There are a lot of entertainers in the Bay area: clowns, magicians, face painters, balloon artists, fairies, superheroes, princesses.... the list goes on as to who you could hire for your child's next party or for your companies next event. How do you know if the company is reputable? Will they even show up at your event? Where do you even find someone to hire?
If you are looking for an entertainer here is a list of things you should be looking for and my thoughts on what makes a good entertainer. (Of course, I might be a little bit biased :D )
Things to ask the company or entertainer you are looking to hire:
1. Who is going to be the performer? Is the person you are talking to on the phone or is it a college student who just got out of bed or is it a trained professional or are they unsure since they contract out to other companies or individuals?
In the ideal situation, you want your entertainer to be a professional who is either the person you are talking to on the phone or someone the owner has personally trained themselves and I would be leery of the others.
2. How experienced is the performer?
If the person on the phone can't give you a definite answer call the next company. Experience can be vouched for by a phone call or, better yet, by simply looking at their website or Facebook page. Are their photos of ACTUAL parties, costumes and performers? Is the person in the photos going to be you performer? Do they have reviews? Has any of your friends or family hired that company or performer? ( A lot of my business comes from referrals and from parents who have seen me perform at parties!)
Also, think through whom you are hiring. A "real" looking character dressed head to toe in a Hello Kitty or SpongeBob outfit isn't so real in person. Kids see that the mouth does not move. And how are they going to do fun activities with kids when their hands can't even twist a balloon?
3. How much should hiring someone cost?
Higher price doesn't necessarily mean better quality and cheap doesn't necessarily mean you are getting a good deal--the biggest factor to keep in mind when hiring someone is not so much cost but quality. Individuals offering cheap hourly rates or big companies charging a lot doesn't necessarily equate to being worth it in the long run.
4. How do I find a performer?
Please don't just do a Google search and hire the first company you see with a cheesy website and no actual party photos!
Ask your friends and family whom they have hired in the past or ask if they have seen any quality performers at parties they have attended.
Look on yelp! Lots of businesses list on their site. (Their review system is not so great for small businesses though. A lack of reviews doesn't mean that the company is bad. I have several 5 star reviews from individuals who NEVER give reviews that were filtered and you can only read them if you now how to find them!)
You can read my reviews here: /reviews.html
And you can see me on Yelp here:
Look on Craigslist under Event Services.
Check out several company websites and Facebook pages.
Call the companies and ask questions.