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NEVER work for just tips!

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NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Metina on Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:05 am

Ok. Some will say duh!

I did a morning event yesterday that was very local to me and felt would offer some great exposure. Although I think it did offer some great exposure and will HOPEFULLY produce some jobs, the reality of working for 4 1/2 hours, painting about 90 kids and only making $21 in tips has left the worst taste in my mouth.

I went to my next job of the day with a huge chip on my shoulder.

A rule I have learned through a persuation book and experience. If the are already paying they don't mind giving a bit more for a tip. If it is for free, giving a tip will feel almost impossible because FREE is ingrained in their head. Don't think FREE will make them generous because it WON'T!

We were charging $5 per face at the night event and got several tips.

Lesson learned and moving on.

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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:25 pm

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

9 hours, no bathroom break, on my feet, painted MASSES of people... total in the pot (which was a BY DONATION to the charity event that this was at) $81.45.... $20 of which was from one dad for his one child!

I was furious... people would give their kids a penny or a nickel to put in the pot... I SAW THEM... I was not happy, but it was not the fault of the kids so I painted them all. A couple of kids had a loonie, no parents around and asked if it was enough for both so I said yes (it was after this that the dad threw in the $20)...

I kept half for expenses and gave the rest of the DONATION to the event.

I have never ever done this again. And will never!

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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Perry Noia on Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:27 pm

I learned that lesson doing balloons for tips... I spent two days twisting balloons outside in November (COLD!!) and for 16 hours made 24 dollars!

I NEVER work for tips anymore and there are so many balloon twisters that do it all the time without blinking.... I just won't anymore.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Kristal on Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:21 am

Do you think it's also possibly a case of monkey see, monkey do? I did a 3 day event at the end of January - I was balloon twisting, one of my contractors was face painting. While we were getting paid anyway, it was at a huge (HUGE!!!) discount, and the client agreed to letting us put tip jars out.

No, not everyone tipped, but a lot of the people I think didn't see the tip signs (due to giant lines), and saw everyone ahead of them digging into their wallets/change purses/pockets, and they followed. I think I ended up making something like $130 in tips over the 18 hour weekend. So, not great (considering $50 over 8 hours), but most people put something in.

I would never do strictly tips, because of the possibility of working my tush off for hours on end for a jar full of quarters and pennies.

Lots of compliments - but, sadly, compliments don't pay the bills!
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Perry Noia on Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:29 am

I think you really need to either have a price listed or get paid by the event... I think people need to be told how much you are worth. Either their dollar value or that the event sees you as worth the investment. Many people don't seem to really have a sense of what they should tip.

I did a charity event a little while back and they put on their sign for my face painting that full faces were $5 min donation and cheek art was by donation... still way less than my usual, but since I was donating all of the money for that one I let it go. Most people seemed to respect those donation amounts and gave "about half" for cheek art stuff... I wasn't policing the amounts because it was all donations, but it looked about right.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Just Jenny on Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:35 am

I see all the posts everywhere that scream don't work for free, don't undercharge, don't work for tips, and I agree with all of them. Oh, I should add, I think I've done all of them at least once as I try to figure out how to learn this business.

So here is my question, How do you get your practice? How do you get models to practice on? How did you get from new and budding face painter to experienced and awesome? Now some of the things that I have done, is to let people let me tag along....I've just watched to see how different events are run. I've had people let me add a helping hand when I'm there, everything from setting up and helping to paint. That's my favorite...because I get to do a part of it all, and I get practice too. It seems that this offends the least people, but there are very few people who will allow you to tag along.

Now, I'm not the worst painter out there, but I still need a lot of practice to get me to a point where I'm good, really good.

So, how did you get your practice to become better, and what would you recommend?

Thanks,

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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Metina on Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:02 pm

I got all my initial practice in doing charity events. I knew I wasn't working for a dime and was ok with that. I guess at the end of the day, the bad feeling I left there with was what killed me, not so much the lack of money.

But, I did get a bit of practice pounding out a line. In the last 10 minutes I told them. "I've got 10 minutes left and everyone is getting a rainbow." I think I did 15 in 10 minutes.

Any Jenny, having seen your absolutely wonderful and creative work, I wouldn't bother practicing for another second!

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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Just Jenny on Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:18 pm

So Metina, should I do a horse this Saturday? (Metina does an awesome horse) No, I'm not ready, not yet, I'll do it later.
But thanks for the great compliment, it means a lot coming from you.

Charity events....FREE again! So how do you choose which charity events....everyone seems to claim themselves as a charity?

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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Captain-Savvy on Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:30 pm

I'm still learning and getting practice on the job, but my financial situation won't let me work for free/tips even so. I wouldn't mind working for free if I could just afford it Razz Jenny, maybe you could charge per face and include a sign saying funds will be donated to the chartiy, then keep a percentage of it to help with your own costs? So you can get practice but not leave empty handed? That's how I did things this past weekend at the Relay for Life; I only kept 10% of what I made. Just a suggestion... keep in mind that I don't really know what I'm doing yet either Razz
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Jessica Hicklin on Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:37 pm

Yeah, I quit doing this too. I'll only do this if I'm not working and just want to paint (for practice). I think the exposure is good depending on what type of event it is.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by AngieAnders on Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:43 pm

Definitely monkey-see monkey-do. It's unbelievable how consistent the tips are if even just one person is seen putting a tip in the jar. So how can we use this knowledge? Place your tip jar in a prominent place where others in line will see them tipping. Make a BIG deal about tips. I always stop what I am doing and thank the person who just added to my tip jar. If it's a child and I see them getting ready to tip me, I will hold the jar down for them, and then hug them and thank them, etc. People see. Most just don't think about tipping, many don't know tips are expected or accepted, some don't see the tip jar sitting there, and no one feels obligated if they don't see anyone else doing it.

As for working for free, I try to avoid it unless it's a charity that I personally have a heart for. We simply can't do every gig for free and still make a living. If you are working for tips, consider yourself to be working for free. Anything you get in tips should be an unexpected bonus.

Practicing: I fortunately have two daughters who I am able to occasionally bribe into getting painted. If you don't have kids of your own, you can borrow nephews, nieces or neighbor's kids. Practice on yourself - that's what most people end up doing. Arms, legs and your own face in the mirror. Or buy a practice head, which is worth it's weight in gold since it doesn't wriggle and never complains. LOL.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Perry Noia on Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:50 pm

I do a lot of practising on myself... it's harder to paint when you're holding a hand mirror in front of your face, but it's also a little easier because I'm better at holding still... so it works out about even... then I finalize my decisions on how it will look by trying it on my 4 year old. If I can do it on a wiggly 4 yr old, then it's ready Wink
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Kristal on Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:24 pm

Perry - maybe truck your supplies into the bathroom, and forgo the hand mirror?!

I practice on myself all the time. Sometimes I steal my 7 year old neighbour. Can't wait till my cousins are a little older!

Definitely thank them for tips! Also, there's always that parent (or two...or 10) who don't read anything, and will ask how much it is - which is when I say, "oh, it's free - but I am accepting tips!" Most people will dig something out, no problem.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:40 pm

When is Free Not Free?

Here is an article I wrote for Illusion about working for "free."

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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Metina on Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:41 am

Great article Shannon. I have read it before, but you always need a refresher.

Funny I had someone want me to work for free and give all the money I made to their charity. I then suggested a trade for services(hair and day spa) with no response. Funny how everyone else thinks we should work for free for their charity, but not them.

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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Debi's Doodles on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:05 am

I've had a pretty good exprience with just working for tips so far, I've only done it twice though. In fact I have made more on tips then with set displayed prices at some events/street fairs I have done....go figure. I think some people just didn't know what to tip for face painting and just throw in a $5, $10 or more in my very visible colorful painted tip jar that says thank you! Very Happy
But the two places I did work for just tips were pretty nice areas so maybe thats why they were good tippers? Who knows. I also would only do this type of gig if I have nothing going on that day and the exposure is always good, I give a coloring page to each kid with my info on it for parties.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by AMAZINGface on Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:15 pm

Want faces to practice on? I have periodic 'open houses' for the neighborhood or church families. Post your day and hours and they stroll in!


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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Criss on Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:29 pm

If you have kids involved in activities, that is also a great place to get practice. For example; my kids play hockey and each team has their own tournament. I paint faces at the tournament, for a ppf fee, then at the end of the tournament I am paid a percentage of the earnings (that I have decided upon) to cover my expenses. The team wins, I get practice and my supplies are maintained.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by dawni on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:44 am

Wow! I had a great experience with working for tips at our local annual town festival. It was last July and my first multi-kid event that was not my neighbor's kids or my nieces. In a single day, working for 5 hours, I earned $180 in tips.

I had a large tip jar right on my table where the paints and mirrors were located. However, I agree that it's chancy and I'll probably not do that again.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Psalmbook on Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:30 am

$180/5hrs= $36/hr. It'll recoop your losses, but when I normally make $75/hr or more.... I'd only do it if there was nothing available. I have done some probono work (my church & to raise $ for our youth pastor's special medical needs daughter) & I've been known to get an itching to paint & go to the park:-)
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by smitty225 on Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:08 am

Ok...I confess. I don't usually (read: EVER) paint for tips only, but I did this past Sunday. I had agreed to do some live body painting for a friends Art Expo, no charge. The models I lined up for this canceled at the last minute (that's a story in and of itself). So, I showed up anyway and painted people in the crowd. Mostly backs, shoulders, some eye designs, and upper chests. The crowd was loving it. So I put out my very large (and seeded) tip cup. After four hours I probably had $90. And $50 of it was from a guy who begged me to paint his girlfriend (I was packing up).

So like I've learned in the past, if its free...people WILL NOT TIP. I was painting $25 designs on people and they would compliment me up and down, take pictures, run and show their friends, and simply say thank you and walk away.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Tash on Mon May 10, 2010 10:09 pm

Free is not free - it's either costing you or me.

Practice - Day cares. They live it and there is usually the right amount of kids to practice on AND you get exposure to all the parents.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Teri on Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:43 pm

i was trying to come up with practice ideas, which would be free

i had one and was wondering if you all could comment on what i woudl need to know or if you have done this.

we have both a children's hospital here as well as a shriner's hospital. i was wondering about offering to go in for free or maybe if they are receptive for materials to paint the kids to cheer them up

however given they are hosptials and i need to be uber concerned with germs i know that there woudl be extra precuations involved

i plan to contact whoever is in charge to disucss with them. but i was wonder if any of you out there have done this. i thought it woudl be a fabulous way to cheer up some kids and get some practice as well

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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Perry Noia on Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:43 pm

at our hospitals here, even the hospital clowns aren't allowed to wear makeup... no painting kids for sure. You can ask, but I must say that I doubt it.

during the summer... you can offer to go to a day camp or day care centre... I'm sure they'd appreciate it.
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Re: NEVER work for just tips!

Post by Teri on Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:48 pm

makes sense, hmmm did not think about day camps, that is a good one.
at least for now my daughter is willing. and i am enlisting the neighbor girls as well. adn there are a couple boys. my boys wont' have anythign to do with it, maybe until get into painting the scary monster faces


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