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Getting gigs/mall experience?

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Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Sue@AnyTimeAnyFace on Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:52 am

I started my face painting business this year and I am having some difficulty getting gigs. I realize I am slower than many area face painters (8-10 faces per hour) so with that in mind I set my rates lower. This doesn't seem to be working. I don't know if my rates are still too high or if it's just this awful ecomony or both. Anyway, I thought a mall gig would be just what I needed. I could benefit from the routine work, improve my speed and get paid for a change. I've been working with the leasing manager at our local mall and at first I thought I was definately going to do it until I discovered that I would be required to purchase workers compensation in addition to my liabilty insurance. Normally it is not required in NJ for a sole propietor with no employees however the mall requires it. Therefore not only would I have to pay a lease of $500/month and $77 for permits I would have to pay nearly $800 for the yearly worker compensation that I wouldn't normally need. (I already have the liabilty ins. with Specialty.) Does anyone else think this is high? With the costs being what they are I would be working for free for the first month maybe even for the second month if it's not as successfull as I'm thinking it will be. I'm stuggling with whether to do it or not. In general I have put so much time and money into face painting and while I love it I'm just wondering when it is going to pay off. I considered lowering my rates even more just to get business but my husband thinks people will wonder why I'm so cheap and not go with me because of that. Ugg! So I need advice in two areas - 1) Is the mall worth the risk? (it's a large mall with high end stores and lots of kids) 2) Do I lower my rates to get business? All I know is "free" makes me cringe!

Sue@AnyTimeAnyFace

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by LoneWolf on Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:08 am

1) Can't really answer to that, but I think it sound high.
2) Put your prize up. When everybody else is starting out, they also get paid so much they can pay rent and food. Why shouldn't we?
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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Guest on Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:27 am

Well... All my mall gigs have been me being hired BY the Mall to paint at their promotions. Sometimes I was paid by the mall merchants' association sometimes by the company that owns the mall.

There was never any question of insurance actually - I have it of course.

I'm not sure of how viable a storefront facepainter in a mall would be actually. Traffic is not necessarily steady, kids are only going to be there when not in school or daycare... parents are usally there to shop not make it a day activity.

In our mall, weekends see an increase in kids as the parents take them shopping, after school and lunchhours see hoards of roaming teenagers just hanging out.

Have you done an analysis of how many faces you would have to paint a day to break even? I've got an Excel spreadsheet on my resources page that you can use - it might be helpful (the link is in my signature.)

Are you able to operate the storefront (or kiosk) all hours by yourself or do you need someone to be there when you aren't? What if you are sick? Does the mall have hours of operation requirement? Do you need to be open ALL the hours the mall is?

Considering how much this is going to cost you... not sure if would be profitable in the end.

8-10 faces is NOT that slow. Ten faces per hour means 6 minutes per face which is actually NORMAL.

Lowering your rate is NOT the way to get business.... You are going to work harder and longer to try to make what you should be.

When starting out sure, set your rates slightly lower, but do not undercut, and raise them once you get some momentum. And IMHO Free is NOT an option!

What type of marketing have you been doing?? Where do you advertise? Where have you put out your cards? How many flyers have you mailed out? Have you been networking with other painters/parents groups/clubs? Have you met with local theatre and arts groups?

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Sue@AnyTimeAnyFace on Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:16 am

I would be painting in the food court directly in front of the carousel and child play area. There are a lot a babies but they have siblings. I would only be painting on the weekends. I can make my hours but if I change them I need to let them know in advance. I am not renting a kiosk. For $500/month (month to month lease) I get floor space - I must bring all my own stuff, set it up and take it away everytime.

Shannon, I did use your spreadsheet (thank you!!!) and I need to do 6-7 faces per hour for it to be profitable (assuming I stay for a year). However, since it's a monthly lease I'm figuring it will be 1 1/2 months before I recover the cost of the workers comp. I am going to do more research on the workers comp. I wonder if there is a way to extend the workers comp to a subcontracted face painter. Perhaps I can get more hours making the cost less painfull.

Anyway, I have given many cards to friends and family and several party places. I am also doing pay per click thru google ads. I'm on facebook and mypartyplanner.com I bought space at a fair in Sept and 1 in Oct. I got 2 inquires from charities but I only stated my regular rate thinking they would tell me what they were looking to pay but that didn't happen. I'll do that different next time. I never thought of flyers and I've been meaning to call other local face painters. I never thought of local theatre groups either. I will try all these suggestions. Thank you so much LoneWolf and Shannon!!! Smile

Sue@AnyTimeAnyFace

Number of posts : 72
Location : Central New Jersey
Registration date : 2008-09-23

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:40 am

$500 a month just to set up on weekends on a piece of floor? I think you're being soaked.

I would say you need to be more pro-active with your marketing.

I use postcards and make lists of potential clients and then do direct mail a couple times a year. I target specific types of organizations or companies - say, fairs & rodeos, large stores, large companies that have active social clubs (company picnics and Christmas parties), party planners, recreation facilties, party venues, amusement arcades, roller/bowling alleys, daycares, churches, schools, libraries, trade shows, museums, mini golf, parks, night clubs, kid play centres, restaurants, etc. etc. etc. just as examples.

I only mail out 30-40 cards at a time and keep track of who they were sent to so I can track the results. I also mail to past and current clients confirming dates etc.

I distribute business cards to the local party shops, craft stores, bakeries, gift shops, rec facilities.

I get myself on local lists and directories - many places that get calls about entertainers or make-up artists keep lists of names and phone numbers for referrals (in my town the theatre and the local park offices keep lists.)

I use all the FREE listings on the internet I can... and I do not use Gigmasters or anything like that. I won't pay for those things.

Get a website - doesn't have to be fancy or expensive and make sure your metatags are set-up right and register with the search engines.

That's just some ideas to start.

Guest
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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Criss on Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:07 am

This is a website designed for small busiess use that allows you to have your own website for free, with the potential to turn it into a paid site. http://www.webs.com/pages/small-business-website/

I approached the local hockey team here, WHL - Western Hockey League, and asked them if I could paint faces at no charge to them but to the patrons seeking (ppf) and they agreed. I didn't charge alot of money, $3.00, but I did hand out a ton of cards and brochures and have been building my clientelle ever since. I am still recognized by people as the painter from the hockey games two years later.

Is there possibly a team or activity that takes place routinley in your area that you might be able to do the same kind of thing? Maybe a farmers market or flea markter? (Do you have those?) Somewhere with alot of traffic, but isn't going to charge you to be there.

I hope this helps Smile
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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:27 am

Also, you might be better served getting a vendors/buskers permit and set up in a busy local park or sports facility.

Like Criss said, getting into a sports facility would get you a lot of exposure. I was in talks with our local AJHL team but I don't do PPF so we didn't come to an agreement - but they were more than willing to have me there put didn't want to pay me so it would be PPF.

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Metina on Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:16 pm

Why not ask a store to let you set up for free. They get to advertise a face painter being there which will drive traffic to them. Go to a store that gets lots of kids.

Just make sure you still are able to charge the customers , but since you can avoid the mall costs could charge less. Try it with various stores and maybe one will hire you(or more on a regular basis). Just a thought. PLEASE let us know how you make out.

-Metina

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by starponysmama on Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:27 pm

I'm with Shannon on this...... ALL THE WAY. I got my first paid gig (this weekend - whoo hoo) by being in the right place and the right time and running my mouth about my business. I also just bought all the postcards and am mailing those out this weekend. When I do get an opportunity to set up for free, depending on the venue, I take it and then distribute, distribute, distribute. Getting a listing of churches, schools, etc. Call your local parks & rec department. Find out about ALL SPORTS stuff! Bookstores, toy stores, party supply stores, even children's clothing stores.

My birthday is Monday and I'm taking 2 days off to beat the pavement and really make this work. My mom thinks I'm nuts for spending my b-day that way but I think getting my first paid gig the day before my birthday was a hint, a blessing, and an omen! LOL I'm gonna run with it.

Also, contact your municipalities. I called the Mayor's office here last week and they ended up putting me through to the Mayor's assistant who was handling a big back to school bash. He had already reserved someone else but was ECSTATIC when he found out I did it too! He wanted all my information to use me in future events. Getting your name out there as HARD AS YOU CAN is the key.

(Can you tell my day job is for an ad agency? - LOL)

Best of luck to you! cheers
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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Sue@AnyTimeAnyFace on Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:55 am

Wow I thought I was doing a lot. My eyes have been opened Shocked
I must admit I stopped working on marketing when I thought I had the mall gig bagged. I have written down all of your suggestions - I am going to start off with flyers. I really appreciate all the advice.

Starponysmama - you mentioned the Mayor's office and I thought I would share my story. Back in May I had invited several of the neighborhood kids and their friends over my house to get their faces painted. Unknowingly I had painted the Mayor's children. He liked what I did and he told me to call his office about face painting for Manalapan Day - a large local event. I was psyched! I called and after talking to a few people I was told they didn't have the budget to pay for face painting. I was told they wanted teenagers to volunteer their time to do it as a fundraiser for the Drug and Alchohol Prevention Alliance. I didn't want to get involved but several friends suggested I do it just to get the exposure. A week later I called and volunteered to do it for free. They were still going to use teenagers to paint but they would charge more for the "professional face painting". I rationalized it by telling myself it was for a good cause, I could get my business card out and I could use it for a tax deduction. When the day arrived the weather started out cloudy and about an hour into it the sky opened and poured buckets of water on us. Luckily I supplied a tent because they didn't have that in their budget either. The whole event was cancelled because the rain wouldn't let up. I painted 2 faces and earned them $12. Shannon - I read your article "When is free not free? and I laughed when I read the part about government having the budgets so don't let them pull the wool over your eyes. Oh did I mention there were 2 airbrush tattoos vendors there?

Ok that's the last of my whining - I will now get to work on my marketing. Once again I greatly appreciate your support and kindness sunny This forum is awesome!

Sue@AnyTimeAnyFace

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Registration date : 2008-09-23

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:00 am

Yeah, I've worked for government (municiple and crown corporations) AND for charities.... they ALL have budgets!! It is the job of the coordinators of events, though, to get as much for free or donated as they can! Thing is, if you don't put a value on what you are offering, neither will they.

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by LoneWolf on Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:50 am

I tried some years ago calling the local library if they was interested in facepainting for Halloween. They informed me that they had already used that years budget, but would keep my information. I thought that was just a nice way of saying no, but they actually called the next carnival. Later I have had some good jobs with them and will soon have another big one for a Harry Potter event they have each year.
Some times when I don't have a job in a holiday, I have been over there facepainting for free. It is instead of having the neighbour kids over - since there isn't any. Just to get some training. And since it is free, I could take as long as I wanted. Plus handing out cards, that have lead to more jobs =)
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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Sue@AnyTimeAnyFace on Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:54 am

It seems to be important to be pro-active and patient at the same time. I am definitely going to get out and pound the pavement. I'm really hoping to make the most of this Halloween. I love doing scary faces too. I will let you know the results of my efforts in the upcoming months. Thank you friends I love you

Sue@AnyTimeAnyFace

Number of posts : 72
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Registration date : 2008-09-23

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:48 pm

Yup, patience is a virtue.... It does take some time to build up a clientele and market awareness. Word of mouth will be your best source of referrals to start with so get out there and make yourself known!!

It can take a couple years to build up awareness in your area for your services... I've been in this town for 10 years doing make-up the whole time and I now get people who I've just met say "Oh YOU'RE the make-up artist/face painter who did *insert event name/show/party*"

Good Luck! What a Face

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Criss on Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:02 am

Cheers to that Shannon
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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Judy on Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:18 am

There is a wonderful lady in Grande Prairie who has put 2 excellent cd's together with a ton of information regarding business forms, marketing, model release etc. for face painting. It has saved me a lot of time and rather than re-invent the wheel, I use her templates and just change it a bit to suit the situation. Being a newcomer, it also has opened my eyes to the world of business and things that I just wouldn't have thought about and because of it have probably avoided several headache situations. I highly recommend her resources.

Shannon Fennell....

(not sure if I'm allowed to make recommendations or not... if not my apologies to the moderator and I'll go to my corner!)

Judy P
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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by Guest on Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:54 pm

Thank you Judy! I'm glad you are finding the CDs so useful.

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Re: Getting gigs/mall experience?

Post by funfacesforu on Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:19 am

I'd recommend looking into local restaurants that have a kid's night. Its a weekly paid gig with lots of exposure.
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