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How Much Should You Charge for Face Painting?

According to industry reports, the average cost for face painting is around $160 – $200. Face painting is requested for birthday parties, festivals, community events, corporate events, and more. Professional face painters typically make around $160-$200 for two hours of work.

However, if you are just starting out, you may need to start with lower rates to get more experience, and then gradually increase your prices to meet your needs. Be ready to back up your rates with high-quality photos of your past work.

Face painting is the perfect entertainment for children’s parties. Professional face painting is interactive fun that keeps kids entertained and also acts as a party favor for the guests. Face painting is also a popular draw for charity events. People also hire face painting services for a corporate event or business party where kids will be present; it keeps the kids entertained while the parents’ network.

Just like any other skill, face painting takes practice. First, check out online courses, instructional guides, and videos of professional face paint techniques. Next, gather all the necessary materials and try out your new skills on friends and family.

If you already have a natural artistic ability, you are well on your way to becoming a face painter! If you still need a bit of practice, that’s okay.

Keep at it until you are comfortable and pleased with your finished work. If you are serious about becoming a face painter, also remember to choose high-quality cosmetic face paint that is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and specifically made for the skin.

You should never use acrylic or tempura paints on your skin. Even if they are “non-toxic,” that does not mean that they are safe for face painting.

The best face paints are water-based or water-activated, and are much more similar to cosmetic makeup than “paint.” Starting a face painting business is an exciting thing; however, here are the factors that will dictate how much you charge for your face painting services.

Factors That Will Dictate How Much You Charge for Your Face Painting Services

  1. Hours

Note that a majority of face painting pros charge hourly rates. The hourly rate takes into account their business overhead (such as insurance and taxes), the cost of their materials (face paint, brushes, etc.), the time it takes to prep for parties (research and practice designs), any costumes they wear, the cost of transportation, and the cost for the actual time they spend painting faces at your party.

Just like with any service, the longer a client wants to book your services for, the higher the total cost will be — although some face painting pros offer discounts for longer events. For example, Spectator Party Art offers 15 percent off services for six or more hours.

Please also note that a face painter may require a minimum number of hours for their services. This minimum ensures that their operating costs are met when they accept a job, put on their costume or work clothes, pack up their paints, and travel to the location.

  1. Experience

If you are completely new, chances are you are not as quick as those who have been doing it for years. So, if it takes you say, 8 minutes to do a design, you are not going to get away with charging the same amount per hour as someone who can paint the same design in 4 minutes.

  1. Type of Event

A face painting booth is a wonderful addition to a festival, fundraiser, or community event. In a large gathering where the attendees vary, a face painter may be charged a setup fee. Once the face painter is on-site, guests pay an individual fee to have their face painted and this fee tends to inculcate the setup fee paid to the organizers.

For instance, Face Painting by Josie charges a small setup cost to organizers of large fairs, then charges each customer $5-$10, depending on the type of face painting they request. Cheek painting costs less than full-face. Most face painters can paint approximately 15 faces per hour, depending on the age of the guests (kids under 5 usually take longer) and whether guests want full- or half-face design.

  1. Variable Rate

In the United States, some face painting artists charge a variable rate for their services. For instance, Face Painting by Josie charges on average $75-$125 per hour depending on the number of people, travel distance to the event, and the type of service provided.

  1. Set Rate

Some face painters also have set hourly rates regardless of the guest count or which type of face paint a client prefers. They may still charge additional fees for travel. Nonetheless, here are some average set rates pricing examples:

  • Creative Smilez: $70 per hour, within the service area
  • Giggle Loopsy: $95 per hour, with a two hour minimum
  • Spectator Party Art: Starts at $120 per hour
  1. Travel

Note that the time and expense required for travel to an event will often be reflected in the cost of services. Some face painters charge a higher price per hour or a separate travel fee, or they set a minimum number of hours required for attending an event. For example, Spectator Party Art has a minimum of 1.5 hours for any event over 60 miles away.

  1. Cheek Versus Full-Face

Depending on the designs, cheek art tends to need less time and less paint per guest than half-face or full-face art. When offering a price estimate, a good number of face painters will determine which service clients prefer for their event and quote a higher or lower hourly rate to fit those services.

Professional face painters use professional products that blend well and have gorgeous colours. Note that they cost more than the cheap face paints you may have bought in Halloween stores, and they also look much better. The intricacy and size of the designs clients want will affect the cost — designs that use more materials will generally cost more, and more elaborate designs mean fewer faces painted per hour.

  1. Location

This is very crucial because the area that you work in will factor into how much you can reasonably charge. So do a little research, find out how much is being charged by other face painters, and have a look at the quality and speed of their work. This at the very least should give you a ballpark to start from.

  1. Are You Supplying The Face Paints Or Are They?

Please also note that you might get an event where everything is provided for you. Although not very likely but it is still possible and if so you can give a discount. Remember a professional face paints kit- including face paints, brushes, glitter, etc can cost anywhere from $150-$300, so your materials really need to be factored into the equation.

But don’t think you have to go out and buy a professional kit for your first gig, start with a smaller kit, make some money and then invest in a professional kit when you can afford it.

Note that generally, the current going rate in the USA for a professional face painter is about $100 an hour for someone that can paint between 10-20 kids an hour (depending on how detailed the designs are). Some painters charge more, a few charge less.

There can be extra charges for travel, or discounts for booking more hours, etc. This is just a rough number so you can have an idea of what you can expect to earn. Also, keep in mind that face painters are booked mostly on weekends, so you can expect to have anywhere from 1 to 4 or 5 gigs over a weekend.