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How to Run a Face Painting Business - How to Contact Restaurants
If you are a professional face painter you know how hard it can be sometimes to find work for every day of the week. Most parties and carnivals happen over the weekend and you only have so many hours available to work on a two day span. So, finding work during the weekdays is like a bonus and it can make a huge difference at the end of the year on the total income earned from your business.
One of the best ways to keep yourself busy working during the week as a face painter is to contact restaurants or other venues that are open during the week and attract large crowds (think shopping mall, stadiums, movie theaters, etc). These venues have large crowds and many of them have people doing lines or waiting for something. That dead time in which customers can get anxious and bored are a job opportunity for professional face painters.
Every town has a restaurant so starting there gives you a lot to work with and plenty of options. Here are some rules that you should keep in mind when contacting venues to work at:
Know the Venue
We all know how annoying it is to get bombarded with generic e-mails soliciting business from us. They look like the same e-mail has been sent to the same people over and over and they are just trying to find someone that buys the proposal, no matter who. Even though you might not care which Restaurant or venue you end up working with, you have to take the time to make every venue feel unique. Do your research, if it is a restaurant, go eat there; if it is a movie theater go watch a movie there. Get to know the manager, get to know the place, their policies, their weekly events, etc. That way, not only you can be more personal but also you will have a better idea what exactly to offer when contacting them.
One tip about sounding personal. Read your letter out loud, if it sounds like an infomercial, change it! Also, you might want to drop of a printed version rather than sending an e-mail. People get less mail than e-mails and since it came separately form the regular junk mail, they might actually read it. You can always follow up with an e-mail to check that they received your letter. I usually recommend avoiding a phone call as the first contact method because I find it too invasive sometimes, it doesn't give people a chance to think and analyze the situation.
Know What You Want
Before you contact the restaurant or venue you need to know what you want. Do you want to get paid by them or do you expect to charge the customers? Will you be willing to walk around or do you want to have a set up in a specific location and have people come your way? Do you expect to make your regular rate or are you willing to take a discount in exchange for regular hours?
What can you offer them?
One of the most important things you can do to attract somebody's attention is to let them know what YOU can offer to them. You will get a lot more positive responses if instead of asking first, you offer. People are a lot more receptive to receiving than to giving away, and you sure have something to offer. Talk about how your face painting can keep people entertained while they wait, how it can bring larger crowds, how you can promote their business on your social media pages that have local followers, ect. You could even offer to take the venue's business cards with you to other events you are painting at (as long as those events don't compete with the venue), etc. Be creative but be realistic.
Is there something that sets you apart from your competitors in the area? Can you also do balloons, or magic? Whatever might be that can set you apart should me mentioned to them so they can tell the difference between you and everybody else. You could also take this opportunity to mention previous corporate clients; people feel reassured to work with someone that has worked for other well known companies in the past.
Be Willing to Negotiate Your Rate
Although you won't always have to lower your hourly rate, more often than not there is a trade between hours hired to work and hourly rate. If a restaurant or any other venue is willing to hire a professional face painter with regular hours on a weekly basis, no matter the size of the crowd they get, they are taking a risk. So, they might want to negotiate your hourly rate down to makeup for the risk. Having steady hours gives you peace of mind and a steady stream of income that you can count on every week. If you only commit to work during hours in which you normally don't book gigs that pay you your full rate then this might be a win win situation.
When presenting yourself as a face painter make sure you look, sound and act professional. These venues are taking a chance by having you work at their place. In a way, you are representing their business in front of their customers so they want to make sure that you are treating their customers as good as they would treat them. Make sure to only use professional face painting supplies, make sure to be insured and make sure to dress professionally and treat their customers with respect.
Don't Forget to Promote Your Business
Once you have been hired, make sure to always take business cards with you, a banner (if allowed), a T-shirt or apron with your logo and company name, etc. People should know exactly who you are. Also, make a point of letting people know that the venue has sponsored you to be there so people don't think that you just go around town face painting everybody for free. You can make a small sign that says "Professional Face Painting by ________ sponsored by ______". Restaurants and other venues are great places to promote your business while working; your customers will become walking banners for you and people will be looking at your work throughout the entire time they are there.
Ask Before Taking Tips
Although many places won't mind you taking tips, it is recommended that you consult with the person hiring you before you set up a tip jar. Some will ask you not to collect tips if they are paying you to be there, and they have the right to do so. Before getting into an argument and making somebody upset, just ask the owners if they are fine with you having a tip jar.
Whatever you decide and however you decide to approach them, make sure to remember this: the worse that can happen is to get a No as an answer, so, don't be afraid to ask and expand your business opportunities!
Please check the link below to download a sample letter we prepared for you.
DOWNLOAD OUR SAMPLE RESTAURANT OR VENUE CONTACT LETTERSPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR FACE AND BODY PAINTERS.
PS: if you haven't yet, make sure to check our other face painting blog posts.