Archive for Business

2014 COAI Elections – Declaration of candidacy

Are you a current member of Clowns of America, International? If you think you have what it takes to lead the group and help get it back on track financially, maybe you should run for office. COAI sent the following information about the upcoming elections.

2014 COAI Elections – Declaration of candidacy

To hold an office in COAI, all candidates (at the time of their declaration):

  • You must have been a member in good standing for the last 24 consecutive months
  • You must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age (Regular, Senior or Life Member only)
  • Only one member of your household may serve on the Board at the same time.

A candidate is not eligible to be elected to a COAI office if he or she is a voting officer of any National or International Clown oriented organization. This does not apply to regional or local clown organizations such as your local alley.

If you desire to place your name on the ballot for election and you meet all the criteria, you must:

  • Submit a written declaration of your candidacy of not more than 250 words.
  • Submit a non-clown photo at the highest resolution (megapixels) possible or one not larger than 5×7.
  • Please include full name, address, phone and email address. All positions are open for declarations( except the office of President which must be submitted by someone within the present COAI Board).

Submissions must be mailed and postmarked by January 15, 2014 to the 2014 COAI Election Coordinators listed below. We suggest you send everything in early and not wait for the deadline. International candidates should check to see how long it will take for their mailing to arrive in the States. Late mailings will not be accepted. All declarations sent to any other address will be disqualified.

Send your written declaration and photo to the 2014 Election Coordinators at the following address:
Cheerful Clown Alley 166
C/o Mary “Charmin” Whipple
P.O. Box 2192

Houston,TX 77252-2192

COAI is Raising the Dues

On July 1, 2013 membership dues to Clowns of America International (COAI) will increase by $5.00 to $45.00/year. You can save that $5.00 by renewing prior to July 1, 2013. You can securely renew your membership on the COAI Website:

  1. Sign In
  2. Click on Membership Info located on the right side.
  3. Click on Securely renew your membership now.
  4. Then just work through the screens. After clicking on your membership type, the screen will refresh and you’ll get the additional family members block. Put in the number of family members you have. If you have no additional family members you need to put 0 in the box.
  5. Then select either Bill Me or pay with your credit card. If you select Bill Me then we will send you an invoice through email. Simply print out the the invoice and send it in with your check.

World Clown Association – Membership and Insurance

Just a friendly reminder…. If you get your entertainer insurance from the World Clown Association, it is time to renew your membership. Membership and Insurance Renewals are due on May 1st. Be sure to send in your renewal for so as to not miss out.

Registration forms are available to download at:

Remember, you have options for entertainer’s insurance besides getting it from the World Clown Association. Evaluate your current needs and the plans, then select the one that will serve you best. If I am not mistaken, the policy offered by WCA does not cover employees or animals used in a show other than dogs, doves, and rabbits.

What to Charge

I have seen various discussions on how much an entertainer should charge to do an event. It seems that very few people understand the economics of running a business and therefore are unable to really say how much it should cost. Most just seem to think that there are too many people who are NOT charging enough.

Some of the explanations that people offer related to price include:

  • A lot more time and effort goes into a successful event beyond the the time the customer is paying for the entertainer to be at the event.
  • A professional clown costume is expensive and needs to be paid for by working events.
  • Each event requires the use of inventory including things like makeup, balloons, face paints, and stickers
  • Entertainers are giving up their weekends and holidays to do events for their customers
  • Developing and maintaining skills requires membership in clown organizations and attending conventions
  • There are business expenses including insurance, websites, business cards, and advertising
  • Entertainers do not have a guaranteed fixed income
  • There is a limited number of hours per week available for doing parties.

I have always taken a different approach to determine how much I should charge to do an event. I look at my annual income goal and expenses. Let’s pretend that someone currently has a fulltime job and they are making $40,000/year. They would like to quit their day job and become a full time entertainer. They estimate that their annual expenses of balloons, face paintes, makeup, training, insurance and other items will be $10,000.

Salary: $40,000
Expenses: $10,000
Total: $50,000

With working 50 weeks per year, they need to make $1000 per week to reach their goal of $50,000/year.

Currently, they are doing a few parties on the weekend and a restaurant one night each week. Being available during the week will open up some time for additional events. They estimate that in a typical week, they could be paid for 10-12 hours at parties. Taking the more conservative number and setting the goal of being paid for 10 hours/week, they would need to charge $100/hour in order to make $1000/week.

10 hours at $100/hour = $1000/week
$1000/week x 50 weeks/year = $50,000/year.

You might be thinking that a fulltime employee typically works 40 hours per week, why is the person in the example only working 10 hours per week. The truth is they are NOT just working 10 hours per week. They are only being paid for 10 hour. The rest of the time is spent packing supplies, talking with potential customers, paying bills, learning new skills, and other tasks related to running a business. I usually estimate that it takes an hour to prepare for an event, an hour to drive to the event and an hour to drive home. That is a minimum of three unpaid hours associated with each event. While they might be able to work more hours, there is NOT guarantee they have pay customers on the days/times they are available.

Another common questions is about doing free or discounted events or even just working for tips. Every time an entertainer goes out the door costs some money. In the example above, $20 of each hour goes to the overhead expenses of running a business. If someone offers $50 to do a 2 hour charity event, your expenses are $40. That means that you are being paid just $10 for your time. Considering you also have prep and travel time in addition to your time at the event you are making well below minimum wage. While many charity events rely on the support of volunteers, most of their volunteers have a direct tie to the group. As entertainers, we do NOT have the same ties to all of the possible charity groups.

If you are trying to figure out how much you should charge, look at your expenses and income needs. Don’t assume the numbers I present will work for your particular situation.

Entertainers Liability Insurance

Two years ago, when I was finally ready to go from doing volunteer events to paid events, I knew I wanted to have liability insurance. It seemed like most of my friends had their insurance through the World Clown Association. They offer insurance as an additional option when paying the annual membership dues. It seemed like the easiest option.

World Clown Membership and Insurance

If you get your insurance through the World Clown Association, their
policy year ends on April 30th, 2012. It is time to renew your membership
and pay for another year of insurance.

New Members – $40
Membership Renewal – $35
Liability Insurance – $139

They do offer Additional Insurance for a client who requests being added
to your policy.

From their website:

Coverage: This is a Comprehensive General Liability Policy provided by an A-rated insurance company with coverage of $1,000,000 per occurrence/$2,000,000 aggregate per event.

Deductible: None The price remains the same regardless of number of months covered (The fee is NOT prorated) and includes Premium, Brokerage fee and Association handling fee.

Policy Exclusions: This program is designed for Clowns and Magicians.

The following types of performances are NOT ACCEPTABLE.

  1. Hypnosis
  2. Hot Air Balloon Events, Circuses (production), overnight camping Tractor pulls, Rodeo and roping events, motorized events, Mechanical amusement devices, inflatables, rock climb,Bounce Houses, laser tag, sky diving, competition racing.
  3. Pyrotechnics, Explosives, Fireworks or similar materials except “concussion effects, “flashpots”, and “smokepots” (Flashboxes covered up to $5,000)
  4. Production Management or Promotions Management for hire
  5. Animals except performing dogs, doves and rabbits
  6. Musicians and Disc Jockeys, except clowns/magicians who engage in these activities as part of their act
  7. Copyright infringement exclusion (i.e. Barney, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny)
  8. Throwing objects (juggling is acceptable)

Be sure to evaluate your insurance needs and pick the coverage that is
right for you. If you hire employees or have special requirements, you may want to get a different policy. Other companies that offer insurance include:

Specialty Insurance Agency

K&K Insurance Group

Cossio Insurance Agency