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Starting an event planning business

If you like to meet new people, have a flair for fun and the creative, and are good at managing and prioritising tasks, an event or party planning business may be for you. One of the attractive things about starting an event management business is that you can start small, planning events for family and friends. Then, as your skills, expertise, and reputation grow, you can expand your business and take on bigger clients. But how can you go about starting an event business?

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Before starting your event business, you should create an Event management business plan. This is a description of your future business and sets out: 

  • what your business is and what it does

  • who is going to use your business

  • how you are going to make this happen

While the specific details of your business plan will depend on the specifics of your situation, you should consider:

  • what types of events you will be planning (eg personal events, like weddings or birthday parties; corporate events, like workplace parties; leisure events, like concerts or exhibitions; or a mixture of events)

  • how you will price your services (eg a flat fee, an hourly rate or commission-based prices)

  • what your business’ unique selling point (USP) is (ie what makes your business different from other event planning businesses)

  • how you will market your business and attract customers

  • any strengths and weaknesses of your business and potential opportunities and threats

Creating a business plan will not only help you set out the details of your business, but it can also help you secure the funding you need to help grow your business. For more information, read What is a business plan.

In the UK, the four most common types of business structure are:

  • sole trader - where you carry out business as an individual. You will be personally liable for bills and responsible if your business makes a loss

  • partnerships - where you and at least one other person (the ‘partners’) carry out business together. All partners share business profits and, together, are personally responsible for bills and dealing with any business losses

  • LLPs - a type of partnership where the partners’ liability for business debts and losses is limited to the amount they initially invested in the business. Business profits will be shared between the partners

  • private limited companies - a company is a separate legal entity which is responsible for its own finances. Your personal finances (as a company shareholder) are separate from the company’s. Company profits are distributed among the shareholders

You will need to decide precisely how you wish to operate your business, based on your specific needs and circumstances. For more information, read Choosing your business structure.

Consider how you want to brand your business. This includes:

Bear in mind that your branding forms a fundamental part of your business and that you should develop clear guidelines for targeting your intended audience.

Register

Depending on your business structure, you will need to take steps to register your business. For example, companies need to register with Companies House while sole traders need to register as self-employed with HMRC.

Bank accounts

Set up a: 

  • business bank account to use for your business transactions

  • merchant account to accept payments from customers (customer payments will be held in the merchant account, while being approved by the customer’s bank, before being released to your business account) 

  • accounting and cash flow system to easily manage invoicing and outgoings

Licences

Check what business licences you may need. You should contact your local council or authority for more information.

To rent a venue or carry out certain event types you may also need specific licences. For example:

For more information, read Business licences.

Insurance

To help protect your business from risks, consider what business insurance you may need. What type of insurance you need depends on your situation. However, common examples include:

  • employers’ liability insurance - if you hire staff, to cover them in case they are injured at work or become ill

  • public liability insurance - to compensate members of the public for death, injury or damage to their property due to your business’ negligence

  • third party motor insurance - to cover any vehicles you use to move equipment and material to event venues

For more information, read Business insurance.

Health and safety

While event venues will typically have their own health and safety regulations and requirements, you should always carry out a risk assessment before an event. A risk assessment details the potential risks and hazards of an event (eg food hygiene or security) and the event venue (eg electric shocks or structural security) and how these can be reduced or eliminated.

To protect your business, make sure that you enter into legally binding contracts with customers and business partners alike. You will, for example, need:

  • to enter into a contract with your customer for the event planning services you will provide. The type of contract you’ll need depends on whether the customer is a private individual (ie a consumer) or a business. For example, if you planning a wedding, you should enter into a Wedding planner contract with your client

  • to engage suppliers for your event (eg photographers, florists or caterers)

  • rent venues

  • hire or buy materials and equipment (eg decorations) for the event

Make sure that you read all contracts carefully and that you agree to the terms. 

If you require bespoke contracts drafted or would like a lawyer to review a contract for you, Ask a lawyer.

Make your Business plan
Get started
Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest