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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ballooning 101 » » Selling custom balloons. What to charge? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MeetMagicMike
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A local party planner has had me make a few custom balloons and picked them up at my house in the morning. I made three storks with baby baskets one time and on another occasion I make three Lightening McQueens and two Maters.

She paid me $20 on both occasions. These balloon creations were nice but not super fancy. I mean they only took a bit longer than something I would make the restaurant.

Do you guys do this as a regular thing? Do you make quick things and keep the price low or do you make elaborate items and get a lot for them?

Do you work with party planners, florists, party stores?

Just curious about where to go with this.

Thanks
Magic Mike

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Steve Yarosko
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I don't really like doing it, but when I do, I estimate how long I think it will take me to make and then charge 75% of my hourly rate assuming that they will pick it up. If I have to deliver it, then it is 100% of my regular rate. I do get calls/emails from balloon decorators for this type of work. I have one I need to get back to. I haven't been contacted by party planners, florists or party stores for this type of work. This is just my experience, someone else may chime in with a different experience. Now to be honest and in the interest of full disclosure, I will get requests from personal friends for this type of work, and will charge them a fraction of what I should charge them.
MeetMagicMike
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Thank You Steve,

At this point I enjoy doing it because it is forcing me to work on some new balloons and to get a little more detailed in my work.

I work restaurants and feel that I have a good compromise between the the guy who just makes basic balloons because they are quick and the guy who spends hours lovingly crafting something for a contest. I make fairly quick balloons that get great reactions and are beyond what people expect. For me that is the best approach in the restaurants but it is fun to see what I can do if I spend an evening on something.

I made five Maters tonight just to try to perfect it and my last one is a big improvement over the design that I was thrilled with a few days ago.
Magic Mike

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Juliegel
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I agree with Steve pretty much. I can normally judge how long something will take and then I charge them something under what would be my hourly rate. I like to keep this rate flexible so I can charge more for certain reasons. I have had people call with requests for the day of, large elaborate orders that they seem to think will cost them ten bucks, and sculptures that I simply feel bored with (you try making 50 teddy bear center pieces and see how mindless a factory you become). For these situations I charge more then I normally would due to lack of convenience. For example, if you call me 4 hours before a party with a request for a 4 foot tall number 3 for your kids party I am going to probably charge you double my hourly just because I got treated like a bit of a tool and was not shown the consideration. Some are shooed off by the price and that saves me some stress. Others will accept and I get proper compensation.

You mentioned making this a regular thing and that is a tricky subject. I am going to have to assume that you are a realtivly green twister. Let's say intermediate but you are charging $20 a delivery to this party planner. Over time you are going to get better and better but it will be gradual but it will be hard to raise your prices. One day you will see yourself giving what most will consider a $40 creation for the same ol 20 bucks. Also you said this was a party planner? Are you being subcontracted? What is this party planner charging her clients for your work?
Over all I would wait to do things like this or begin to give more diverse estimates based on what was actually made. She is a party planner and she knows what your stuff is worth.

And also like Steve I work for friends for fractions and often at just the cost of materials (but this is more if it is a single thing and they let me do whatever I want). If they want a army of tank cenerpeices I may cut them a little less of a break.

It's all about a case by case basis.


Dylan
MeetMagicMike
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Thanks Juliegel,

I'm hardly green but as I said I've always made things that I could make right in front of the person and hand to them. I'm just now getting into the idea of sitting down at home where I can do more detailed work.
Magic Mike

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preston eakins
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Hmm I don't' so it often but I do get phone calls for it one time a gal wanted a bunch of the one balloon stuff I charged her a buck a balloon but then someone called me for some harder stuff so I charged a buck a minute I figure don't have to dress up I can do it in my living room and I don't have to be entertaining so you know I am getting paid to practice

now I have sold some harder designs that only took 5 balloons but charged 10 bucks a piece cause they are that much better then the small stuff I sold a fruit basket for 30 and today I sold spike from don caldwells untitled collection for 30

I have no idea if I am over or undercharging but if this gives you an idea or to it all comes down to what is your time worth and what you can get and I think this is a subject taht comes up not only for ballons but everything we do to entertain the question is always how much do you charge seems to be the tough one here lol
MeetMagicMike
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Yep Preston eakins,

I think people can sell whatever they want for whatever price works for them. The only thing is it takes a while to "feel out" the market. I'm just curious about what others have already learned about selling custom balloons.
Magic Mike

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MeetMagicMike
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Here is my version of Mater.

Body - Two Brown 260s
Wheels - One Black 260. I found a quick and easy way to make four wheels from one balloon
Gantry - One Gray 260. Really should be brown but I wanted another color so you can see it better.

Click here to view attached image.
Magic Mike

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