Liability and Insurance
There is much to ponder when it comes to legal issues in certain small businesses; for instance, naming your business. If someone happens to notice you have named your business with the same name as theirs, you'll likely wind up in court and chances are you'll lose, if you don't change it. Before you tag your business with a permanent name, do more than check the yellow pages; see a specialty attorney to learn your "copyrights."
One other thing -- try to keep your business name unrestrictive. If you select a name such as Amy's Birthday Parties, and decide to branch out into wedding receptions or the like, the name would be encumbering. Let's say your business is a huge success, however, you want to sell your business. If you are Amy, and the new buyer is Kate, and if the name is changed to Kate's Birthday Parties, the new name would lack recognition. Another reason you should put a lot of thought into your business name: Party planner business names don't work the same as law firm names.
Names with words like Elegant Affair are overused and Fabulous Time leans more toward a theme type party suggesting entertainment. Think twice about attaching your business name to where you live. Las Vegas Events and Parties could prevent you from obtaining party business in areas outside of Las Vegas. A more generic name, such as Guys and Gals Parties, Remembrance Parties, AAA Party Planners works best when naming your business.
Permits and Licensing - DBA
Congratulations! Now that you have named your party-planning business, it's time to protect your business name and yourself. Most states require you to file a Doing Business As (DBA) if you are doing business under a name different than your legal name. A DBA is an official and public registration of a business name. DBAs are also called Fictitious Names, Fictitious Business Names, Trade Names, and Assumed Names. A DBA is necessary if you want to open a bank checking account under your business name, or other than a Sole Proprietorship, which is under your own name.
All states differ in their regulations regarding DBA Filing. They are usually filed at the state level and sometimes at the county level. DBAs must be filed in the state or county in which you will be conducting business. Most DBA filings take one to four weeks.
Just to clarify whether you need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for DBAs): If you are a sole proprietor, your Social Security Number may be used on all government forms and other official documents.
Most small business advisors recommend you get an EIN only when:
- You have a corporation
- You have employees
- You need to open a business account
- You want to build corporate business
Many event planners conduct business as sole proprietors because it's the easiest way to operate: less paperwork, does not require a business account, and you can use your own social security number. The downside is, you are liable for any losses, legal actions, etc. This can wipe out your personal and business assets if the loss is serious enough.
If you are planning on working with another event planner, you are basically forming a partnership. They are easy to form, and you don't have to file any documents to make the partnership legal. You will need a partnership agreement spelling out both partner's responsibility, since each partner is responsible for the other.
Limited Liability Company
The Limited Liability, or LLC, has the tax structure of a partnership, yet protects each partner's personal interests.
Very few party planners choose this way of conducting business, because the cost to form a corporation is steep and the company must pay corporate taxes. The main benefits are that it is easier to obtain financing should you wish to expand your business in a big way, and the corporation alone is legally responsible for any losses, protecting any employee's personal assets.
Permits and Licensing
Many areas require party planners to obtain certain licenses and permits to comply with local regulations. As a party planner, you may need the following to do business:
- License to sell alcohol
- Business license to abide by certain zoning and parking regulations
- Fire Marshall's permit for large events. and parties setting off fireworks or certain special effects.
- Vendor's permit allows you to buy and resell
- Parade permit
- Health department permit if you also cater events and handle food (Party caterers must also have these permits on display at their place of business).
To learn if you need a particular license or permit, check with the following sources:
Small Business Administration, Small Business Development, both located at www.sba.gov
Choosing Insurance and Risk Exposure
There is no manual to tell party planners which type, and how much, business insurance they should carry. Here's a scenario you will never want to happen to you:
You are producing a fabulous 50th wedding anniversary gala. You have all your bases covered, including copies of all vendor insurance, naming you as an additional insured. Everything is on schedule and moving along splendidly. The food presentation is delicious and lovely to look at, even though the chef and one of the servers exchanged a few off-color words.
Suddenly a table candle is knocked over and the table covering catches fire. While staff grabbed the fire extinguisher, as a precaution, guests were led from the room. By the time the fire was put out, it had left a nasty burn and soggy carpet. The good news ? the guests returned to the room, undaunted, and the evening continued.
The next morning, the party planner received a call from the owner of the venue asking for the name of her insurance carrier. The bad news - the planner learned from her carrier she was not covered for that type of accident. As a result, the party planner had to pay out of pocket. A lot.
Don't let this happen to you. Shop around for a broker or agent you feel comfortable with and discuss your needs with him. Here is an idea of the insurance coverage that may be required for a party planner:
- Commercial General Liability Insurance - A must have for all party planners. Peanut, Wheat, and grain allergies are serious potential risks.
- Malpractice Insurance - If you and your caterer don't show up for a wedding reception or a large party, it's grounds for malpractice.
- Hired and Non-owned Auto - You and your staff can rent and drive autos and trucks.
- Workers' Compensation Insurance - Only if you have employees and they receive an injury on the job or while on company business.
- Bonding - This is mainly for event planners that sell large numbers of tickets, such as for concerts. You must put aside a certain amount of money in a separate account for the client, in case your business goes under.
Business problems come at you before you know it; just like in our example. Speak with other party planners ? those who have already done what you are trying to do.
Tapping into Social Events
Planning Social Parties
For those who panic at the thought of inviting three couples to their home for a dinner party, a party planner is an essential advisor. Not only will clients gain knowledge from a party planner, decisions that would normally disorient them become absolutely doable.
Even when times are tough, people still want all the bells and whistles to celebrate their special moments. Planning social events is a good choice because the social event is practically recession proof. There are many milestones to pick from and once you have your expert's hat, you can plan all types of events.
Be creative. Even though your birthday party stems from a simple plan, you can always put a creative twist on it. Fresh themes are important since, for certain celebrations, guests will be attending many similar parties and want to share in all their friend's celebrations.
Sticking to a fixed fee is something else you will learn over time. You shouldn't haggle. Value your expertise and services and say so.
Happy social clients give referrals and you can set the stage for evolving your business. Words of caution, certain events are tied to traditions you should be aware of. A traditional wedding celebration, for example, includes:
The processional (here comes the bride and bridesmaids).
Content or vows
Recessional (bride and groom leave the church for photo taking or the reception).
Reception with introductions and toasts to the bride and groom
Cutting of the cake
Bride and groom special dances, joined by their wedding guests.
Most would-be brides haven't the slightest idea what should be done when making wedding decisions. As a party planner, familiarize yourself with social and ethnic customs before you draw up a proposal.
Weddings can be packed with emotion. The bride and groom want everything to be perfect, and mothers and fathers are trying to prepare for changes in their relationship with sons and daughters. Even siblings are contemplating the loss. Handle issues professionally so as not to intensify an already unpredictable situation.
It often seems everyone wants a piece of the pie, and to give their input as to how the party or reception should be handled. There are the finances to consider, design ideas, and, of course, the menu. Be flexible and try to nail down who the decision-maker really is. If you can't, ask. Calmly announce you will be dealing with that one person. You will be challenged even under normal, smooth-running circumstances. Changes are expected up until a point. This is where you, as a party planner, should lay down the ground rules, tactfully.
Want to learn more? Take an online course in Party Planning.
Every party planner has a checklist. Run several of these off to keep handy for the upcoming parties you will plan. Here is an example for a wedding checklist;
The rehearsal ceremony and rehearsal dinner venue
Hair and makeup
Bridal Gown and bouquets
Bridal party wardrobe and bouquets
Before-wedding snacks for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Will the bride dress at the church, and is that included in the ceremony fee?
Pastor, Priest or Rabbi
Organ Music for the processional(Video) Bryan Cranston's Super Sweet 60
Food (Line up the caterer.)
Sample food and cakes, if possible.
Bouquet and garter toss
Dancing and socializing
Wedding party departure.
Certain weddings will require a lesser or larger checklist. This is a basic idea of areas to consider.
Social Planning Basics
The social market for party planners can include weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, Sweet 16 parties, and the list goes on. The market for social events, particularly birthdays and anniversary parties, is expected to continue to increase over the next few years, as baby boomers mature.
Decide how you will charge for your services. Most planners work by the hour or request a flat fee (which can go up into the thousands). Others charge from five to 10 percent of the budget.
It's not all peaches and cream for the social planner. Children's birthday parties, for example, run non-stop. That's why it's best to keep them to about two hours. Even while they're eating, when you are serving hot dogs or burgers, they are still wired up. Opening gifts is another bore for younger party guests. Why? Because the gifts are all for someone else. This is a great opportunity to invite the child to personally hand their gift to the birthday child. Afterward, play a game where everyone has a chance to win a prize.
You will be expected to know as much as possible about entertainment choices, from magicians to disc jockeys and live bands. Keep an updated file on entertainers with a good track record and ask for leads from other party planners. You may be asked to organize contests, games, and auctions. Nowadays, preparing gift bags and party favors are all part of the job.
Build a portfolio of photographs of the events you coordinate and ask for testimonials from satisfied clients.
If you decide to specialize in special events, such as awards ceremonies, galas, and fund raisers, you may be asked to prepare marketing spots for TV and radio, posters, invitations, or even to arrange accommodations for the visitors.
If you are really serious about becoming a professional party planner, it is recommended that you obtain a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) certificate. This is an impressive endorsement to imprint on business cards and when trying to get a foot in the party-planning door.
As you plan parties, try not to get trapped into the same old venues. Sometimes you just need to follow your gut. Presently home owner's fees are increasing, and this is as good a time as any to ask the home owners' association directors if they would rent out their clubhouse for a tasteful party. Their rental fee can offset some of the home owner's fee increases.
However you decide, don't get trapped. Many party planners get the location and try to fit the event/party into the space. Put your thinking in reverse: Fit the location into your theme.
Be ready to pitch in and know how to make a great martini, and how to plan a menu for a Greek wedding reception. If a planner decides not to attend the event, who will step in and make those decisions when something goes wrong? If you really want a recommendation from the client, you, as a planner should be there.
Event planning is not a nine to five job. By its very nature, party planning encompasses evenings, weekends, holidays, and even specific seasons. It may surprise you to learn social events involve working more weekends than corporate events. With the exception of children's parties, you can plan on working some evenings when coordinating and supervising certain events. Most of the actual party-planning is done during business hours.
Social Planning Challenges
Research is always challenging, because there may not be enough information on the Web, your survey wasn't satisfactory, interviews and focus group research didn't give you much information and you're new to the industry. So where do you go from here? Find out all you can from vendors and suppliers, talk to other planners who have produced similar parties. Finally, read up on issues of custom and etiquette, especially if this is your first time planning this type of event.
Interviewing a client is a form of research. This should include asking a lot of questions and actually writing them down. Asking too few questions or not listening adequately to a client's answers can jeopardize the success of the event.
This is where you fall back on your creativity and actually sketch out the impression and appearance of the event. If you have employees, this is a great time to brainstorm with them. Hopefully you have an "idea file" and don't forget to consult your notebook containing the client's ideas.
Once you're satisfied you have enough information, prepare a proposal. This is a time-consuming task, particularly if you include photos or sketches. You should receive a consultation fee of about $150, which can be applied to the event if you are hired. Only larger event planners can afford to draw up a proposal for "free."
Once the client decides to hire you, ask for a down payment. This is important. Your credibility with your vendors and venue owners could be at stake if the client decides to back out and you don't have enough capital to make payments to your caterer and so forth. Make sure you have a contact person, and keep in mind the old adage about too many cooks.
Brides - Traditional Versus Bridezilla
The word Bridezilla is a term used to describe a woman who displays demanding, selfish, and rude behavior while planning her wedding. It is also the name of a reality show on cable TV where brides showcase the good, bad and ugly aspects of their personalities regarding the upcoming wedding.
When a bride reveals Bridezilla-like behavior, it may be more than a mere response to the stress of wedding planning. This behavior may indicate a dormant narcissistic personality. It makes you wonder just how many potential grooms brush off the bad behavior as stress ? until they're married for a few months. Even if couples live together before marriage, the bride may stay on good behavior when there is so much at stake. It's usually the wedding planning that brings out her concealed behaviors.
Narcissism is defined as excess love or admiration of oneself, psychologically characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy and an unconscious deficit in self-esteem.
As a wedding planner, dealing with a traditional bride is the ideal situation, however, there are those times when a planner's gut shouts, "Uh-oh!" You have the right to either decline the job, or know what you are getting into and write up a proposal. Be warned, if you cannot deal with a lot of stress or demanding people, give the job a great deal of thought. Money shouldn't be the entire reason for taking a job when there are negatives floating around before you even get started. There is always someone else who is willing to do the party planning.
- Unconventional work hours. ...
- Time away from family and friends. ...
- Experience requirements. ...
- Job instability. ...
- Multiple events at the same time. ...
- High level of responsibility.
- Challenge: Over Spending. ...
- Challenge: Thinking that You Have a Lot of Time. ...
- Challenge: Losing Attention of Guests. ...
- Challenge: Bad Weather. ...
- Challenge: Too Many Guests. ...
- Challenge: Not Paying Attention to Little Things. ...
- Challenge: Attracting Guests During Winter.
Some people use the terms “party planner” and “event planner” interchangeably, but there are differences. An event planner often plans and executes the event, whereas the party planner handles the social aspects. Many of the differences depend on the event at hand.What are the legal permissions required for planning an event? ›
- Non-Objection Certificate from Police Station.
- Non-Objection Certificate from Additional Collectors Office.
- Non-Objection Certificate from Fire & Rescue Dept.
- Non-Objection Certificate from Traffic Police.
- Non-Objection Certificate from Health Department.
- Event and Production Equipment.
- Crowd Management.
- Children Attending or Participating.
- Transport and Traffic Management.
- Staff and Volunteer Safety.
- Medical Assistance Requirements.
- Unpredictable Weather.
- Potential Fire Hazards.
These are: Concept, Coordination, Control, Culmination, and Closeout.What are the 5 W's of event planning? ›
- Who– Who is your target audience? ...
- What– What is the main take away for this event? ...
- When– When will this event take place? ...
- Where– Where is your event going to take place? ...
- Why– Everything you do for your event will have a purpose.
Their duties include conceptualizing theme ideas, planning budgets, booking venues, liaising with suppliers and clients, managing logistics, and presenting post-event reports.What are party planners responsible for? ›
The Event Planner is responsible for coordinating all of the moving parts involved in ensuring events go smoothly, including choosing venues, catering services, and hiring performers. They plan and coordinate all the details before the event and handle day-of logistics.What is a professional party planner called? ›
An event planner, also known as an event coordinator or event specialist, is a professional responsible for organizing and coordinating meetings and special events, such as ceremonies, parties, weddings, corporate gatherings and fundraisers.
- What Is the Projected Date and Location for Your Event?
- How Many Guests Are Attending?
- What Is Your Budget per Person?
- What Are Three Must-Have Elements for Your Event?
- What Are Three Things You Don't Want at Your Event?
Budgeting is the number one most challenging aspect of event planning, according to experienced event professionals in this recent survey.What are the most common event planner questions asked? ›
- How do you stay organized and prioritize tasks? ...
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a last-minute change when planning an event. ...
- What's your experience with social media? ...
- Where do you see yourself in five years? ...
- How do you stay on budget for an event? ...
- How do you stay aware of industry trends?
- Manage all aspects of event planning, meet strict deadlines, and stay within budget.
- Nurture and build relationships with vendors, venues, and other industry contacts while crafting and implementing the creative and logistical aspects of all events.
Event management has 7 key elements: event infrastructure, audience, attendees, organizers, venue, and media. Your event software should be able to manage all of these elements.What are the 4 types of planning permission? ›
- Householder. ...
- Full planning permission. ...
- Lawful development certificate. ...
- Discharge/approval conditions. ...
- Non-material amendment. ...
- Variation/removal of conditions (Section 73) ...
- Outline planning permission. ...
- Reserved matters.
An event planner needs to make sure to have a written contract with the client detailing expectations, payments, cancellation, and vendors. This will protect the company from legal action if the client says the company did not hold up their end of the deal.
- Surging and swaying leading to crushing between people and against fixed structures.
- Falling and being trampled underfoot.
- Dangerous behaviour, such as climbing onto equipment/structures or throwing objects.
An example of an event risk is a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado. These events can cause a company to lose money if they are not properly prepared for them. Event risks can also include things like strikes or other work stoppages.Why do event planners fail? ›
Lack of Organisation or Planning
Events are all about planning and organisation. That is why they call us Event Planners! The number one reason that events fail is a lack of planning. There are so many different elements & people that make up an event.
To create perfection every time, consider the following six critical dimensions, or layers, of the event experience: anticipation, arrival, atmosphere, appetite, activity, and amenities. Creating anticipation for an event encompasses marketing and communication issues.What are the six P's of event planning? ›
If you don't remember them, these 7 Ps in service marketing are known as Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Physical Evidence, People, and Process.What are the three P's that event managers should aim to satisfy? ›
But how many of us know that event management has its 4Ps as well – Planning, Promotion, Preparation, Performance… all the ingredients that an event manager requires to make events successful.What are the four important phases of event planning? ›
- Set ROI-Driven Event Goals and Objectives. The event's over, and you deem it a success. ...
- Create a Solid Event Budget. ...
- Design and Plan a Memorable Event. ...
- Coordinate the Day of the Event. ...
- Evaluate Your Event's Performance and Power Future Events.
- Timings. When writing your event brief you need to include all details relevant to the event. ...
- Attendance. Your event brief will outline who your event's target audience is. ...
- Venue and entertainment. ...
- Budget. ...
- Evaluation. ...
- Good luck!
- Meet with clients to understand the purpose of the event.
- Plan the scope of the event, including its time, location, and cost.
- Solicit bids from venues and service providers.
- Inspect venues to ensure that they meet the client's requirements.
- Coordinate event services such as rooms, transportation, and food.
The most important responsibilities of an event manager are managing a successful event from start to finish, managing the events team, pulling together the event budget and event campaign and overseeing event templates in the event management software.What are the four primary challenges for event planners and managers? ›
- Time management.
- Financial management.
- Management of human resources.
To the untrained eye, planning and organizing look very similar. Both words might even be used interchangeably in casual conversation. However, there's an important difference between planning and organizing in the workplace: planning involves making decisions, and organizing involves acting on those decisions.What is the difference between the event manager and event planner? ›
While an event planner focuses on planning the larger scope of an event, an event manager focuses on the gathering's finer details. For example, an event planner may choose the event's color scheme, budget, menu, hosting venue and entertainment.
They often choose meeting locations, arrange transportation, and coordinate other details.
Make sure you get the location, the size of the location, the catering, the entertainment and the date planned first. These are the most essential tasks to having the event be a success. People worry more about what happens at the event than what napkins they're using. Also make sure to check the calendar in advance.What is the most important in event-planning? ›
Creating an event-planning checklist is one the most important things you can do to ensure your next big event is a successful one. A detailed and structured checklist will help you stay organized and on task as you plan every aspect of your event.What are the 3 main questions to ask in understanding customers? ›
- What can my company do to better serve your needs?
- How satisfied are you with our products/services?
- What value do we provide?
- What are your biggest challenges?
- Why did you choose us over the competition?
- Not Planning Early Enough. Once you have a date, a budget, and a brief, commence straight away. ...
- Not Having an Event Project Plan and Checklist. ...
- Not Anticipating Budget Blowout. ...
- Not Planning for Low Attendance or “No-Shows” ...
- Not Getting Confirmations in Writing.
- What type of event are you planning? ...
- When and where would you like the event to be held? ...
- How long would you like the event to run? ...
- Why are you planning this event? ...
- What is your total budget or your budget per person?
Planning is a very lengthy process as it consumes a lot of time for collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. Due to such a lengthy process, sometimes decisions get delayed, opportunities are lost and there is not much time left for the implementation of plans.What are the types limitation of planning? ›
Limitations of Planning – Lack of Reliable Data, Lack of Initiative, Costly Process, Rigidity in Organizational Working, Non-Acceptability of Change and a Few Others. Sometimes, planning fails to achieve the expected results. There are many causes of failure of planning in practice.What are the limitations of promoting your event through social media? ›
With Social Media you can be part of the buzz
- You won't be able to monitor the comments.
- You won't have any control over what's being talked about.
- You won't have any control over who's participating in the conversation.
- You won't get any benefit from the comments.
Procedures unsuited to change; negative organizational culture; poor interpersonal relationships.
- (1) Planning Creates Rigidity:
- They are the following:
- (i) Internal Inflexibility:
- (ii) External Inflexibility:
- (2) Planning Does Not Work in a Dynamic Environment:
- (3) Planning Reduces Creativity:
- (4) Planning Involves Huge Costs:
- (5) Planning is a Time-consuming Process:
Poor planning will result to the budget being left out of the projects main agenda. Additionally, the estimation of the funds that will be used is not made due to poor planning. This means that funds will be misused and wasted.What are the five limitations? ›
These patterns can be categorized into the five limitations suggested in this paper: western bias, historical amnesia, scope, willful othering, and political ontology.What are some examples of limitations? ›
- You do not love (or sometimes even like) everyone you are supposed to serve. Nor do you have to. ...
- You will not be able to save everyone. ...
- There is never enough time. ...
- There will always be things about your work and the people you work with that cause a strong emotional reaction.
- Lack of focus. Often, people get lost in the semantics of defining their vision, mission and values. ...
- Lack of energy/resources. ...
- Lack of understanding. ...
- Lack of accountability. ...
- Lack of follow up. ...
- Lack of flexibility.
- cyberbullying (bullying using digital technology)
- invasion of privacy.
- identity theft.
- your child seeing offensive images and messages.
- the presence of strangers who may be there to 'groom' other members.
Promoting early helps create momentum and help you reach a larger audience. Start promoting the event at least 6-8 weeks in advance to ensure a wider reach. This also helps your potential attendees to clear out their schedules and make travel arrangements if necessary.What are three examples of disadvantages of promotion? ›
- Promotional activities last for a short period.
- The promotion has many hidden costs associated with it.
- Decreases brand loyalty and can have a conflict with the actual product.
- Promotions are sensitive to price changes.
- Manage all aspects of event planning, meet strict deadlines, and stay within budget.
- Nurture and build relationships with vendors, venues, and other industry contacts while crafting and implementing the creative and logistical aspects of all events.