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What would YOUR bottom dollar be?

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What would YOUR bottom dollar be? Empty What would YOUR bottom dollar be?

Post by Flying Laughter on Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:22 pm

So I got a call from a church friend who is also in the PTA of our local elementary school. She was inquiring on a gig she would like to book me for.

Here are the specs:

-School Fall Festival

-500+ kids ranging from 5 to 12 years old

-3 hour event, indoors

-Kids pay for tickets which are then used to participate in festival fun such as face painting.

- I would be the only face painter.

-They do not expect all kids to be painted.

-No tip jar

I asked her if she checked out my site as it lists my prices. She had but wondered if she could get a custom quote (with a discount). When I asked what their budget was, she answered by telling me what they paid their last year's painter, $100! For all 3 hours! She was not sure if that face painter was a professional but I told her (as nicely as possible) that was ridiculously low. When I asked why she just didn't go with last years face painter this year, she said she "thought of me first"... (most likely, I think, from church)

My normal rate for private/invitation-only parties is $115 an hour.
My rate for free-to-the-public/corporate events is $150 an hour (discount when tip jars are allowed).

I am still relatively new (site: www.flyinglaughter.com ) and know this would be a great opportunity to get the word out to the right demographic but I don't want to work for free either.

Suggestions on pricing??? I don't want to let her down. She is someone I know from church and see pretty often. Any advice and words of wisdom is super welcomed!
Flying Laughter
Flying Laughter

Number of posts : 81
Registration date : 2012-01-04


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Post by Forest-Fairy on Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:27 am

My ultimate advice is to not sell yourself short. If this lady expects you to work a busy festival and set aside one of your weekend days to do it, then she should pay you what you are worth and NOT be asking for discounts.

Who is this woman? A family friend of many years? A family member? Did she donate one of her kidneys to your dying relative? Or is she just an acquaintance from church?

Do you REALLY need to work? Or would you rather save the date to do a birthday party where you use less time and less product, do less work but are paid your rate?

School events are HIGH TRAFFIC, with endless lines, always. Are you really going to offer a discount for one of the hardest types of gigs?

Also they are already charging for tickets - and they can't pay your rate? If they have games that are (usually) run by older kids or volunteer moms which require no skill to operate, and little in means of cash to set up, then they can afford to pay your rate, they just don't want to.

Just today I got another letter in my email from some one wanting me to volunteer my time for their event (2 hours away) or if not they would consider a discount.

I was insulted to be honest. A rough translation of the email went something like this "Yeah we love your work and think you are the best we have ever seen, but we want it for free, and if we can't get it for free, then I guess we could settle for a discount." of course 'great exposure' was offered as payment too.

The entire thing made it seem as if I 'needed' the work and how generous they are for offering. And they might even accept a discount; ARE THEY NOT MERCIFUL!?

So I wrote her back with a bit of a tongue lashing.

Sassy Forest-Fairy wrote:Dear Karen,
I read that you are seeking volunteers for your event. Even though I am in Vancouver and unable to attend regardless I just wanted to take the time to drop you a line about the nature of professional face painting.

Having been in the business for over 16 years, and being part of an international online forum group for face painters, I can tell you that it's quite common for face painters and other childrens entertainers to be asked to donate our time and work for free for various events.

Although the nature of our business seems very fun and fancy free, and even looks 'easy' or 'not real work' to the casual observer, it is still a business and has to be run like one.

For professional face painters in particular, just one container of the high quality paint we use can be anywhere from $8 - $25 a piece not including shipping. We are also an 'in home' service and are required to travel to our clients, which is another reason for our high prices. You don't come to us, we come to you, and like other in home services from plumbers to a private masseuse, we are highly specialized. "Because face painting depends largely on an artist's ability to travel, a face painting business is expensive to run."

"While your face painter may only spend an average of one to three hours at your event, that's not the only time she puts in working on it. She uses some of her time to travel to your event, set up before it starts, and close down when it ends. This averages from 60 to 90 minutes per event. She doesn't charge you directly for this time, but she incurs it for every event regardless. She also takes the time to clean and disinfect her kit each time she uses it, cleaning her paint palettes, brushes, sponges, table cloth, and chair cover. She also spends time sending out quotes (to you and to other potential clients), managing a website, marketing her business, practicing designs, planning new designs, designing business cards and signs, keeping financial accounts, and researching and preparing for special party themes. Again, you aren't charged directly for these time costs, but the average face painter will spend at least 10 to 20 hours per week on them, and possibly more.

Other expenses include high quality face paints which are FDA compliant, your kit, liability insurance, chairs, tables, quality brushes, visual reference materials, canopies, table cloths, a camera, a website and a multitude of other supplies. The list could go on. Some expenses are optional, but most are important for face painters who want to stay competitive. Many face painters also invest in classes which are given by master face painters either online or in person.

Once a face painter has deducted all of the expenses listed above, which come to about 40 percent or more of her gross income, the government takes about 30 percent of whatever is left. Self-employment tax approximately doubles what a person running her own business pays for taxes over what a person employed by a company pays. When you split up what's left by the hours a face painter puts in during the week as well as the time spent face painting, the result is a modest amount which is far smaller than the initial fee charged to a client." On top of all of that when you hire a professional you are getting what you pay for with quality materials and application technique. Face painting is a GREAT way to pass around pink eye, mono and other illness's and germs. So most face painters are in the know about extra hygiene practices to avoid cross contamination and keep your guests safe. 

So in essence, when you ask a face painter to volunteer, you might be thinking of some one with some dollar store face paint crayons showing up out of the goodness of their heart because they simply love art. But in reality you are asking highly skilled and specialized artists (many of us have college degrees in makeup application), with expensive high quality materials, to set aside a Saturday (our most popular day to book), and not only for for FREE at your event, but actually PAY out of their own pocket for travel expenses and supply to entertain your guests at your event.

And PLEASE don't say "it will be great exposure" because that it just disrespecting to artists of all kinds, from musicians, graphic artists, and entertainers.

If you are wanting and planning on having a professional face painter at your event, then pay them fairly for their time. If you are worried about costs, then sell 'activity tickets' to help off set the expense. 

Or else buy some dollar store face paints and round up some volunteer moms to do it.

*** Found at: http://www.examiner.com/article/face-painting-sticker-shock

I also sent her a bunch of photo attachments, to help hammer the point home.

What would YOUR bottom dollar be? 91d839420871a4939b9fef2279349e8b

What would YOUR bottom dollar be? 3d7af88a1ef5aeded1e9f7f5dc765a6f
And here is an EXCELLENT flow chart for entertainers when being asked to work for free.

What would YOUR bottom dollar be? 6dff271519d360d72e406c743707e64b

Frankly it's to the point where I don't put up with it anymore. To be asked to perform for free or reduced cost is disrespectful of what we do for a living. Asking for a reduced rate is also a really negative way to start a business relationship because you have a situation where you the artist are bending over backwards to help out THEM and THEIR event, with no guarantee that they will hire you again next year and not simply go back to the girl that does it for $100.

These people DON'T respect what you do, if they did they wouldn't be asking for a discount. And people who don't respect me are LAST on the list of people I would consider giving discount too.

Hope this helped.

Number of posts : 1672
Age : 32
Location : BC. Canada
Registration date : 2014-03-13


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Post by anniel on Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:36 am

If I really really feel like I am supposed to be there, I will suck it up at 50 an hour (a couple of long events a year that I know) I am supposed to do. My "you asked for a discount" non--profit is usually 115...That being said, I do a haunt in October for next to nothing (gas & supplies basically) because I I love being an influence on "not your norm" type kids who comprise most of the actors.

That being said, the church was not happy with last years' painter & want to upgrade. "No tickee, no laundry" I would go for at least75 per hour, were it me... you will be stuck at that price for the next few years. "My normal rate for this event would be $150 per hour. I can relax that to $__ per hour if you would like to buy my supplies/pay my health insurance/pay my electric bill".
"You do realize by my taking this gig to work at a discounted price, that I am giving up real paid work that covers my living expenses? "Did you need additionally insured with that?" ;o)

I am glad you see each other fairly often--how does that actually translate into life?I see the clerk at the grocery store at least weekly--but she doesn't give me a 20% discount because of it...

Number of posts : 2317
Location : Denver
Registration date : 2010-12-27


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