This year marks 15 years that I have been a professional event planner. In the early years of my career, and then again when I started Events with Ginger & Co., various colleagues and friends provided advice and encouragement, sometimes completely overhauling my ideas, my writing and even my event planning systems!
Now I am contacted regularly by college students studying event planning, recent graduates trying to get into the field, as well as those starting their own events businesses. I try to make time for every one of them as my way of thanking the mentors who have helped me. Pay it forward, so to speak.
One of the first questions that always pops up is event planner pricing. “How do you price your event planning services?” they all ask. I always preface my answer with the fact that each event planner needs to decide the system that works best for their business and budget but I’ve found the best way for us and our clients is project-based event planning pricing.
- What is your annual salary goal?
- How many hours per year do you expect to work to meet that goal?
Divide the two and you have your hourly rate. Then comes the next set of questions:
- What services does your potential client need?
- How many hours will it take you to complete those services?
- Can your client afford your project fee? If not, are you willing to work for less per hour or, for a non-profit organization, donate hours to the project?
Although in-kind services (your time) are not tax deductible, we often find the benefits to our hearts outweigh the reduced income. In the end, event planner pricing continues to be highly variable – all the better for organizations looking for the best fit for their events.