It is perfectly acceptable to do a few events for free or low cost when you are first starting out. We all need to start somewhere and many event planners started off this way to get experience.
If you are in your second or third year of business (or more) and are still offering wedding day coordination (also called event day management or month-of coordination) for $200 or $500 or $xxx dollars (whatever is extremely low in your market), then you are selling yourself short and devaluing your time and talent.
Here is a very conservative breakdown of time spent for a typical wedding day coordination service:
- 1 hour – initial phone inquiry and in-person consultation
- 1 hour – creating and sending your contract for services and processing payments including billing for future payments
- 1.5 hours – in-person meeting before the wedding to go through details and checklists with the bride (including travel time)
- 2 hours – phone and email communication with your clients before the wedding
- 2 hours – create and finalize the wedding day time line and vendor list
- 2 hours – communicating with and confirming all vendors
- 2 hours – attend a final meeting at the venue with your client to review details and logistics (including travel time)
- 1.5 hours – attending and managing the wedding rehearsal (including travel time)
- 11 hours – actual time you are on-site during the wedding day (including travel time)
- 1 hour – follow up after the wedding with clients and returning any rental items you are responsible for
=25 hours of time!
If you are an experienced wedding planner charging $500 for this service, you are only making $20 per hour BEFORE taxes and business expenses. After taxes and business expenses which generally account for up to 50% (or more) of your income, you are only making about $10 per hour. If you charge $200, you will make about $4 per hour after taxes and expenses. If you charge $750, you will make about $15 per hour after taxes and expenses. These rates do not include the cost of paying an assistant on the wedding day nor do they account for meetings that are more than 15 minutes from your home or office.
Are you giving away your time and expertise for $10 an hour or maybe even less? How many weddings do you have to do per year to make a decent living at this rate?
If you are making a minimal amount of money and spending a maximum amount of time, it’s definitely time to raise your rates and raise the bar. An experienced planner is worth a significant amount more than $4, $10, or $15 per hour.
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