How to Start an Event Planning Business in Nigeria

by Temiloluwa Alagbe
259 views 8 minutes read
A photo description of what the event planning business in Nigeria entails

If you are an aspiring event planner looking for information on how to start an event planning business in Nigeria, this is the post for you. This article explains thoroughly the processes involved in setting up an event-planning business, how to get more clients, and even how to freelance as an event planner. Keep reading to find out more.

What We Covered In This Article

What is Event Planning?

Event planning involves managing events and putting everything needed in place to make that event successful. The business entails booking venues, handling table placements and venue decoration, hiring staff like caterers and entertainers, and generally overseeing the event. The client simply makes known their preferences for the event and the event planner handles the rest.

Event Industry in Nigeria

The event industry in Nigeria is a thriving one as it is currently worth $20 billion. The reason for this is that events in Nigeria are always a big deal. Everyone wants their events to leave a sweet taste in the mouths of their attendees, both literally and figuratively. Consequently, the event industry in Nigeria is fast-paced, with a growth rate of over 30% within the past five years.

How Profitable is the Event Planning Business in Nigeria?

The event planning business in Nigeria is highly profitable as it is one of the fastest-growing industries in Nigeria. Event planners are known to earn an annual salary of an active event planner is known to be about NGN3,000,000 with a 20% profit margin. New event planners usually make about NGN1,000,000 annually, depending on job quality, and customer satisfaction rate.

Cost Estimate of Starting an Event Planning Business in Nigeria

The cost of starting an event planning business in Nigeria depends on various factors. However, the average cost of setting up a small-scale event planning business is about NGN150,000 while the cost of setting up a large-scale one could be up to NGN100,000. The following is a breakdown of the basic requirements for starting an event planning business in Nigeria and their cost estimates;

1. Business registration

Whether small-scale or large-scale, you need to get your business registered to operate legally and this costs about NGN20,000.

2. Office space fees

Although you can choose to operate online, renting a space to operate your business costs about NGN20,000 monthly.

3. Event planning equipment

To start an event planning business in Nigeria, you would need at least one computer and some office equipment. Other equipment you need would be determined by the type of event(s) you wish to plan. The cost estimate for getting the required equipment is between NGN50,000 to NGN400,000.

4. Hiring staff

You can decide to run your event planning business alone but to make things easier for you, we would suggest you hire some help. The average price of hiring staff for your event planning business in Nigeria is between NGN50,000 to NGN300,000, depending on the number of staff you choose to hire.

5. Marketing and insurance

For large-scale businesses, you could spend up to NGN90,000 while small-scale businesses could spend close to nothing. However, we would advise small-scale business owners to get insurance as this would cost less than NGN10,000.

How Much Do Event Planners Charge in Nigeria?

The amount of money an event planner charges is dependent on the size of the event, your reputation as an event planner, and your customer’s budget. While we cannot give an exact amount, we can give you an estimate to help you price your services better. On average, event planners typically charge between NGN200,000 – NGN400,000.

How to Start an Event Planning Business in Nigeria

1. Gather Experience

You should have some experience in the event planning industry before you start your business. This is because the event planning job is an unpredictable one. You could have everything perfectly planned out and it would all go south at the last minute. It takes more than having backups to be able to handle situations like this as you would need to keep the event hosts calm too. While it isn’t impossible to start an event planning business in Nigeria without experience, it would be in your best interest to get trained somewhere before you open your business.

2. Niche Down

There are many different types of events in Nigeria and it is easy to think you can take on any kind of event. Well, you can but it won’t be easy and you could easily get overwhelmed. Besides, clients will prefer to hire an expert in a particular niche than one who claims to be a master of all events. Picture this, say you’ve got a faulty television, would you hand it over to an expert electrician for fixing or an expert carpenter who claims to be an experienced electrician too? I’m sure you’d pick the former because you’d trust that person more. It’s the same pattern with clients. Be an expert in a particular niche and you will have more success. Some of the most successful event niches in Nigeria include:

  • Weddings
  • Conferences and product launches
  • Birthdays
  • Festivals

3. Draft a Business Plan

Once you have decided on a niche, the next step is to create a foolproof business plan. A business plan is an important part of the success of any business because it helps you plan and make wise decisions. Without a business plan, you would just be winging it which is not a very good way of running a business. After deciding on the type of event planning business you want to operate in Nigeria, put it on paper along with your goals for the business and how you intend to achieve these goals.

4. Register Your Business

Now that you have the outline for your business, you need to register your business to bring your blueprints to life. The licenses you need are dependent on the form you want your business to take and the type of event you are planning but here’s an overview of the general licenses:

i) Business Registration

Getting your business registered means getting your business acknowledged. It involves establishing your business as a legal entity. The entire business registration business costs about NGN50,000.

ii) Business License

A business license gives you the legal authorization to operate in a certain area. The cost of getting a business license depends on the location you want your business in so we suggest you decide on a suitable location first before you look into getting a business license. The cost of getting a business license varies from NGN5,000 to NGN15,000, depending on your selected location.

iii) Fire Safety Certificate

To guarantee your safety and the safety of your customers, a fire safety certificate is required by the government. The Federal Fire Service is responsible for giving out this certificate and the cost of obtaining one is about NGN20,000.

Other licenses include a public entertainment license, a food license, an alcohol license, and a music license. Getting these depends on the form you want your business to take and how you want to operate it.

5. Choose a Suitable Location

Selecting an excellent location for your business is the next step to take after getting your business registered. There are many factors you need to consider before choosing s business location. Some of these factors include the demand for event planners, the location’s accessibility to customers, the availability of amenities like electricity and water, and many more things. The location of your business is a determinant of your business’s success rate.

6. Set Up Your Business

This stage is where you give life to your dreams. There are different ways to go about this. You could either rent an office space or start building your own from scratch. The choice is yours to make!

7. Get Insurance

Secure your business from unforeseen circumstances by getting your business insured. While you shouldn’t sit there expecting the worst to happen, you need to be prepared for anything that might happen. We guarantee that it would be better if you get insurance and end up not needing it than to need one and not have it. Insurance premiums cost about 3% to 5% of your annual income.

8. Hire Assistance

Although it is very possible to singlehandedly run an event planning business, we suggest you get some assistance. The event planning business can be a tasking one and it will be in your best interest to hire staff to help you with budgeting, advertisement, event arrangements, and a lot more. The number of staff hired is dependent on the size of your event planning business and so is the cost.

9. Implement Promotion Strategies

Your business has officially been established and is set to begin operations. Now you need to create brand awareness. There are many event planning businesses out there and you need to convince people that yours is the best among them. The amount of money you spend on promotion and marketing is entirely up to you but we recommend that you spare no cost. Investing in effective customer acquisition strategies is a sure way of boosting your chances of success.

How to Freelance as an Event Planner in Nigeria

1. Experience is still important

Experience is still relevant even as a freelancer. As previously stated, it is better to get into the event planning business prepared because it comes with a lot of disappointments. By disappointments, I’m not talking about disappointment from clients but from service providers. Without experience, it might be harder to deal with unpleasant last-minute changes.

2. Choose a niche

It is better for your business if you focus on planning only a certain type of event. Select the event planning niche that works for you and keep improving your skills.

3. Draft a Business Plan

Create a clear image of what you want for your business in the long run along with the strategies you intend to implement in accomplishing them. Your business plan should include an executive summary, a description of your business, stakeholders/owners of the business, an analysis of the market, and a financial analysis.

4. Build a portfolio

This is where your training comes in handy. People would rather patronize what they see, not what they hear. Build a solid portfolio by including all the events you have helped plan and the outcome of such events. This way more people would trust the quality of your work and would hire you to plan their events.

5. Register Your Business

Freelance event planners also need legal authorization to operate. The licenses and permits required to run a freelance event planning business in Nigeria are similar to the licenses required to start a brick-and-mortar one.

6. Build an Online Presence

As a freelance event planner, having a strong online presence is important to your business’s lucrativeness. Because you don’t have an office space, the best place to be seen is online. Create a website for your business on which your portfolio will be displayed and grow your social media audience too.

7. Implement Promotional Strategies

Because you are a freelancer, your focus should be on digital marketing strategies because most of your customers will come from the online world. Some of the most effective digital marketing strategies include content creation, blogging, search engine optimization, and social media marketing.

Best Event Planning Schools in Nigeria

1. Zapphaire Events

Zapphaire Events is a well-known event planning business in Lagos that offers a comprehensive event planning course. With over 2,000 events successfully planned, their training programme is certainly worth your consideration. The course covers everything that has to do with event planning and you can choose to take the course either physically or virtually. To find out more about their class schedule and pricing, you can send an application via their training website. Their response would have all the necessary details.

2. Event Management School, Lagos

This event management training school has been in operation for over ten years with many of its alumni making it big in the event planning industry. With classes weekend and weekday class options, the programmes are equipped with the ability to notably increase your event planning skills.

3. Indigocrystal Concept

Indigocrystal concept is a leading event planning school in Nigeria with extensive courses on all aspects of the event planning business. They offer both physical and online classes on weekdays and weekends so you can pick the schedule that works for you. The tuition fee for their physical classes is NGN 150,000 while their online classes cost NGN100,000.

4. BusyBee Events

Busybee Events is an event planning business and training centre with many stellar reviews from their customers and former students. It is located in Yaba, Lagos and the event planning training fee is NGN 150,000.

5. Event Architects Academy

Powered by Event Architect Limited, the Event Architects Academy is an educative institute that provides event management training to event planners of all levels. Their online training programming costs NGN 200,000 and their physical training classes cost NGN 3 00,000. Forward an application to the academy here.

You can decide to take your training up a notch by studying event management at a university and earning a degree. However, only two universities offer event planning as a course and they are both private universities.

6. Afe Babalola University (ABU)

You can earn a degree in event management by enrolling into Afe Babalola’s University tourism and event management course. The course is a four-year one and the admission requirements include:

  • Credit passes in English Language, Mathematics, and three other relevant courses.
  • Current UTME results

The UTME result cut-off marks are communicated by the University annually. On average, the university’s tuition fee costs NGN 1,000,000.

7. Redeemer’s University

Redeemer’s University is a private university in Osun State that offers tourism and event management as a course. The course takes about four years to complete and the requirements for study include:

  • Credit passes in English Language, Mathematics, Economics and two other relevant subjects.
  • Current UTME results.

The minimum UTME score will be communicated by the University and the tuition fee costs about NGN 1,000,000, payable in three instalments.

How To Start an Event Planning Business in Nigeria with No Experience

While getting experience is an important part of starting an event planning business, we are aware that it could be expensive. The good news is that you can start an event planning business without having to pay for experience. Here’s how:

1. Conduct market research

You need to understand the business before getting into it and conducting thorough market research can help you accomplish this. Market research will help you understand your responsibilities as an event planner, client expectations, and general service prices.

2. Take some online classes

There are many event planning courses available for free online. For example, Oxford University is offering a free event planning certification course where you go through a series of classes at your own pace and earn a certificate at the end of the programme. Certificates from prestigious establishments like Oxford will increase customer trust.

3. Plan some events for free

You don’t have to pay to get event planning experience. Simply take on some events without charging for your services. We suggest you start with small events organized by your immediate family and friends because if you make first-timer mistakes, they are likely to be more understanding. This doesn’t imply that you shouldn’t put forward your best foot when planning these events. Paid or unpaid, family or not, take every event planning deal seriously because you are already building your business’s reputation.

4. Draft a business plan

Begin setting business goals. Your market research results will come in handy in this stage. From what you have discovered by carefully studying the market, come up with a business plan as well as the best strategies for accomplishing your goals as a business owner.

5. Build a brand

Once your business plan is complete, you need to create a brand that people can patronize. Choose a business name, logo, and brand motto. It will be in your best interest to own a business website too. Regardless of the business structure you have selected, your business needs an identity.

6. Licensing

To avoid legal complications in the future, you need to complete the required registration processes. No business is too small to get registered. We provided a list of the necessary licenses and permits earlier in the article.

7. Build a portfolio

A portfolio showcasing some of your best-planned events will increase your chances of getting your first clients. Potential clients would rather see what you can do for them rather than hear it. For this reason, it is important to put your best foot forward when undergoing unofficial training.

8. Implement promotional strategies

At this stage, all your business needs is customers. After performing your due diligence as a trainee event planner and meeting up with all legal requirements, you are ready for your first client. However, clients don’t conveniently fall into your lap. You need to go out and convince them by implementing effective promotional strategies. Your market research results would help you choose the best promotional strategies to implement in your business’s location.

Event Planning Business Plan in Nigeria

This is an outline of what your event planning business plan should look like.

1. Executive Summary

Your business plan should begin with a brief description of what your business would look like. This section should include your brand name, your business’s location, and a summary of what your business is about. Next, it should state your business objectives and the services you offer. A description of your target market and the reason you have chosen them should follow this. State your competitors and explain why your business should be the preferred one. The next stage is to write down your business goals and your strategies for achieving them. The executive summary should not exceed three pages.

2. Business Description

As the name implies, the executive summary is a short explanation of your business. The business description that comes after the business description is a detailed breakdown of your business. In this section, you would describe the type of events you want to plan (your target market) and the structure of your event planning business (a sole proprietorship, a private limited liability company or a public limited liability company).

3. Market Evaluation

This section should contain the results of your market research. It should explain your target market, market trends you have noticed, and the most effective business strategies.

4. Competitive Analysis

This should be an explanation of the best event planning businesses within your business’s location and a strategy on how you intend to beat them. Keep in mind that these businesses didn’t become the locality’s favourite in a day so you should give your strategy enough time to start producing substantial results.

5. Services Offered

Provide a detailed description of the services your event planning business offers. Popular event planning services include:

  • Event Management
  • Theme Management
  • Vendor Co-ordination
  • Event Promotion
  • Event Safety
  • Budget Management

6. Organizational Structure

This part contains the details of the members of your event planners. It should describe your organizational hierarchy while introducing the members of your team, stating their roles, and explaining the workflow. If you intend to run your event planning business alone, you should describe yourself (the business owner), the business structure, and your workflow.

7. Promotional Strategies

Your market research would come in handy in this section. Here, you would write down all the strategies you intend to implement to create brand awareness and increase your clientele. The result of your market research will let you know the most effective promotional strategies for your target market.

8. Operational Plans

This involves the day-to-day running of your event planning business. It should explain in detail the daily work done at your business and the activities involved in planning an event.

9. Financial Projections

This should contain a detailed breakdown of all your finances, both current and expected. This section should be a breakdown of your capital, projected expenses, cost of services offered, cash flow (inflow and outflow), and projected profit. Every financial transaction should be noted here.

10. Contingency Plans

For this section, you need to consider every possible risk, the outcome of these risks, and possible solutions. The event planning business in Nigeria comes with many risks and you need to be prepared for them. The primary objective of a contingency plan in your business plan is to help mitigate and manage these risks.

Please note that your business plan will include more sections and this is simply a brief explanation of the major parts of a business plan. Click here to find downloadable templates that will make drafting your business plan a simple task.

How To Find Clients for Your Event Planning Business in Nigeria

1. Build a strong online presence

In the times we are in, online presence is everything. For this reason, it is important to build your brand’s online presence. The first step to accomplishing this is to have an SEO website that showcases your work. You can drive traffic to your website by creating equally optimized blog posts that advertise your business.

2. Network with other business owners

Networking with other event planners, especially the ones who are already established, will help you connect with potential clients. This is why we recommend that you get experience from top event planning businesses in Nigeria as you would be able to ride on the waves of their success. Customers will have more trust in your skills if a leading event planner refers them to you.

3. Establish relationships with vendors

Building relationships with caterers, DJs, photographers, decorators, and other people involved with the success of an event will make your work a lot easier. In addition to simplifying your work process, they would refer you to clients.

4. Utilize local advertisement tools

Although online advertisement is important, you shouldn’t neglect traditional marketing tools like newspapers, television ads, posters, and flyers. There are still people who are not so active online. You ought to be particular about telling everyone about your business to build a successful event planning brand.

5. Promotional discounts

People are drawn to bonuses and free stuff. For this reason, giving welcome discounts and sponsoring giveaways is a proven way of attracting clients. However, you should calculate your expenses properly before deciding on how much to give away as a discount. This is to ensure that you don’t start your business counting losses.

6. Ask for reviews

Once you have successfully planned your first event, urge the client to leave a review on your website (if you have one). If you don’t have one, you should create a social media account for your business and ask your client to talk about their experience. Reviews are a highly effective method of building your brand’s reputation. Be sure to always deliver your best and pacify unsatisfied clients.

How To Sell Yourself as an Event Planner in Nigeria

1. Talk about your business

Your business should be your favourite topic to discuss. Hanging out with friends? Mention your business. Talking to your boss? Bring up your business. Giving a speech at a public function? Reference your business. Tell people about your business with every chance you get. Don’t annoy people though as that would produce a less favourable result. Find ways to cleverly incorporate your business into the subject of discussion.

2. Build a strong portfolio

Don’t explain without evidence! As you tell people about your business, ensure you have proof of your expertise. There will be people that will give you a chance to prove yourself but most people aren’t that gracious. Understand that clients will only give business deals to brands they trust and they will hardly trust you if you’re all talk.

3. Create an engaging and user-friendly website

We visited the websites of some top event planning businesses in Nigeria and we discovered that we paid more attention to the websites with beautiful images and carefully organized details of the business. Your website should be aesthetically pleasing to catch your visitor’s attention, and easy to navigate to retain it. Take a look at the websites of some of these leading event planning businesses in Nigeria to get a better understanding of what you need to do.

  • Zapphaire Events
  • Eventful Limited
  • Innate Arts and Media Limited
  • Elizabeth R Events
  • Indigocrystal Concept

4. Deliver high-quality service

Let your work speak for you. Let every work be your best work and your clients will be doing the marketing for you. When a customer is very pleased with the service you have delivered, he is sure to mention your brand every time there is an event planning need in his sphere of contact. One satisfied customer can bring in ten new customers.

5. Attend industry events

Attending event-planning seminars, conferences, and expos to build relationships with other event planners and market your event planning business to potential customers. You can even host a few training sessions yourself and showcase your expertise.


The event planning business is very profitable in Nigeria and because of this, it can be just as competitive. The key to standing out is diligence and uncompromised excellence. Your work is a lot more convincing than your words could ever be.

Image Credits: All images on this website are sources from Getty Images, Pexels and Unsplash.

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