Every year wedding business owners make an annual budget to determine their expenses. Often there are many costs that are not accounted for and can be a surprise when they come up.
Education is one of the most important costs you have in your business. Conferences, coaching, mentoring, courses, templates & tools, and continuing education are key to long term success as a wedding and event planner. There are tons of opportunities for education, so it is important to create an annual education budget and stick to it.
We are in a business that does not have a lot of repeat customers. Since we are constantly looking for newly engaged couples, we have to market continuously.
Maintaining your brand, wedding shows, SEO, paid ads, and many more things can become extremely expensive. To ensure that you keep costs under control, determine your marketing plan for the year and the budget you will stick to. This keeps the marketing line on your budget in check and a known value. The first step in knowing how much to budget is to understand your cash flow.
Business permits and licenses are typically ongoing annual expenses. You should also plan for membership dues for professional organizations, networking works, and other memberships that can benefit your business.
Even if you are working out of your home, there are costs that still go with a home office. Internet and phone seem like small expenses, but they do add up. There are also the costs of creating an office space in your home to take into account.
If you are considering renting or purchasing office space or a studio, work through your cash flow to determine if you can afford it.
All businesses have some tools of the trade that need to be purchased, maintained, and sometimes upgraded. For wedding planners, we have our emergency kits, phones, walkie-talkies, tablet, planning software, accounting software, etc. Anything you purchase to run your business will have costs associated with the purchase, warranty, and maintenance.
If you have employees, you are aware of the cost of salary and benefits. You also need to consider things that keep employees happy. Do you provide mileage for wedding day travel, meals on wedding days, continuing education, holiday gifts, bonuses, or other perks? These types of extras keep employees happy and loyal.
Wedding planners typically carry liability and errors and omissions coverage that can cost $500-$1500+ per year depending on the specifics of the business, the services provided, and level of coverage desired. It is absolutely necessary to carry insurance for your wedding planning business.
Entrepreneurs undervalue their time, but time is the most precious thing we have. If you are spending too much time on things that you could delegate, you are wasting money. Figure out what the tasks that only you can perform in your business and then start delegating everything else.
Legal and accounting services are ongoing expenses that are necessary for your wedding business. You might only need them a few times per year, but their fees should be accounted for in your annual budget. This includes the cost to purchase and update your wedding planner services contract.
Something that many people do not realize until it has happened is that when we accept credit cards or payments through PayPal, Square, or other online payment portals, there is a fee. It is normally less than 3%, but when you are taking in big payments for planning packages, it adds up. Make sure that you account for these fees when creating your pricing and forecasting your revenue.
Unexpected expenses are stressful and can be devastating to cash flow in your wedding planning business. If you are aware of all the possible expenses, it is easier to plan the year’s budget and accrue more profit.
Need guidance on what you need to charge to make a living as a wedding planner? This blog post on what you really need to charge breaks it down into easy-to-digest information.
This is a guest post from Amber Peterson. Amber is the owner of Cheers Consulting Group and Cheers Wedding Planning & Design in western Washington. She has a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and consults with wedding professionals about their marketing and business challenges. Amber is also the co-founder of the Skagit Wedding Society.