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How Do Event Planners Structure Their Fees?

Starting an Event Planning Business and Charging for Your Services


How Do Event Planners Structure Their Fees?
The World of MBI, Inc.

Whether you’re starting an event planning business for social events, business events or a combination of both, anyone who is considering their own business should certainly be concerned about establishing a fair rate for services. So it’s important to know how to charge for services.

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple. Several factors go into determine one’s rate, including event planning operating expenses, salaries and profits. And the reality is that rates vary based on where you may live, types of projects and what the market is willing to pay.

It also depends on your market. That is, your client or prospect will have a target budget in mind and your services must be competitive within those parameters.

Nevertheless, if you want to start a part time or even full time business, there are roughly five ways to structure your fee schedule so that you make money for your event planning services. Let’s assume you want to earn on average $75 per hour for your services. There are five ways to quote your services for client fees:

Event Planning Fees Based on a Flat Project Rate

Many clients prefer to know how much a project will cost to provide a service, inclusive of all fees. The event planner must determine a flat fee and determine what services will be covered for that amount.

This puts the responsibility of managing to a budget directly on you, the planner, and requires anticipating a variety of scenarios where circumstances may change. In this scenario, the client may contract directly with the event planner to coordinate all logistics, catering, venue, lodging expenses, etc.

Flat project fees are typically used for packaged events, such as those found with sports marketing programs, and may be calculated on a per person basis with many stipulations and caveats.

For example, assume you are being hired to organize a one day historic city tour for 15 guests. Your client wants you to quote a flat fee for transportation, a private guide, lunch and any/all admission fees to venues; however, she also asks that you provide a high level breakdown of each expense item.

In this scenario, you must negotiate/calculate the cost of all services, including your time, and quote a combined total for expenses. It will be the event planner’s responsibility/risk to identify required deposits, pay for all services, and hold responsibility for all service agreements.

Additional ways to structure event planning fees, next page.

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