From picking the perfect name to finding and retaining customers, here’s everything you need to know to start a holiday decorating business.
Do party themes come naturally to you? Does the idea of buying party decorations and decorating an event space fill your heart with joy? Then party decoration could be the job for you!
The best part is that you can start your own business and be in charge of your schedules and rates.
Before you start printing business cards, there are a few things you need to know about being an entrepreneur or a small business owner.
How to start a holiday decorating business
If party decorating is your thing, starting a party decorating business might seem like a dream come true. You will have full creative control and can set your own prices.
Incredible, right? It really is! But how do you get started?
To start a holiday decorating business, you need to follow each of the steps outlined below. Each of them will help you establish and grow your new business.
You can also grab our free business plan template here which will help you. follow the necessary steps.
1. Establish your niche
Before you do anything, you need to choose a niche. People will be more likely to hire someone who is an expert in a specific area than someone who does an “OK” job at any type of party.
There are tons of different party niches. Which one do you like the most? Pick one or two and be the best.
Some party niches include:
- Children’s parties
- Graduation parties
- Birthday parties
- Corporate events
- Baby shower / gender reveal
- Christmas time
Some of them will overlap and you can choose a few that you can do. Just be careful not to stretch too much.
The better you are at a few types of parties, the more marketable you will be!
2. Choose a decoration business name
After deciding on your niche, you’ll need a creative business name that stands out and encapsulates what you do. If your niche is weddings, you’ll want something that says this on your behalf, like “Forever After Party Decorating”.
Pick a list of around 5-10 names that you like, and then find out if another company already has that name.
The secretary of state for each state has an online directory of current LLCs. You can search your state’s listing and see if anyone has the name you want to claim.
You can also do a quick Google search to see if anyone has your name. Enter the name of your favorite business in quotation marks, for example “Forever After Party Decorating”.
If someone in your state has this name, I recommend choosing a different one to avoid legal issues.
3. Set up an LLC or a corporate checking account
This next step is essential!
Before you start accepting payments, you need to have your books in order. This will help tax time go much more smoothly and keep your books in order.
LLC stands for Limited Liability Corporation. It separates your personal assets from your business assets. This way, if something happens to your business, creditors or court experiments cannot take it out on assets like your home. They can only attack your business assets.
LegalZoom is a useful resource for small business owners who want to start their own LLC. You can also set it up with a lawyer.
It is also important to create a professional checking account. All income and expenses should always go through your business account to keep things separate for tax time.
4. Publish your portfolio
Set up a way to publish your portfolio!
Every time you decorate a party, take lots of great photos and upload them to your portfolio. When you let your work speak for itself, you will attract more customers. It will also give your past clients a way to show off your work to other people.
The best way to do this is to use a website! If you can save $ 2.95 per month, I highly recommend that you build a WordPress website. Not only is it affordable, it is also extremely easy to set up and use, and it will give you a professional looking website.
5. Social media marketing
After setting up your website, you need to set up the appropriate social media channels. Focus on the ones your customers use the most. It is impossible to actively engage on every channel.
For a party decorating business, you’ll probably want to focus on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
Since your business is location-based, every time you post you need to mark your location to reach locals. For example, on Instagram, use popular hashtags for the region like #nova for Northern Virginia.
Don’t forget to get involved either!
Try not to use social media as a billboard. It’s been shown that the more you comment and engage with people who engage with your posts, the further they’ll go.
I suggest reading this article on paid or organic social media marketing options. He will answer all your questions!
6. Use free resources
Every penny counts when you start a business, so take advantage of the wealth of free resources available online.
Read this huge list of free resources for home businesses!
There are ways to start websites for free, free project management systems, and even free administrative tools. It’s a good idea to use the free options first so you can save your money on decorating expenses.
Then, as your business needs grow, you can use your surplus and invest in more robust tools.
7. How to attract new customers
One of the biggest questions small business owners ask themselves is, “How do you get customers?”
The best answer I could find is networking! This means that you will have to make new connections. Start with other small business owners you know and ask to be introduced to anyone planning a party.
When decorating your first parties, ask these people if they know someone who is planning an upcoming party and introduce them to them. References are everything!
You can also join your local chamber of commerce to meet other local business owners and spread the word.
8. Encourage word of mouth marketing
Even with all of our technology, word of mouth is still the most effective way to gain new customers. You can encourage current and past customers to spread the word by setting up incentives.
Reward referrals with a future discount code or small payment.
ThriveHive has a lot of ideas that you can use. Ask past customers to post their testimonials and reviews on Google and Facebook. These reviews will establish credibility when people search for party decorators!
9. Set up a meeting place
You can set up your business from your home and do most of your work in your home office, but you should schedule your meetings in a meeting place that is convenient for both parties.
When potential clients want to discuss party ideas, where are you going to meet?
Local cafes have meeting rooms that you can book.
Another idea is to join a cooperative workspace! Most cities will have offices that you can rent by the hour.
As your business grows, consider creating a more permanent office.
10. Establish a budget
A business is only profitable if you make more money than you spend. Budgeting will help you determine your rates.
After you’ve set your prices and finished your first few evenings, go back and see how much profit you made. Then you can set your marketing budget.
Be very careful not to spend more than what you earn! It is true that you have to spend money to make money, but a business in reverse will exhaust you.
11. Look for additional income opportunities for your event decoration business.
Finally, always look for ways to make money with your party decorating business that goes beyond decorating and planning.
For example, if you are creating your own decorations, consider making more and selling them on Etsy. Or, you can buy a helium tank and rent it on the side!
There are many ways for your business to grow. Adding related income streams is one of the most popular. Whenever you rent a set or work with a salesperson, ask yourself how you can do that job yourself!
Is a party decorating business the same as a party planning business?
A party decorating business is not the same as a party planning business. Party planners hire party decorators! Party planners take care of more than the theme and decor. They manage the guest list, rent the location and clean up afterwards.
In fact, it might be a good idea to find a local party planner and ask if you can partner with him as the decorator of choice.
If you find that you love more than decorating, it’s easy to become a party planning company.
How to start a holiday decorating business: final thoughts
If you are a creative person, starting a party decorating business will be perfect for you!
You will be able to express yourself while earning money. Plus, you can set your times and prices – what could be better? Networking is one of the most important things you will need to do as a small business owner. Use the free resources available to you and encourage word of mouth marketing.
It will be one of the funniest and most stimulating experiences, but it will be worth it!