The GROWING list of tips for Face Painters

Start by reading the "10 Commandments of Face Painting" @

So what else would you suggest besides sending out flyers to businesses and agencies,business cards,putting a add into yellow pages,webpages,stickers with phone#, word of mouth and such?

tip #1  If you have a face painting business bite the bullet and get a second dedicated phone number. Don't use your normal home phone. It is not that much more expensive and well worth the cost. Don't let kids answer the business phone and try to answer it when you can. There is nothing more of a downer to a customer than never getting to talk to someone. I suggest a mobile number if you can afford it. When it rings try to answer it in your companies name. At the least buy a recorder and leave a 1 or 2 minute spill about your services. Add general pricing information.
tip#2  Clone yourself. In the majority of my bookings they want more than one person. Train other people and split the pay 50% with them. It does not matter that they are as fast or as good as you.
tip #3  Don't feel any pressure to go dressed as a clown. I know some will disagree with me, but my customers want a face painter not a clown (no offense). I book tens of thousands of dollars of face painting and not one penny from a clown.
tip #4  Make up a nice brochure and a very good quality business card. Do not print out b-cards on your computer unless you have very good quality paper and an excellent printer
tip #5  The more people you have out painting the more exposure you get in the marketplace. So many in this business are intimidated because they just feel they are training their competitors. I have had many a painter that buy a kit to go out on their own and bomb. Not one of them have ever ended up 4 months later in the business. They just don't have the endurance
tip #6 If you can afford it run a small ad.
tip #8 Corporate clients would rather work with a business person than a want-a-be-entertainer
tip #9 Don't get greedy. If you collect $50 or $60 per hour give half of it to your assistant painters once they are trained.
tip #10  If you have assistants make them agree to an employment contract.
tip #11  For the first year put 90% of your earnings (after expenses) back into the business. A good painter can NET $30,000 in their second year if they follow the above. Then they can grow 30% + per year if they stay focused.
tip #12  If you have a smuck worker or a no-show painter dump them (even if it is your sister-in-law). If they do not follow your business rules then dump them.
tip #13  Work, work, work
tip #14 Be pleasant and business like
tip #15 Practice, practice, practice your speed and quality. Set your minimum goal to be able to paint 20 different faces and average 4 to 5 minutes each.
tip #16 Go to the food and retail establishments in your area, in nice but casual clothing and pass out your flyers. Tell them if they book an event in the next 3 day period you will give them 50% off their first hour with a two hour minimum.
tip #17 Do all high profile events yourself or send a very good painter.
tip #18 Be honest in all your dealings.
tip #19 When you are soliciting business or are out working do not look like a slob.
tip #20 Answer your phone with a smile on your face.
tip #21 Always show up 5 to 10 minutes early. Make sure your workers do also.
tip #22 If you work over 5 minutes do not charge extra.
tip #23 Charge what you are worth. If you are a $5 per hour painter charge that. If you are a $75 per hour painter charge that. Don't let others set YOUR rate.
tip #24 Call your competition and check out their rates. When looking at their quality versus your quality charge appropriately.
tip #25 When doing corporate work have a two hour minimum.
tip #26 Offer corporate REPEAT customers a discount
tip #27 Call all the party planners in your area and offer 1 free hour when they book 3 hours (for a teaser not ongoing). Tell them if they do not like the first hour then there is no charge and you will go home.
tip #28 Don't smoke before or during a paint job. And don't allow your workers to either.
tip #30 For your own personal ethics WHAT EVER THAT MAY BE hold to your mark. As an example I don't believe in working on Sunday so I do not accept jobs on that day for myself or my workers.
tip #31 It is not NECESSARILY a great idea to hire artists for your face painters. An artist wants each face to be a work of art which can take longer to paint (too much detail or too many colors) where a non-artist painter can been taught the step-by-step in order to paint a simple, but good, consistent design. The design, simply painted, can be painted in 1/3rd the time and still please the child and mom. In most school, church or festival events it is important for the face painter to paint quickly.
tip #32. It is harder to screw up a full face than cheek art. I'm pretty artistic and can wing pretty much any design but I've felt my cheek art was sub-par many more times than my full face designs
tip #33 If you are not artistic stick to your top 15 faces that you know you can do well and fast
tip #34 A little glitter gel can push the train over the hill. It is one penny worth of product that goes a long way, especially with the little girls.
tip #35 Set a goal to average 4 to 5 minutes per face and work toward that.
tip #36 If you tell your customer you can paint 12 to 15 faces per hour make sure you can do that
tip #37 You need to please your customer (child and parent) more than anyone else
tip #38 If you get a tip, assume you did a good job.
tip #39 Always have your business cards out whenever and where ever you paint
tip #40 Talk to the mom and child during the painting process. Talk with a smile even when your lower back is aching
tip #41 Buy more brushes
tip #42 Again... Don't let OTHERS set YOUR rates
tip #43 If you are only charging $1 for cheek art you will earn much more money if you paint for free and put out an OBVIOUS tip bucket. A good painter, painting for free can earn $15 per hour in tips alone (you will earn much better wages and tips on full faces and they take less time)
tip #44 If you accept a booking on short notice charge more money
tip #45 Find out what the market will bear in your area.
tip #46 Don't have prices all over the board. Come up with a rate schedule and post it.
tip #47 Charge extra money when the driving distance is long and give 100% of that money to the painter
tip #48 If the event is over 5 hours CONSIDER a discount
tip #49 Don't let others work out of your face paint kit
tip #50 If you are working an event where other face painters paint you might consider stickers that say I got my face painted by XXXXXXXXXX in booth #43
tip #51 Don't be afraid to post a sign that says you use FDA approved face paints (assuming you are)
tip #52 Post a small sign that says washes off with mild soap and water or wet wipes
tip #53 Have a large sign that says FACE PAINTING near your area
tip #54 On that sign say in smaller letters ask for a business card, we do private and corporate events
tip #55 Play some politics so you can get the better location at the public event
tip #56 Buy good supplies. Even when you are paying full retail and the SNAZAROO 75ml paint YOUR COST PER FACE is only $.03
tip #57 The best value is to buy the JUMBO Rainbow Pallet
tip #58 If you are a legal corporation and you buy in volume ask your supplier for a volume discount (negotiate)
tip #59 Leave your business cards everywhere you might be able to obtain work
tip #60 Monitor the "face painter's discussion list" as you will find gold nuggets among the dust (join by sending an e-mail to
tip #61 Choose a FDA approved face paint and stick to only using that brand. To mix brands you void the product liability.
tip #62 Join in the face painters contests on the site. It never hurts to say "I WON FIRST PLACE!" in your marketing.
tip #63 Set a goal to do full faces in an average of 4 to 5 minutes each, pros can do it in 2 to 3 minutes. Practice will get you there.
tip #64 It takes less time to do full face than cheek art and it has a better commercial value
tip #65 Take your camera with you and take a photo of new designs you create on the wing
tip #66 If you have to take a last minute assistant let them use the SNAZAROO, Burpo face painting stamps. With these anyone can face paint see
tip #67 Don't let a down day discourage you. Keep trying.
tip #68 Best method, charge by the hour, second best, charge by the face, third best, work for tips
tip #69 Take a sign or sticker to cut off your line to end when your pay time is up. Get good at this.
tip #70 Don't let irritating mom's get to you.
tip #71 Again, don't work for less than you are worth unless it is a charity event
tip #72 Wash your sponges and brushes in hot water
tip #73 Don't add alcohol or anything else to your water. It does not help.
tip #74 SMILE!
tip #75 If you contribute tips to this long list you will help your fellow face painter and they might also help YOU!
tip #76 When you book a party or event on the phone ALWAYS ask "how did you learn about us"? Track how you are getting your leads and what marketing you are doing. Renew those ads or activities that bring you business and drop those where you are not at least breaking even. If you are not tracking this then you are probably throwing away some marketing dollars.
tip #77 When you start earning money, reinvest most of it into a few small ads. Only renew those that at least pay for themselves.
tip #78 Rather than retraining over and over buy a "how to face paint video" and give it to the beginner. Or even better make a "home movie" of your trademark faces. This way you can tell your tricks and tips and your companies' rules.
tip #79 When using a sponge use as little water as possible.
tip #80 When using a brush use as much water as possible to make your paint flow well.
tip #81 Use the child's skin tones to select the colors you will use for that face. For example if you are painting a full face pink butterfly on a fair complexioned child, outline the butterfly with royal blue. If it is a dark complexioned child use turquoise.
tip #82 Try to apply the colors from light to dark whenever possible.
tip #83 Make a collection of your favorite faces that you can paint in 5 minutes or less and put them in protective sheets in a 3 ring binder.
tip #84 While the child is waiting in line let them preselect the design they want.
tip #85 If the child sits down and has not yet selected a face, immediately ask them to stand up and sit the next child. Hand them the book so they can choose while you paint that child's face.
tip #86 Put in the 3 ring binder a see-through "pencil pack" and put in it a stack of your business cards. Invite those people to take a card.
tip #87 If it takes longer than 45 minutes for a person to get through your line then consider hiring another painter.
tip #88 Don't leave your paints out in the heat or direct sun.
tip #89 Draw on a map your defined painting territory. Draw concentric circles larger with increasing rates for extra driving expenses.
tip #90 Consider setting a minimum umber of hours per event.
tip #91 Buy and use SNAZAROO glitter creams/gels. It does not cost much and it adds a dramatic effect.
tip #92 Always carry a mirror with you. After the child is painted show him/her their face.
tip #93 If someone needs their face retouched don't allow them to cut in line. Make them get at the end of the line.
tip #94 If the retouch takes longer than 15 seconds consider a prorated expense depending on how much you had to do.
tip #95 If you are at a private birthday party always allow the birthday child extra privileges. Also make sure they get the most elaborate face for the day.
tip #96 Buy more sponges.
tip #97 Work with a minimum of 8 colors (even though the paint blend well). It is better to have 18 to 24 colors in your kit to avoid slowing you down to mix colors.
tip #98 Keep good track of all your expenses and keep receipts to lower your tax liability.
tip #99 Make follow up phone calls to the customers and see if they were please with your (or your employees') work.
tip #100 It is a good idea to call again all your events 3 or 4 days prior to make sure everything is all on track and you have the right location.
tip #101 You might want to stay friendly with your face painting competition. You never know when they might come in handy. I get calls from time to time from direct competition that turns over bookings to me. They either double and triple book and turn work over to me to save face with their customers. The same applies when they might get sick or some personal problem prevents them from getting to the job. It is much better for them to turn work over to you than turn up a no-show.
tip #102 Your competition should know you and you should know your competition. They will refer work to you because they know your quality and professional work.
tip #103 Never bad mouth your competition because it could back fire.
tip #104 Do not refer bookings over to other people. Have back up painters. If push comes to shove do some quick training and send in the beginner face painters with my very best. The best will compensate for the lack of variety or speed of the newbie.
tip #105 When the competition gives you the advantage, take it.
tip #106 If you have an answering machine make a 2 minute or so sales pitch.
tip #107 Most answering machines will allow you to hit the * key to bypass your message and go right to the leave a message option. Use this for those that already know your pitch.
tip #108 In your phone message give your rates, your general travel distances, what services you offer and your URL if you have one.
tip #109 Try to answer the phone when it rings but you can not return the calls promptly, preferably in one or two hours, at worst case call the next day. Failure to pick up the phone could very likely cause you to loose the booking.
tip #110 If someone calls in within 48 hours of the booking charge them a premium ($10 to $20 per hour). After all, you are going to have to scramble to reorganize your day in order to make the booking. You might as well get paid for the scramble.
tip #111 - 121 top 10 things a manager want to see before you get the job...
  BEFORE you get the job...
  1. You look like someone that will show up everyday and on time
  2. You look like someone with a brain, managers don't like to baby sit or wish to supervise you
  3. You are professional and act like one
  4. You have a skill that can add to the store's core value (it is your job to see the core value)
  5. Your cloths are presentable in your profession, in other words you did not sleep in them the night before and your           breakfast is not spilled on your shirt.
  6. Your hair is groomed
  7. You do not smell, good hygiene and no excessive perfumes, also no tobacco smell
  8. You have a presentation.
     a) you have printed the skills you have to offer the store
     b) you have references to those skills
     c) you have success stories where others liked your work
     d) you have in writing at least a range of prices
     e) you have photos of you at events
     f) you have a professional business card
  9. They want to see your presentation at a good time, don't show up during the lunch hour at a restaurant and don't show up either first thing in the morning or right at close
  10. They want to see a smile, a positive out look
tip #122 - 132 the top ten things a manager want to see after you get the job
  1. They want to see you show up and be ready to work at least 5 minutes before your time to start
  2. They want to see you dressed in an appropriate manner for your skill, don't look under dressed or over dressed for the   event
  3. Don't look like you slept in your cloths
  4. Don't smoke on the job, take excessive smoke breaks or smell like Joe Camel, for that matters don't take breaks other than quick potty breaks unless you have an agreement with the manager. Scheduled breaks for longer periods are appropriate but negotiate these.
  5. Smile at all times and be friendly with the children AND their parents. TALK, don't be a painting machine
  6. Only pass out your business cards if it is allowed at the event
  7. Only accept tips if the manager allows it and then don't be blatant about it
  8. Be willing to work over 15 minutes with no complaint
  9. The best opportunity for you to shine is when you hold up the mirror to let the child see their face. If the child is happy linger for a moment. Let the child glow in the mirror rather than kicking the child off the chair and yelling "next". I think this moment wither 5 seconds or 30 seconds is your moment of glory. If you can succeed here the parent will compliment the manager as well as you and your worth will go way up.
  10. As time progresses and you feel you need to renegotiate with the manager for different terms, do it professionally.

If you have a tip to add to the tips page e-mail it to

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