On average, most qualified event planners should feel comfortable with charging between 15-20% of the total cost of an event as part of their fee. Depending on the complexity of the program and amount of time it takes to plan and execute an event, sometimes this is enough to cover a planner’s entire cost and source of profit.
For example, assume you are being hired to organize a private dinner at an exclusive restaurant for 40 guests with an average of $175 per person. Let's estimate that it takes you a total of 15 hours to meet with a client, plan, attend and complete all follow up on this event. If you charge a rate of 18% of total expenses, you will earn just a little more than your targeted hourly rate (based on the previously identified $75/hour):
$175 x 40 guests = $7,000 x 18% = $1,260
15 hours x $75/hr = $1,125
If the client is contracting with you for all services directly, the Subtotal Event Expense Charge to a Client: $8,260.
Additional ways to structure event planning fees, next page.