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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Balloon Animals for a local ice cream shop (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Andini
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Columbus, OH
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Hey everyone! I'm thinking of approaching a local, family-owned ice cream shop about doing balloons for their customers. I think that it would be best if I twisted for tips rather than ask for regular payment from the establishment.

So, how should I approach the owners? Should we set up a regular time slot(s) for me to come by and twist for a few hours?

Any suggestions and past experience would help.

-Andy
Close.Up.Dave
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Hey man what's going on. I think that that is an excellent idea, especially since my cousin owns an ice cream shop near my house that I might be able to do that at.

You might want to approach this like any other restaurant, write them a letter explaining how much it would benifit the shop. Also, explain how so very free it is. If you are working for tips then there's really no way that they can go wrong, it's just one more reason that people should go to their shop.
flourish dude
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PLEASE don't work just tips! Once you work for tips you will have a very hard time getting them to pay. In fact so will anyone else that comes after you. Working for only tips is not the way to go. You are a professional and need to be paid for your service. Working for tips is like begging and it sets a bad tone. You need to sell it as a service to the customers. If they tip you then fine but don't work for them and don't push for them. When you do this it hurts all of us. DON'T DO IT. I work for a ice cream place every Monday night. I get 100.00 for 1.5 hour of walk around magic and balloons. In my area we have so many people that work for tips only that it has become very hard to get a paying restaurant gig. Word gets around and they all think it should be a free service for them. These people walk around with tip me pins and flat out ask for it and it really does not sit well with people either. They see you coming up and it is like "oh no how much is this going to cost" It should be sold as an extra touch to the restaurant bottom line! People want to go out and enjoy themselves and not get pressed for a buck every they turn around. Please think about this and make a good choice. You don't see a dentist cleaning teeth for tips do you? You need to think of yourself on that level, a professional.
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
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Lyndel
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Andini,

I'm going to have to side with Flourishdude on this one... Selling a service like ours becomes very difficult when people begin to figure out that they can get the same thing for free from someone else.

Now having said that, and since the establishment that you are thinking about approaching sounds like a small mom & pop organization, you can always negotiate your fee with them. Tell them your regular fee for restaurant work (the amount you would charge at your area's finest restaurant) and then offer to work for a reduced fee if they also allow you to accept tips.

Number one, this keeps what you do perceived as a real service that has real value to their business. Number 2, it makes you look like the hero for being so kind as to offer them such a generous discount. And number three, it insures that you earn a paycheck, even on slow nights.

Keep in mind too that the discount you offer can be compensated for - if you also market "spin-off" shows (i.e. birthday party shows, etc.) to the people while you are twisting their balloon for them. If you did it for free and they had the idea to call up the ice cream shop later on to inquire about your services, one of the first questions they might have is "so how much does the magician charge?" You certainly don't want their answer to be, "Oh he comes in for free." Remember this: Free shows beget more free shows. Don't earn a reputation as "the free entertainment guy."

I'm certainly not opposed to offering free entertainment to charities (within reason) but we are talking about a place of business that is in business to make money here...

What you do has real value and you should be compensated for your skills! Don't give away the farm my friend!

Good luck!


Lyndel
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Paddy
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I make my living doing magic and balloon sculpture at restaurants. We work at 7 restaurants in 6 days (have 2 on Sundays.) I have to agree with the previous 2 guys. Charge the restaurant!!! Even if it is only $50 a night plus tips, charge them something!!

Remember the old saying that "anything that's free is worth exactly what you paid for it, nothing."

Peter
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Andini
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I like what Lyndel was saying about negotiating a lower fee while still being able to accept tips. I think that might be what I'd like to go for.

David recommended writing a letter to get the gig. Is a letter really the best way to go for this type of gig? I don't know if cold calling is necessarily the best either. Perhaps sending a brief letter outlining what it is I do and following it up with a phone call?

-Andy
flourish dude
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I would go in person and talk to them. You can phone and see when the GM or Owner will be in. Once you know that go in at that point. Don't go when they will be busy but at a time when they will have some time to talk. I have a portfolio that I give them while I talk to them about what I do and leave it. You can offer a free trail night so they can see how it would work. Give them a coupon for the trail night so they see it was worth something. During your trail night tell everyone that it is a test night and if they would please tell the manager that they enjoyed it. (I have comment cards that do this) After the trail night I would go in and talk with them to setting it up on going.
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
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Lyndel
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I think by "trail" Flourish dude means "trial."

And I agree. It's a great way for them to see how effective it is to team your unique entertainment with their ice cream shop.

Happy trials...

Lyndel
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icentertainment
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In Sydney- Daling Harbour is ruined due to the fact that several years ago a moron magician went thru the place working and husling for tips- now no one hires magicians in darling harbour and it's just a huge tourist place. Heaven help the man who worked for tips if I get hold of him.


DO NOT WORK FOR TIPS

When selling sell on the fact that you are a draw card (like at a trade show) and tell the ice cream owner you'll even wear his uniform to promote the ice cream place.

I would walk up and start doing it - kids will flock to you. Then when it's not so busy perform a trick or two for the staff- chances are they will sell you for you.

Forget asking for a trial just give them one- they can tell you straight aay no and you don't waste anyones time.

A live demo is easier done then said so just do it. For get your sales letters and promo kits - your making balloons give the owner a taste and then talk price afterwards- start bigger then work down.

Dave
KeirRoyale
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Denver, CO
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If someone offers you a tip it is rude to refuse it but you must be paid for your time. In other words, "Ditto"!
Bill Martin
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After working a few months you will wish you were not working just for tips. remember you are doing them a favor. people will come just to see you, you are earning your money. Don't sell yourself short. Good luck.
Popo
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Valparaiso, IN
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What some restaurant workers will tell you also is to talk to them in person first and then offer them the first time free to see how it works for them. Once they see you interact and the positive effect you have it will be easy to convince them that money spent on you would be wise. Another idea to pitch is to go in half on advertising or, if they are inclined they can do the whole advertisement. This might be a newspaper ad telling of times when you will be at their shop. Also work with them on free advertising such as news releases and local papers which love doing small feature stories about local businesses and happenings.
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