Event planners are often expected to be on-call 24-7 and respond to client requests and emergencies at all times. This can be incredibly draining and lead to career burnout if you have clients who take advantage of your time or if you don’t have a good system in place for managing time. It’s perfectly acceptable to establish set office hours for your clients. You can establish your hours (and days off) on your website, in your email signature or in your client contracts.
When you determine your office hours, choose the days and times that work for you. These hours might change from week-to-week based on your schedule or they could be set standard hours that you maintain. If you own your business, it’s up to you whether your set hours are eight hours per week or forty hours per week (most are somewhere in between).
If you set the expectation with your clients, no one can take advantage of your time unless you allow it. With set office hours, your clients will also know when they can expect responses from you and when they might be able to reach you by phone. If you are still working a full time job in addition to your planning business, your office hours may consist of two evenings per week and on Saturdays with other days and times available by appointment. If you want to take every Sunday and Monday off, set that expectation with your clients and with yourself.
If you tend to work late at night, set your emails to actually send the following morning or during your office hours. If clients see you responding and sending emails at 1AM, clients may think you are always available and expect responses from you immediately, even in the middle of the night.
The most important fact to remember about setting expectations is that your time is valuable. Yes, you want to do everything (within reason) to make your clients happy. However, keep in mind that while you may absolutely love and adore your clients, they are revenue and you are running a sustainable, long-term business. It’s not your responsibility to finance any part of their event with your unpaid time or with unreasonable expectations.
Do you have office hours? Does it work well for you and your clients? Let us know in the comments!