It is time to get organized!
Helpful hints on how to track your bookings, marketing and money flow.

From an e-mail sent by Gary Cole to the list February 2005

A FAQ on how to keep oneself organized is one that is very much needed. So many are disorganized. I'm now going to share you my method of keeping our face painting life organized. This has worked quite well for our face painting business for over ten years. During this time we have modified it to meet our growing needs. You can create this sheet using your own software of choice. Since it is simply a bunch of lines on a page with text, you can generally create it easily with your word processor, spreadsheet application or any graphics software. In the format I have it in, it gives us plenty of space to make all of the necessary hand written notes. As you copy our idea to modify it to your liking I how it helps bring you further success.

In the USA the standard paper size is 8.5 by 11 inches. You can fit two of these perfectly on one of these sheets and it still allows proper space for the three hole punch. What I do is go down to my local office supply store like Staples or Office Depot. I buy about 5 bundles of paper (500 sheets per bundle). I then ask them to cut the paper in half (8.5 x 5.5 inches) and put a three hole punch on the longer size. That do this very inexpensively and it beats having to cut these in half and punching the holes by hand. This process allows it fit easily in a stock size binder that has room to fit a stack of 3 inches of paper. That is a lot of bookings. I then buy off the shelf the thumb dividers with tabs and write on those the months of the year and other sections like miscellaneous or whatever I like and add them to the binder.

I then take these cut and hole punched sheets home and do the printing on my home computer and printer. I've kept track of bookings many ways and over the last ten years I have settled (so far) with this format. (find the sheet at )

Now the details of the sheet starting from the top of the sheet going from left to right. Some of the items on the sheet are also focused on us getting all the critical facts and resolving problems at the time of booking and not when we show up to the event.

In the upper left you have each day of the week listed and in an effort to save time we can just circle the day name rather than having to write it out. We do not have Sunday listed because we do not accept events on Sunday. We also write in the date. Next on the right we have a slot to put when the event is suppose to start and when it is suppose to end. Next on the right we specifically ask how many children will be at the event. The reason we ask this is to avoid an issue on the day of the event. If they booked the painter for only one hour but then say there are thirty children, we know we have an issue. We advertise the fact we can paint between twelve and fifteen faces per hour. At this point we would tell them that we would need to stay for two hours if all thirty
children are to be painted. It is always better to address it now rather than on the day of the event. If we book the painter for several events back to back (with a little driving time) then the painter would not be able to stay over an extra hour. It is always better to resolve such issues up front. We know how many faces painted, balloon animals made or temporary tattoos can be done per hour.

The next line is for us to define the type of event it is. We circle the appropriate type of event. It helps us define critical factors for our workers. These stand for birthday party, corporate event, block party, fundraising event or pay by-the-face. I think this is self explanatory.

The next line allow us to write numerically how many workers they want and what they are to do. We add the number of face painters needed, number of ballooners needed or those special extras like doing both face painting and ballooning (the same worker), temporary tattoos, spin art or other events which can be hand written in. 98% of our work is face painting or ballooning.

The next seven lines are the details for the person booking the event and whom it is for. We do lots of corporate events and we generally need all of this information.

Customer is the person that is actually hiring us. Contact is either or both the person that did the booking and who we will be meeting on the day of the event. Often this is more than one person. Office is for their office phone. Home for the home phone. Mobile is a must just in case on the day of the event there are problems (like you getting lost or having a flat tire). Beeper is in case they have a pager. We always get a fax because we generally are faxing them an invoice prior to the event with all of the details on this sheet. You sending the fax is a legal document that would resolves issues later.

The event address is specifically where the event is being held. Be as specific as you possibly can. We add all kinds of details here and often even draw a little map. One of the biggest reasons for people being late is not having proper addresses so we allow plenty of room to add extra details.

On the next line we allow a notation for the listing of major cross streets that are near the event. The next section to the right is for a
MAPSCO code. In Dallas / Fort Worth they have these large map books that allow you to easily get around. We live in an area where 6,000,000 people live within a 40 minute driving time radius. Each page has an unique page number and squared off cross section letter code. Most of our workers have these maps and it just helps them locate the place faster. We charge additional fees depending on how far we have to drive.  So if we fill in this section it makes sure we calculate properly any extra driving fees..

The next line is for us to circulate the agreed upon hourly fee. For our "standard service area" we charge $50 per hour for corporate work (minimum two hours) and $60 per hour for private parties. We then have additional fees that jump $10 per hour as we drive further and further outside this area. The other is if there are any specific details that were negotiated on the phone.

The next line is to note if there is a specific theme. Lots of our events have a particular them. It could be a super hero theme for a little boy's party, to a western theme at a corporate event (we are Texas after all). Typically if it is out of the norm we would send
specific workers to meet a particular theme. We work with quite a pool of workers and as you can figure each has his or her strengths or weaknesses. If we know it is a high volume of people we would send our fastest painter as we have painters that can easily average thirty or more full faces per hour. Other events require a lot of on-the-spot improvising and we would send our more artistic/creative painters. Other events have a lot of real young children and we send typical the younger "sparky personality" female painters. I'm sure you get the drift of why we note these extra details.


The next line is where we keep track of payment information. In most cases we have our worker(s) pick up a check and deliver it to us after the event. We generally do not pay the painter until we have been paid. On this line is where we track the fact we DID get paid, the amount and if we have paid the painter. We allow our workers to keep 100% of their tips but we make them report them. The reason we do this is a good painter should be regularly receiving tips. In our area tips and often good tips are the norm. If a painter is not getting tips then we work with the painter to find out why. This can be everything from their quality or speed sliding (in other words they need to put more effort into it or we need to do some more training). Sometimes this is as a result of their personal skills. This could be everything from showing up five minutes late to messy work skills to more often than not, they
did not smile and be outgoing at the event. We work with the worker to ensure they get fairly consistent tips. After all, a well paid employee is a happy employee. Most workers need a little motivation from time to time. We deal with a lot of college age workers and some of them need help in understanding the psychology involved in getting larger tips. Once they learn this they get better tips and perform better for your company.

The next line is how we keep track of how we got the booking. We advertise a number of ways spending hundreds of dollars each month. When we actually write down the firm booking always ask, "how did you find out about us"? Once answered we circle the appropriate source. This way if one of the areas is not working, we drop the funds and use them elsewhere. Obviously the opposite also holds true. This is a must if you have a budget for advertising. In this area you would put down areas where you get your leads. This can be anything from free public events you might do, to newspaper ads, to items in the phone book.

The next line is where we write down the names of the workers that were assigned to that particular event. We try to match worker's talents to the particular event.

The next section is an open area to add any other specifics not mentioned anywhere else, just a simple spot for miscellaneous comments.

The bottom line is another area to keep track of money. In other words how much did the company collect in funds, how much the company made, how much was paid to painters and what tips were collected. Our corporate customers require a faxed invoice. This area is where we put a date for when the actual invoice was sent out.

Well, this is how we do it. Take what we do and modify it to meet your particular needs. I hope this has been helpful.



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