How to Start an Event Planning Business

(Because all those fancy events aren’t gonna plan themselves)

How to start an event planning business

You love having creative control over all aspects of an event and watching your visions come to life, so you’re starting your own event planning business. That’s quite the ambitious endeavor, but it takes more than just knowledge of local hot spots and problem-solving skills to run a successful business. You’ll need a plan to keep bringing in profits and clients long term.

When the time comes to open up shop, having event planning insurance for your business is the key to maintaining smooth operations. All businesses come with risks, even the fun ones, so you’ll need to obtain protection during your preparation phase. Our independent insurance agents are here to help get you set up with the right coverage for your specific needs. But first, let’s talk about the event planning industry.

All About the Event Planning Industry

Projected percent change in employment for meeting, convention and event planners 2016-2026 

Percent change in employment projected for Meeting, convention and event planners

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

The event planning industry is growing, and the trend is projected to continue at least midway through the next decade. The meeting, convention, and event planning labor force is projected to grow 11% between 2016-2026 compared to an average of 7% for other occupations within the same time period.

Fundraisers - Percent change in employment, projected 2016-2026

Fundraisers - Percent change in employment, projected

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Fundraising is one of the most popular niches in the event planning industry. Fundraising is expected to experience a 15% increase in employment between 2016-2026.

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners - Median annual wages, May 2018

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners - Median annual wages

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

Curious about the average salary of an event planner? Meeting, convention, and event planners earned an average annual salary of $49,370 as of May 2018. The average median wage for other occupations was $38,640.

How to Start an Event Planning Business

Your ambition to start a new business is a great motivator, but it’s far from all you need to bring that dream to reality. Of course your vision will be specific and unique as it should be, but we’ll take a look at some general steps to starting an event planning business:

  • Step One: Planning. No successful business can begin without a solid plan, we’re willing to bet on that. First up, you’ll need to determine all kinds of stuff like your startup costs, target market, business name, the products/services you’ll offer, and how long it’ll take you to break even and start turning a profit. You’ll also need to decide what kind of business you want to be (i.e., if you want to work solo or with a team, if you’ll work from home or get a separate office, etc.). Last if applicable, you’ll need to scout out a location and actually purchase/rent said property once you’ve found it.
  • Step Two: Legal stuff. Next, you’ll decide what kind of business entity you want to be (e.g., LLC, partnership, etc.), and then go through the proper channels of making it legal by registering with the government. You’ll also need to register for taxes and obtain any required permits and licenses.
  • Step Three: Money stuff. This phase involves opening a business bank account so you can accurately monitor your business’s financial performance and make your life a heck of a lot easier when it comes time to file your annual taxes. Afterwards, it’s time to obtain your start-up costs and determine how much you’ll be charging customers/clients for any goods/services your business will offer.
  • Step Four: Define and build your brand. What will your business stand for? How do you want the world to perceive it? These are just a couple of questions you’ll answer in order to define your brand. A solid, unique branding of your business will help it stand out from the competition.  Once the details have been figured out, it’s time to get to work building that brand. This generally involves designing business cards, building a website, and establishing a social media presence. If you’re clueless when it comes to Twitter or any of the other platforms, you can always hire or beg someone to take care of that aspect for you.
  • Step Five: Build your team. You’ve made all kinds of progress, and now it’s time to find people to actually do the work. Determine what kind of team you need, the different roles you need to fill, and how many positions there are in each. Then go about hiring your staff/employees/minions. You can advertise online, in your local newspaper, or go the old-school word-of-mouth route. Once you’ve got a solid team established, it’s time to get them trained.
  • Step Six: Iron out the details. For your event planning business, this could  involve researching market trends, touring local venues, compiling a list of suppliers for various event-related products, advertising for your business, finding prospective clients, perfecting your quick-thinking skills, etc. Basically, any of the specifics needed to make your event planning business come to life will fall into this step.
  • Step Seven: Get coverage. The final step, and perhaps the most important, is to obtain the proper coverage. You’ll need business insurance to protect not only your event planning business but also yourself. Business insurance is the pièce de résistance that’ll help keep your event planning business/designing parties/fundraisers/etc. go off without a hitch for years to come.

What Is Event Planning Insurance?

Broken down, event planning insurance is a creatively crafted insurance package designed to meet the specific needs of event planning business owners. All the coverage offered by a basic small business insurance plan as well as policy options tailored for the unique needs of event planners are rolled into one.

An event planning insurance package simplifies the process of obtaining all necessary coverage for event planners while eliminating confusion and stress. Basically, it’s the best way to go.

What Does Event Planning Insurance Cover?

An event planning insurance policy is typically the easiest option when it comes to knocking out your extensive list of coverage needs all together in one tidy package. These policies offer the basics of business insurance coverage, including most of the liability insurance you’ll need, plus specific coverage tailored to your unique niche.

Here are several event planning insurance coverage options:

  • General liability: This coverage protects you against property damage or injury claims made by a third party. 
  • Property insurance: Covers loss of or damage to your physical property including your office space, and often the inventory within it. Protected mishaps include fires, storms, and more.
  • Business income: A part of property insurance, this aspect covers the financial loss suffered while a business is closed due to fire damage or other disasters.
  • Event cancellation insurance: If one of your events must be cancelled due to weather or other unexpected circumstances/difficulties, event cancellation insurance covers the lost revenue spent on deposits or reservations.
  • Professional liability: Should you make an error during the planning or execution of one of your events that causes harm to the client, professional liability will cover the legal fees if they sue you.

Your event planning insurance package will be assembled by selecting the coverage that work for your unique business from a big ol’ list of available options. Coverage applies to everything from lost business revenue to potential legal/court fees and beyond.

Who Needs Event Planning Insurance?

No matter the size or style of your event planning business, if you’re organizing events for the public, you’ll need protection. Event planning comes with a set of unique risks, both obvious and hidden, so coverage is essential no matter your niche.
You might need event planning coverage if you are a:

  • Wedding planner
  • Fundraiser planner
  • Party planner
  • Special event planner
  • Children's events planner
  • Business meeting/conference planner
  • Awards show planner
  • Exhibition coordinator
  • Field events manager
  • Campaign event coordinator
  • Volunteer event coordinator

Event planning insurance will cover all aspects of your business regardless of the specific type you own. It’s always important to have protection for yourself, your equipment, your inventory, and your property. But protection against potential lawsuits is also crucial. Event planning businesses of all guest list and floral arrangement sizes can be sued, so don’t risk not having coverage.

How Much Does Event Planning Insurance Cost?

Truthfully, it depends on quite a few things. A moderately successful event planning business might pay $650 annually in combined liability, property, and business income coverage. But a wedding planning business that caters to celebrities out in LA might pay much more, while a low-key fundraiser planning business in a small town might pay much less.

Of course, it’s hard to offer an average figure since each event planning business is unique. But really, it all depends on a number of factors, like:

  • The type of event planning business: This involves more than just if you’ll be planning children’s birthday parties at McDonald’s or the next Golden Globes ceremony. The kind of equipment your business uses and the services offered will affect its level of risk. Obviously, more danger means more money for insurance.
  • The location of the event planning business: Larger cities tend to have higher costs for insurance, but it goes beyond that. Depending on where you are in the country, your location may be subject to various weather-related risks. Event planning businesses located along the Atlantic coast, for example, may have premiums up to 20% higher due to risk of hurricane damage.
  • How much business you generate: Premiums are calculated based on business projections for the upcoming year. If your workload doubles, so will your premium most likely.

Top 5 Business Insurance Claims

From potential injuries to property damage and lawsuits, business insurance is definitely a must-have. In order to keep all operations running smoothly, you’ll need to consider not only the risks unique to your trade but also those that apply to all kinds of businesses. Here’s a quick look at the most common business insurance claims across the board:

  • Theft/burglary: Whether they’re after money, merchandise, your company vehicles, or anything else, thieves and burglars commonly target businesses. Anything you have that could be stolen is worth protecting before ever opening your doors to the public.
  • Weather-related damage: Wind and hailstorms create the type of weather damage most often reported by businesses across the map. Whether it’s shattered windows, broken signage, destroyed products, or anything else, Mother Nature can wreak havoc when she gets angry. Plan for disasters before they happen, and secure coverage up front.
  • Fire damage: Another common/costly claim is fire damage. Be it destruction caused by natural wildfires or resulting from employee negligence, such as with a kitchen fire, these disasters can be devastating. Fire damage can result in lost property, inventory, and even revenue, especially if your business is forced to close. Also, fires are obviously a huge hazard for your workers and customers alike. Take as many proactive measures as possible, such as installing sprinkler systems and extinguishers.
  • Employee injury: Even the most well-trained employees on record run the risk of becoming injured on the job regardless of the line of work they’re in. Employees may become injured while carrying out daily tasks, due to the negligence of a coworker, while making service deliveries, or in a myriad of other ways. Protecting your workers with workers’ compensation  is crucial, not to mention mandatory, in most states.
  • Customer injury: Of course, your business’s customers are also at risk of injury while on your property. Slips and falls are some of the most commonly reported business insurance claims, but customers can also be injured due to unsafely stocked shelves, employee negligence, faulty products, and much more.

Top 5 Business Insurance Discounts

Owners of businesses of every size, color, and flavor love scoring discounts however they can. And fortunately, there are some discounts out there to help obtain a significantly lower premium, like:

  • The safety discount: Insurance companies love working with clients who put safety first. Put practices in place to keep your employees, equipment, and physical office space as safe as possible, and you'll likely be rewarded by your insurance company. Installing sprinkler systems and burglar alarms are just a couple examples of easy ways to score this discount.
  • The quality discount: Establishing a track record of quality goods, services, and customer interactions will not only keep your business running strong, but also help reduce your insurance costs. Essentially, keeping your clients happy is the key to keeping your insurance company happy, and they just might slash your premium as a thank you in return.
  • The low claims history discount: Along the same lines of maintaining a safe and efficient business, having a low claims record is another way to seriously please your insurance company. Over time they’ll likely reward you for it. Plus, if you ever need to switch insurance policies or companies, having a low or even squeaky-clean claims record will definitely help you land a lower premium.
  • The professionalism discount: Sometimes insurance companies send out inspectors to observe your business during a typical day of operation. If your equipment is clean and well-maintained, your employees are following necessary safety protocol, and your customers/clients seem happy, you’ll get a good report. A favorable evaluation could reward you with a reduced premium. 
  • The bundle discount: Purchasing multiple types of insurance with the same company is a tried and true way to save money, but so is purchasing specialty insurance packages. These packages, composed of multiple policies tailored to a specific kind of business, are designed to save you money and just generally make life easier. And since they exist, you might as well take advantage.

How to Find the Best Event Planning Insurance

In order to get the protection you need and deserve, you’ll want to work with a trusted expert. Independent insurance agents will not only know where to find the best coverage and price but also help to make sense of the fine print.

Consider your business’s unique needs, then connect with an agent to help you take it from there. Have a list of your specific concerns and desires handy before you reach out to help the process run even smoother.

Compare Event Planning Insurance Quotes with an Independent Insurance Agent

We all know how valuable your time is, so why spend it doing all the hard work yourself? From business insurance packages to special add-on policies, our expert independent insurance agents will help you determine which types of coverage make the most sense for you and your new business. 

Our independent insurance agents stay on top of the insurance industry and all the latest discounts so you don’t have to. That means they’ll help find the right coverage at the right price for you.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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