How Much Will Your Party Entertainer Cost in 2019?

Having a successful private party or corporate event often requires some type of memorable entertainment present to entertain and enthrall your guests. These novelty entertainers can either work as independent contractors or as employees of a company, and the types of acts they perform are varied. The types of entertainers one can hire for their event can include everything from balloon artists, belly dancers, caricaturists, impersonators, clowns and other circus performers, comedians, face painters, hypnotists, magicians, psychics, and much more.

Regardless of the specific service provided, almost all entertainers will charge an hourly rate, and most services in 2019 will charge somewhere between $50 and $150 an hour. Top entertainers in major cities will end up costing you several hundred dollars as they require a minimum amount of hours to show up for an event. What you will pay will depend on several factors, including how many hours they will be needed, the city or area you live, how much is the market rate for their services, their level of experience, how much in demand are their services, supply and demand factors, and other considerations.

Read on to learn the proper steps to identifying and booking the right party entertainer in your area, what services they can be expected to perform, and some great tips on how you can save money when you need to hire someone for your event.

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Who Will the Audience Be?

Before researching for someone to entertain your children or older guests, you first need to think about the age of your audience and what the overall theme of your party will be.

  • Very Young Children: For children 3 or under having a life sized Elmo or other character may be overwhelming to them. Also many children that age may be afraid of having a clown present due to the makeup used by those performers. For this age group experts recommend having a happy and soothing performer such as someone that specializes in puppet shows or someone that plays an instrument. Being able to handle extremely short attention spans is a must!

  • Children: For children between the ages of 3 and 9, hiring a performer that engages their attention while being funny or silly is best. For example, a ventriloquist, balloon artist or magician that interacts well with his/her audience, or a fairytale princess for a little girl’s party. Small animals including pony rides also work well with this age group.

  • Adults: Older guests naturally prefer a more sophisticated type of entertainer that work well with a more mature audience. This group includes purely visual acts such as belly dancers or cirque type acts, or interactive acts such as a hypnotist, magician, comedian, or celebrity impersonator. Casino parties with games and dealers as well as murder mystery acts with a troupe of actors are a bit more involved, but will also guarantee to create an unforgettable evening with your guests.

Steps to Hiring Your Party Entertainer

  • Years of Experience: During your research, it’s important to find someone reputable and experienced in working with the type of guests you will have. Someone adept at handling 10 year olds may not be the best fit for entertaining an older crowd, and vice versa. The years of experience someone has been in the business is a good indicator of whether they can be trusted to put on a good performance.

  • Reviews and References: Besides years of experience, an easy way to determine whether you should hire someone is by checking the number of reviews online and their rating on sites like Decidio. Similarly, ask around if you know someone that can recommend someone professional for your upcoming party. Entertainers get much of their business through word of mouth, so check both online and offline for the best reviewed candidates!

  • Social Media: In addition to reviews, it’s also a good idea to see if that entertainer has a Facebook or other social media account created for their business. If the page is constantly updated, then chances are very good that the individual or service is professional and not a fly by night operation.

  • Hire Local: Try to avoid calling a ‘talent agency’ or similar type company that may be located out of state. These organizations act as middlemen and subcontract the work to someone in your area you have not researched or vetted yourself. Avoid these third party services whenever possible and deal directly with the local entertainer whenever possible.

  • Book Early if Possible: Many of the best performers are booked many months in advance. If you are comfortable with the quality of service you will be getting and agree on the price, don’t wait! Many performers will only book one or two events maxper day, so chances are good that they will no longer be available on your date if you wait a week or two to make your decision.

  • Include Everything in the Contract: To prevent misunderstandings, be sure you include EVERYTHING in your contract. Important information includes the full name of the entertainer that will appear, the stage name, the name and registered contact information of the business being contracted, how many hours that person will be expected to perform, the exact time and date they will be needed, what the performance will consist of (including specialty tricks etc), the variety of entertainment that may be provided, penalties for breach of contract, documents providing liability insurance, and any other details that are important to you.

  • Verify the Day of the Event: Having a contract protects you in case something unexpected happens, but it’s best to double check everything the moment your hired entertainer arrives to the party. Check that the person named in the contract actually is the one that appears at your doorstep and that they have their certificate of liability insurance (if required in your state) in case something happens. Also verify that they are dressed appropriately for their act and behave in a professional manner (especially important if they will be interacting with children).

Key Points to remember:

  • In 2019, you can expect your party entertainer to charge you an average of between $50 and $150 per hour to perform at your event. Popular performers will end up costing over several hundred dollars total, and some entertainers will require a multi hour minimum to perform at your party. Be sure to include tipping in your budget as well.

  • What your party entertainer will cost depends on several factors, including the area where you live, what the act consists of and how many hours they are booked for, how popular they are, supply and demand factors, and more.

  • The type of entertainer or performer you hire will mainly depend on the theme of your party and the age of your guests.

  • Following several steps before, during, and after booking your entertainer will ensure that you and your guests will have an enjoyable experience.

Tips on Saving Money on Hiring a Party Entertainer

Remember that although staying within budget is important, it is even more important that you hire the right professional for the job. If it costs a bit more hire to hire a well-reviewed performer or a professional entertainer that has demonstrated enthusiasm for their work, the price difference may well be worth it. That said, there is nothing wrong with staying within your budget! Here are some tips on getting the biggest bang for your buck when hiring your party entertainer.

  • Ask if the entertainer always acts alone or if they require another person such as an assistant to be present. Being clear on this issue can help you determine if the cost is worth it.

  • Try to find acts that can keep everyone entertained if possible. That way nobody gets bored or feels left out.

  • Try not to pay 100% of the fee in advance if you can help it. Most professional services will require a percentage to hold your date, with the balance payable on the date of the event when the person arrives at your venue.

  • Check the various local parent/child magazines or publications to see if any entertainers you are interested in hiring are offering a discount or package.

  • Check online to see if your entertainer offers a promotional discount on their website or social media pages. You can also check to see if they offer a deal with Groupon.

  • If your entertainer limits the amount of children present in their contract, keep that in mind when inviting your child’s entire class. Limiting the guest count not only increases the effectiveness of the performer but it’s also a quick way for you to save on every part of the party from food to party favors.

  • If you have no budget to hire a professional entertainer for your children’s party, think of some creative games that kids and their parents can enjoy at minimal cost such as a treasure hunt or musical chairs, charades, Simon says, etc. You can also buy inexpensive hula hoops and other games at the dollar store to pass out to the kids instead.

  • Tap your circle of friends and personal connections to see if anyone has a talent that kids would find interesting or entertaining. Parents have brought friends that are real life police officers, firemen, soccer coaches (with practice gear), gym teachers,etc to interact with the kids.

  • If you want to hire a professional but have a limited budget, see if it’s possible to combine birthdays with another child you are friends with and split the cost with the other family. This idea will also save you money on everything associated with the party, from renting the venue to buying the food.

  • Services that provide party rentals and live entertainment often offer packages that include both services at a discounted rate.

  • Ask your performer if there is a day or time slot they are not booked in the weekend you need them, then offer to hire them at that day/time at a discounted rate.

  • People that are just starting out in the biz will charge a lower rate than more established entertainers. If you choose this option, be sure you first verify that their act is at the level of quality that your guests will expect!

  • If you are contracting with a local entertainment service and expect a lot of guests at your event, ask what kind of price break you can get if you hire more than one entertainer.

  • Avoid travel fees by booking someone local.

  • Inquire if your entertainer requires a separate tip, or if it is included. If it is built into their hourly rate, figure you will have saved between 5 and 20 percent on top of that.

  • Use a cash back credit card to hire your party entertainer and pay for everything else related to your event.

  • If you’re nice when speaking/interviewing your performer, you may be able to get a small discount by just asking your entertainer for one.

Once you’ve done all the steps above and have booked the most professional entertainer available in your area at a rate you both can be happy with, it’s time to relax, see the faces of your children light up, and enjoy your party!