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My totally rookie mistakes

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My totally rookie mistakes

Post by mslalahoney on Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:02 am

This weekend was my first real birthday party for pay. I gave a quote based on the number of kids that the host said was going to be there. I informed her that two hours would work for the party. When I arrived, she gave me an envelope with the agreed upon price, cool right, well, I ended up working for a full hour over the amount of time we had decided on. Two hours would have been great if the teenage girls had not arrived and wanted to be painted as well. They held great faces and I got to practice, but I wasn't paid for the extra hour, and I didn't know if I should have said something to the host. I also didn't have a way to know what child came in what order and a few little ones started yelling, "but I was next!". So, how do you guys do the party thing when your there for a set amount of time, and what do you do when the guest want to go over?
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by ARTSY LADY on Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:18 am

I would have gotten up at the end of two hours and said in a polite way, Okay so I have completed my two hours of painting like previously agreed and now I will start packing, Oh but I do notice that there are kids that have not yet been painted and I CAN continue painting with an EXTRA hour of charge needless to say my hour rate is blah blah blah...... Yes or no In other words.... Dont you let anyone fool you girl!!!!
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Miss Ronnie on Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:41 am

There are so many stories of that exact experience happening to most of us. Enter different key words on the search bar that might pertain to this and you can read what others have done or said.

You will learn to become firmer... or else people will take that inch and go the full mile on you!
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by artyfacesbyluz on Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:49 am

I do what ARTSY LADY said, and for the other question you can:
1. Paint numbers on hands
2. Use numbered bracelets.
3. Use numbered poker ships (that is what I do).
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Denise Cold on Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:00 am

I'm trying (read beating myself up over this) to have numbered bracelets at private parties and let the hostess hand them out. It solves two problems, whose next and limiting the number to the agreed amount. My small party pricing is up to 10 kids. My medium up to 20.

It hasn't been working very well because I'm a whimp and I'm always letting them have a "few more" over the agreed amount and trying to adapt designs to fit into the time instead of just saying "it's $5.00 per kid." Sounds like you had a LOT more than just a few...If you told her that those girls would be $5.00 each you wouldn't have had to paint them.

I only do hourly for corporate stuff or super large parties where I can't get to everyone and I'm just there as part of the entertainment. I charge a little more for that. In other words, I could be at a private party for two hours for $125 but it would be $140 for corporate. I didn't used to have different prices but the high volume stuff is harder, you have to be quicker and it uses a lot more paint.

Like Miss Ronnie says, there are a lot of heart rendering stories of all of us going through this. It's the balancing act of face painting. Luckily, there are good parties where they don't underestimate and you can do fabulous faces and get paid your full rate...every once in awhile. Smile


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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by zeebee on Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:30 am

I am thinking about switching from hourly to package pricing for private parties. Denise, do you quote them a time frame for your party packages, even an estimate? For example for 20 kids, how long are you usually at the party for?

And yes...that's happened to me too!!

I was thinking of maybe having a sticker sheet where everyone I paint gets a sticker and I keep track of how many I have given away. With bracelets and such, do you collect them at the end...that seems time consuming and some kids might lose them in the bounce house or toss them/fling them at each other, haha.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by zeebee on Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:33 am

or do you maybe mean wristbands...hmm...I saw those at the dollar store not too long ago. that would be cool to have them printed with my logo though... Idea
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by miss D on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:01 am

I tried numbers in a cup at my first birthday party and it didn't go really well. A guest suggested to use the kids names instead so I'm going to try that.

I also discuss extra time when the party is booked so I know if the parent is happy to pay for an extra hour or so if it's needed.

I'm going to ask the host to have the kids names written out on slips of paper and as they arive at the party, if they want their face painted their name goes into a cup. This will also help me to know if I need to be there for extra time.

I find that discussing everything when the party is booked saves me the awkwardness of asking for payment at the party if I need to stay longer
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Dex on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:17 am

Hi. If its a kids party and teens turn up, you need to tell the teens once you've finished the littlies, IF you have time you may be able to do them.
If you dont have time once you finish the littlies, approach the hostess and say "i've done all the littlies and its time for me to go, the older girls are wanting something but that is going to take me an extra 30 minutes, so that would be an extra cost to you of $X, what would you like me to do?"
So they will either dish out an extra few $ or say "no, the teens will get over it, they're too big for that stuff anyhow"
Now you said you are a rookie, and thats ok, but have you timed yourself? Do you know how long it takes you to do each design, or how many you can actually do in 1 hour? It will be to your benefit to know as you will be able to quote more accurately.
But it all comes with experience! Happy painting!

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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Lady Jayde on Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:38 am

The cool thing about being a rookie is that you get to make mistakes. Chalk it up as one of the MANY lessons that you'll learn on this journey...It's totally a "fool me once, shame on you" situation.

Some tactics I've employed...that have actually worked, Laughing

1. When doing a party package I hand the hostess the number of tokens that are the maximum for that package. My party packages don't have specific time limit, but there is an excessive time clause in my contract that prohibits the hostess from holding my services 'hostage' longer than would be deemed a reasonable amount of time to paint that number of faces if I were hog tied and blind folded (usually 2 hours for 15 faces). The sweet side of the arrangement is that if everyone choose fast designs, I'm out of there in about an hour (or less). The kids need a token to be painted. The ADULTS need a token to be painted. The DOG needs a token to be painted. The only way that they can then get a token is if the hostess pays me upfront for anther one. PERIOD.

2. As for who goes next, I usually show up about 20-30 minute prior to a birthday party for 2 reasons: 1: I like to be early...I don't care if I'm not being paid for the extra 15 minutes...it's not like I could book another party in the amount of time...it's my time and I take that time to chat up the birthday child and the hostess. 2: I get the name pulling system set up with the hostess before I start painting. The way the system works is that the hostess writes the names of the guests to be painted on slips of paper I give her and tosses them into a bowl. I give the hostess enough slips for the number of kids she's indicated will be attending...if she told me 20 kids, she gets 20 slips...if she discovers that she needs 15 more, then we have THAT discussion about the time/faces relationship and she can decide then and there whether or not to extend the booking and if not, who's name will go into the bowl. The birthday child is ALWAYS first (unless he/she opts out) and he/she will pull a name from the bowl before I start painting. While I'm painting, the hostess (or the other children) will go and wrangle up the next kid in line. When that kid gets in my chair he or she will then draw a name...Rinse...Repeat.
That method takes the wind out of the who's next argument and lets the kids enjoy the party until it's their turn.

3. When it's coming close to quitting time, I have THAT conversation with the hostess. If she doesn't want to extend, I make sure she understands how many more will be painted and let her know that if there is anyone that she wants to make sure gets painted SHE has to immediately get that person to me and choose who (of the few that I will be able to paint in the time remaining) will be displaced to make room for this special kid. I'm not interested in being the bad guy at the birthday party and I WILL tell parents, friends, kids that it is up to the hostess not me. Mean? Probably to some...but it's been a couple years since I've been in a situation where I wind up painting for free at a birthday party. Payment for extensions are usually made up front, as per the contract.

4. During the booking conversation, I ask specifically about the age ranges of the kids to be painted and whether or not the hostess wants teens and adults painted. Usually, if the older crowd is going to be allowed to partake, the hostess will specify that it's to take place AFTER all of the kids have been painted. Sometimes the hostess says no, point blank. I have a line item on my contract that indicates her wishes and if she signs the contract I have all the support I need to tell the Aunties and Teenie boppers that I'm not allowed to paint them, and to discuss it with the hostess.

As you progress in this business, you're going to come to realize that the customer isn't always right simply because they are the customer, and that since this is your business, YOU, not the customer, get to decide what works best for your business. I've had moms upset about not getting painted, sure, but the "just one" argument holds just as much water as the "well, you're already here, you might as well paint the rest of them" justification for getting me to stay (unpaid) past the agreed upon booking time. People aren't going to take you seriously as a business woman if you don't so let that Rookie mistake stand as the first step on that steep ladder to your success! Good Luck!

And remember, "we teach people how to treat us"
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by pinkundies on Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:54 am

Denise, I love the bracelet idea! Do you take the bracelets when it's their turn? Where would one get these numbered bracelets? I like that better than the chip idea because kids have lost them... Also, what if late comers ask you for bracelet, then you direct them to hostess. But, hostess has no more?! Hence, the over the limit problem...

I usually tell hostess I will try my hardest to get to the extra kids in the allotted time period, and I usually have a 10 minute leeway... Meaning, I will stay about 10 minutes extra as a courtesy to paint a little extra, but that's it...
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by CottonKandyClown on Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:07 pm

The bracelet idea sounds so awesome! I've seen coins, too! Very Happy

I do a package deal. 20 kids in 2 hours. I rarely go 30 minutes over. Sometimes, I'm out in 1 1/2 hours depending on how many kids actually get painted. It kind of evens itself out. Most parties rarely last 2 hours.

I also like arriving 15 minutes early to setup and start painting those early birds Wink

I'm too nice and believe it's not polite to interrupt the birthday parents in the middle of cutting the cake or present opening. I feel like I've gotten really good tips for just being polite. It's a birthday party. It's a memory you are helping create! If you make it a package deal then it's easier to make that happen clown
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Perry Noia on Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:28 pm

I usually only do the bracelets when I'm painting at a public place with a private party (an indoor play centre or park), but they do work well... get the paper bracelets that have the adhesive part (the kind of thing they put on you to show you've paid admission at an event or something) and you can write numbers on them with a sharpie.

I have always had packages based on the number of kids. I recently changed my pricing structure and it LOOKS like it is more based on time, BUT I know how fast I paint and twist and I still have it listed next to each time how many children that includes. I found that I had people constantly arguing, "but I only have 5 kids, not 12!"... yes, BUT...

You need to learn to stand your ground. If you act like a door mat, they WILL treat you like one.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Denise Cold on Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:09 pm

I've been going cheap and just buying them at Zurcher's and hand numbering them. What I'd like to do is order them with my logo and "I was painted by.." on them. I'd probably still hand order them starting at #1 each party. I DON'T cut them off unless they ask. I just have little scissors in my kit.

The brilliance of the bracelets is giving the power back to the hostess...she's the one that decides who gets a bracelet. She was the one that should have had an accurate guest estimate in the first place.

Yes, I give them a window. I hated being hourly because I couldn't indulge in the fun stuff like bling and shading and stuff...so I'm basically still $50 per hour but by starting at $75 I've weeded out a lot of "clock watchers" but I'm still spending about the same amount of time. It's about an hour+ for the 10 kids (depending on what they choose) and about 2+ hours for 20 kids.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Lady Jayde on Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:26 pm

pinkundies wrote:Denise, I love the bracelet idea! Do you take the bracelets when it's their turn? Where would one get these numbered bracelets? I like that better than the chip idea because kids have lost them... Also, what if late comers ask you for bracelet, then you direct them to hostess. But, hostess has no more?! Hence, the over the limit problem...

I usually tell hostess I will try my hardest to get to the extra kids in the allotted time period, and I usually have a 10 minute leeway... Meaning, I will stay about 10 minutes extra as a courtesy to paint a little extra, but that's it...

If the hostess with the mostess gives out the bracelets and you're at your contracted time, it is no longer your problem, especially if the guest count exceeds your capabilities for the amount of time you're being contracted for. It really is what it is. If I have a plumber coming to fix my sink and an pipe somewhere elses in the house decides to spring a leak, I don't expect him to stop charging me once the original job was finished and then just fix the other leak since he was there anyway. Probably not the best analogy, but that's all I have right now.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Valerie A on Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:12 pm

Lady Jade said: " While I'm painting, the hostess (or the other children) will go and wrangle up the next kid in line. When that kid gets in my chair he or she will then draw a name...Rinse...Repeat." (sorry, I couldn't get the quote thing to work right Shocked)

Lady Jayde,
Do you ever have the problem of having to sit and wait for the next kid because they didn't "find" them soon enough?
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by CottonKandyClown on Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:51 pm

I've only given the kids #s a few times. Most of the time, the kids just can't help but stand in line! LOL I've had to wait on the next # in line before, but I just call for two #s at a time. I take whichever shows up first Wink

My base package is 2 hours up to 20 kids. It's the same price if their are 5 kids at the party. I've been to some parties with 12 kids and only 6 got painted. It's not my fault they didn't want to get painted. If the parents were bothered by that then they should get painted(get their money's worth). So far, I haven't had any question me, but I would just tell them I can paint the adults, too Wink

I use to have a smaller package for the smaller parties of 10, but I would always end up painting 12 or 14. Rolling Eyes I decided I wanted to weed out the cheapies and drop my smaller package all together. "Up to 20 children" just sounds like you are getting a great deal anyway Razz

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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Denise Cold on Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:47 pm

I'll try to fit in a few babies or mommy eye designs but as a courtesy IF I have enough time. But, like I said, I'm not perfect and I've had to comprise things like going to super quick designs to fit everyone in...but at least I'm doing them a favor.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by veelux on Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:18 am

I like the token idea Lady Jayde. I was at a party once and some neighbor kids "crashed" the party (4 little girls). I didn't know until I heard one of the moms questioning them. I would have painted them if they were in the line not knowing any better. I was hired to paint 10 and there were only about 7 kids so I ended up doing their arms and a few extra ones for the grammas too.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by mslalahoney on Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:50 am

Wow... You guys have really worked this out, I'll be getting the bracelets because that seems easy to track and adding numbers work also. I love love love that I have a place I can come and ask questions. You guys really rock!
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Denise Cold on Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:48 pm

CKC...I might have to start doing that also. Luckily I added $25 already because it was a long drive but she told me on the phone it was a "small party" (which is the verbiage on my website) and would be in a park. When I asked by email specifically how many guests it's gone up to 15. What? Is 15 some magical number? It's one of those numbers like telling a cop "I only had two beers" it's like admitting that you have more than a small party but AT LEAST IT'S NOT 20!

I'm just taking my quick designs board and whipping through them. Sigh.

D.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Perry Noia on Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:54 pm

15 really IS that magic number where it turns from small party to MOB... somehow it's just a threshold number.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by skjfunny on Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:41 pm

Our parties are priced "$150 for 1 hr within 20 miles which usually covers approx. 20 painted faces". Our website states "simple faces takes less time so please bear that in mind when booking your event. Less people allows you to have more intricate faces. " All our artists arrive with stickers from Silly Farms with a spot for you to number them...we number them in advance 1 - 20 and give them to the hostess upon arrival...then it is her decision on who gets painted... it is vital our artists are aware of their surrounds and adjust their speed to cover 20 but also to be busy with 10. This doesn't mean we only paint 20, there are times we have a few moments and a child without a sticker and we fit them in. Some parties you pump them out in lightening speed others more time to joke around and play with designs since there are less to be painted. Also means we don't have to decide who goes whe
n...we just call the numbers. Everyone has to find the way that fits their style and represents their business well, it has taken many years to work this out so it works each and every time with out stress. sunny Good luck finding your way.
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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Dex on Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:59 pm

Skjfunny, I have those stickers! Never thought of using them for parties Idea

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Re: My totally rookie mistakes

Post by Lady Jayde on Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:34 pm

NieleA wrote:Lady Jade said: " While I'm painting, the hostess (or the other children) will go and wrangle up the next kid in line. When that kid gets in my chair he or she will then draw a name...Rinse...Repeat." (sorry, I couldn't get the quote thing to work right Shocked)

Lady Jayde,
Do you ever have the problem of having to sit and wait for the next kid because they didn't "find" them soon enough?

Nope. The only time that ever happened was when a kid decided he didn't want to get painted and the other kids were trying to make him so they could get their names drawn. In that case I just have the child in my chair draw another name. The games and such aren't usually very far away and there's always an adult somewhere who can help if need be. Children are very ambitious and motivated when they want to be.
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