How to Run a Face Painting Business - Entertainers Insurance
How $100 can save you $100,000 and keep your business alive?
For a lot of people liability insurance can be a hard topic. Some think is not needed, some think is a waste of money and others can’t imagine working without it. We choose to think of liability insurance as an investment in our company while others see it as an expense.
Face Painting Insurance: Expense vs Investment
Consider this, most face painting and body art insurance companies will charge you around $100 to $200 for a full year of coverage. For the average painter that means that they can pay for their annual insurance with 1 to 2 gigs (if you are charging less than $100 an hour you might want to re-consider your rates to make sure they cover all of your important costs). Not too bad, right?
Now, consider what you are getting in exchange. Peace of mind, potentially more jobs (many malls and fairs won’t work with you unless you have your own insurance), and coverage in the rare case of a claim.
Why do we see insurance as an investment? Because if $100 can get you into face painting gigs that you couldn't have done without it, then, as long as those jobs bring you in more than $100, you will profit from having insurance.
Also, what could happen if you get a claim and you didn't have insurance? Most likely you will be put out of business and find yourself in major debt. That $100 yearly payment can be the best investment you've ever made.
Some say that claims in our industry are so rare you shouldn't worry about them, but many still have life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, health insurance, and play the lottery, even though you may also deal with the small odds of something critical happening in those situations. The thing is that although chances might be high that you won’t get sued, if you do, the expenses related with a court case are most likely impossible to afford on your own and all of your dreams of running your own face painting business could be over. We hate to say it, but we know that risk very well at Jest Paint.
Our Own Experience with Insurance for our Face Paint Business
Why Should you Get face Painting Insurance?
Being careful in any matter concerning your face painting business won’t be the answer to avoiding a law suit. Keep this in mind, even when you haven’t done anything wrong you can still get sued by someone trying to get money from you through a settlement. Just to defend yourself and prove you haven’t done anything wrong can cost you a small fortune. Our legal fees were over $100,000, even after wining the case, and it didn't even make it through the traditional court process.
Thankfully, our insurance took care of the crazy huge bill and we only had to pay a small deductible. Without insurance, we simply wouldn't be here. We were surprised to find out that to get a lawyer to start representing you, you would have to pay a large retainer fee from the get go. This can start at $3000, which barely covers the initial paperwork to respond to the plaintiff. If we didn't have business insurance we wouldn't have been able to pay just to defend ourselves. We would have lost the court case, and would have had to pay for all of the money that the plaintiff requested in damages, which would have taken two lifetimes to pay, even though we were innocent. If you find yourself in a similar situation, all of that drama can also be avoided for you and your family with a small insurance investment.
We thank God every day that we chose to get business insurance when we did. Going through a law suit was stressful and emotionally draining, but we were confident that we would come out on top and that our business would be able to thrive.
There are a lot of situations that could end up with you getting sued, mostly in countries like the Unites States that are a lot more prone to this. Poking a kid in the eye while face painting, spilling paint on someone's $5000 dress or carpet, having a kid fall off of your chair, having a kid swallow one of your gems, having a client react to your face paints, etc are real possibilities. Risks are everywhere, in every kind of activity, and of course we won't stop living life because of that, but we should be prepared and protected so in the case that one of those situations occurs, we are ready, and our business and way of life are not at risk.
How to Reduce the Risks of an Insurance Claims
Having insurance for your face painting business is not the end of it. You do have to exercise common sense when conducting your business to minimize the risks of having to deal with an insurance claim. Although having face painting insurance is great, doing the best you can to avoid having to use it is even better!
Use Safe Products
Make sure to always use safe products from trusted manufacturers. Your face paints should be manufactured by brands that have conducted cosmetic testings, that list all of the ingredients on their labels and have the proper warnings, and that are available to answer questions in case of an allergic reaction or any other issue with their product. If you just buy a random brand from Amazon, from a seller that also sells car tools, produce and bikes, you are likely not going to get much help at all if something happens with their product. Same thing if you buy off brands directly from factories through Alibaba or AliExpress; they might be cheaper, but you get what you pay for. No trusted third party tested that product, most of them come with no ingredients list or blank statements like "non toxic pigments" and they likely will provide no coverage in case you have an issue. They may never answer an email or a phone call.
You can check a list of well known face painting brands on our Face Paints by Brand section of our store.
Trusted and well established face paint brands like the ones available at www.JestPaint.com are owned by respected people with knowledge and time invested in our industry. They know their product and they will stand behind it in case something happens. Most well known face paint manufactures also have liability insurance of their own in case anything happens to someone painted with their product. And if you buy that product from a trusted face paint store you will also get the help and knowledge of the store owner to help you deal with the situation.
Have a Safe Set Up
If you have a super heavy case for your kit, make sure is stable, heavy winds or a running kid can tip it over if it is not, and that could end up causing an injury. Prop your kit against a wall or if out in the open, put same safe barriers between the kit and other people to prevent injuries. Don't set up on a slanted hill, or next to a badly secured tent or bounce house.
If you have a gazebo or tent, make sure that it is safely attached to the ground in such a way that wind can not tip it over. Using sandbags or water weights can really help, but it there are high winds it might be time to pack up and move indoors if possible.
If you work with a tall chair, make sure the back of the chair is closed so that child cannot fall through it and bang their head. Also be sure that when the little ones are climbing onto your chair that you hold the chair still for them. Do the same when they are climbing down.
Keep your Face Painting Kit Sanitary
Having face painting insurance will give you piece of mind, but if you are negligent the auditors might deny coverage. It is important that you keep your face painting kit clean and sanitary looking at all times. This will not only keep potential insurance claims away but it will also help you look more professional and trustworthy. The last thing you want is a child that got pink eye, and the parent having a picture of you painting their child with a super dirty kit in the background.
You can read about how your face painting kit can work as a marketing tool on our face painting marketing blog post.
A few things that we suggest is to always make sure you clean your face painting kit before and after every gig. This includes thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing your face painting brushes and sponges, wiping off each face paint, cleaning all containers, cases, cups, stencils and other tool you use. Clean your foam inserts, chair, uniform and carrying cases, etc. You want to have a nice clean looking kit. We highly suggest you use a skin safe face painting soap like Lush Brush to clean your brushes, sponges and tools, it will not only leave your tools clean but it will also add a nice natural lavender scent to them.
Try to use one face painting sponge per kid and thoroughly was your brushes between uses. You can read a lot more about how to keep your face painting kit sanitary in our upcoming blog post: How to Clean your Face Painting Kit (link to be posted soon).
Pay Attention to your Surroundings
Although it can be hard while face painting, no insurance will keep you safe while you are at work, so that is up to you to do. Always make sure that you are keeping an eye on your kit and those in line while they are painting. You are not responsible for every kid at a party, but you should keep your face painting area as safe as possible. If kids are fighting, try and get an adult to help, if adults are getting out of control and you believe is no longer safe for you to be there, find a polite way to leave or have them removed from the area. If weather is getting out of control and it is no longer safe for people to be around, pack your kit and leave. Keep in mind that you are there to provide entertainment, you are not the party planner, or the mall police. So, if things are not safe, then leaving might be your best option and that is ok. Your face painting insurance can't prevent a drunk adult from falling in your kit, but you can if you leave at the right time, or if you have your kit protected. Make sure situations like this are covered in your contract so that your client is not shocked when you tell them that you cannot work in an unsafe environment.
Have Safety and General Guidelines and Follow Them
If you are prepared, then you will be able to properly react to every situation to prevent or de-escalate conflict and with that, you will help reduce the chances of an insurance claim.
Are you prepared to deal with angry parents? Are you prepared to deal with misbehaving children? Are you prepared to deal with adults that are drunk and out of control? Are you prepared to deal with bad weather? Are you prepared to deal with allergic reactions? If you prepare yourself for those situations ahead of time, if you have thought about it and made a plan, chances are you will come out ok and you will look professional and prevent all confrontations that could lead to injury or a lawsuit.
Pay Attention to your Face Painting Insurance Policy
Of course, insurances might not always be there when you need them, even if you have read your policy correctly and followed their instructions. They do not work like a a magic shield against everything no matter what you do, they are are a contract that requires for you to follow certain policies in order for them to do their part. You need to make sure that you are getting the proper coverage so that you will be protected when you need it. READ your policy, ask questions, and don’t sign it if you are not comfortable with it. Most insurances won’t let you read the entire policy until you sign, but you have the right to cancel within a certain time frame after you have read the policy if you don’t agree with it. Make sure that every aspect of your face painting business is covered under the insurance and that you work within their frame so you don’t void your policy.
Questions to ask to your Face Painting Insurance Provider
Make sure that you always ask questions as this is not just about buying insurance but it is also about having actual protection for your business. Anyone can sell you insurance, it is not their responsibility to make sure it fits your needs, that is your responsibility. It is always best to get the answers to your questions in writing and save a printed copy together with your policy, and if someone promises you something that is not in their policy, make sure they add a rider that includes those promises, as at the end of the day, if it is not in the policy, it doesn't really matter what promises they made over the phone or by e-mail. Here are a few that come to mind:
- Do you cover all of the activities I do? (face AND body painting, henna, glitter tattoos, airbrush tattoos, balloon twisting, hair embellishment, neon paints, special FX products and prosthetics, etc).
- Is it a group or individual policy?
- How long will it take to get coverage?
- Do you cover insurance gaps?
- Do you provide coverage for others working under me?
- Do you provide coverage for the venue I might be working for?
- Is the coverage limited to a specific geographic area?
- Who is the underwriter and what is their rating?
- Is teaching covered under this policy?
- Will my equipment be covered?
- Do you require that I only use FDA compliant products?
- Can you provide Certificates of Insurance? How much do they cost and how long would you take to process a request for one?
In the end, it is your call as a business owner to do what you think is best for your business. Just make sure that you consider every angle, and always think in a long term basis if this is something you are doing as a career rather than just a hobby.
Reduce your Liability
Make sure that everyone working for you or with you is insured, make sure the venue you are working at is insured. Many lawyers will tell you that legally separating your business from your self is a great idea. Read more about that on our legal and tax status of your face painting business blog. Also, many lawyers will suggest that you have a contract that clearly indicates your responsibilities and what you expect the one hiring you to be responsible for. You can read more about that on our face painting contract blog.
Face Painting Insurance Options
There are many face painting insurance companies out there. We strongly recommend that you to chose a specialty policy designed for your business rather than using a generic business policy that your home or auto insurance broker might offer. Those policies are really not tailored to your business and they are usually much more costly as they are not really meant to cover the specific risks of your face painting business.
A great Artists, Lilly Walters has created a very useful face painting insurance comparison chart that you can read to get some information about the different face painting insurance companies available and what they have to offer.
Is there an insurance company that you would like to recommend to other artists? Write a comment below and let us know who you work with. We have had a great experience working with Beauty and Body Work Insurance. We are not affiliated with them and we do not get any compensations for recommending them, but we have found they were great to work with and they provided coverage for a great price!
Here are some other popular companies to look in to:
Make sure that you ask the questions above before you decide which policy you want to have for your business. We hope this post was helpful and that you will consider adding insurance to your business as soon as you can. We are forever grateful that we did.
Disclaimer: we are not lawyers or insurance professionals and our opinion is based on our personal experience. We recommend for you to always check with a lawyer and or insurance broker before making any decision. We are not in any ways giving legal advice and we are not liable for any decisions you make or stop making based on the opinions provided above.
Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net