When you work as a wedding planner or decorator, you complete much of your work independently; your schedule varies, you travel often and you may not have many employees, if you have any at all. For this reason, establishing a home office can be a way to save money and prevent hassles. Still, working from home is not without its own inconveniences and expenses, so consider what it will require of you and your family before making any decisions.
Earn credentials in wedding planning or decorating. It may be helpful to determine what type of work you plan on doing. For example, you may be a floral decorator, a cake decorator or an expert in all manner of wedding decoration.
Contact your city or county to determine any possible restrictions on home-based businesses. You may need to meet certain zoning codes or file specific permits with your local government.
Contact your insurance provider about options for insuring your business. Discuss liability insurance that covers your clients and vendors, as well as adjustments to your auto insurance, since you will likely be using your own vehicle for travel.
Register your business with your state government and obtain a tax identification number.
Choose an area of the house in which you will set up your home office. It should be relatively private, yet easily accessible for clients. If any rooms have separate entrances from outside, consider using them so that clients don't have to walk through your home. Consult your family for opinions on which room should be converted, then decorate it. As a wedding decorator, it is critical that you demonstrate flawless taste and an eye for design. Potential clients will be sizing you up from the moment they set foot in your home.
Establish lines of communication. This includes setting up a private phone line for business calls, a fax machine and a business email address. Now is the time to decide if you will operate mostly from a cell phone. Are you willing to give this number out and make yourself available at all times?
Build a website for your business. If you need assistance, ask a knowledgeable friend or hire a professional. Your website should be designed to reflect your own style as a decorator. For example, you may specialize either in traditional weddings or in weddings that are unorthodox, personalized and modern. The website's aesthetic indicates to potential clients what kind of work they can expect from you.
Monitor your competition. An advantage to working from home is that you already know the area, which can come in handy in the competitive world of wedding decoration. You can use the information to keep your prices competitive, scope out which vendors provide the best products and identify the types of weddings most common to your area.
Build and continue to build a portfolio of work, showcasing your best wedding decorations. Keep this in your home office to show clients, and consider hanging framed prints showcasing your best work.
Budget your time. A disadvantage to working from home is that your office may feel too comfortable. Stay on task throughout the day by eliminating distractions like familial interruptions. Set ground rules for your children and spouse so they do not interrupt you while you work. Invest in a daily planner and keep a schedule of what tasks you must accomplish and establish deadlines.
Keep a list of local contacts and vendors that you can use when decorating weddings. Build a database on your computer divided into folders by types of vendors, florists, bakers, etc. Keep contact information in each folder and keep notes to remind yourself of past experiences with each one or what their specialties are. For example, one baker may excel with artistic, sculpted wedding cakes while another bakes a better variety of flavors. If you are prefer, you can also keep your contacts organized in a Rolodex. Don't hesitate to try new things to find what works best for you.
- office desktop image by Victor M. from Fotolia.com