A lot of people get into wedding planning because they love entertaining or hospitality, not because they are in love with the thought of running a business. But, the two - in fact - go hand in hand and becoming a successful wedding planner usually requires running a successful wedding planning business. So today, we wanted to talk about what the cost of doing business as a wedding planner is as well as what some of the common (and necessary) expenses are. Read on to learn what costs you definitely need to incur along with what you can expect to spend money on along the way.
Must-haves for Operating a Wedding Planning Business
When you are building any sort of business, there are start up costs associated with that. And, starting a wedding planning business is no different. From insurance and internet to contracts and checkbooks, here are some of the absolute-must-investments you need to make in your business.
Professional website (even if you build it yourself on something like Squarespace)
Cell phone and internet
General liability insurance (venues usually require this and it covers you for catastrophic instances)
Professional liability (covers you if you get sued by a client)
Contracts and legal representation
Contract for interns
Contract for independent contractors
Pro-tip: We love Annette Stepanian’s contract templates and legal services!
A way for couples to pay you (and a business bank account for the money to go into)
What to Expect When Staffing Your Business
Even if you are starting a wedding planning business on your (and plan on keeping it that way), you are still going to need help at some point. And, whether that means hiring a couple of assistants for a big wedding, bringing on an intern, or hiring a contractor to manage your social media, there are definitely a few extra people you need to have on hand.
Wedding Day Assistants
Plan for $100-$500 per person
This impacts how you are pricing your services (you need to get paid too!)
Pro-Tip: Include a clause in your proposals and contract that says over $X, you will need to add staffing. This will help you charge accordingly.
Get a CPA to help with payroll, payroll taxes and filing your federal taxes
Organizing Your Business with Systems and Storage
We could have included these items in the “must-have” category but having systems set up for your business is a must, but they really do deserve their own category. Making the investment in these programs won’t cost you an arm and a leg and they will do wonders for your productivity and organization!
Aisle Planner helps us keep our planning organized
Honeybook helps us book clients and get invoices paid
Dropbox for photo storage
Microsoft Office for word documents and spreadsheets
Photoshop or Canva for graphic designs
Two Bright Lights to help make submissions faster
Quickbooks for bookkeeping
The Miscellaneous Thing You Might Not Think Of
What would running a business be without some unexpected costs? Here are some of the things we didn’t anticipate needing to spend money on, but that now we budget for.
Parking and valet tipping for site visits
Wedding day emergency kits (and keeping it stocked)
Meals and entertainment
Marketing and relationship building
Only advertise on the outlets that are attracting your ideal clients
Track your ROI to decide where to advertise next year
Specific experts we’ve invested in
Web and graphic designer
This list might seem long, but being informed is the best way to set yourself up for success! So, use all of this information to figure out what your operating costs are and then build your pricing around it. The quickest way to do that?
Know your monthly cost of doing business (add your line items and divide by 12)
Know your fixed vs. variable expenses to help you plan accordingly
Once you know this information you can price your services to actually be profitable!