How to choose your children’s entertainer.
As a parent you want your child’s birthday or other special occasion party to be fun and enjoyable for them and all of their guests. It could be that you want the children entertained at a christening, a wedding or even a bar mitzvah. However, planning and carrying out that children’s party can be incredibly problematic, especially for today’s busy parents. Not only do you have to plan the party, send out the invitations, see to the food and the decorations, but you have to come with the entertainment as well. So you make the decision to take some of the stress out of your next children’s party by hiring a professional children’s entertainer. How can you be sure that you’ve chosen the correct one?
Not all children’s entertainers are full time professionals. Some will have another job and do it part-time. However, what both professionals and part-timers have in common is that they all rely on their reputation to get them business. Decent acts will always garner a good reputation so it’s important that when looking for a children’s entertainer you do this:
- Ask friends and family if they have seen the act and what they think of them.
- Check out sites like Netmums and Mumsnet for testimonials.
- Check out the entertainers Facebook page. An act that has done his or her job well should have lots of people sharing their views. You could even ask them questions?
- Best of all, follow entertainers on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll find out about public events that they perform at, you can then go and see them and based on that decide if they are the right person for your party, event or celebration.
Another useful statement to ponder is, should I book an entertainer based on the fact that they are an award winner? I am very happy to have won the UK Children’s Entertainer of the Year award, but I would still prefer people to book me based on using any of the criteria above. There are some ‘awards’ which I’ve stayed away from that are not based on ability or competency but just on how many votes you can get. These ones ask people to vote, but don’t care whether they’ve seen the entertainer or not. Those awards could be won by entertainers that campaign by votes and have lots of friends and family willing to work hard to get them the ‘award’. They are usually vehicles more designed to help promote the organisation giving the award in the first place.
If you’ve not seen an act perform, you need to make a decision based on the hints above, but there are other ways that can help you decide.
- Check out their website. A professional act will have a professional website. Any children’s entertainer that cares about their product will care about their website.
- Do they have a promo video? You can get an idea of how an act performs and how personable they are by the videos they have available.
- Speak to them on the phone. Use your judgement. A 5 minute chat on the telephone can make a huge difference, so if in doubt ring them.
- If you leave them a voicemail, or send them an e-mail and they don’t respond in a reasonable time, you could question their professionalism. Try again, as occasionally e-mails and technology don’t always work perfectly do they, but judge by how they deal with your request for information? Be aware though, that a busy time for any entertainer is on the weekend, so if you send an e-mail on a Saturday morning, you may not get an answer until Monday morning.
Finally, use your ‘gut feeling’ when deciding on an entertainer. If you don’t think that the act isn’t right for you then move on. The children’s entertainer that you’ve decided not to use may be fantastic, but not necessarily right for your event.
What I would say, is don’t let the fee put you off. If the ideal entertainer is outside your budget then don’t dismiss him or her straight away. There may be discounted midweek rates available, different shorter packages available that cost less, or you could even examine the possibility of sharing the birthday with a classmate and halving the costs. Your child’s birthday experience won’t be halved and they will still have a great time.