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You no doubt have heard about the “stealing of clients” directly (offering up their own business cards instead of yours), or indirectly (not leaving a business card at all, but sharing personal information so that the next gig request goes to them, not you). How about artists arriving late, inappropriately dressed, providing poor service, or being in a bad mood upon arrival? Worst of all, is the kiss of death: a no show artist at a party you booked.

All of these relationship-destroying situations can lead you screaming in the other direction, when it is time to get some help for additional bookings.

But no endeavor can grow unless you find the ability to take on more business. We are unfortunately scheduled into the same two party days a week, so the conflicts in scheduling usually come early in your business timeline if you are at all successful at booking gigs. (What is so magical about Saturday from 1-3 p.m. anyhow?)

What if you want to be something more than a mere birthday party entertainer? You know the farms and festivals all want a Saturday or Sunday, and are usually “pay for face” events? That’s a risky scenario if you need to block your self out for a day and it …don’t say it….RAINS!!! All those parties you turned down and now you have nothing to show for it.

So what to do? I have trained my own artists, and I have hired outside artists who I did not train. I now exclusively use independent contractors, but to be honest, I have trained (or assisted in training) 75% of the artists I use. Why is this number so high? Because even though they no longer work exclusively for me, I know them, how they work, how they behave on the job, I trust them and I like them. They know my expectations, and they represent Bella Faccia Painting as if they were me…so we all get more work in the future. “A rising tide lifts all boats, (or face painters)” someone once said.

Plus, in today’s regulatory environment, hiring subcontractors is safer than training your own artists and having them work exclusively for you. The government does not like you to hire and train, and then simply call them “independent contractors” when they are not truly so.

Artists who work only for you, do not have their own business, and to whom you provide supplies, furniture, photos/menu boards, and maybe even a uniform (think logo t-shirt or jacket) are not independent, they are for all intensive purposes, employees. Which means income taxes, medicare, unemployment, and social security deductions from their paychecks. And most concerning, heavy, heavy penalties when you do not play by the rules and get caught.

This may change from state to state, but you should be aware of how your artists are perceived by your own department of labor. For example, NJ requires independent contractors to be covered by the business’s workman’s compensation insurance, if the contractor does not have their own. That’s crazy! So we have to cover them for getting hurt on the job, even when they are not employees! Why? Because that’s the LAW!

So, I suggest that when you need help, you seek out those artists around you who you can work with amicably. Someone who you can share your expectations with and have them comply. Someone who you would give a booking to, without hesitation, if you were unavailable.

  • Paint with them on the job, by having them assist you in a larger event.
  • Watch how they interact with parents and guests.
  • Check out their hygiene practices, and how they handle special requests?
  • See how they attract future business by making every interaction special, and deliver business cards, stickers or flyers to the guests for referrals after the fact.
  • Make sure that they are doing this in a professional manner that matches your own style. If you are a “soft sell” business owner and they shove a card in every person’s face, pocket, headband, and between the lips, as the guest exits the chair, remarking “be sure to call us when you need an entertainer…” they probably aren’t a good fit.

Then work out a system of rewarding them for their work for you. And vice versa. Pay them a decent hourly wage, and make sure there is a profit margin of at least 20-30% added on for your development of that client. As an “agent” you are required to have the clients payment go through you, and then you pay the artist. You are then required to pay them on a 1099 at the end of the year.

Keep track of these “independent contractor expenses,” and use only a business checking account for client payments and your payments to artists. If you need help, Manager Sal is a great way to keep it all straight and have clean records at the end of the year.

If you are interested in some of the “rules” about subcontracting jobs to others, please download the independent contractor guidelines here.

Growth is inevitable if you are successful and passionate about what you do. Embrace it, you will be glad you did!

“Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else.”

Judy Garland

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