Professional Santas Doing FREEBIES / CHARITY EVENTS
Those of you who are on Facebook with us, know, and may even have participated in the discussions and commentaries about the lady, who called our offices, late one evening, requesting 26 Santas in full dress reds… for FREE! (FREE?)… Yes! F R E E… She wasn’t with a non-profit or a children’s organization, she ran a business and needed Santas for a Christmas In July event. She was asking for an outrageous number of Santas, (and for 30 only minutes). Dry cleaning of 26 suits at $20 each… $520….
Stunned & shocked, I needed FB therapy, AFTER she came unglued, called me names & rudely hung up on me. It was too late to call anyone with my “situation”. Santa is always around on Facebook! (Therapy went well. We had some great comments! Needless to say, she is now OFF Santa’s List!) But that’s not the point. So let’s talk about FREEBIES…
American Events has been training and booking out Professional Santas for events for 29 years… We’ve heard it all - from paintball Santa to roller coaster Santa, cookie/baking contest judge Santa, magazine cover Santa, sleigh ride Santa and even “stripper” Santa (which we do NOT ever provide!) But 26 Santas? Mid-July? For only 30 minutes? For FREE? For a business event? We love giving back! We love doing Santa Claus visit FREEBIES! We plan ahead for holiday FREEBIE events for many folks (on the “NICE LIST.”)
Let’s talk about Santa Claus doing “FREE” events…
There are many times when Santa Claus, doing a “freebie” for a charity or non-profit event… is a GOOD thing! I highly recommend doing some FREEBIE GIGS for Santas!
- Doing FREEBIE events is great for NEW Santas
- Do as many as you can!
- To get some experience… hone their performances without the stress
- To make some contacts to build a new Santa Claus business
- To pass out some business cards for this or next year’s events
- To figure out what kinds of events you, a new Santa Claus, like to do best.
- Doing FREEBIE events is great for VETERAN Santas!
- Do 1-2 a year
- It puts you into different circles to make new contacts
- Allows you to try new aspects of your performances, BEFORE you add them into events, with paying clients
- It is fun and good for the soul & keeps Santa humble
- It is always nice to give back!
Doing FREEBIES should not, ideally, interfere with your “prime” income days and hours. Nothing like performing free at a charity event on Saturday morning, knowing you elected to pass up a really high paying gig, to be there.
- The Boy/Girl Scouts can surely reschedule their meeting for a Monday night instead of Saturday to have a FREE Santa Claus.
- That photo fund raiser can move to a Sunday afternoon “hole” in your schedule.
- The children’s ward, at the local hospital, can have their gathering on a Tuesday morning.
- All Day Cares have flexible schedules… aside from their “snack” or “lunchtime” routines.
Santa Claus usually only works 4-5 weeks of the year, so maximizing your income is critical.
(Does the plumber, the one with the big heart, come out last minute on a Saturday night, just because your water heater broke? Maybe he does, but on your bill, there’s a line that says, “Emergency Service Fee”… the big “ouch!”)
Last time any doctor made a “house call,” was back in the 1950’s! Emergency room visits now run into the thousands! Ugh!
And NO! It is NOT, absolutely NOT about “the money!”
The children, the spirit of the holiday, the tradition, the love should ALL come first… the money will follow. Santa Claus, as an “industry” has truly grown and evolved over the past 25 years. It is serious business now! Realistically, most Santas are retired / semi-retired and “play Santa” for a little (or a lot of) extra income. All of the guys who attend our school have huge hearts, but they also want to be reimbursed on some level for their efforts, talents, time and newly learned career.
There are business expenses, even in this seasonal career-
Your suit & accessories, travel, insurance, even the cost of printing your business cards… Do not undercut yourself, others in the Santa industry or cheapen the experience. We KNOW you have a good heart! Let’s all keep working to spiral the Santa industry as a respected, necessary & valuable profession!
Price yourself according to your skill, education level, experience and what you will provide as performance for the client. (Parades are the highest profile, most fun, easiest work… but the pay is usually minimal for local parades… Oh well! They are a hoot!)
- Select a few worthy non-profits; charities, organizations, church or school - dear to your heart
- Schedule a Santa Claus event with them, EARLY in the year, (March or April)
- For an “off-peak” time / day that works best, around your schedule.
Naughty to Nice List-ers: Last-minute charities or non-profits that call Thursday evening for a Saturday morning event… (your Saturdays are all booked up!) Pass along / “network” this referral to a NEW Santa Claus in your area, so he can get the experience. Hopefully, he may be available. If not, they will end up renting a Santa costume, throw an uncle into it and somebody will quickly recognize the real value of a Santa. They WILL plan ahead for next year. Put them on your “Nice List” to call them early or encourage the new Santa to pick this up as one of his lesser paying “gigs” for next season.
By all means…. Do some FREEBIES!
Enjoy doing them!
Plan ahead to be able to give generously, from the heart.
Treat your business seriously, as much fun as it is, and your clients will then respect and appreciate your business, too!
Master Santa Claus Trainer since 1983!