Setting up a matching business email address to communicate effectively with clients,
  • And launching a well-designed website that showcases your services.
To efficiently establish an online presence, many new businesses opt for a website builder like Squarespace. Website builders simplify the process, allowing entrepreneurs with no coding or design skills to create their own site without the expense of hiring someone. Additionally, site builder plans generally include a domain, hosting, and optimizations. So there’s no need to purchase or configure these yourself.

Squarespace templates for events (none specifically for event planning, but the reader may get some ideas for their own site or about promoting their client's event - if they are public - i.e. by creating a temporary Squarepsace website for them).
Squarespace’s website template design range covers many uses and categories
Squarespace’s stunning website templates make it an excellent choice for event planning businesses looking to build a visually compelling online presence. Its easy-to-use website builder and editor includes AI tools, allowing you to customize and populate your site effortlessly. I appreciate the seamless integration with third-party extensions for payment, tax, scheduling, inventory, shipping, and more, which enhances functionality.

The new Acuity Scheduling add-on is invaluable for managing your event planning calendar. It lets your customers book appointments and check your availability directly through your website. So it’s perfect for setting up initial meetings and managing events!

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In particular, Shopify’s integration with various third-party online booking, payment, and AI extensions makes it an excellent choice for event-planning businesses. You can even try Shopify out risk-free with a 3-day credit-card-free trial.

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Or, Use an LLC Formation Service With a Website Builder Included

Launching a website for your new business can be thrilling; it introduces the brand to the world and attracts clients. However, before diving into website design and content, you have to complete the administrative groundwork. Establishing your business legally as an LLC might seem less glamorous than website creation, but it’s fundamental to your business’s longevity and security.

The good news is that some of our top LLC formation service plans actually include website-building tools. ZenBusiness and Tailor Brands both have premium packages that come with a domain, matching business email, and website builder. So you can get your registration and online presence sorted out in one go.

Market and Promote Your Event Planning Company

After setting up your website and formal business structure, explore various sales channels and advertising methods to boost your event planning business:
  • Social Media Advertising: Utilizing platforms like Facebook and Instagram for targeted ads can help reach local clients.
  • Local Advertising: Flyers, newspaper ads, and local radio spots can attract attention within the community.
  • Networking Events: Attending or sponsoring local trade, industry, or networking events can increase your visibility and build your connections in the industry.
  • Online Marketplaces: Platforms like Amazon and Etsy can be effective for selling themed party supplies or unique event decor.

Get Your Event Planning Company Started Today

Starting an event planning business involves several steps, including market research, business planning, sourcing suppliers, hiring, creating an online presence, networking, and promoting yourself. However, you also need to take care of the administrative side of things. Registering your company as an LLC will ensure that all the legal and financial parts are fully covered, and help you avoid many common pitfalls of new business ownership.

While these steps can be navigated independently, hiring professionals to handle the LLC formation and other administrative tasks can significantly simplify the process. This allows you to focus more on the creative and operational aspects of your event planning business. Professional help in these early stages sets a solid foundation for your business to thrive and grow.

Our top 3 LLC formation services are well-equipped to assist you in all areas, including filing, obtaining licenses, permits, and tax IDs, creating an online presence, and maintaining your business:
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Tailor Brands Free AI logo
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LegalZoom Free and
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FAQ

What are the essential steps of starting an event planning business?

There are generally six steps to starting an event planning business. These include 1. doing market research and writing a business plan, 2. naming and registering your company, 3. registering for tax, permits, and licenses, 4. accounting, 5. networking and sourcing supplies, and 6. launching and promoting your event planning company.

How can I determine the best pricing strategy for my event planning services?

To determine the best pricing strategy for your event planning services, assess your costs, understand your target market’s budget, analyze competitors’ pricing, and factor in your experience and service uniqueness. Opt for a pricing model that covers costs and aligns with client expectations, such as fixed, hourly, or percentage-based rates, while also being profitable.

What are the most important skills and qualifications needed to be an event planner?

The most important skills and qualifications for an event planner include strong organizational and time management abilities, excellent communication and negotiation skills, creativity, attention to detail, problem-solving capabilities, and the ability to manage budgets. Formal qualifications in event management or related fields can also be beneficial but aren’t essential.

How should I manage client relationships to ensure repeat business?

To ensure repeat business and grow your network via referrals, you should prioritize clear and consistent communication, understand and meet client expectations, provide exceptional service, and follow up after events to gather feedback. Building a personal connection and showing appreciation through small gestures can also strengthen relationships and loyalty.

What are the key strategies for attracting clients to my event planning business?

Key strategies for attracting clients to your event planning business include:
  • Developing a strong online presence through a professional website and active social media channels
  • Networking with industry professionals and potential clients
  • Offering promotions or discounts
  • Showcasing testimonials and successful event portfolios
  • Leveraging targeted advertising to reach your ideal demographic

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