As a full-time NYC math teacher, I constantly reinforce the importance of asking questions. If you are confused, you can’t learn without asking questions. (Also, your participation grade in my class will suffer) 🙂 When being booked for an event, I always ask 10-20 questions to make sure I get all the necessary information to provide the best show for the ages of the children. Interestingly, one of the most common questions that I hear from potential clients is “What questions should I ask you?” (which is a great question!). Regardless of the type of entertainer you consider hiring, the following questions may help you better plan your event and ensure that you are getting the best entertainer for your needs.
In no particular order, here are 10 questions that should be asked and answered prior to booking an entertainer:
- What age group is the show most suited for? Will my 2-year old enjoy the show for 5-year olds? I have shows for children 3-15 years old. Every show I do is different based on the ages of the kids. If an entertainer specializes in Bar Mitzvahs or Communions, they might not be the best fit for a 4-year old birthday party. Last month I did a show in the rented our party room of a retirement home. As twenty 5-year olds sat on the floor watching me make the bunny appear, 8 very nice old ladies with walkers shuffled in and watched the rest of the show. In this particular case, the 90-year age difference didn’t matter.
- Can you describe the show? What type of magic tricks? What type of songs? Is it interactive? Is there dancing? (I don’t dance or sing. My 6th grade students can attest to that).
- What does the package include? Ask to hear about all of the options. You don’t want to hire a balloon artist only to find out during the party that your entertainer also makes balloon animals. I bring my bunny to every show, but the snake is upon request.
- How long is the performance? Most birthday parties are typically 1.5-2 hours long. A 45-60 minute show is perfect for this timeframe.
- How much experience do you have (direct and indirect)? I have been performing at children’s parties for over 24 years. However, I have also spent 4 summers as a camp counselor (Mohawk Day Camp and Summit Camp), I have 2 kids (3 and 7-years old) and I am a full-time NYC 6th grade math teacher at a middle school in New York City. My show is kid-approved for over 24 years, but I also have experience working with children that most entertainers do not.
- Do they have references? Call, call, call. You would never go to a fancy restaurant without first hearing its reviews. Your child’s party is a once-a-year event; ensure success by asking to call at least 3 people who have hired them in the past 6 months.
- What do they charge? Are there different prices for different packages? This seems like a no-brainer, but it might make sense to ask the question from the get-go. If your budget is no more than $200, it doesn’t matter what the packages are, how long the show is, etc. if the children’s entertainer charges $1,000,000.
- Are there any specials, deals, discounts? Some entertainers actually offer Groupons and/or have discounts in local newspapers.
- Do they accept credit cards, checks, Paypal, Bitcoins (I don’t really know what those are)?
- What are the payment arrangements? Is there a deposit? If so, how much? Is the deposit non-refundable? When is it due by? When is the remaining balance due and how is it to be paid? Can they be paid in pennies? (I was once paid partially in rolls of quarters. The client owned a laundromat 🙂
There will probably be more questions that come up during the phone call or email exchange, but these 10 questions are a great start to the process of planning your child’s party. When you’re ready to hire a magician for your child’s party, I’ll be ready to answer any and all of your questions. You can contact me at the website or call: 917-886-6364.