If I weren’t a professional magician, I’m quite sure that I’d be overwhelmed by the process of trying to hire a children’s party entertainer. I wouldn’t know where to start looking, what questions to ask, and what I should expect to hear. The list below will help you ensure that you’re hiring a good entertainer and someone who will contribute to making your child’s event special and memorable.

1) Ask around: Chances are that your child’s classmates (or classmates’ siblings) have seen another entertainer at someone else’s birthday party. Ask other parents if they’ve seen other entertainers and if they have any recommendations. You can spend hours looking online for entertainers, but a first hand recommendation is the best place to start!

2) Don’t be afraid to drive the conversation: When you call an entertainer to inquire about their show, they will likely give you a lot of information about their show (what it entails, how long it is, stand-out tricks, etc). Don’t be shy about asking questions or voicing your concerns-this is, after all, your child’s party! Are you worried about space? About holding the attention of wiggly children? About timing the show will other party elements, like cake? A good entertainer has experience addressing these issues and would be happy to talk you through what has worked best in his/her experience. Also, don’t feel pressured to make an immediate decision! You should feel comfortable thanking the entertainer for the information and asking to call back later if you decide to book them (but be aware that some busy entertainers have calendars that fill up far in advance—so if you want them, don’t wait too long).

3) References: If, after speaking with the entertainer, you find yourself on the fence (you think you want to hire him but aren’t completely sure), it may be worthwhile to ask for a reference from a previous client. Many entertainers’ websites have pages of testimonials listed. Although they may look good, they may also be very old, paraphrased and/or fictitious. The testimonials on my website are accurate, but I encourage people to call recent past clients (who have consented to receiving these calls, of course) whose children are similar in age. I want kids and adults to love my show. If I’ve done a great job, then there shouldn’t be any reason why previous clients can’t recommend the show.

4) Contract: Always get a contract with the details of the agreement. When a client hires me, it’s my responsibility to make sure they know exactly what they will get when they book the show. The date, time, location, price and specifics of the show are always listed. Your entertainer should provide you with a copy of the contract prior to the day of the show. Even for very last minute shows, the entertainer can still take a picture of the contract with his/her cell phone and text it to you. Don’t agree to an entertainer if they aren’t able to provide you with a contract. Miscommunication about the price or location can easily be prevented with the information is in writing.

5) Pricing: Just as there is a big range in price for painters, tutors, and restaurants, the same is true for children’s entertainers. The more expensive magician isn’t necessarily the best, but there are a few factors to consider. A magician who charges considerably less than others is probably not too busy and is trying to get as many shows as possible. He may be okay, but he probably isn’t very well-known (if you’re considering hiring someone who isn’t well known, this would be a good time to ask for references, as mentioned above). A magician who charges considerably more than others is probably very busy and is able to charge a lot because his time is much more limited. The higher priced magician might also offer more than the other magicians. Some magicians bring just a suitcase, while others bring a suitcase and a bird. I bring a suitcase, bunny, and gift bags. That being said, the higher the price doesn’t always correlate to level of entertainment. Price alone shouldn’t be the primary factor in your deciding process.

Hopefully, these 5 steps will help you find the perfect entertainer for you child’s party. A birthday only happens once a year, so whomever you hire should make it very special and memorable for your child! Visit Magical Dave’s website to get ideas on how to make your child’s birthday party fun, memorable and extra special. There’s also a great online magic trick for your child to try!

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Ready to add some live magic to your event? Contact Magical Dave now to secure your date and create unforgettable memories for your child’s special day!