Startup Expenses Rent Equipment Inventory Licenses and Taxes Communications Payroll Advertising/Promotion Legal Fees & Accounting

Insurance

Low $0 $5,000 $0 $250 $100 $0 $500 $650 $800

High $2,300 $17,000 $500 $350 $250 $4,000 $2,000 $1,500 $1,700 $1,500 $31,100

(1st Quarter) Miscellaneous Total

$750 $8,050

Here are the main tasks you'll be completing as an event planner:

Research. The best way to reduce risk (whatever the kind) is to do your homework. For large events, research may mean making sure there's a demand for the event by conducting surveys, interviews or focus group research. If you're new to the event planning industry, research may instead mean finding out all you can about vendors and suppliers. Research also may mean talking to other planners who have produced events similar to the one on which you're working. Or you may find yourself reading up on issues of custom and etiquette, especially if you're unfamiliar with a particular type of event.

Whatever kind of event you're planning, research should include asking your client a lot of questions and writing down the answers. Interviewing a client may not be what you immediately think of as research. However, asking too few questions, or not listening adequately to a client's answers, can compromise the success of the event you plan.

Design. Your creativity comes most into play in the design phase of event planning, during which you sketch out the overall "feel" and "look" of the event. This is the time to brainstorm, either by yourself or with your employees. It's also the time to pull out and look through your idea file. (You do have one, don't you? If not, read on and take notes.) Don't forget to consult your notebook for the client's answers to the questions you asked in the research phase. These responses, especially the one regarding the

which can be applied toward a client's event if he or she hires you. Vendor arrival times should appear in the contracts. hire vendors and take care of more details than you might believe possible. but verify those times anyway. Even more important. You can hire an event planning consultant. shouting it from rooftops. • Proposal. test of an event's success is customer satisfaction. • Generally speaking. First-time business owners often fail because they unknowingly priced their services too low. Having a designated individual helps ensure that communication lines are kept open. Major conventions are planned years in advance. especially if you include photographs or sketches. Be aware that the production of a proposal is timeconsuming and potentially expensive. your goal is to ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength. the bigger the event. Once you've interviewed the client and done some preliminary brainstorming. • Evaluation. and in one sense the most important. the more lead time that's required to plan it. preferably before suggesting it to the client. After you've made the initial plans. Although you may not be arranging events on such a grand scale. Social events have a different fee structure than corporate events. reunions or large parties. and when. The goal. like the caterer or bartender. plus a percentage of some or all vendor fees. will help you thoroughly check each idea for feasibility. social events in particular sometimes suffer from the "too many cooks" syndrome. Having one designated contact helps you avoid being caught in the middle of disagreements between event participants. In the social events industry. obtain feedback from other industry professionals working at the event. Organization.event budget. plan a roundtable post-event discussion with your employees. you do need to allow at least a few months for events like corporate picnics. turn your attention to each of the activities that form a part of the overall event. But before you do any of this. is to end up with a client who will sing your praises up and down the street. The obvious. and who will provide that famous word-of-mouth advertising for you. Also. • Coordination. At this point. you'll rent the site. This is a "check and recheck" period. This is the client who will hire you again. of course. Joe Goldblatt. . vendors should be clear about what's expected of them. Make sure all your staff members know their roles. You should receive a consultation fee (she suggests about $150). have someone who hosts extremely successful parties observe your event. You'll be on the phone until your ear is numb. Make sure all vendors have at least a general idea of the overall event schedule. planners typically receive a fee for their services. There are several other ways to evaluate the success of an event. or survey guests at or after the event. During this decision-intensive phase. The goal in pricing a service is to mark up your labor and material costs sufficiently to cover overhead expenses and generate an acceptable profit. According to industry expert and author Dr. Good communication skills are important. you should have enough information to prepare a proposal. The two income streams produce enough revenue for a profit. fees are typically determined by three factors: • Market segment served. make sure you have a contact person (either the client or someone acting on the client's behalf) with whom you'll discuss all major decisions. Sachs points out that only the larger companies producing high-end events can afford to provide clients with free proposals.

it's reasonable to charge less for your planning services while you gain expertise. planners typically charge a fee for their services. If you're just starting out in the industry. Fees are higher in the northeast United States. areas of the country that have welldefined on. Although networking and word-of-mouth are the most common industry strategies for acquiring clients. you may ask.and off-seasons base their prices partly on which season they're in. with 15 percent being a rough average. traditional forms of advertising do have their uses. for example.In the corporate events industry. As a part of our marketing efforts we will not make very heavy expenditures on giving advs in yellow pages or some other directory instead use our contacts and try to spread our presence mainly through word of mouth. A distinctive card or brochure sent to a mailing list or to local businesses may attract new clients. or "project fee. • Geographic location. They contract out the labor. . a planner buys flowers from a florist. A small ad in a local business magazine can help build name recognition. are the above-mentioned fees-for-service calculated? Event planners we interviewed price their fees-for-service (the total cost to the client) using a "cost-plus" method. • How. supplies and materials involved in producing an event and charge their clients a service fee of about 10 to 20 percent of the total cost of the event. For example. Experience and reputation of the event planner. In addition. than in the southeast. plus a handling charge for each item they contract. This difference reflects the variation in cost of living. A Web site on the Internet may allow you to attract customers unresponsive to other forms of media." often used when the event is large and the corporation wants to be given a "not to exceed" figure. Another possibility is a flat fee. marks them up (usually 15 percent) and charges that amount to the client. however.

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