Survey Reveals How Much Independent Planners Charge

One of the most difficult questions independent meeting planners must answer for themselves is what and how to charge their customers. A new report from the Event Leadership Institute (ELI) sheds some light.

Published last week, ELI's "2016 Planner Pricing Report: How & How Much Independent Planners Charge" is based on a survey of 516 independent corporate and social event planners, whose responses revealed a number of pricing trends for independent and third-party planners, as well as owners of event companies. Among its key findings:

• The most popular pricing model for independent planners -- used by 54 percent of them -- is a flat fee.

• Among those who charge by the hour, the most common hourly rate -- charged by 40 percent of independent planners -- is in the range of $50 to $99 per hour.

• Thirty-five percent of independent planners accept commissions at some point from vendors, and 22 percent from venues.

• Forty-two percent of independent planners earn $50,000 per year or less.

• A third (33 percent) of independent planners earn $2,500 or less per event, and 14 percent are not sure how much they make per event.

ELI's 2016 pricing report is its second such survey; the first was conducted in 2013. ELI noted that comparing the two reveals the following additional findings:

• Fewer planners work from home in 2016 (49 percent) than in 2013 (64 percent).

• Planner companies are larger. In 2013 almost half (47 percent) were solo practitioners, compared to 32 percent this year. The percentage of planners whose companies had over 20 people, meanwhile, rose from 6 percent in 2013 to 24 percent in 2016.

• Fewer planners take commissions from venues. In 2016, 78 percent said they never take commissions, up from 66 percent in 2013.

• Finally, fewer planners disclose their commissions. In 2013, 32 percent said the never tell clients about commissions they take, compared to 54 percent this year.

The complete "2016 Planner Pricing Report: How & How Much Independent Planners Charge" is available for purchase from ELI's website, where a free preview also is available.

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