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How much do independent planners charge per hour? Per event? • How does that differ based on years of experience, corporate vs. social, home vs. office? • What pricing models do they use: Flat fee? Markup? % of Budget? • What percentage accept commissions from venues or vendors? • What percentage disclose these commissions to their clients? • Why do clients hire them: Logistics? Creative Ideas? Resources? Production? • Are planners making more, less, or the same money as last year?

This white paper will discuss the answers to these questions and more, based on our survey of 516 independent event/meeting/social planners or event company owners. We’ll utilize over 25 graphs and charts in analyzing and explaining our findings on a topic rarely talked about, but critical to all business owners and independent planners.

Learning Outcomes

  • List how much planners charge per hour, broken down by years of experience, home or office location, and other variables.
  • List how much planners make per event and per year, broken down by years of experience, home or office location, and other variables.
  • Identify which pricing models are the most widely used (e.g. flat fee, hourly fee, markup, percentage of budget, commission).
  • Identify how often planners take commissions, and the frequency with which they disclose them to their clients.


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Course Information

Estimated Time: 31 pages

CMP Credit Hours:

Instructor: Howard Givner

Course Instructor

Howard Givner

With over 20 years of industry experience, Howard Givner is a widely recognized expert and innovator in the field of events, business growth strategy, technology and education.

  • Educator & Thought Leader
    Howard is the Founder and Executive Director of the Event Leadership Institute (which launched in April 2011), provider of best-in-class training and education for the events industry, through online, on-demand video classes, interviews with industry leaders, white papers, webinars and live events.
  • Event Agency Owner
    He is the founder of Paint The Town Red, Inc., and the former CEO of North America for Global Events Group, the 13th largest event agency in the world, which acquired Paint The Town Red in 2008. During his tenure the company won over 30 industry awards.
  • Industry Leader & Expert
    Howard is a Past President of the ILEA (International Live Events Association) NY Metro Chapter; has served on the board of directors of MPI (Meeting Professionals International) Greater NY Chapter as VP of Education; is a member of the BizBash NY Advisory Board; has served on the Advisory Board of Special Events Magazine; been a judge of the Gala Awards & HSMAI’s Adrian Awards. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on a wide range of topics. He has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, National Public Radio, ABC News, The Apprentice, and USA Today, in addition to numerous trade media.
  • Consultant
    Howard is a consultant to companies in the hospitality, meetings and event industry, specializing in strategic planning, sales growth, management, and mergers & acquisitions, and selectively consults with business owners on a limited number of engagements.
  • App Developer
    Howard is the creator of the SuperPlanner Mobile App, winner of the 2010 BizBash Event Style Award for Most Innovative New Product, and the 2011 Special Events Magazine Gala Award for Best New Product / Service.