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Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

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Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Savanna on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:55 pm

I know some other face painters/clowns that require a non-refundable deposit upon booking an event with them. Do you? How much is it? How do the clients pay for it? Is the deposit deducted from the amount of the party? My friend says she requires check or cash because credit cards and Paypal can be reversed. I've never had an issue with clients cancelling or standing me up at events. How important is it for you?
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by pjhamel on Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:41 pm

I do require a deposit. This secures the event's date and time. My reasoning behind it is simple: If I book a client for a specific date and time, then I have to refuse any other clients who want me for that date and time. I would hate to do this only to have the first client cancel. Then I would be out of a gig, and I would lose money. The deposit ensures that I will still make something, even if the client cancels, and it also ensures the client will most likely not cancel on me, because they have already invested in the event.

I require a deposit of 20% of the booking fee. Clients mail in this deposit along with the contract. Until now, all of my clients have paid it with checks. However, I am working on being able to accept both credit cards and paypal for deposits very soon.

I am not sure about your friend's reasoning behind not accepting credit cards or paypal. A contract is legally binding. If they sign it and agree to pay the deposit, then reverse the payment after they have already made it, they are asking to get the courts involved.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:51 pm

I required 50% in advance for birthday parties being held at third party venues. If it is at their private residence I don't require a deposit.

Corporate bookings require a $150 deposit to confirm regardless of the total price.

All are non-refundable but can be applied to a rescheduled event.

Payment of the deposit is accepted by cheque but must be recieved prior to one week before the event, otherwise cash is required (lots of people deliver cash to me!)

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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Denise Cold on Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:01 pm

Yes. I started doing that about 6 months ago using Paypal. I haven't had a client yet who didn't have an email address and a credit card. The one client that didn't pay was also MIA the two days before the event. She didn't pay the deposit and I couldn't get her on the phone so I didn't show up. I had one recently that didn't pay before but it was a last minute gig anyway (which Shannon tells me never to do!) and she gave me cash at the party.

Perry told me about invoicing through Paypal and it's been wonderful. I created a template invoice with my logo and business information on it and then I put in some standard info like you would have on a contract...like I say that it's non-refundable two weeks before the event, it will be applied to your total, etc. then I saved that and when I want to invoice a new client, I just make a new contact, plug it into the template, add the event details and send. It's fabulous.

I've had a couple of clients ask me if I could just send another Paypal for the remainder of the bill. One worked out and the other one took a week to pay so I try to avoid it. I told them it would be extra to bill like that because it costs me a percentage to Paypal.

Another thing I've enjoyed is the freedom to relax. I feel that if they've taken the effort to call me, give me their email, and pay the invoice then I'm going to be okay. Others will disagree with me, but I let my invoice be my contract. I reiterate the terms of the contract: Where I will be painting, what time, how many guests are coming, what kind of designs, the name of the child and any other relative details in the invoice. It lets the client know that I've listened to them and were both on the same sheet of music. This is a meeting of the minds if I have to take them to court. One time I did have the client change the time on me...he had something very specific in mind and so moved the time 1/2 hour from what I had sent him. FABULOUS! I want clients that care.

The other thing I've had good success with that I probably will get burned on some day is waiting until the end to gather the rest of the money and I also have taken checks. So far I've gotten about an extra $120 in tips this way. If you make them pay you in cash then they go and get that amount in cash...if you let them pay you with a check then they seem to be more likely to add a bit on. But, after some of the horror stories I've read here I can see that it totally depends on your area and the quality of the clients.

Good luck. Cash is the only instrument that can't be reversed so checks are just as risky. Another perk I've enjoyed about Paypal is I can use it to buy paints and I don't feel as guilty because it came from face painting money. Smile

D.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Perry Noia on Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:11 pm

I get a $20 deposit which is refundable up to 2 weeks before their event. The earlier they book, the better and they might not if they feel unsure too far out. If given two weeks, I could probably fill the date with someone else (I haven't needed to yet).

I will still accept paypal if they prefer it, but paypal recently changed the way the emails look when I send a request for funds (it doesn't have the big shiny yellow button anymore) and I had some confused people who had never used it before. So, I prefer to use my new credit card thing through my phone... I can take their number directly and process it more quickly straight into my bank acct. They can mail me a cheque (if there's enough time) or drop it off at my house if they prefer, but since getting my new credit card reader, everyone has been happy to do it over the phone.

I've found that it doesn't need to be a huge deposit to prevent cancellations, just enough to make them think, "I don't want to throw that money away." And I get the feeling from the occasional customer (who may not be as familiar with me) that they wonder if I'll even show up after I've taken their money. Referrals and people who have seen you somewhere else wouldn't feel that way, but if they just found you online and weren't familiar with you at all... it could happen.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Savanna on Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:56 pm

These are all great responses! Smile Thanks so much for the feedback.

My friend also said she accepts the deposit in the mail, but what if the person tells you they sent it but never did OR you wont receive the mailed deposit in time before the party? Seems a little sketch to do it that way. Also, if I'm doing an out-of-town gig that I'm traveling to then I don't want the client to have to drive all the way to my house to drop it off. I think Paypal is the most convenient and secure way of doing it because the client will feel comfortable they don't have to give you their credit card information.

She says she will refund it only two weeks before, however if its after the deadline, the client can use the deposit as credit for the next party IF the party is rescheduled for within 90 days. Is this a good policy?

The mobile credit card reader is also a good idea, I ordered one for my iPhone but it never came!! Sad That's a great device for fairs and festivals! (If you have an iPhone they sell them at the Apple store for $10 by a company called Square. After you purchase it you enter the receipt code into their website and they credit you back the $10 into your bank account. www.SquareUp.com)
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Savanna

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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by PerfectlyPaintedFaces on Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:34 pm

I tried doing a deposit but I've been really lax with it so far. Like, not using it at all. I'm terrible.

I had it on my website for a few months, but most people found me through ads and didn't even go to my website. And I already feel awkward enough on the phone, without going through the whole deposit process... so I haven't bothered, and it hasn't come back to bite me in the butt yet. Laughing YET.

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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Perry Noia on Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:18 pm

it will... it bit me twice before I learned my lesson.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by tamarielpaints on Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 pm

Perry Noia wrote:it will... it bit me twice before I learned my lesson.

Ditto.

And when it did, Perry and Shannon gave me the excellent advice to require a 'non-refundable retainer fee'!
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Denise Cold on Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:38 am

I think it shows that they are earnest. If I'm going to practice designs, clean my brushes and sponges, disinfect, clean my kit, google map them, vacuum my car (when necessary) then they can show me a little love, no?

Plus, I know some of you are busier than me, how do you not get a deposit when you might have to turn someone else down for that day? I've had that happen 3 times where one day on a calendar is the ONLY day that three people want. It's weird.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by PerfectlyPaintedFaces on Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:33 am

Okay, y'all convinced me. I made up a PayPal invoice and sent it to a lady who wanted to book me. We'll see how it goes!

Here's what it says. I'd love to get some feedback on any changes I should make. I literally took up the entire "Terms & Conditions" section, no more text is allowed.

Terms and conditions

Thank you for choosing Perfectly Painted Faces for your special event! Please read the Terms & Conditions below before paying your retainer fee.

1. Retainer Fee - the retainer fee is non-refundable unless one of the following conditions is met: (a) the event is cancelled at least 7 days in advance, (b) the artist is unable to come due to illness or emergency, or is unable to find a suitable replacement, or (c) the artist cannot drive to the event due to dangerous weather conditions.

2. Client Responsibilities - The client will be responsible for providing the artist: (a) a parking spot close to the event location, (b) adequate shelter during outdoor events, (c) an area away from loud music or DJs, and (d) adequate lighting.

3. Extended Time - It is preferable to have a set-out start and end-time for the artist to allow for other bookings. If there are more guests that originally planned, or extra time is desired, the artist will stay (with extra pay) if she has no other obligations.

Note to recipient:

Please confirm the accuracy of the information below before paying your retainer fee.

Client name:
Phone number:
E-mail address:

Date:
Location of event:
Services required:
Number of guests:
Time period:

Retainer fee: $30.00
Remaining balance (to be paid on day of event):

By paying your retainer fee, you accept the outlined conditions of this invoice.

Thank you!
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Psalmbook on Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:43 am

Perry Noia wrote:I get a $20 deposit which is refundable up to 2 weeks before their event. The earlier they book, the better and they might not if they feel unsure too far out. If given two weeks, I could probably fill the date with someone else (I haven't needed to yet).

I will still accept paypal if they prefer it, but paypal recently changed the way the emails look when I send a request for funds (it doesn't have the big shiny yellow button anymore) and I had some confused people who had never used it before. So, I prefer to use my new credit card thing through my phone... I can take their number directly and process it more quickly straight into my bank acct. They can mail me a cheque (if there's enough time) or drop it off at my house if they prefer, but since getting my new credit card reader, everyone has been happy to do it over the phone.

I've found that it doesn't need to be a huge deposit to prevent cancellations, just enough to make them think, "I don't want to throw that money away." And I get the feeling from the occasional customer (who may not be as familiar with me) that they wonder if I'll even show up after I've taken their money. Referrals and people who have seen you somewhere else wouldn't feel that way, but if they just found you online and weren't familiar with you at all... it could happen.

Perry,
I've been looking into the credit card reader. Can you give a little info on it? Do they charge you a fee or do you pay a monthly fee? Does it work w/ your phone or can you use it w/ your computer? I've wondered if it would be worth it & up my sales at festivals if I could except Credit Cards. I've had people walk away when they find I only except cash.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Tilly - Formerly Punky on Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:07 pm

Ditto! I'm getting a new smartphone at the end of the month and would love to have a credit card reader for gigs!
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Perry Noia on Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:10 pm

There are a few different ones out there. In the US, I understand that the square reader is pretty good and I think it's just a percentage per transaction on that one. In Canada, my choices were a little more limited, but mine is from https://getpayd.com/Default.aspx ... I pay $3/month and a small percentage per transaction. I have a little swiper thingy that plugs into the headphone jack on my phone, I can also key in the card number manually on my phone or on a secure website. I like it a lot, it's far more instant than paypal and there isn't a fee when the money gets moved into my bank acct like there is with paypal. It also feels a lot more professional to take the cards myself rather than send them through another site to do it.

The reader was free for me, there was no set up fees or anything... just the $3/month. There is a $2000/month limit before they hold back the money for a little bit, but the chances of my running into that are pretty slim right now. Even if I did make that much money in one month, it wouldn't be all credit card transactions. There's no minimum amounts either.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Savanna on Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:01 am

I use Square and its a great card reader. (The card reader is FREE! You buy it in the apple store for $10 and go home and enter the code to redeem your money back into your account immediately.) Also, with this card reader you can manually enter the credit card numbers and the person signs the receipt on your phone (or ipad, ipod, etc). The reader plugs into your iPhone earphone jack. There is no monthly fee. It is pay per swipe. It's 2.75% per swipe and deposits transfer to your bank account next day.

This is the link for more information about pricing:
https://squareup.com/pricing
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by anniel on Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:08 am

Just got bit again from NOT being consistent in doing it...will I learn my lesson this time? Hope so...Dang! (I figured from a business owner, not remembering that they're usually the worst! Argh! Told her I passed on work for her and would have to contract from now on. (Probably lost her as a client, but yay!)
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by squiggle on Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:06 pm

I do require a $25 deposit that is refundable as long as they cancel at least 7 days in advance of the event. I have a paypal button on my website, but most people still send a check with their contract.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by helena on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:02 pm

No, I don't. I used to have the requirement of a deposit in my 'rates' area, but as I became 'unbusy' in the colder months I wasn't sure if that was making any potential bookers hesitate, so I got rid of it.

As I become busy again I may well request the deposit again. However, I haven't yet had anyone who actually booked me fall-through and even though I know it may well happen, it may be a case of 'it will probably never happen to me', until it actually does, and I learn my lesson Smile
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by Kristal on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:14 pm

I take 50%, regardless of whether it's a public or residential place (exceptions include a couple businesses who I worked with before I took retainers. I have a preschool that for the school events during the week I don't take a retainer, but with her daughter's party on a weekend I did. Weekends are just too precious!)

I've gotten screwed over as well, hence putting this in to play. A lot of my clients actually ask if I take a retainer, before me mentioning it.

Re cancellations etc: if they cancel more than 3 weeks before the event, I refund the retainer less 10% (I've already put a lot of work in!). Within 3 weeks it's non-refundable.

I prefer cheques since there's no fee, but if they book too close to the date and I don't think I'll have time to receive/clear it at the bank, I use PayPal. Looking in to the card readers but haven't found anything available here that I love yet.
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by PerfectlyPaintedFaces on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:40 pm

Kristal wrote:I take 50%, regardless of whether it's a public or residential place (exceptions include a couple businesses who I worked with before I took retainers. I have a preschool that for the school events during the week I don't take a retainer, but with her daughter's party on a weekend I did. Weekends are just too precious!)

I've gotten screwed over as well, hence putting this in to play. A lot of my clients actually ask if I take a retainer, before me mentioning it.

Re cancellations etc: if they cancel more than 3 weeks before the event, I refund the retainer less 10% (I've already put a lot of work in!). Within 3 weeks it's non-refundable.

I prefer cheques since there's no fee, but if they book too close to the date and I don't think I'll have time to receive/clear it at the bank, I use PayPal. Looking in to the card readers but haven't found anything available here that I love yet.

Kristal, I just started doing a retainer fee, and sent a PayPal invoice, but the lady said she didn't use credit cards, so she suggested an "email transfer". I'd never heard of it before but now that I've tried, I think it's totally awesome.

Basically, you can send money from any bank account to anyone else who does online banking. They just have to go into their online banking account, do a money transfer and select "Interac E-Transfer" and type in your email, and create a secret question. Then you open your online banking, answer the secret question and the money is immediately transferred into the account you want... WITH NO FEES!

You can also do it with people who don't have online banking, but it takes longer and does cost a fee.

But it's definitely a great option aside from Paypal for us Canadians. Smile
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Re: Do you require a non-refundable booking fee deposit?

Post by MasterpieceFacePainting on Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:50 pm

I require a 25% deposit payable by cheque to hold the date and time of the event. It's refundable up to 2 weeks in advance, and will get deducted from the final cost of the event.

It works for me so far! Smile
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