Following on from party plans and direct selling a couple of weeks ago, here is my next business idea for mums. Or dads, of course!
What is it?
Many parents want to give their children a memorable birthday party but can't face entertaining a crowd of excitable children themselves! But if you do love entertaining children, a children's party business could be right up your street. Here are some ideas…
- Being a clown
- Running party games
- Face painting
- Art and craft parties/ Cooking parties
- Music parties – you sing, play an instrument and maybe bring instruments for the children too.
- Soft play parties – you provide the equipment to the parents venue of choice such as their garden or a hired community centre.
- Pampering/ beauty parties
- Or the ultimate whole-party package where you provide food, plates, cups, party bags, entertainment and clear up afterwards.
You can tailor your service to fit your previous experience, interests or to enhance a business you already run, for example a beauty therapist could run pampering parties or someone already running a pre-school class might branch out into art and craft parties.
- If you love working with children this could be seriously good fun.
- The work is likely to be at the weekend so if you have a partner who works Monday to Friday, you could share the childcare between you and not have to pay for a childminder or nursery.
- By putting your website and contact details on your party invitations and in party bags, you could cheaply and easily market your services to other children and parents.
- Start up costs are usually low compared to some businesses. You can try a few parties to see if you enjoy it and to test the market without investing too much time or money.
- You could branch out – a face painter or clown could be hired for weddings to keep children entertained during the speeches.
Things to consider
- You must be reliable
If you take a booking and then don't show up, you're ruining a child's birthday party. Obviously this is not only disappointing for the children, it's spectacularly bad for your business. For this reason you need to be sure that you're committed to running the parties you have booked – that you don't give up the business after a couple of months and cancel parties at short notice. Also, what will you do if you (or your own children) are ill? It could be worth making contact with other mums in the same line of work so you can cover for each other if the worst happens.
- Do you want to work weekends?
This is the flip side of not having to pay for childcare. Working weekends means that you will be missing time with your partner and your own children – how much does this bother you?
- Be careful not to undercharge
When researching how much other entertainers charge for their services, it's easy to conclude they are ripping people off. Maybe this is true for a handful of people, but if you take into account travel costs, good quality equipment, party bags, any future training you might want to do, food (if you're providing it), set up and clearing-away time and insurance (vital!) the fee doesn't sound so steep. It's easy to start off by saying "I'll charge £2 per child because that's reasonable" only to find that this doesn't even cover your costs, let alone pay you a wage. Look carefully at how you charge. If you charge per child and only three show up, you'll be out of pocket. If you charge per hour or per party then the onus is on the parent to get enough children to make it worthwhile. Or you charge a flat fee for the first (say) ten children then a price per child above that number. If you're doing a job you love and that's based around having fun, it's easy to short-change yourself because it seems mean to ask for much money. Remember you have a talent, you're providing a service that people want and you're entitled to be paid what you're worth. Finally, remember that parents are trusting you with their children – if you're too cheap, that might suggest that you're not properly qualified, experienced or reliable.
- Don't forget to get adequate insurance
Whether you're painting faces or encouraging children to run around like wild things, the potential for mishaps is high! Make sure you're well insured.
- Netmums.com have a thread on their forum for children's party entertainers and organisers.
- Be My Bear have entertainers who will run bear-making parties – could you become a party entertainer for them or use this as inspiration for your own party theme?
- UK Entertainers will give you some ideas of what other entertainers are doing, and sometimes what they charge.
- Don't forget the decorations and party bags – check out Party Sprite.
- Splat Cooking run children's cooking parties – take a look at their website for inspiration. You can buy a franchise from them, but you could set up your own business from scratch at a much lower cost.
Not convinced that running children's parties is for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.