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How does balloons for tips work?

Discussion in 'Balloon Sculpture' started by Bobert, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Bobert

    Bobert New Member

    Hey, long time no post, but I'm still clowning or learning the best I can anyway. So I'm getting into balloon twisting a lot more now, thinking once I get a little better I should go try hitting up a restaurant or two to see if they will let me twist there. From what I gather the way it typically works is the restaurant doesn't pay you you only get tips for the balloons, is that right? Also this tipping system confuses me, do people only get balloons if they tip, or does anyone that wants a balloon get one, and they tip if they feel like it?
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  2. Loopy

    Loopy Well-Known Member

    You could always set out a tip jar maybe seed it to so they get the hint and while your doing the balloon twisting your advertising for yourself, hopefully some parents will think I wonder if he does Birthday parties. We have some Super Clowns on here that actually do this
  3. Loopy

    Loopy Well-Known Member

    Also a simple decorated sign with set prices from simple to complex balloon twistings with pictures could help if all else fails.
  4. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    I did a restaurant for five years and was always paid to be there. I have another restaurant with an open door policy that I use for jams. We can come when we want and set up for tips. They let us eat from the buffet for free. But, there isn't a fixed schedule, we show up when we want and if things are slow, leave.

    In my opinion, if the first restaurant can't offer you at least $20, leave and keep looking for one that can. I know many people who are paid between $50 and $100 per hour by restaurants. If they do their part to advertise, in WILL increase their sales on the nights you are there. If one customer tells their friends about you and their kids beg to go back each week, the restaurant will be busier on the nights you are there. If a family of 4 is spending $40 on meals (about the price at a fast food place or somewhere that kids eat free) it only takes a few families for the restaurant to cover the costs of having you there.
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  5. Simply Knute

    Simply Knute Well-Known Member

    From what I've seen most restaurants will pay anywhere from $75-100 for 3 or 4 hours.

    When I used to work restaurants, I would wear a button that said something along the lines of "tips are appreciated" or "I <3 Tips" and if anyone asked me how much the balloons were I would simply say "I work for tips." DO NOT say "they're free but I accept tips" You don't want people thinking that tipping is an option, you want them to get the idea that tips are expected but the amount is up to them.

    I would generally bring home around $50 a night in tips depending on how busy the restaurant was. Obviously the point of doing restaurant work is to drum up business for other types of events. The more you can entertain your audience the better tips you will get.

    Instead of standing in a stationary and making the kids and families leave their tables to come to you, I would recommend you go from table to table. It's more intimate and you can have a lot more fun with the kids because you don't have the pressure of that line which sometimes causes you to go fast and not be as fun. This presents a problem, you don't want to drag a tip jar around with you all night, so what I've seen people do is have the tips button, and then depending on what type of clothing you're wearing, if you have a shirt pocket, you can sort of seed it by having a $5 bill sticking out of the top of the pocket almost like a pocket square. You don't have to keep your tips in there, I would usually keep mine in my front pants pocket, or one of the pockets of my balloon belt. I would put the tip button in the same general area as the seed bill so it is more obvious. That gives people the idea that $5 is a normal tip for a small balloon creation, and keeps you from getting 1's all night. You'll still get several $2 and $3 tips, but it will raise your average a bit.

    Watch the tables and read when they are in the hurry up and wait stage. Make sure that they have their drinks and the server has taken their order so that you have a few minutes that you won't be interrupted by their food coming, and you won't be getting in the server's way.

    One thing if you're going to do restaurant work, make sure that you stay on the servers' good sides. There is a local magician in my town that does a kids night at our Texas Roadhouse. I used to be a server at another local restaurant so I know several of the servers there. They all hate him with a passion. He is rude to them, and butts in their way when they're trying to do their job. If you're on the servers' good sides, they will help drum up business for you, but if not they will give you just as much negative word of mouth when they hear someone considering booking you. Don't be afraid to help them out also, they will certainly appreciate it. If you notice that someone needs some silverware and you have the time, grab it for them, etc.

    I sat in on a class on restaurant work at one of the clown conventions a few years back. I think it may have been the Kentucky Clown Derby. I can't remember if the teacher was Brian Foshee or DJ Ehlert, but both do quite a bit of restaurant work, and I believe that one or both of them have a book on it, but I wouldn't swear to it. Both guys are super good guys and I'm sure they would be happy to give you some pointers if you were to look them up on facebook.
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  6. Bobert

    Bobert New Member

    Ok, so let me make sure I'm hearing you well. The restaurant should be paying me, at least a little something. And, even if the balloons were free don't let the customers know it. Oh, and have fun. Does that cover it?
  7. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    I will accept tips, but not force them. My goal is to get future parties from the families and that is more valuable than a $1 tip.

    When deciding on prices to charge, if it is a one time event, it is my regular price. If it is once a month, a small discount, twice a month a better discount. Weekly the best discount, maybe 50%.

    Pick a place where you want to do more parties. Too many people pick restaurants far from home and would need to drive back for the parties. I have been told a good way to target restaurants is to see where is advertising alot in the local mailers and coupon packs. They are trying to bring in customers and might be open to hiring someone.
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  8. Jeff the Magic Man

    Jeff the Magic Man Active Member

    People view tipping in many ways. Some people actively pursue tips, others will gladly accept if offered but won't push for them. I don't worry about tips when I do my restaurants. Focus on doing a good job and the tips will come. If you are twisting at a stationary location at a restaurant, another thing you can do is to place a dollar under your business cards (as if someone left it there). This will give the subtle hint that you accept tips and they are appreciated.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  9. Curly Frye

    Curly Frye Member

    Try farmer's market. Talk to the person that runs the one in your community. They are usually ok with you setting out a tip bucket.

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