While our clients would like to believe that we work for free in the event planning business, the truth is we too have a life to lead and in NYC that usually means an expensive life. Have you ever managed a corporate event and someone pulls you aside to offer you to “work” for them for a social event on a later date? Then the e-mails and phone call exchanges begin, and you realize, they wanted you to work for free.
If you’re struggling to grow in the event planning business and it’s time to learn about ways to make money as an NYC event planner, here’s what you should know:
Invoicing Your Client
There are many hours put into planning an event, and many event planners tend to omit billable hours from their invoice. You can offer a flat rate for each particular event type but you can also bill hourly rates for:
- The time it takes you to research various aspects of the event and source vendors for unique requests.
- Creating content for the event like newsletters, social media posts, and e-mail campaigns.
- Negotiating with vendors.
- Travel time and expenses related to preparation for the event.
- Calls made to organize the event.
- Tracking and documenting expenses to stay within budget.
- Shopping time for items pertaining to the event.
It’s vital that you account for the hours you worked outside of meeting with the client. It is assumed that we wave a magic wand all event preparations and promotions appear magically, but we all know that is in fact NOT the case. If you don’t bill your client for things like travel expenses, you will end up paying out-of-pocket which decreases your profit.
You should never feel embarrassed about how much you’re charging for your expertise or assume that you’re not experienced enough to charge more. You are billing them what you are worth and in return, a fantastic production will be delivered to show you are worth every penny. We are in the service business and our time has a price tag the same way products cost money.
ROI Works Both Ways in the Event Planning Business
Both corporate and social events have a benefit to the client, and yes, sometimes the benefit isn’t monetary, but there’s still some sort of return on their investment. If you’re hired to plan and manage a corporate event or charity event, chances are the client is due to earn or raise a considerable amount of money. Whether it’s from ticket sales, donations, or sponsorships, there is money on its way to them! Remember that when you’re creating your invoice so that the work you’re putting into helping them make money is considered.
Building Your Reputation
There is a lot of completion in the event planning business and word of mouth is the # 1 way to gain clients so always deliver perfection (as best as possible). Remember to keep your social media pages active and engaging so that you can become everyone’s favorite event planner. Offer event tips and tricks on your blog to attract a larger audience that may be “googling” party planning advice.
Once you’re hired, leave business cards at the event, so everyone knows who was in charge of the grand production. It’s never a bad idea to do an event or two pro bono each year because you may gain clientele from the guests. However, be strategic about it and analyze who the guests will be. Are they likely to hire an event planner for their next event?
Additional tip: Don’t be shy to reach out to other event professionals in NYC and see how you can collaborate with them for an upcoming event where you will be able to offer your help while marketing your business and ensuring your growth in the event planning business.