How much should I charge for face painting? REAL PRICES

How much should I charge for face painting? REAL PRICES
Olga Murasev — 15 August 2017 —

No doubt this is the most frequently asked question by beginners wanting to learn how to become a face painter. And I wish I could give you a straight answer, but unfortunately, this is not a question that can be answered without listing an array of relevant issues. There are heaps of different factors to consider when it comes to pricing your face painting services.

Before you move on reading, I suggest you check my previous post “Starting your face painting business. Investments and hidden costs” for a better understanding of the expenses and easier calculation of your own rates.

In this blog post, I will walk you through a number of issues that you should consider before you come up with fair rates both for yourself and for your customers.

Tip: Click here to download this super useful “Top 10 products a face painter needs” handout! It’s FREE!

What other face painters charge in your area?

Every area of the world will have a different rate. No doubt you’ll be able to charge more if you are face painting in Switzerland comparatively to someone who works in Romania.

So, the first thing that you should do is reach out to painters in your area and find out what the average is.

In most of the cases, there will be an already existing community of artists and all you’ll have to do is a little research via Internet plus a couple phone calls.

But if face painting is a new service in your area and you are the first one to start offering it (yep, that happened to me when I started doing face painting in Moldova back in 2011), then you may want to check out what entertainers charge. This will give you an approximate idea of what people are ready to spend on entertainment in your area.

Setting out an average of prices between artists in the same area is very important and will benefit everyone no matter how experienced are you.

If you have just started and are undercharging, your clients are going to get the wrong impression that more experienced painters are overcharging. You will also find it difficult to raise your prices in the future when you’ll perfect your skills and speed and won’t be able to cover your expenses with the earned amount of money.

So, once you’ve calculated your expenses, start as you mean to go on with a medium price for the area. Stay current with your rates and when you polished your skills and became faster, or if the cost of living raised, then you may consider pushing your prices up a little too.

One more surprising but true fact about how price perception works is that if people will pay more, they will value you more. Keep that in mind! 😉

I’ve collected some real prices for different parts of the world, relevant for 2017. Check them out here:

Tip: Here’s a data base of companies offering face painting in the USA. You may check the average pricing for your region there too.

How much experience do you have?

If you have just started, your range of face painting skills is probably quite narrow and you are not as quick as those who have been doing it for years.

Tip: I would definitely suggest starting charging when you have a portfolio of at least 15-20 designs that you are able to paint well.

If you don’t feel confident with your skills, start by attending a Professional face painting course and by practicing at home on yourself or on models.

Donating your services for charity events can be a solution if you need more practice on your speed.

But please, never ever agree to work for free.

Do not underestimate your work in front of your clients by not charging them for what you do. If you aren’t ready, better don’t take the job and spend more time on perfecting your skills. If you will agree to work for free, next time when you will be ready to offer a much better quality service, your clients will expect that you will work for the same conditions as earlier.

If other professions were paid like artists

Pricing our work appropriately, saying “no” when necessary, and setting concrete financial goals for our creative practice are signs of self-respect. The larger culture exploits artists, in part, because we allow it. But you can change this attitude! Make it worth your while. Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

How far do you drive to the gig?

Time and petrol are money, so you may want to map a perimeter you are ready to drive to per a certain payment. A solution can be mapping out your base perimeter and adding concentric circles. Show this map to your client whenever you get a booking, so that he doesn’t think that you keep moving the price to get more.

Tip: I suggest you add an extra amount of money for the first hour of your work or set a minimum of 2-3 hours for the gigs where you have to drive long distances.

What is your minimum time?

Make it worth your while. Think about how much profit will you get for a half of an hour gig that you have to drive to across the city.

Tip: I suggest a minimum booking time of 1 hour and 2 hours for gigs located farther from your usual perimeter (set it on your map, just as we spoke above).

How much in demand are you?

There are certain times of the year when face painting is in bigger demand than usual. These include Halloween, Easter, some public holidays and big local events.

One simple rule here is that higher demand means that you can lift your rates and your clients will be still happy to pay them. It’s a common practice to double (some artists even triple) your rates during Halloween.

Tip: My experience showed that I earned the most by charging per face and working the entire day in one place (I work in my own studio) on Halloween. I double my normal rate per hour, then calculate how much time I need per a certain design, split the Halloween rate to the estimated time and that’s the final price!

Another situation is when you’ve become a professional, built a wide base of permanent clients until you are overbooked during the entire year. Congratulations! That means that you can charge more for your work! You may lose some of your clients after that, but you will work less and still earn the same (or more 😉).

Tip: Here is one more tip for pay per face events.

If you are offering face painting for let’s say 5 EUR and the waiting time in line is 30 minutes or more, lift your price! Change the price tag on your board for 7 EUR (don’t forget to tell people standing in the line that they will still get their face painting for the previous price). Your line will shorten, but you will be surprised how many people will still be willing to get their faces painted!

What about belly painting?

Most artists have a set price for belly painting, no matter how big and elaborate the design is. You may also want to take in consideration:

  • how big is the design; is it just the belly, or the face, arms, decolletage etc. as well
  • do you have to drive to the client and how far is the venue, or is the client coming to you

I have painted about 60 bellies through all my experience as a face painter and body artist. I noticed that most designs took me 1-2 hours to create, so I just set a fixed price, which was equal to my 1,5 hour rate.

Check out my blog post “Secrets for Perfect Belly Painting”.

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I hope that this post was useful and that it will help you come up with your own rates easier now.

In the next post, I will share with you tip on “How to work fewer hours and earn more money” in face painting.


How much do you charge for your services? 🤔 Let’s help the new face painters come up with fair prices by sharing ours here in the comments. 👇

 — Olga Murasev

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