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ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

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ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Party Picassos on Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:58 pm

It's been on my website for several years: TWO HOUR MINIMUM!
In summers, this is rarely an issue. A few may ask for one hour,
but I was only game if it was a last minute booking and I was wide open
or it they lived closed to my home.

BUT LATELY! I work with a few "talent" agencies and most of the bid requests have been for ONE hour sometimes, 45 minutes. Ok, if it is a looong drive, heck no. I don't even respond. However, this January in the Windy City (Chicago) has been lean. Several artists have been commenting on how few (if any) jobs that have had this past month.

So I have broken down. Answered bid requests and instead of charging $100 per hour, I tell them $125 for one hour and ONLY $200 for 2 hours. Hoping that would encourage them to go longer. I do see on their requests that they are having only 10 children. Would I want an entertainer for longer with such few children. Probably not.

In addition, when I work through GigMasters, there is that BOOKING fee of $20. Not so bad for a 2 hour gig, but for one hour? It's a big chunk of what you are earning. I hate to consider charging $125 for my one hour and than tacking on the fee and charging $150. I can see when I reply with this amount, I rarely get booked.

So what are all of YOU doing? Charging more? Working less? I'd like to get your opinions. Thanks!
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by FacepaintingByTanya on Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:15 pm

I generally do two hour minimum+mileage if out of town (I'm in a small town away from bigger cities and usually have to travel at least 30-60 minutes for clients). Two hours covers my time, supplies, mileage and ensures I can get all guests painted with artwork of their choosing. If the party is in my town and I know the family well, I will offer a locals rate, otherwise I stick to my guns. If it's costuming bookings or photo shoots, I quote per job, depending on what is being asked for. I don't list pricing info and terms on my website, and often wonder if I should just lay it out up there and save myself time...
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by JJJJJ on Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:20 pm

How about if there are only ten kids, you upsell and add on glitter tattoos? Then you can do two hours with ten kids.

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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by rthling on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:33 pm

I do party packages. No more hourly rates, unless it's corporate. Now I leave when I'm done. And the very first party I did after I changed my rate setup, I made half again what I'd have made for the same party, one week before.
My basic is still priced too low, but I rarely ever get that one booked. Most people don't want to look cheap, so they book my middle package.
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by milliedoodles on Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:57 am

Rthling: I am thinking of using your idea of packages. I read your service contract and saw you state how many faces you paint per hour. So if you have a package deal do you also have a time limit? What about if there are 20, 30 kids?
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by rthling on Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:16 pm

I always let the host(ess) know that I have a gig following her party, and what time I need to leave.
I also inform them that it is their job to make sure someone is always being painted. I don't chase kids around, since I don't know them.
I have only had two parties where the parents haven't kept the traffic moving: once, when I was placed in a finished attic space and left to paint the children, unattended (never again!!), and once, when the very rich parents had a whole circus happening and the kids were all over the freaking place.
Now I tell the parents when I will be leaving and that they need to keep filtering kids my way.
Problem solved.

Oh, and I always have a pretty accurate count of people being painted, beforehand, because they know they have to pay per head. Every once in a while, there are a couple extras, but they always pay me for them. And they know up front that I have to leave at a certain time, so an accurate count is crucial.
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by milliedoodles on Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:48 pm

Thanks for the response, it was very helpful. Smile
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:45 pm

Birthday parties are a set fee for up to 15 kids or two hours, which ever comes first.

Other than that I require two-hour minimum booking - it is not worth my time packing up, getting there, setting up, to only paint for an hour... takes longer to get there and get ready than it does to do the work.

And I don't make exceptions.

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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Party Picassos on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:09 pm

Shannon, I have made few exceptions to this rule; once the party was on the next block from my house! Wink Times are lean, that's why I struggle with this now. Most of the year, it's not an issue. Business is great.

It's just an observation for the bid requests that I am receiving. VERY few are asking for 2 hours. I keep sending responses with the TWO HOUR MINIMUM attached to the fee. Hopefully, they will get the hint!
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by leapinglizards on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:26 pm

Price is $X UP TO two hours. So.... if they only want you for an hour.... price doesn't change.

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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Party Picassos on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:30 pm

If that's the case, than Leaping Lizards, I know I would hire me for the 2 hours for sure! Smile
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:06 am

Birthday parties are a set fee. I don't care if I am done before two hours are up. I just won't accept hourly bookings that are less than that, and paid for the two hours.

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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by FacepaintingByTanya on Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:12 am

I like rthling's notes about making it clear to the host/hostess it is their job to ensure kids are directed to the table, not the painter's. I book two-hour minimum, and base my price on the # of guests to be painted balanced against how long I need to make sure they all are painted, with the caveat that if the guest count increases above the # quoted, I will need to re-quote accordingly. I expect payment upon arrival, and haven't been burned yet, BUT after reading several posts about runarounds from clients at gigs, I may start having then sign a quick contract and pay upfront via PayPal. I don't like being handed a lot of cash in front of people. Makes me feel like I need to be on guard and ready to utilize my ninja skills to make a clean exit to my car packing up †Suspect
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by eva on Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:22 pm

I also had a 2 hour minimum for years, I changed it this year. I was losing customers to other painters who do will do the hour. So I changed it. I went from $150 for the first two and $50 each additional, to $100 for the first and $50 each additional. I think it encourages the extra hour. It boils down to this, I need the money. I can't turn away $100. And we have so many painters around here, like 40!
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Spelonberry on Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:13 am

My attention span is short enough that one hour parties are the bomb. I love one hour parties.

That being said my city is only 52000 people and it's pretty easy to go places.
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by anniel on Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:47 am

This year, I broke down and gave a couple of one hour parties to past clients that I absolutely love. I knew what I was getting into, and so did they. One extended cheerfully at HER request although everyone had been taken care of, we did 2 more rounds. The other was having serious health issues (diagnosed with Leukemia 10 days later) and I wanted to be there for her and her family.)

It was a cold day at the stable & Dad forgot to clothes check the crew as he loaded them to go in a separate SUV. Birthday girl was wearing capris & tennies.

Fortunately there was a tack store nearby & they were having a sale on wool knee socks! SCORE!
(Reminded me of Silly Heather's blog on band-aids...I am definitely not as talented or business-minded as she, but I'm a grandma that knows a cold kid when I see one!) The tip more than covered the socks and the time mom & I spent afterwards together was more than worth a single hour party booking.

Although we have to be practical about finances, I think our main focus is to juggle so it works out for everyone involved.

I hate doing one hour parties and will upsell with a second activity offered. I would rather hang out at a local restaurant & market myself @ pay per piece, practice a less than perfect skill on the restaurant help or offer it free to patrons as something I am trying to master for 3-4 hours than drive, unload, scramble through kids and load again. I know now that it's April I will be glad for the time scythe-sharpening skills.

I booked a 3 hour party for someone I met Monday, and came home with a steak dinner for 3 & $ for my rent. (Oh, and I sold a kitten born the same day to a wait staffer...once it's old enough)

Wow, that was a daisy-picking ramble, would you like to hear about....jk.


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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by veelux on Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:09 pm

I also charge for the number of kids attending. I make sure I get paid for at least a 2 hour period. It is really important that the adults know I won't be alone with the kids, nor will I organize them. It's their job to get the kids in line and make sure someone is in my chair and they know when I have to leave. I haven't had too much trouble so far.
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by MissHeidi on Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:12 pm

I do one-hour parties. I rarely travel more than 15 minutes to a party, so it's not a big travel investment. I get a lot of these bookings so I would lose out on this business if I didn't offer the one hour option.
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by TheGildedCat on Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:15 pm

I book one hour parties, except for holidays where there is a 2 hour minimum. I include 30 minutes of driving time from my zip code (per Google maps) and charge $0.50/mile (round trip) after that. Depending on how my day is booked, I may also choose allow clients to add 1/2 hour increments if they want me to stay - say if more kids show up than expected or adults want to join in the fun, too.
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Caswell Designs FP on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:27 pm

I do pretty much the same as Julie, though haven't yet implemented a holiday minimum.
That's a good idea though.

I'm pretty obsessive about having a cushion of time around parties, because I don't like rushing, traffic can be a bear here, and I hate being late anywhere.
And if I can, I have a bit of a cushion so people can extend time. That happens frequently enough, so I am glad I do it.
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Forest-Fairy on Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:51 pm

I do hour parties. If I don't some one else will. :/ Besides birthday parties are only so long any way, most parents only want an hour, and the rest for other activities and cake. My trick is I charge more for the 1st hour and less per hour after that.. Wink
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by Breezies Face Painting on Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:55 pm

Im new to F/P, I just did a party of 30 plus kids, but only a handful wanted their face painted, so I charged 150.00 for 3hrs and only painted 12 kids this was at an Easter Party, so I think that wasn't to bad, for my first gig and 2 blocks down the road.

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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by A New Face on Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:17 pm

I tried to use the 2 hour min but in the end had to do a higher cost hour then drop the rate for additional hours, oddly enough since I dropped the 2 hour min I book more 2 hour parties as I tend to point out the discount.. BTW I am one of the many Cincy area painters Eva referred to competition abounds around these parts Smile
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by JENDZS on Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:05 am

I am blessed to have an entertainer as a husband, I am the face-painter/balloon artist to his magician. We book by the hour, whether I am with him or not. If we are booked together, we give a discount for my services. If I am booked alone, its a higher price for the first hour and then a discount for each additional hour. Usually I am there for more than an hour, but sometimes not. I can play it by ear, unless I have another gig afterwards and the driving is tight. Since this is our only business, we price ourselves so that we usually don't have to charge a travel fee, and if we do, its a set fee for that particular county. Makes it REALLY easy and its usually not a problem for the customer. That said, I drive a Prius - 50 MPG allows me to travel an hour or so and not go broke!
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Re: ONE HOUR PARTIES: Yes or NO!

Post by eviedejesus on Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:48 am

Iíve been avoiding the 1-hr party - The last thing I want to do is book a one hour party and then have to turn down a 2 or 3 hr party because of the conflict. If you have nothing on the calendar and itís close, no reason why you should turn it down though.
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