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How Do I Start a Party Planning Business?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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A party planning business can be an easy business to start, with little money needed because most clients will pay at least part of the bill upfront. The business owner should decide what type of parties he or she wants to plan and must understand what is required of each party type. While the party planning business owner is not required to carry supplies, he or she must know what supplies are needed for each party and where to get them. Parties nearly always have food, and the party planner must know how to cater different types of parties. Setting fees and prices will make it easier for the party planner to make standard plans, and to know what to charge for custom parties.

There are many different types of parties, and a party planning business can choose to focus on a particular type of party or several types. For example, there are children’s birthday parties, bachelor parties, wedding parties and parties tied to religious events. Aside from knowing what type of party or parties to specialize in, the party planner also must have an idea of what is involved in these parties, including entertainment, so he or she can develop standard party plans.

Parties often require entertainment, so a party planning business owner must know where to obtain entertainment equipment. For example, if he or she plans children’s birthday parties, then knowing how to hire a clown and rent a bouncy castle and helium tanks will likely be essential. The party planner can choose to rent equipment, which will cost more overall, or to own equipment, which will require an initial investment. Most party planners will rent equipment until the business becomes successful and he or she has the money to buy equipment.

Aside from entertainment, parties need food. A party planning business owner who doubles as a chef can be useful, but this is rare. Much like with entertainment equipment, the party planner should become acquainted with bakeries, catering services and any other food businesses that make food to suit the party planner’s niche.

Creating prices and fees for customers is a big part of any business, especially in service-based businesses where custom orders are common. The party planning business owner must know how much food and entertainment costs before making a price list, because not knowing these figures can cause the party planner to underestimate or overestimate costs. Planners also should decide if they want to charge a flat fee for their services or if they will charge a percentage of the total cost of the event. In the former, the party planner may charge $100 US Dollars (USD), for example, regardless of the party price; in the latter, the planner may charge, for example, 5 percent of the total bill. If the bill comes to $1,000 USD, then he or she would add 5 percent to that total, and that will be his or her profit.

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Discussion Comments

By KoiwiGal — On Dec 12, 2013

@umbra21 - The good thing about party planning is that it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" kind of business. You can just do it on the weekend if you want to and take on as many or as few clients as you prefer.

There is definitely a rising demand for people who can handle a child's birthday party and make it special when parents are busy or don't know where to start.

And if the party planner is good at what they do they might even be able to save money for the client, since they'll be able to get deals and items at wholesale prices.

By umbra21 — On Dec 11, 2013

@irontoenail - Before spending any money on this kind of business I would make sure that there is a demand for it in your area though. I've known too many people who tried to start a business without researching the market first and ended up with no customers because there was no demand, or there were too many people selling the same product.

By irontoenail — On Dec 11, 2013

This actually is quite a good business to get into. The mother of a friend of mine started a party planning business and she ended up doing really well.

She had to convert a whole room in her house into storage so that she could take advantage of wholesale deals and sales though, but that seems to have worked out for her as well, since she often has exactly what the person needs on hand. She doesn't do fancy parties, but mostly sticks to children's parties and things like that and she has a lot of package deals.

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