How to start an event business from home
Do you have experience in event planning or a passion for organising things? An events business could suit you well. There are many types of events you can handle, for all sorts of clients.
It’s perfectly possible to start an event planning business from home with little upfront investment. If the idea sounds appealing, here are some tips to help you get started.
Event businesses: the basics
Starting an event planning business from home means a lot of challenges. No 2 events are the same, which means a lot of variety in your day-to-day responsibilities. But at the same time, there’s plenty of common ground between events.
All event organisers need to:
Come up with creative ideas based on initial project requests.
Work with contractors and venues to arrange bookings.
Regularly check in with and update clients to understand their requirements, especially as things can change last minute.
Be on-site during the event itself to manage it, make sure it’s all running smoothly, and solve any problems.
Any kind of events business will be project-based. That means you’ll take on an event, and see it through from the initial planning phase to the event’s completion.
Essential skills for event planners
No matter what type of event you’re organising, the essential traits of event business owners are:
The ability to multitask. Whatever kind of events you end up planning, there will be a lot of different things to keep track of. All the moving parts need to be taken care of simultaneously, so you need to keep track of tasks and deadlines as they come up.
Attention to detail. It’s important to see the big picture, but that big picture is made up of numerous small responsibilities. Paying attention to things like typos and poor signage can make the difference between success and failure in the eyes of your clients.
Grace under pressure. Things can change rapidly in the events business, whether it’s due to changes in the guest list, complications with contractors, or something else. And as an events planner, you’ll be dealing with people a lot, so it’s important to manage your stress in front of them.
People skills. All events businesses involve dealing with people in various capacities, whether it’s managing client expectations, negotiating with suppliers, or dealing with venue staff. It’s essential that you learn to be friendly and accommodating, but professional and firm when needed.
Budgeting savvy. It’s important to keep track of how much all the moving pieces you’re dealing with cost. Being able to cut costs while still delivering quality is a particularly useful skill for an event planner.
Starting an event planning business
In some regards, the events business has a low barrier to entry because there’s a relative lack of formal requirements. For starters, you don’t need a degree or any other professional qualification. And because much of the work associated with event planning happens on a computer or over a phone, there’s no need to operate from a set location. You’ll be meeting with clients or attending events yourself much of the time anyway.
That said, there are a number of event management certifications you can obtain to augment your soft skills. Many of these courses are short and affordable, and you can find resources specific to the kinds of events you want to organise.
Registering your event business
One important factor to consider when setting up your event business is that you may need multiple licences. For example, if you plan to serve alcohol at a venue that doesn’t already have an alcohol licence, you'll have to acquire a personal alcohol licence. How exactly you obtain one is decided by your local authority.
As an event business, you may need to choose between registering as a sole trader or as a limited company. There are benefits and drawbacks to each; read more about the differences between them to find the right business model for you.
Finding your niche
If you’re confident that starting an event business is the right move for you, you’ll need to decide which area of the industry you want to specialise in. Here are some pointers to help you figure out exactly what type of events business to set up.
How to start a wedding planning business from home
Wedding planning can be a great opportunity for any event business. As once-in-a-lifetime events and expressions of love, weddings attract big spending. The average wedding day in the UK ends up costing £27,161.
The stress of having a perfect day can quickly overwhelm a soon-to-be-married couple. Juggling all the organisation of a wedding as well as a separate career and home life quickly gets out of hand. That’s where you come in.
How to start a wedding planning business from home? Like other event businesses, all you really need is a laptop, a mobile phone and internet access. A little knowledge of organisational software or spreadsheets, and you’re on your way.
As a wedding planner, there’s never a dull moment. And no day is exactly the same, so starting a wedding planning business is perfect for people who like fast-paced environments. Your typical duties would include:
Meeting with the couple to hear their ideas and budget.
Deciding on a theme for the wedding.
Reaching out to and negotiating with suppliers to make sure clients have what they want, from flowers to catering to music.
Coordinating with the same suppliers so everything is there on the wedding day.
Regularly checking in with the couple to update them on your progress and provide emotional support.
You’ll have other things to take care of too, but those will vary depending on the wedding you’re planning. Different couples want different things, so the more weddings you plan, the more different scenarios you’ll encounter.
If you’re someone who pays attention to details, can visualise spaces easily, and loves romance and weddings, then learning how to start a wedding planning business from home will be an exciting journey.
How to start a party business
Another common type of event you can plan is the private party. Clients ranging from companies to stag or hen parties need events organised. You may find yourself planning anything from intimate birthday parties to large-scale corporate celebrations.
There’s no formal training required to run a party planning business from home, and the work is very varied thanks to the long list of clients you can serve. Another benefit of party planning is that every event is a networking opportunity.
Party planning involves:
Finding an appropriate venue.
Hiring outside services like catering and entertainment.
Balancing the party budget and keeping track of costs.
Deciding on a theme and decorations for the party.
Attending the event in case anything needs addressing.
How to start a party rental business from home
Love events and parties, but don’t want to go so far as organising everything from start to finish? You can still be involved in the field by starting a party rental business. Party rental businesses deal with the equipment needed to put on events, making sure everything the organiser needs is readily available.
Starting a party rental business from home has many of the same requirements as other event businesses. However, as you’ll be buying equipment to rent, you’ll need money for upfront costs, as well as storage space.
Party rental businesses make money by buying equipment at wholesale prices and renting it to clients at a profit. They also usually ask for a security deposit to cover any potential damages to the equipment.
Finding success in the party rental industry is about defining your customer base. For an inventory-focused business, that means deciding what type of parties you’ll supply and what equipment they need.
Here are some examples of niches you could fill.
A wedding rental business. As some of the biggest parties around, weddings always need lots of equipment. You don’t have to supply the whole event either; providing centrepieces, lighting or flowers can be a great jumping-off point.
AV equipment rentals. Sound and video equipment is expensive and, for most, only needed very occasionally. This means that for many event organisers, renting is preferable to buying. With a good selection of equipment, you could set yourself up to serve a wide range of upscale functions.
Kitchen equipment rental business. The vast majority of events involve some form of catering. Sometimes the caterers or event organisers will have all the equipment they need, but sometimes they won’t. By stocking up on catering essentials, you can make sure the party guests won’t leave hungry.
Seasonal rentals. If you want to make the most of seasonal consumer spending habits, consider starting a seasonal party rental business. By specialising in Christmas or Halloween decorations, you can ensure that your business thrives at particular times of the year.
Once you know what you’ll be investing in, it’s essential that you have a way for clients to pay you. At SumUp, we specialise in giving businesses of all sizes the means to easily accept cashless payments. Downloading the SumUp App and creating a profile gives you instant access to an array of useful tools.
One easy way to get paid by clients (and to display your inventory if you’re a party rental business) is to open an online store. You can create a SumUp Online Store in minutes.
Once it’s set up, you can add all the products you’re offering as well as prices and descriptions of your items in just a few taps. You can also use your product descriptions to specify rental conditions. Customers can browse and check out easily, paying you via card.
Our Online Store solution is free to set up and use. The only charge involved is a 1.69% fee per transaction.Learn more
For payment on-site, consider investing in a card reader. All SumUp card readers accept:
Processing transactions with a card reader only takes a few seconds. Thanks to the online functionality of our readers, you can take them anywhere. That means you can accept payments from home, while meeting with clients, or at the events themselves.
Finally, we pride ourselves on transparency, which is why there are no hidden fees or subscription costs after you purchase a card reader. You’ll only ever pay a 1.67% fee for each transaction you process.Buy a card reader
If you’re looking for another way to get paid remotely, consider using SumUp Invoices to bill customers. SumUp Invoices take under a minute to issue and give you an easy way to log exactly what customers have paid for, when the service was provided, and when the payment is due.
You can issue invoices simply from either the SumUp App or Dashboard. Once you’ve sent it to a customer, they’ll receive a Payment Link that redirects them to a secure payment portal.
As a small business that operates from home, it can be a challenge to keep personal and business finances separate. An easy way to do this is to open a business account.
With a SumUp Business Account, you can easily separate and track the money you earn from your business. Business Accounts are free to open and use. And if you process payments with SumUp, you'll enjoy next-day access to your earnings, even on weekends and holidays.Open my account
Starting an event planning business from home offers a great deal of flexibility, but with this comes a degree of irregularity. You won’t have a set schedule and will often be working longer than a typical workday – that’s why organisation is the most important skill for a party planner to master.
If you’re someone who enjoys thinking creatively and dislikes repeating the same tasks day after day, the event industry might be a good fit. With only a couple of tangible things required (a laptop and smartphone), running an event business is often more about soft skills and networking.
Starting your event business from home doesn’t have to be a chore, but you may need a helping hand figuring out how to get paid and manage your money. Happily, you’re in the right place. SumUp has all the tools you need to make running your business smooth and simple.