Sorting out the entertainment for your child’s party can be a difficult and stressful process. These tips, based on experience, should help make booking an entertainer a smooth, trouble free process. (Note, they are written from a UK perspective but are relevant in any country.)
1. Make sure the entertainer confirms everything in a letter or contract.
When you have agreed all the details for your party, make sure the entertainer sends you a confirmation letter or contract from the entertainer that clearly sets out the costs, timings and commitments from both parties. A professional entertainer should make all their terms and conditions available to you anyway.
2. Does the entertainer have insurance?
Booking a children’s entertainer without Public Liability Insurance is a bit of a risk in the current litigation-happy society. If you are hiring a venue, you should also check insurance requirements with them. Many hotels and party venues now insist that entertainers have Public Liability Insurance. Don’t be afraid to ask for evidence of insurance from entertainers who claim to have it.
3. Has the entertainer had a Criminal Records Bureau check?
Many professions, such as teachers, who have regular contact with children must have a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. Although a self-employed children’s entertainer does not have to be CRB checked, most professional entertainers will be able to supply you with evidence that they have gone through the process. There may well be similar checks in countries outside the UK.
4. Check that the cancellation policy and payment terms are completely clear.
Ensure you know how the payment is handled and that it is clearly laid out the contract or confirmation letter. Some entertainers will take a non-refundable booking fee or some may require a deposit which is refundable. Some may require the balance paid after the performance or party or want to sort it out before they begin.
5. Make sure you understand what the quoted fee does and does not cover.
Are all the materials, such as presents and balloons, etc. included in the fee? Does it include VAT (or other taxes outside the UK) and travelling expenses? If extra children arrive at the party, will there be an additional cost? Unexpected costs can make payment time at the end of a party a little uncomfortable!
6. Are you completely comfortable with the performance content?
This may seem obvious, but little details such as the entertainer incorporating juggling in their act and you having a very low ceiling could cause problems on the day of the party. So check the obvious such as the ages the performance is suitable for, the length of the performance and details about what the performance involves.
7. Know the performer’s requirements.
Make sure you are fully prepared by understanding what the performer needs in the way of power supplies, space, furniture, etc. Check if they can perform outside and inside if it rains. It is likely that an experienced professional children’s entertainer will question you to ensure their requirements are met..
8. Do you want any optional extras?
Many performers offer optional extras as part of their show, such as give-ways and presents. Some may even include the as standard. Check if there is any additional costs involved and make sure they are suitable for all the children at the party. Examples include balloon models, photo’s, and party bags with toys and gifts.
9. Check the levels of supervision required by the performer.
Many entertainers have a specific adult to child ratio so they can ensure children are adequately supervised. It is important you can meet these requirements and you know what happens if the audience is larger than expected.
10. Book in plenty of time.
Good children’s entertainers book up quickly, especially on weekends during the summer. When organising the entertainment for your party, it can be useful to have several dates in mind, especially if you are interested in a particular entertainer.