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Profile of randyburtis
I use a confirmation letter, it is business sounding with a personal touch but it communicates the info and expectations and communicates, this is a booked deal. I agree that a contract for birthdays is too much, remember your client, this is typically a mom, in home, this isn't a big company business, being "too business like"(ie heavy contract), will seem out of place and may turn then off, when a confirmation letter accomplishes the goal with out the stress.
Randy Burtis
Calgary's Kid Show Magician
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Falls Church, Va.
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Profile of LMLipman
I send out a confirmation letter for birthday parties, although I call it an "agreement letter" in my subject line to the customer. The file is actually called Contract-Name of person. Mine is a lot like Scott's with the date, time, featured guest and price.

But I insist on getting the agreement letter back before I'll perform. Billy, if you don't get the letter back within a reasonable time, and it sounds like you haven't, I think you are justified in telling the client you have accepted a different gig from a client who responded.

I never ask for a deposit/retainer. Maybe that will bite me someday, but I'd prefer to have good relationships with my customers and not hassle them to mail me a check before the show. With the agreement letter, it's all done by e-mail. Yes, I could use paypal, but not everyone has that.
Larry Lipman
Lorenzo the Great
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Profile of Al Angello
Everybody here is talking about getting an iron clad contract, while poor Billy can't even get cooperation, and I doubt if many of you actually read Billy's original post. Billy bent over backward for this customer only to be stonewalled.

Give the guy the benefit of the doubt, then book someone else. This guy is going to back peddle on you as long as you let him back peddle. If you go to his guy's house remember "I WARNED YOU", and lots of ruck getting your money too.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Magic Arty
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metro Atlanta
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Profile of Magic Arty
I agree with Potty. if they want YOU they will book you. if they are just shopping around they will go with the cheapest.
I hold the date for 24 hours, if another calls within that time to book the same day and time, I give the first client a call or text and try to get confirmation. if they fail to get back in time, it goes to the client who wants to book. usually I can get the times to work out, so it is not an issue to do both.
Arthur Atsma

Feeling real happy now!
Potty the Pirate
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Profile of Potty the Pirate
A confirmation letter, with a return slip works for me. Then, we both have a signed agreement - which is pretty much as good as a formal contract, realistically. When a Birthday Party is cancelled, you're unlikely to hear: "We've decided to book someone else", "We realised we can't afford it", or "Instead of a Birthday Party, we're going on holiday". Instead, you'll get "Johnny is very ill, so we have to cancel", "Grandma has died, and we're all going to the funeral", or the like. What are you gonna do? Accuse your client of lying (they may well be telling the truth)? When someone gives you a line like this, for the sake of good PR, it's better to bite your lip, and accept the cancellation with no penalty. If it's a genuine reason, likely they'll re-book the party at another date.
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