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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » You arrive at the party, and the client tells you to get lost. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MagicSanta
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Northern Nevada
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I'd say due prior to performance at the event but hey, life is short, don't stress it.
TommyJ
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Foxboro, MA
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Hey we're all individuals. We all like to do things different. But I would never state that I need payment at the door before the show. That's just me. I tell birthday party clients that a check or cash after the show, and that they are happy with what I've dome is fine. I've never been denied payment after all these years.
Once in awhile a person will call and cancel last minute, usually stating the child is sick. Hey, if their child was really sick, I'm not going to keep the deposit on them anyway. I like to be trusting and yes, once in awhile I get beat with a last minute cancellation but like you say Magic Santa, life is short, don't stress it. I'm doing 350-400 shows each year, if I loose one . . or perhaps two, it's not going to break me.
"Keep the Kids Laughing!"
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Acecardician
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New Orleans
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Just got 2 checks in the mail for payments in full for 2 parties, I bet those clients will not tell me to get lost...lol.

I sort of have a strange situation this Saturday...
I got 1/2 the fee for the deposit. But they no longer have their phone connected. And I have not heard back. I know approx. where the party is, a park in a neighborhood.

I will make the effort and show up, if it is not ON, then I will keep the deposit, as I turned down another show.

I am going to bring a printed invoice with me for the balance, and if the party is ON, then I will hand it to them to get paid on the spot.

I'm not stressing any of it, Like TommyJ, I do hundreds of parties a year, this one will not break me. I can go home early and get set for my performance that night at a Wedding. Theme is VooDoo Love.

It is just I have to drive a little out of the way, maybe 30 minutes, but I figure the deposit which was substantial will pay for my time, if they do not do the party.

ACE
Potty the Pirate
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ACE - I usually find that when I have a situation like the one you describe, that the party does go ahead, and there are no problems.
I tried taking deposits for a while, but in the end, decided that it was a lot of extra work, and made no difference at all in the event that someone cancelled. If you have a deposit, your clients will almost certainly claim little Johnny is ill, or whatever - so what will you do? I would refund the deposit - more work, posting a cheque out, etc.
TommyJ
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I'm with you Ace and Potty.
"Keep the Kids Laughing!"
https://www.tommyjamesmagic.com/store
Acecardician
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I have yet to refund a deposit. When they send the deposit, they usually never cancel. I take them thru paypal. I do have one deposit I am holding for when that Hurricane Gustov messed everything up. I offered to reschedule or refund, but I have not heard back. I will honor it if they ever call.

Now I have had the ones to never send the deposit, if I get no other calls for the same time, I wait and call them close to the show, and almost 100% of the time they say, Oh I am canceling. (I think gee...thanks for telling ME).
These are the ones that will cancel the day before anyway, so the deposit sorts them out.

During the year after Katrina, I was not taking deposits. I told the lady I will call the day before to confirm. We both knew without saying, "in case of a hurricane".
One thing she said touched me and I will never forget. She said "why call?, the baby is still turning 6 no matter what happens!"

And because of this thinking, business has been good.

ACE
Acecardician
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I arrived at the party I just mentioned, and they greeted me with open arms, and had the money out before I could get the invoice out, they met me at my car and paid me before I unloaded! Everything went great! Her phone worked, it was the cell phone company she has, I just counld not get my calls through.

So get 1/2 down deposit, and the chances of cancelled shows will be almost zero.

ACE Smile
Red Shadow
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I don't bother with any deposit, and the chances of a cancelled show is still almost zero.
Almost is the keyword here, but its like any business. There will always be the odd cancellation, but I don't think a few bad clients should affect your entire business plan and make things harder for all your other clients (or yourself).

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank-you for everyone who has shared their story. Especially those that reflected the original question. Its been interesting reading the various different scenarios.

I will say why this post came about... My book was reviewed by a popular magician. It will be posted here soon, but one of the things in that review was my response to this question. I admit that my response in the book was wrong and will be altered if it ever goes to print. He mentioned a few other things, which will be addressed at some point, but this was the main topic that I have to admit I gave the wrong answer to. But hey, you answer over 500 questions and occasionally one answer gets by which shouldn't. Its good to hear what the magic community has to say on the subject and hopefully now the book can be polished to give the perfect answer.

Steve
Acecardician
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New Orleans
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In my market every party event planner takes a deposit at the least. Most take full payment in advance. So we have our customers trained. Customers here expect to pay a deposit. They almost always ask the question before I bring it up, what is the deposit? They feel better sending it, knowing I made a commitment. The train rides, pony rides, and the jumping things take deposits. And I make it easy, they send it to paypal, and I buy more magic here! Every agency in town that sends out magicians or other entertainers takes a deposit. I've lost shows by not taking a deposit, because they called someone else who took their deposit so they went with them.
Now there are always exceptions to the rule. Common sense comes into play here.
Repeat customers usually don't have to pay a deposit. None of my Summer Camps pay deposits, but I've been doing them for over 10 years. The key is to work with people and fill their needs.

So for the original question, I've only had that one drunk guy tell me to get lost. and what did I do? Turned around and left! I still laugh about it.

ACE
montymagi
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Slidell La
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In fifteen years of entertaining I don't think I have ever thought to myself, man I wish I had made them sign a contract". The only exception would be if I was contracted to do a series of shows. I once did a library show for 10 Louisiana libraries in 10 weeks. I did draw up a contract for that one. Beyond that I have thought of doing contracts with the restaurants where I work, but can't seem to bring myself to do it. I guess I want to hold on to the concept that a handshake should do it.
profgizmo
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I got burned a couple weeks ago. College student girl hired me to do balloons, all through emails. When I arrived she said she had emailed me twice to tell me that she did not need me. I had a bad feeling about the gig anyway, taught me to call the day before to confirm.
John C
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If it only happened once (the first time he got paid!) I would forget about it. How many gigs have you done in a lifetime ... and had this happen ONCE. Not very likely it would happen again. Probably just a mean drunk or anti-social and you can't do anything about either one.

J
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zimsalabim
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As this has never happened to me (KNock on wood) I have no idea how I would respond but I do call 2 days prior as well as when I leave for the gig. Maybe that does it at least in my case.

z
Joe Zimmer

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BIGmagiclV
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Just out of curiosity, what would you tell the police if you called them? what do you think the outcome would be? Could they legally do anything?
Stevethomas
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I had a guy call about a birthday party long ago. Very prominent guy in his small town. Set it up and he told me he'd call me later with the location. It was about 3 weeks before the show. I tried to call several times, both at his office (law office) and his home. People kept telling me he'd call back, but he didn't. I sold that date and time to another family. While travelling back from that show, wife calls me from home and the guy has called my house wanting (VERY POed) to know why I wasn't there for the show. I called him and told him the situation, and he said I should've known where the show was...

Yeah, right.

Steve
TonyB2009
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If you tried to get a contract in Ireland you would starve. Its not how we do business. In fifteen years of performing it has happened about twice that I have been stopped before a performance. Once was a woman who had hired two magicians for a wedding. The last time it was a college gig, and they cancelled an hour before the gig - after I had given up other work, and hired baby sitters.
I told them that they would still have to pay me, but they laughed at me and told me we had no contract.
They stopped laughing when the court ordered them to pay my fee in full.
Sueing is not about the money. It is about being treated with respect.
As a bouncy castle operator I have occasionally got prank calls directing me to deliver to places. All prank calls get reported to the police, and I harass the police to make sure they are followed up (they won't be unless you become a pain in the arse). Tony.
Police Magician
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I look at a deposit or a signature like I do a jail bond or signing a citation for a traffic offense. Both are the same. It is your agreement to make a court date when summoned. Failure to do so results in your bond being forfited, a warrant for your arrest and possible revocation of your license.

Getting a deposit is a bond that says they are interested in your services. By canceling the event, they forfit their deposit, just like a bond is forfited if they are a no show. Signing a contract is a written declaration detailing the event and who is responsible for payment as well as who is responsible for the service. Failure on eithers part can result in civil litigation.

For many in my area, who have done business with me over the years, there is no deposit or contract. It use to be in the South that your word was your bond. In some cases this is true, in others, it is not.

Oh, and for those who refuse to sign a citation, which is not an admission of guilt, only stating you will show up for court, they can post a cash bond at jail instead. No deposit, no show for some.

Glenn
magicmanfrank
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1). SIGNED CONTRACT

2). DEPOSIT

ANY QUESTIONS???
The Early Bird may get the Worm, but it's the SECOND Mouse that gets the CHEESE!!!



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JimbosMagic
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I alway send out a confirmation letter for them to sign and send back with their deposit.
In my area as mentionaed before the booker asks the question how much is the deposit?

Sending out a confirmation and also taking a deposit makes you look more professional to bookers and also gives them piece of mind that they have booked you and you will not let them down.
JIMMY CARLO. KIDabra International Family Entertainer of the Year 2009.
IBM Triple Award Winner. Uk Champion of Comedy Magic.
Represented the UK in the United Slapstick Awards on German TV.
European Children's Entertainer of the year 2007/8
TonyB2009
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Quote:
On 2009-10-21 23:05, magicmanfrank wrote:
1). SIGNED CONTRACT

2). DEPOSIT

ANY QUESTIONS???

You're not listening, Frank. You try that in some markets and you will get no gigs.
Your solution will work in some markets. Nailing their testicles to the gatepost will work in other markets. What the original poster was looking for was a bit more thoughful a response. Tony.
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