Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"You Charge HOW MUCH per hour?!" - What You are Getting When You Hire a Professional Face Painter

"You charge HOW MUCH?!" 

Okay, my clients are too "Minnesota nice" to have been quite that blunt on the phone, but I know that's what many potential clients are thinking!  And I don't blame you.  How and where would a mom planning a birthday party ever have picked up the knowledge of what professional face painters are worth?  After all, aren't face painters just people who were born artistic, bought a set of paints, and started charging exorbitant amounts of money to take advantage of people who can't draw? Noooo!!

I have wanted to post on this topic for years, but have been hesitant, and this is why.  I do not want this to come across as me complaining..."woe is me...I have SO many have no idea..." Running a business costs money, yes.  And time...oh, the time.  But, I love what I do! I am super excited every time I book an event.  And I often have to hold myself back from purchasing too many awesome supplies to make your parties all that more AWESOME until I make the money to pay for it. The fact that I love what I do so much is probably one reason you don't know just how much work, time and money goes into this business...because I don't complain about that stuff.  It's all worth it!!  That being said, it does cost actual money to be a face painter, and the purpose of course of a business is to cover those costs and still make money when all is said and done.  So, we do our best to weigh our costs and figure on a price that helps us to recoup our costs, and still have some profit left over to pay our own bills as well.  So, please read this through that lens, as my hopes is that this blog post will help people understand what they are really getting when they hire a face painter. 

Proving our value is a constant battle for face painters. As professional face painters, we invest a lot...I mean a LOT of time and money into our tools and skills.  It takes a lot of hard work and money to make money in this business and professional face painters probably deserve a little more credit than some people give them.

Some people have a hard time paying for face painting because it washes off, and doesn't last forever.  True, it washes off, but the fact that it doesn't last is not true.  You are paying for an experience.  You are paying for your kids' childhood memories of birthday parties or events, which they will have their whole life. Not to mention the fantastic photos you'll take.  The clients whose baby bumps I paint get this concept really well!  They do it for the experience, and the photos for their baby books.  People don't complain that concert tickets are a rip off because they can't take the band members' guitars home with them, right?  They pay for the experience!

And please know that we as face painters are not just trying to take advantage of your desire to give your son or daughter a happy childhood by arbitrarily monetizing the experience.  We actually do have real, physical costs involved with our job....we aren't just artistic people who show up with paint, work for an hour, and make a hundred bucks or whatever the going rate is.

First, let's break down just the time alone, because this is something you likely didn't realize...

Behind the Scenes...1 Hour to You = 3.5 for Me.

For the sake of easy math in my illustration, let's say I charge $100 "per hour" for a one-hour birthday party.  It is also important to note that I actually spend 3-3.5 hours on that one-hour party.  Here's how I figure that.  You initially contact me, and for an event that is actually booked, I spend at least 15 minutes initially between email and phone contact, writing up the contracts, collecting deposits, etc. (If I'm hiring another artist to go in my place, it doubles this time, although you don't pay extra for that.  But for the purposes of our estimate here, we'll estimate conservatively with an event I'm doing myself that's near my home.) adds up!  This is my overflowing 2013 binder of sales, invoices, contracts, and expense receipts!
So once it's booked, I'll then spend up to 30 minutes preparing for your event.  This includes tailoring my design selection to fit your party theme and assembling the design board (more time if I'm adding custom designs), selecting the supplies I need for your particular event and packing them up (this varies among events), loading up the car with all of my gear, and plugging in your address into GPS.  Many artists even paint their own faces in preparation for your event, and clowns especially spend a lot more time preparing! So, now I haven't left home yet but am up to a conservative estimate of 45 minutes...

My Fatmax in the car...takes up the entire front seat!
My $100 per hour price includes travel up to 30 minutes one-way. Assuming you're within a half hour's drive, I arrive at your doorstep having already put in 1 hour and 15 minutes towards making your event special! I arrive 15 minutes early to each event so I have time to get in, set up, and get ready to paint by the start time.  (Although I won't count it in this estimate, I often arrive more than 15 minutes early just to be safe, and wait in the car for a bit so I don't surprise the host/hostess too soon!)

Ready to start!
So, now we're at 1.5 hours before I touch a brush to a child's cheek.  Then, paint for one hour...the part you see and the kids remember fondly, hopefully for many years to come.  :-)  Are you still keeping track?  That's 2.5 hours so far to 1 hour of painting...

painting at an outdoor event
Once I reach our agreed upon end time, it's another 15 minutes to pack up my gear, say my goodbyes, collect payment, get back to the car, and load up my gear again...2.75 hours.  The 30 minute drive home brings us up to a conservative estimated grand total of 3 hours and 15 minutes.  This of course doesn't account for traffic, the party running late, extra guests arriving towards the end, etc.

As you can see, once you take that $100 per hour for a party, and factor in the time spent, it comes to about $30 per hour if you are basing it purely on hourly wages. That's before taxes.  And I also tithe 10% off the top first. I explain all of this only so that you will see that even though we may charge you $100 for "one hour of painting," we are actually working for you for over 3 hours.  This is why many artists have at least a 2 hour minimum for their make all of that necessary time before and after painting worth their while.  After all, this job does often require us to spend weekends, evenings, and even holidays away from our own families too.  $30 per hour doesn't come close to covering all of the costs listed in this post, let alone give us a profit, unless we do a TON of one hour parties! So, I hope this helps you see that while our "hourly" quote for you may seem outlandish, it really is quite modest with all things considered. 

Artistic Talent

True, this may not be a hard cost to those who have natural talent, but it's actually one of the few major things that I think most clients already are aware of and willing to pay for.  I can't tell you HOW many time's I've heard "Wow, Mommy can't come even anywhere CLOSE to that when she paints your face at home, can she?"  or, "Wow, I can't even draw a stick person! You make it look so EASY!" And I'm not anything special...these are the things that professional face painters hear at every event...for a reason!  There's a reason we hire specialized professionals, and I think most people get this. They know that while we make it LOOK easy, it's not something that anybody and everybody can do.

Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of face painters out there who do an amazing job face painting, who were not born particularly artistic.  They work very hard to perfect their craft, if not harder than those for whom it comes naturally, and are very much worth hiring as well!  But, to some degree, the level of in-born artistic skill is something that can affect an artist's hourly rate as well.  Someone who has just started may charge much less.  Someone who has been in the business for decades and painting since they were a child can probably fetch more, and probably spends more on things like training and insurance. These artists are perfectly comfortable coming up with designs on the fly, and painting special requests that they've never painted before. And that's worth a little something extra.

Talent can not be learned or purchased, but perfecting our skill can, and can really add up too...

Perfecting our Skills

Many, many professional face painters spend a lot of time and money growing and perfecting their skills.  Even the most amazing fine artist will find that there are certain skills associated with face painting specifically that they can work on. Setting aside the art, design, and business related college degrees that so many of us have invested in, did you know that there are huge conferences held all over the country and the world, multiple times per year?   There's FABIAC, FPBAC, East and West coast conventions, global conventions... Professional painters spend money on airfare, hotels, food and conference fees to learn from the best and bring it back into your living room.  They don't work for large corporations that fund their trips...they save their hard earned dollars from face painting to go learn more about face painting...because they love it so much!!

Another thing that many professional face painters do is they attend workshops and jams.  Many artists will drive for hours to neighboring states and pay hundreds of dollars to attend weekend workshops where other professionals teach.

A jam held at my house last summer. A wonderful community of local artists, getting together at their own expense to share and learn from each other, to grow and improve the standards of our art in our area!
Besides the expenses involved with traveling to learn, many artists also subscribe to magazines.  Unfortunately there are currently no face and body art magazines that I know of available in the United States anymore, but there are several in Europe. I personally subscribe to Illusion magazine, which is published in the UK, and have had my work published in it as well.  With shipping to the US, this magazine costs me $100 for a year, and that's only 4 issues.  There are also many great books out there that artists invest in to learn new techniques!

Many artists also subscribe to FABAtv, which is an online subscription service offering hours upon hours of videos of professional painters teaching.  FABA TV costs $30.00 per month, or $289.00 for a year.

Being a Responsible and Legitimate Business

There are many costs associated with running a legitimate, responsible business, and these are a few of the major things that separate the professionals from amateurs.

Liability Insurance - I have a million dollar general liability policy.  It is required by several of my clients, and covers all of my events in the event that something happens.  I've never had to use it of course, yet I have carried insurance for the last 16 years that I've been in business. It's about $200 per year but varies on the company you use.

Certificate of Assumed Name - It initially cost me about $200 to register my business name with the state by filing my certificate of Assumed Name, which was also required by some of my clients.  The initial filing is pretty cheap, but then you have to pay to have a legal notice published for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper found on the state's list of approved legal papers.  This is where most of the cost lied.

Internet Costs - I pay about $120 per year to own my domain name and host my website.  I have many additional costs just because I also run an online store, including payment processing fees, shopping cart button hosting, but those of course are not related to my face painting services so I won't get into that! Luckily my education in graphic design has afforded me the ability to design and maintain my own website, which would be a HUGE expense if I had to hire that out.

Advertising - Many artists spend hundreds each year on internet advertising, such as Google Adwords, and for those websites that help you find entertainers (Gigsalad, Gigmasters, Thumbtack, etc...)  Did you know that if we simply want to bid on your event through Thumbtack, a single bid costs $3.33, whether or not you hire us?

Taxes - Yes, I pay taxes on all of my earnings, too.  I've actually had a client expect to get me for half the price if they paid me in cash.  Sorry, no can do...I am a legitimate, tax paying business.

Background Checks - Many painters pay to have a background check available to their clients, to give them that extra peace of mind when inviting them into their homes.

Child Care - It can come across as unprofessional to bring your own children to your job.  Many face painters are moms, and many of them need to arrange and pay for child care for their children so that they can attend your event.  Those that drop their children off at child care also have that added time factor of driving the Mom Taxi!

Peace of Mind

You are paying for the peace of mind in knowing that the details are going to be taken care of and the ability to check the entertainment off your huge party to-do list.  You're hiring an experienced professional because they already know what type of designs they can do to fit within your budget and allotted time.  They know what to expect, and what to suggest.  You are hiring them to select and pack up their supplies needed specifically for your event, compile a design menu tailored to your event, drive to your location in a vehicle that must be filled with gas and maintained enough to be trustworthy to make it on time for your party.  You are paying for them to come early enough to find your house, and to get all set up and ready to go on time.  You are paying for the peace of mind in knowing that you have entertainment taken care of for your guests, while you tend to other things.

Investment in Professional Products

This is the hard costs that are the most obvious and easier to explain. However, the average person still isn't aware of what the tools of our trade cost. What we use does not compare to the cheap "Made in China" face paint sets you find in craft stores or in the Halloween section at Walmart. You'd have no reason to know this, and I certainly don't expect you to, so let me give you a little bit of an idea!

The "paints" we use are not actually "paint" at all, and this is why they aren't cheap.  They are high quality, professional grade theatrical makeups, made specially for skin.  We use products that are FDA approved and designed for skin, for your children's safety.  (Please take a moment to read this other blog post to further educate yourselves about the dangers of using craft paints on skin.)

Some artists start with palettes that include small amounts of many colors, similar to this one by Mehron, which costs $100 (plus shipping). More of the artists I know have at minimum a kit about this size which costs $135.00 and has larger cakes of paint

One cake of paint, one color, can cost anywhere from $7.00 to $20, depending on the brand and size.  So, setting aside the size of each cake, the most basic set of paints you'd need red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, white, and pink.  That's a minimum of 10 cakes of paint, although most also purchase variations like light and dark versions of each color, neon colors, metallic makeups, well as one-stroke cakes which add up very quickly but give awesome results!

This would be about as bare-bones as most professionals will get with the paint portion of their kit.  Many professionals will spend many hundreds of dollars on just the paint.  With brushes, it can really range depending on what the artist likes to use.  I have seen some artists who easily carry hundreds of dollars worth of brushes alone in their kit to every event, and others carry much less.  But aside from paints and brushes, here are some of the other tools we invest in to be able to provide our services at various events:

- Kit container (many love the FatMax toolbox, which costs about $100, but the kit bags/boxes vary greatly from artist to artist and many spend hours custom making their own containers)
- Pop-up canopy (for outdoor events, $200 and up)
- Water containers or brush well
- Powders (for hot, sweaty events, kids who don't like paint, or just for painting with)
- Stencils and foam daubers to apply them
- Mirror (along with a backup because they get broken!)
- Glitter (loose cosmetic glitter, glitter gel, spray-on glitter)
- Gemstones (frequently used for princess parties!)
- Adhesives (for gemstones, google eyes, and feathers...both latex and latex-free)
- Chairs (many use tall directors chairs that cost around $100. I also have a zero gravity chair for my belly paintings, which was about $75.)
- Banners and signage (costly to print or make, but necessary)
- Design menu boards (come in the form of photos, banners, booklets, word lists, etc)
- Business cards
- Towels, washcloths, wet wipes
- Sponges, sponges, and more sponges
- Spray bottle of water for keeping paints moist
- Company shirts, aprons, hats, etc
- Fans or heaters, depending on weather and location

I'd estimate that I probably carry in my most basic kit, anywhere from $300-$500 worth of supplies to a typical birthday party.  However, my complete collection of supplies and tools that I store at home and draw from for events probably ranges in the thousands.
My "FatMax" a public belly painting event.  I probably brought over $1,000 worth of supplies to this event.
I hope this post has helped to open your eyes to some of the costs and time involved with running a face painting business, and what you are actually paying for when you hire a professional!  You are getting someone who really puts their heart and soul into making your event memorable for years to come.  What you and your party guests see and enjoy in your living room is only the tip of the iceberg that holds their business afloat...although I'd prefer to call it the icing on the cake! (I love cake...and I'm done with I'm re-working my iceberg analogy...)

Interested in booking me or one of my fantastic artists for your event, now that you know what a steal we are?! ;-)  Check out my website here for more information!!


  1. Awesomely detailed breakdown of the costs of being a professional. Something I try to get across to everyone just starting out. Mind if I share a link to your blog article on my blog?

    Erika (from Amerikan Body Art)

  2. Thank you, Erika! Yes, please do feel free to share!! :-)

  3. I am so going to have to use this. I am overbooked with "freebies" I love to do this so much. I just don't understand how ppl can look at me and ask me to do this for free.....It's like me walking into their business and saying I want free carpet! Why not? YOu can practice on my house? I can be an example for you and ppl will just flock into your business because you did my whole house for FREE! :D said no company EVER!

  4. Amazing article! Thank you for breaking it down so well. I get asked to "volunteer" and to do it free for "exposure" so much! It pains me to have to explain all that goes into this business...the joy I feel at creating such ardent smiles is not enough to support it.

  5. It's 3.5 hours average. What if the party starts a half hour late and you're just sitting there?
    What if a child pokes their fingers in the colors and you loose 3 dollars of paint? Does that sound cheap? 3 dollars a day adds up to about 1,000 dollars a year.
    Jay Leslie

  6. Really accurate account of face painting. BUT unless we share this, you are preaching to the choir. We have to get this message out to the people who hire us. So please SHARE this post. I have.

  7. Finally got a chance to read the whole thing through. I love your analyses, and although in total, it is a little long, I would like to share this…in pieces with my face and body art guild. We have a recent issue in New Jersey, where a successful painter/owner/ operator is hiring good, talented, painters for $50 an hour and has plenty to choose from. I have worked tirelessly to get salaries up in the last five year, only to have someone from my own industry make them fall down again. What do we do, when it is not the HOSTS, but the artists, demanding an inappropriate rate?

    1. Raise your rates. $50 an hour is too low. I only charge $100 in an area where everyone charges more than $150 an hour. The lower your rate, the harder it is to cover expenses.

  8. I agree Nanna...this is meant to be shared with our clients, which is why I've posted it here, with a link to this post on my "FAQ" page of my site! Feel free to do so as well! And Diane, yes, please feel free to share as well! I see what you mean!! Although, an agent paying an artist $50 vs an independent artist charging $50 to the client is quite different. The price we need to get up to par is the price that agents and independent artists quote to their end clients. I myself have worked for other agents for $40/hour, even though I charge $100/hr myself, knowing they are charging their clients much more. As a (still new) agent myself, I see the value in not having to do all of that other legwork, and am glad to work for less to just show up and paint sometimes. I think the most important thing is for those artists who work for this other owner/operator at $50/hr to ask more than that when they are going it alone. Because they are also doing all the work of booking, contracts, billing, advertising, etc, they should get paid as much as the agent!

  9. Great article!!! There is so much work that goes into Face Painting..... highly underestimated by most. :)

  10. You have written an outstanding article, explained in glowing detail, in response to the "pushback" we get on the prices charged for face painting. I especially liked your analogy of what we do being described as an "experience" just like going to a concert. That is so TRUE! We create a one-on-one, individually artistic and personally emotional experience for the customer! We bring to a visible life the character that they see themselves to be, in their own mind's eye.

  11. Wow! Great article!
    There are times I feel bad about charging $100 per hour and ALOT of clients are taken aback...but it the nail on the head....doctors, electricians, and other high paid people spend years studying and buying their supplies.
    Nobody questions them
    Thank you!

  12. Thank you so much for this post! I am a fairly new face painter (just started my own business in May, 2014) and I am trying to learn the ropes of the biz. I am still building my supplies and still attempting to get regular business. I just ordered some new supplies on Sunday from Sillyfarm and spent almost $300! That isn't including the well over $300 I have invested in my initial palettes of paints (yes, I got both Meyron cases you spoke of in your article). Not to mention brushes, sponges, boards, photos, etc etc etc and the list goes on. When I started this, I never realized the true expense of it all. I LOVE what I do and wouldn't change it for the world though!

    Thank you for allowing us to share this article you wrote! I will be posting this on my FAQ page as well!

  13. Very well written and is an excellent eye opener !
    could anyone tell me roughly what the average earnings (with and without equipment costs) of a face painter annually is?
    would really like to know.

    1. It really depends on the artist, their quality, their experience, their luck, their push, their area, whether they have staff or not, etc. It can be anywhere from a few hundred a year to 10s of thousands....not including expenses

    2. This is very accurate! There are numerous factors, and too many to account for to give an estimate or even a ball park estimate. Very few make a lot of money, since there are so many people doing this now. In the beginning (before face painting became so popular i.e. about 10 years ago and before that) there was a better possibility for profit. Now, there is less, because some people there are more face painting artists, as well as those who under charge to "get a gig"... which hurts the integrity of the entire face painting network. After expenses, I make about $600- $2000 a year. When you break that's not so much, and sometimes not worth being away from your family and all the effort. If fact; if I were to account for my time "behind the scenes" cleaning and refilling my kit supplies, I lose money. -- But sometimes, it's all worth it for the love of it! - and hearing, over dinner, about husband hacing to explain to his colleagues and boss, at his professional place of business, why glitter has found it's way onto my his bald head, ... Priceless!

  14. Thanks! You know, I'm not sure anyone could give you an accurate number for an average. I know many face painters who support their entire family on face painting/entertaining alone, and just as many who only do it here and there for extra cash. It's such a huge range! But when it comes down to it, you really only get as much you put into your business when it comes to face painting!

  15. I will be taking my kit to music festivals this summer and would like to know how much to charge per face. I know there would be a range from small to full face.
    I have only done face painting at non profit events for free but would like to actually make money. Like you mention in the article- I have spent loads on supplies.

  16. Music festivals sound like fun, Rebecca! The price per face you can get really can fluctuate based on the area you live in, and the type of event. But, where I live I get anywhere from $4 to $15 per design at my county fair. I have a wide range though...the $4 ones are cheek art that take me less than a minute. They go up in price and detail level, and the $10-$15 designs are full face designs. But even within my same state, there is a range. Many people don't bat an eye at a $15 design at my current fair, however, at the previous fair I used to do, only an hour's drive away, people complain that $5 is too much! So it really depends on the venue, the area, the type of people who attend, and whether they are coming expecting to spend $$. You may want to start out with a range, see how people react, and adjust from there. I hope this helps! :-)

  17. This same article is true for balloon artists, clowns, magicians! Every performing artist should read this more than once to remember that, as fun as this work can be, it is still work and to keep doing it we have to help Customers understand they are paying for memories and entertainment - not babysitting (though my friends with teenagers tell me those kids are making pretty good money these days! LOL!). Thank you and I hope you reproduce this as a chapter in all your books!

  18. This is an excellent article, and can put into perspective how any small business- one person- business has to think of charging for their services.
    I'm a photographer and always felt guilty asking for my services, until I, like you, put pen to paper and added up all my time and effort! Now I don't bat an eye to ask for my prices. If you want it you'll get beautiful portraits and ALL the effort that goes into it!
    Good for you for being so smart AND TALENTED!!

  19. Great article! As a crafter I relate to this as well. I just paid my yearly business licence and also have monthly insurance among other invisible costs

  20. Brilliant article...just asys it all about every proffessional artist/artisan and crafts person every where. Thanks xx

  21. That being spoken...nothing I could add and exactly how it is!...wait actually there is something to be said; even my husband thinks my gigs are overpriced (seriously!), because in some people's mind, work is not supposed to be fun! That's what it is.

  22. I have thoroughly enjoyed your articles & website!
    I am more 'clown' then facepainter... :) But I have a great time painting & always looking for more info !!


  23. Thank you so much for posting this! So many people have absolutely no idea of how much effort goes into a "1 hour" booking. Not only the preparation just to get to the event and cleaning up afterwards, but also the hours of practicing and learning new techniques and buying books. It all adds up. I'm not a fulltime Face Painter so I need to spend the extra time polishing my techniques and getting back into the swing of it between jobs sometimes. Absolutely love doing it though! :)

  24. So excited, I've been doing it for fun and games, but im about to take a course to become certified on Saturday! Let the costs

  25. Ive been dabbing and playing for a bit now, and im sooooooo excited to be taking a course this weekend that will leave me certified. Let the costs for fun! And of course knowledge, but ya never know!

  26. Ive been dabbing and playing for a bit now, and im sooooooo excited to be taking a course this weekend that will leave me certified. Let the costs for fun! And of course knowledge, but ya never know!

  27. I have been considering doing face painting and my jewelry making. Depending where I'm at or with help I can set up booths for both.
    I was wondering how you artists found as the best way to practice.
    Paper is only two dimensional. Did you get some kind of head, maybe a man icon. What would be a cheaper type paint to practice with? Elaine

  28. Elaine, there are many ways to practice, but the best way is to practice on actual kids (or at least your own skin), with real face paints. Using the actual product on actual skin is really the only way to get the most benefit from practice. However, some do like to practice on wipe-off boards, which you can find here: ...or, we do have practice heads, which give you the 3-D surface, just doesn't react like skin: As far as paint, face paint is really not that expensive when you consider how far it stretches, so I'd practice with your face paints if you have some! If you do decide to practice with some other kind of craft paint that's not made for skin, just make sure you don't ever put it on actual skin! Here's why: Hope this helps!! :-)

  29. Last night, I practice on the slick side of a Dollar Tree cutting sheet! :) Skin is still the best, so practice on your your own arms and legs! :)

    As for paints, I would think practicing your technique with any kind of paint would help...But, I have always used face paint and I can tell you that the "cheap" Walmart face paint is not anywhere near like the real face paint.

    Even if you practiced with just one color (maybe white) to do tear drops, swirls etc, it would be worth the investment.

  30. Great article! It told me everything I think I could ever wavy to know to get started. I'm at the infancy stage of doing this and am conducting research. Wow! More work than I anticipated but it sounds so worth it and fun. Is there anybody out there who mainly works festivals? I was wondering if anybody can talk about that some. The costs to rent space, dealing with long lines, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  31. I'm by no means a professional, but I still feel like I'm getting ripped off every time I facepaint. Yesterday I did a full six hours of facepainting with one break and got €90 ($98). They didn't even provide me a chair so I had to kneel on the ground or stand stooped over for the whole thing

  32. Loved the article! Can I translate it and share it in my FAQ? Thank you in advance

  33. Love face painting and have bought several good supplies just to play. I have done face painting for free during events for work and always get offers to do other events. Volunteering, of course! I had no idea how much to charge if I ever wanted to get into doing this. This article is so well written and clear. I have a better picture of what I'd be getting into. Especially the insurance aspect!
    Thank you for your time and for putting forth the information to those on both sides of the exchange.
    I find myself smiling while I paint. It's such a joyful experience to see those little faces transform. And I really liked your comparison to the cost of paying for a concert experience. Spot on.

  34. Love face painting and have bought several good supplies just to play. I have done face painting for free during events for work and always get offers to do other events. Volunteering, of course! I had no idea how much to charge if I ever wanted to get into doing this. This article is so well written and clear. I have a better picture of what I'd be getting into. Especially the insurance aspect!
    Thank you for your time and for putting forth the information to those on both sides of the exchange.
    I find myself smiling while I paint. It's such a joyful experience to see those little faces transform. And I really liked your comparison to the cost of paying for a concert experience. Spot on.

  35. Great article! My mainstay is renting a booth at street fairs, booth rental is $50 - $250 for a day (for more expensive booths I ask one-two other painters to share the cost with me. That being said 3 painters (plus parents and sometimes siblings) is very, very tight. Painting with another painter can be more difficult not just because of lack of room within a 10'x10' tent, but if the venue is not well attended, both painters are disappointed. But painting with another person also means not feeling guilty about leaving for a food, bathroom, or stretching break, and that is very well worth it.
    To the question of why is it so expensive? Or it will just go down the bathtub tonight...
    Beer goes down the drain as well. Food and drinks are, on the low end, about the same price as a quick design (I always set the price of the least expensive design to the cost of a drink at the venue). Also offer these two suggestions: the paint will last thru the night, just make sure to use a colored/old pillow case, AND face painting is a great way to remind the children of the fun they are having (don't cry honey, your wonderful face paint will wash/melt off). These remarks are delivered with as much humor and fun as can be done, cuz it's all in the delivery....right?

  36. I enjoyed this read.I spent thousands of dollars in Hollywood, CA to become certified and you can't find those paint at CVS.Although I would love that.So much time,money and energy goes into the event.Awesome read.

    1. Same here Faith Walks!- love the name by the way! And kinda glad we can't get the paints from just anywhere or it would crowd is out. Having to invest separates the passionate from those just trying to make a buck!

  37. I send this as part of my "Automatic Reply" for those submitting quote inquiries through my website. I respond with the quote awhile later with the same info below my quote:

    "Ever Wonder How Certified Face Painters Calculate a Party Quote?"

    I also ask my contemporaries/competitors to do the same so that customers in our area will know that we will not settle for less than our talents deserve.

  38. Thank you!!!!! Perfectly written!! I am a face painter and I love it. But my skill & quality is not as appreciated by customers as much as I would like....they sometimes expect me to work extra time with no extra cost or even a tip. The guests compliment me and say I should work for amusement parks cuz I'm better....which I love hearing. but not all clients get it. If your guests are loving the faces why is it such a problem to pay with a smile....why try to haggle the price after i've done my job. Noone gets the behind the scene notions...I dress in costume, I work hard for the theme to pop and be exciting. I go to bed with the party ideas in my head. But its so unappreciated by so many.

  39. I am completely and utterly amateur. I've never charged, because I've only ever done the parties of close friends. Now, through word of mouth, I have friends of friends trying to hire me. They are asking how much, but I am not a business, and these paints are expensive! I have no idea what to charge. Should I charge them just for the supplies, or refuse them because I am not certified? Help!

    1. If you have people willing to hire you, you are a business! Go for it for sure! I can't give you a rate suggestion not knowing your area, but if you were in my area I'd say charge at least $100/hour...but if you want to start lower because you are new or slower, then I would say you are offering a discounted rate ($75??) for a limited time it's a seasonal sale, or say it's because you are new...but that will set the precidence that you are professional and worthy of professional rates, whenever you choose to raise them. ;-) you have a valuable service, and your time is valuable, especially time away from your own family, and certainly deserve to be compensated. Good luck!! You have a budding new business! :-)

  40. This will be my holy grail to go to when I start my business.
    Can I contact you privately with pertinent questions?
    Im ready to get started.

  41. Sure! You can email me any time!! Here's my contact page: