The art of war for face painters: keeping your commitments

Posted by Elizabeth Mackinney on

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Problem: The holidays have come and gone, and quotes are beginning to roll in again. It’s not uncommon during the winter months for parties to be shorter in length, so you book a one hour event for a date three weeks away. A few days later, you receive a request for a four hour event from a regular customer and you’re thrilled until you check your calendar. Your heart sinks as you realize it falls on the same date as the one hour event and the times conflict. You hate to lose a longer job with an established client in favor of a less lucrative one, and you’re tempted to cancel on the other client. What should you do?

Solution: There’s no doubt that it’s a tempting proposition to back out of the previously scheduled event which will only pay a quarter of the amount you would make from the longer one. Work can be sparse in some seasons of year, and your bills still have to be paid. You may have heard of other face painters who have cancelled on clients to take better jobs, and you might have experienced some last-minute calls to cover these events. You can think of instances in which it wasn’t the client who waited too long to hire, but that the face painter backed out and left her hanging with no entertainer.

While it may seem like a hard decision, the right thing to do is to keep your first commitment. The short term gain of a few hundred dollars could never equal the price of losing your reputation for reliability.

The solution to the problem above, which would preserve your relationship with an established client, goes deeper. It lies in why it is so important to establish good working relationships with other face painters in your area. When this type of thing happens, and it definitely will, you need artists you can trust to send in your place.

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” If you look at the face painters near you only as competition, you’re making a mistake. While not every one of them will turn out to be trustworthy with your clients, some of them will be. It is in your best interests to discover who you can trust. It’s also in your best interests to be trustworthy when it comes to protecting their clients.

There will be some risk involved as you develop the relationships which will help you service your clients as you encounter situations like the one above, and you cannot control how other people will treat you. You can control how you treat others, however. Build your own policies on character and integrity, and they won’t fail you.

With this level of integrity in mind, if a face painter needs an extra hand and you’re available, work under her and promote her business at the event, unless she has instructed you to do otherwise. If you’re taking the place of another face painter at her event because she had an emergency or a conflict as in the situation above, promote her business just as you would your own. Remember that in that situation, you represent her. Show up on time. Do a great job. Be courteous to the client.

Be the person those around you can trust, and eventually, the people around you will be the ones you can trust as well. And when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, you’ll have trustworthy business associates you can trust to help you out.

Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in the NW Chicago suburbs. She also writes for Examiner.com as the Chicago Face Painting Examiner.


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