How to be an excellent client

You are already an excellent client, you’ve done your research and booked a phenomenal act for your event!

As a self-employed performer there are a few things that make our working relationship with you flow easily when organising and performing at your event.

  1. Give as much detail as possible about your event and what you need from us.
  • Be prompt with returning contracts and paying deposits, you have first refusal on a date and time requested but other gigs may come in on the same slot. By confirming quickly it enables us to keep other clients in the loop and help them better organise their events.
  • Usually everything you need to know is on the website but please do ask questions if you are unsure of what services we are offering.
  • Make sure there is somewhere to get changed and leave equipment in a safe space on site. Our equipment is expensive and we need to know it is safe whilst we are out entertaining your guests. Every venue has at least a private lockable office space and this will usually be sufficient for our needs, a toilet cubicle is not a changing room!
  • If it’s a public event then please reserve parking or make us aware of the arrangements prior. We may be on time but searching for a car park then walking back to site will make us late!
  • Make sure that staff at the venue are expecting us and prepared for our arrival, if you won’t be on-site then provide contact details for the person who will be.
  • Pay our fee on the day of the event or when agreed. This avoids any confusion or unpleasantness after an event. Remember that self-employed entertainers do this for their living and as a small independent business every payment counts!

A repeat booking is a relationship that can last years and is based on excellent professional practice. I have regular clients dating back over a decade and look forward to working with them year to year. If both of us are happy working together, then you know your guests will always have a great time and that’s really the most important thing for us all.

Why you should never work without a contract and deposit

I’ve been performing magic and circus acts as Paul Incredible since 2010 and have always been a self employed artist and entirely self promoted. I hope the following will help you out if you’re just getting started.

 You’ve taken a booking online, agreed your fee with the client and put the date and time in your diary. On the night, the client asks if you can do some extra meet and greet with the audience pre-show, this seems reasonable so you oblige. On stage your act was spectacular and dropless, the audience gave you a standing ovation, back stage energy was high and everyone agreed it was one of the best shows they had been a part of!

Next morning you contact the client because they said they would pay you and nothing had arrived in your account. Several emails later, still nothing. You leave answerphone messages, texts and a final email asking to get paid but no one responds.

Revisiting the venue the next day it’s closed and it all looks like a dead end.

You’ve done extra work than agreed and received nothing.

This is a situation I know many young entertainers have found themselves in and it can be avoided by having a contract and taking a deposit. If everything else fails you have at least been paid a potion of your fee.

It’s important that you are in control of what you are selling, it’s your act, your time and expertise.

What should you include in a performer’s contract?

A basic contract should have the following information-

  • Client name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Venue Address
  • Start/finish times
  • Acts/Entertainment provided
  • Fee and deposit fee
  • Signature and date from client and yourself
  • What happens if a client refuses to pay. (I charge interest per day of non payment for example)
  • Terms and conditions

Before agreeing to a gig, get all of the details above on a contract and have it signed and returned to you. Ask for a deposit (this is up to you but bookers will take you more seriously if you do, I know some people who ask for 50% up front and 50% on completion as a safe guard).

You can find templates online to get you started and for years I just used Word to generate contracts and invoices…

This was not only slow but left me open to making mistakes in data management.

I’ve been using the online software ‘Giggio’ now since 2020 and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It manages contracts, invoices, client data, sets reminders, schedules invoices and is highly customisable. It’s a subscription per month but worth every single penny!

It’s important to protect yourself as a performer, you’re brilliant at what you do, take the time to be brilliant at the paperwork too.

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