How to start event decoration business?

Starting an event decoration business can be a fun and rewarding way to express your creative talents while building a successful company. With careful planning and hard work, you can establish a thriving business providing decor for weddings, corporate events, parties and more. This comprehensive guide will walk you through each step of starting your own event decor company.

How to start event decoration business?

Develop a Business Plan

The first key step is to develop a solid business plan. This will serve as your roadmap and help you consider all aspects of starting your company. Important elements to include:

Executive Summary

Briefly summarize your company’s mission, services, market analysis and financial projections. This section should provide an overview of your entire plan.

Company Description

Provide background on your company including its legal structure (LLC, S-Corp etc), founders and location(s). Explain your brand identity and values.

Services

Describe in detail the services you will provide. For an event decor company this can include décor rental, design, florals, lighting, furniture rental and more. Outline your process and offerings.

Market Analysis

Research your local event industry and potential competitors. Analyze demand for event decor services including growth trends and target customer demographics.

Marketing Plan

Map out strategies for attracting clients including social media, SEO, networking, referrals and advertising. Outline your brand messaging and platforms.

Financial Plan

Estimate costs to start your business including licenses and permits, equipment, inventory, insurance, marketing etc. Project sales and profitability. Include funding sources such as loans or investors.

Pick a Business Structure

Decide on a business structure that makes sense for your situation. Common options:

  • Sole proprietorship – Simplest option for an individual owner. No formal business registration required.
  • Partnership – Two or more co-owners share control and profits. A partnership agreement is recommended.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines tax benefits of a partnership with liability protections of a corporation. Requires articles of organization.
  • S-Corporation – Distinct legal entity that limits owner liability. Must file articles of incorporation. Recommended for larger businesses.

Consider discussing options with an accountant or attorney to decide what’s best for you.

Register Your Business

Once you’ve picked a structure, take the necessary legal steps to establish your company:

  • Name – Choose and register a unique business name that aligns with your brand.
  • Licenses & Permits – Apply for any required state and local business licenses, sales tax permits and decorating licenses.
  • EIN – Obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS if hiring employees.

Fund Your Business

Determine how you will fund startup costs and early operating expenses. Funding options include:

  • Personal savings – Tap into your own savings accounts and assets. Makes you sole owner.
  • Loans – Borrow startup funds from banks, online lenders or the SBA. Advantages include better terms and larger amounts.
  • Investors – Sell partial ownership stakes in exchange for capital investments. Gives up some control.
  • Crowdfunding – Raise smaller investments from a large number of individuals. Sites like Kickstarter help connect to potential backers.

Create financial projections and seek the amount required to sufficiently launch your decor company.

Source Equipment & Inventory

A significant upfront cost will be equipping your business with the physical items needed to execute clients’ decor visions. Key equipment and inventory purchases can include:

  • Furniture – Chairs, tables, bars, dance floors, lounge furniture etc. Buy versatile staple pieces to start.
  • Linens – Tablecloths, napkins, chair covers in an array of colors and fabrics. Purchase coordinating sashes and overlays.
  • Décor accents – Vases, candles, figurines, lanterns, signs and more. Focus on popular, classic items and seasonal varieties.
  • Lighting – Up lights, string lights, gobos to create ambiance. Rentals can supplement your core lighting inventory.
  • Florals – Basic selection of silk and fresh flowers and floral supplies like vases and foam.
  • Storage – Ensure you have sufficient warehouse space and delivery vehicles to store and transport inventory.

Purchase cost-effective items you can rent out repeatedly. Buy core essentials at first and expand over time.

Define Your Brand Identity

Your brand identity will convey the style, quality and experience clients can expect when hiring you. Key elements include:

  • Name – Pick a memorable, descriptive name representing your brand essence.
  • Logo – Design a logo that quickly communicates your brand aesthetics and personality.
  • Color palette – Select signature colors that customers will associate with your company and that coordinate well together.
  • Style guide – Document fonts, colors and graphic standards so branding remains cohesive across marketing materials, proposals, invoices, website and more.
  • Messaging – Determine your brand’s key messages, mission statement and value proposition. Reflect what makes your company distinct.

Ensure your branding aligns with your target audience and desired market positioning.

Design Your Website

In today’s digital world, an eye-catching website is a must for promoting your services and attracting client leads. Important website features include:

  • Portfolio – Showcase photos from your best events to establish credibility and demonstrate your skills.
  • Services – Clearly explain your full range of offerings with pricing options or rental rates listed.
  • About Us – Share your brand story and team bios to build trust and likeability.
  • Contact – Make it easy for visitors to get in touch via phone, email and contact form.
  • Booking – Allow clients to check availability and securely book rentals or services online.
  • Blog – Publish regular decor and event planning articles to boost SEO and thought leadership.
  • Reviews – Feature client testimonials prominently to build credibility.
  • Responsive design – Ensure your site adapts well across desktop, tablet and mobile.

Invest in professional website design to make a stellar first impression online.

Define Your Offerings

Determine the range of event decor services you will provide. Common offerings include:

Design

  • Full-service event design and decor from concept to completion
  • Decor consultations and mood boards
  • Lighting design
  • Floral design
  • Menu/place card design

Rentals

  • Furniture rental – tables, chairs, bars, lounge furniture
  • Linen rental – tablecloths, napkins, runners etc.
  • Décor rental – centerpieces, signs, vases, candles etc.
  • Lighting rental – string lights, up lighting, gobos, chandeliers
  • Dance floor and stage rentals

Installation & Delivery

  • Delivery and pickup of rental items
  • Full setup and teardown services at event site
  • Installation of lighting, draping and decor elements

Florals

  • Bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, ceremony arrangements
  • Centerpieces, head tables, cake flowers
  • Large installations – arch swags, hanging pieces, reception décor

Tailor your list to your strengths. Offer versatile packages with good profit margins.

Set Your Rates

When establishing your pricing:

  • Research competitors – Review rates being charged by similar event decor companies in your region.
  • Factor in costs – Account for labor, material expenses, overhead etc. Avoid setting prices too low.
  • Consider complexity – More intricate lighting, florals or installations take more time and should command higher prices.
  • Offer packages – Group common elements into bundled packages at an inclusive rate for simplicity.
  • Provide tiered options – Offer Good, Better, Best tiers allowing clients to choose based on their budget.
  • Highlight value – Emphasize how your services enhance the event experience and create an unforgettable ambiance.

Publish clear rate sheets online and be upfront about pricing during consultations. Avoid haggling. Reevaluate pricing annually.

Develop Marketing Materials

Professional marketing materials will elevate your brand and help convert more leads. Essential items include:

  • Logo – Include your polished logo on all materials. Offer sticker sheets to clients.
  • Business cards – Distribute cards to promote your business when networking and meeting event pros.
  • Brochures – Design trifold brochures showcasing your services, portfolio images and testimonials.
  • Look books – Curate photo books exemplifying your design aesthetic and capabilities.
  • Product sheets – Create sheets with photos and descriptions of your most popular rental items.
  • Email templates – Craft templates for professional communications with prospects and clients.
  • Signage – Invest in branded banner stands, table drapes and signage to display at expos, pop-ups or events.

Order consistent, quality printed materials and digital assets to promote across platforms.

Network and Get Referrals

One of the most effective ways to build your clientele is by networking within the local event industry. Ideas for making connections:

  • Join your local NACE chapter to connect with event professionals.
  • Attend area bridal shows and small business networking events.
  • Partner with local venues as a recommended vendor. Offer venue commission for referrals.
  • Set up meetings with wedding planners and event coordinators to pitch your services.
  • Connect with influencers and bloggers in your region. Seek to be featured.
  • Ask satisfied clients for reviews on Facebook, Yelp and your website.
  • Join private local wedding Facebook groups to interact with engaged couples.

Focus first on establishing relationships with those who can refer many clients.

Develop Operations

With your core business prepared, it’s time to build out your operational capacity and processes. Important steps include:

Staffing

  • Hire design consultants, sales reps, coordinators, installers and drivers as needed.
  • Train staff thoroughly on your operating procedures, brand and offerings.
  • Implement effective systems to schedule and communicate with your team across events.

Inventory Management

  • Organize your warehouse neatly so items can be accessed quickly.
  • Catalog rental inventory digitally with descriptions, photos and condition notes.
  • Maintain consistent cleaning and maintenance of your decor and rentals.
  • Remove broken items and make strategic reinvestments in refreshed inventory.

Client Processes

  • Establish systems for client communications, callbacks, proposals, contracts and invoicing.
  • Create planning templates, checklists and timelines for decor design and event execution.
  • Gather event layouts, production schedules, vendor lists and contingency plans.
  • Develop solid Load In and Load Out procedures with your team.
  • Ask for client feedback during and post-event to improve continuously.

Obtain Business Insurance

Protect your company from liability by securing proper insurance policies:

  • General liability – Covers property damage, bodily injury and personal injury claims. Vital coverage all businesses need.
  • Commercial auto – Insure delivery vehicles transporting your inventory and team.
  • Cargo – Provides coverage when transporting event items in case of accident, theft or damage.
  • Worker’s compensation – Required if you have W-2 employees. Protects if workers are injured on the job.
  • Business personal property – Insure your business property like decor inventory, equipment and electronics.

Work with a qualified insurance broker to secure adequate coverage that meets your state’s requirements.

Stay Organized with Accounting Software

To run your operations smoothly, it’s essential to have organized financial records and accounting systems set up.

  • Choose software – QuickBooks, Xero and FreshBooks are top solutions for small businesses. Select one that fits your needs.
  • Set up chart of accounts – Organize income and expense accounts into appropriate categories and classes.
  • Create invoices – Use professional templates that integrate with your accounting platform. Set terms.
  • Enter transactions – Record all purchases, sales, payments received, tax liabilities, payroll etc.
  • Process payroll – If providing W-2 employment, choose payroll software or use a payroll service to pay staff and handle tax filings.
  • Reconcile accounts – Link bank data to reconcile transactions entered into your accounting program monthly.
  • Tax compliance – Understand sales tax requirements in your state. File all needed business tax returns.
  • Seek a CPA – Hire an accountant for expert help with taxes, accounting questions and financial statements.

Accurate books and financial controls will set your decor business up for success.

Key Takeaways

  • Research your local market thoroughly and develop a solid business plan.
  • Choose a business structure that makes sense for your situation and register appropriately.
  • Fund startup costs through savings, loans, investors or crowdfunding.
  • Purchase versatile inventory and equipment to execute client decor visions.
  • Establish a strong brand identity with polished logo, website and marketing materials.
  • Offer attractive packages at competitive rates and highlight the value you provide.
  • Build relationships within your regional event industry to earn trust and referrals.
  • Hire staff and implement inventory, communications and client procedures.
  • Secure proper business insurance to protect your company from liability.
  • Use accounting software to keep organized records and stay financially healthy.

With dedication and smart planning, you can successfully launch a rewarding event decor company. Let your creative talents shine!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What skills do I need to start an event decor business?
    Creativity, design skills and artistic vision are essential. Experience in floral design, carpentry or event planning is very helpful. Strong project management, communication and client service skills are also important.

  2. How much does it cost to start an event decor business?
    Startup costs typically range from $20,000 – $100,000 including inventory purchases, equipment, marketing materials, website, licenses, insurance and any leased space or vehicles.

  3. What should I name my event decor company?
    Choose a name that is descriptive of your services like “botanica designs” or evokes beauty and celebrations like “festive occasions.” Make it memorable and unique.

  4. Do I need a permit or license to start an event decor business?
    You may need a sales tax permit, local business license and in some areas a special events or decorator’s license. Home based businesses may have zoning restrictions. Research all regulations for your area.

  5. How much should I charge for event decor services?
    Pricing varies greatly by region and offerings. Compare rates of competitors with similar services. Factor in labor and material costs. Increase rates for more complex lighting or floral designs. Offer bundled packages.

  6. Should I buy or rent decor and equipment at first?
    It’s best to start by purchasing versatile decor elements you can rent out repeatedly. Supplement with some rentals for pricier items until your sales grow.

  7. How do I find clients for my new event decor business?
    Start building a client list through local bridal shows, event networking, partnering with wedding pros and venue sales teams, social media marketing and asking for referrals.

  8. What type of insurance does an event decor business need?
    Secure general liability, commercial auto, cargo, worker’s comp if you have employees and business personal property. An insurance broker can assess your specific needs.

  9. How much space do I need for an event decor business?
    Minimally you’ll need enough space to store inventory. Many operate startups from home garages at first. As your inventory grows, look into leasing a warehouse space and acquiring delivery vehicles.

  10. What are the common peaks and lows during the year for event decorators?
    Peak seasons are generally spring to early fall when most weddings take place. The holidays also bring increased corporate event demand. January through March are often the slowest months.

  11. What skills and traits make a successful event decorator?
    Creative vision, strong design capabilities, project management skills, customer service orientation, sales skills, attention to detail, ability to work under pressure and leadership qualities.

  12. How can I learn floral and decor design skills?
    Take workshops at floral wholesalers to acquire techniques for flower arranging, making bouquets and centerpieces. Study interior design principles. Follow leading industry voices on social media. Assistant or intern under an experienced designer.

  13. Should I offer lighting in addition to florals and decor?
    Yes, lighting greatly enhances ambiance and most clients want lighting incorporated. Offer popular options like up lighting, string lights and gobos. Rent additional specialty lighting as-needed.

  14. How important is social media and online presence for promoting my business?
    Online marketing is extremely valuable for any business today. Invest in a quality website along with an engaging Instagram highlighting your designs. Leverage Facebook and Pinterest as well.

  15. What is the busiest season for weddings and events?
    Peak wedding season is roughly May through October. Spring and summer allow for ideal weather for garden ceremonies and outdoor receptions. The holidays bring increased corporate events and holiday parties.

  16. How can I remain organized when managing multiple events?
    Use shared online calendars and project management software. Create a master checklist that travels with each client file. Assign specific roles like lead designer, coordinator and installer. Schedule weekly team calls.

  17. What should I include in client event contracts?
    The contract should list all agreed upon services, an itemized quote, payment schedule and terms, cancellation policy, liability clauses and signatures of both parties. Review with an attorney.

  18. How much profit margin should I target on event decor packages?
    Aim for a 30-50% gross profit margin on your packages. This accounts for labor and material costs. Price higher for more complex lighting and floral elements. Offer add-ons with 70-90% markups.

  19. When should I reinvest profits back into decor inventory?
    Assess usage and condition of your existing inventory at least quarterly. Retire items that are showing wear. Look for gaps or shortages in your offerings. Reinvest roughly 10% of profits each year into new pieces.

Conclusion

Launching a creative, rewarding business in event decor entails careful upfront planning and preparation. With passion for design, savvy marketing, quality execution and sound operations, you can build

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