Ending the Line on an Up Note!

One of the hardest parts about being a face painter is when I have to turn down excited customers that want to get painted. I have been called names, threatened by angry parents, and have had to ask police officers to escort me to my car.  All because I had to turn away a child after I finish my gig. When I first started face painting,  I would paint without watching the time. I was so concerned with pleasing all my customers that, if time escaped me I would stay later until I finished every person. I got busier and started getting back to back bookings so I had to start managing my time and ending the line better.

Line for face painting

When I book myself, it is in my contract that I can paint up to 20 kids per hour and if you do the math that translates to 3 minutes per child. I try to stick to this formula so I know how to pace myself. When I am painting at a birthday party I tell the birthday mom to book me 30 minutes after the party starts so that it gives the guests time to arrive and meet and greet. I try to explain nicely that I cannot stay longer if guests are late. Time is money.

My first attempt at ending my line was by asking the last person in line to tell anyone that came to get in line that the line was closed. Well that failed, because the last girl left and 20 more kids came running to the line. Then I started giving stickers to the kids in my line but they were giving their stickers away after I painted them if I forgot to take the sticker back. I bought an end of the line vest and while I loved it and it seemed to work. One kid walked home with it.

So my newest and most successful way to end the line is, I take a color hard to find like cranberry or metallic purple and I start at the back of the line and write numbers starting with the number 1 and make my way to the front.  This has been my life saver and has worked well for the past 2 years. Metallic purple is a hard color to copy and parents  don’t have a readily available metallic purple pen or marker to draw on their kids hands to sneak in my line. As I am moving my way down the number line I make sure to announce that only children with numbers on their hands have time to be painted.

When parents come and ask for a number I say I’m sorry the line is closed.  They tend to get upset and sometimes insist on making me feel bad, but I know that if they weren’t in line when I ended the line, then they haven’t been waiting too long and I have to close the line at some point. Getting tough and learning to say no was hard for me, but losing time and money is even tougher.

Happy Painting! -Silly Heather