5 Tips to Make Getting Paid for Gigs Headache-Free

Get paid for your gigs with no problem with these tips.

You’ve finished your show and now it’s time to be paid for your gig. You try to find the busy mum and you spot her frantic with guests. With some effort, you’re able to have a few seconds with her, but she tells you her husband forgot to withdraw the cash for your payment.

And so begins an almost weekly ritual for many children’s entertainers.

When it comes to getting paid for gigs in a timely manner, remember:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Try these five techniques to make your payment headaches dissolve away.

1. Take the upper hand.

We love this idea.

It elevates you from a place where you’re uncomfortably asking for payment to a position of control. And all it costs you is five cents.

You will start using this tomorrow.

Get paid for gigs without problems by preparing an envelope with a receipt for the amount due. Give this to your client when you arrive at the event.

2. Use clear language in your quotes and contracts.

Winston Churchill once said, “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.”

Apply clarity and a ‘light touch’ to your contracts and you will likely solve payment problems before they arise and make getting paid for gigs easier. Remember, the clearer you are about your payment terms upfront, the better it will go for you and your client.

A contract is just a fancy name for an agreed-upon set of rules. It is not there to intimidate; it is there to illuminate. 

Brighten up your dealings further with a smile and you won’t need to resort to threats. Most slow payers are not trying to evade paying. They simply lead busy lives. Make it easy for them to pay you by being simple and direct.

And if you have terms and conditions that you want observed, make sure to put them all in writing and discuss them with your clients. For example, do you require payments to be made in cash, check, or bank deposit? What happens when clients cancel your booking or they reschedule the party? In case of delay in payment, will you charge a late fee? Being clear about these matters will prevent arguments or resentment later on.

If you need a place to get started, you can use this party quote and modify it to suit your needs.

(Click for a larger image.)

Sample Contract Kids Entertainers Can Use to Get Paid for Gigs Without Problems

Want a copy-paste version of the sample party quote above? Use this:

Copy and paste this quote

Hi Jane,

Good move. You are one step closer to giving your child the birthday party he/she will remember for a long time.
6-year-old parties are a lot of fun. This is a terrific age. The kids have a blast!
(Note: My show times are 1030 1230 230 430. You would need to start your party at least half an hour earlier than these show times to allow for the inevitable latecomers.)

I would highly recommend my SOOPER DOOPER show listed below. It will exceed your expectations many times over. 🙂These are my party prices (options and extras further down):



You get peace of mind that your party will be a success. If you aren’t happy, then I won’t accept your money and I’ll do it with a smile. 🙂

I WANT TO HOLD MY PARTY IN THE PARK: I am happy to perform in the park but you must have an indoors back up venue in case of rain on the day. I require full payment before I will book a party in the park. In the event of rain and no back-up venue has been arranged as agreed, this payment is non-refundable.

I’m a professional entertainer and don’t leave home without:

Police Check Number :  98533/5
Public Liability Insurance:   SGE Pty Ltd   Policy no: 61 0189061 LCP     $20,000,000.oo

Paying me is simple:

I will email you an invoice once the booking is confirmed.
If you want to pay on the day of the party, this is done BEFORE the show when I arrive. You can pay cash or cheque.

You can also pay online by credit card or bank transfer.

I book out solid almost every weekend so I can only advise you to not hold off if you’d like to secure your preferred time and date.

Once you make a booking, for your reassurance, I then send you a CONFIRMATION EMAIL that has everything clearly explained PLUS plenty of hints to make your party run smoothly. I will need your child’s name and the address of the party. The simplest way to book is to fill out this easy online form.

If there is any way I can help you, just call me at 222 999888 and I’d be happy to talk you through things. 🙂

Regardless of whether I’m there, hope your party is a good one.


Zippy the Clown

3. Have terms and conditions and stick to them.

Use this copy so you can start sending out confirmation emails that lay out your rules right away.

Sending booking confirmation e-mails will help you get paid on time for your gigs.

Below are copies of the above confirmation messages that you can swipe.

General Event Confirmation

Thank you again for your enquiry. I’m delighted to confirm your booking.

Please find attached my invoice (NB our payment terms and the name of the account to be paid: Mr Z. Clown). At the bottom of this email, you’ll also find our full booking Terms & Conditions.

The attached invoice also acts as confirmation of the details of the booking, i.e. what we are doing for you, dates/times, location, etc. I will arrive in good time prior to the event to set up and start on time. 

What To Do Next:

Please read the attached Invoice/Confirmation and our Terms and Conditions (outlined below) to check if everything is correct. By accepting the booking, you also agree to our Terms and Conditions. Please contact us immediately if you believe there are any errors or if you have an issue with our T&Cs.

I look forward to meeting you and entertaining everyone on the day.

If you have any queries, please get in touch.



Birthday Party Confirmation

Thank you again for your enquiry. I’m delighted to confirm your party booking. We will entertain your young guests with our 2-hour ‘Stress Buster Party Package’ full of fun, games and magic on …date… at …time… I’ll arrive at …venue… about 10 to 15 mins before the party to set up.

What To Do Next:

Within 48 hours of receipt of this email, please read our Terms and Conditions of the booking below and reply with your acceptance, understanding and agreement of them. Please include your home postal address when you reply. This is important to secure your booking.

I look forward to meeting you and entertaining …….. and all his/her/their friends.

If you have any queries, please get in touch.



You can also use the following terms and conditions and alter them to suit your needs.

Booking Terms & Conditions


The total fee (please see invoice attached) is due in full before or on the day of the event. (Please note the name of the account to be paid: Mr Z. Clown.)


Should you (the client) decide to cancel the entertainment with less than 28 days notice, then the full balance shall become payable. All other cancellations are accepted without charge.

A booking cancellation cannot, under any circumstances, be accepted on the answering machine, by text or via e-mail.

In the unlikely event that Zippo is unable to attend (e.g., due to ill health), we will make every effort to organise a suitable replacement.    

Unforeseen Circumstances

Events may be rearranged due to unforeseen circumstances (at the discretion of the entertainer). This must be secured within 3 months of the original booking on a mutually convenient date. This reschedule will incur no extra charge.

Weather Permitting

If your booking relies on the weather, a suitable alternative venue should be made available in case the event is unable to take place due to inclement weather or unfavourable conditions.

Child Supervision

Zippo is a children’s entertainer/magician and NOT a child carer or child minder. Therefore, you must make sure there is suitable adult supervision at all times whilst Zippo is entertaining. This is especially important for toddlers. ALL children under 4 years old MUST be supervised at ALL times by an adult (NOT an older sibling) for their safety and the safety of others.

Balloon Decorations

We will not entertain at a venue where balloons are scattered loosely on the floor. This might look pretty but it is highly disruptive. Any loose balloons must be removed out of the way during our attendance at your party or event.

Noise Makers

NEVER have noise makers/blowers, whistles, party poppers, etc. out in sight of the children as these fun items can quickly cause disruption. If you want these types of toys, keep them for the end of your party (e.g., in the party bags).

Other Activities/Noisy Environments

Please check with us before considering situating us near/next to any other entertainment/activities (i.e., bouncy castles, face painters, toys, balls, mascots, etc). These are usually okay in the appropriate situation but we will need to consider if we are happy to attend your party/event alongside such activities and discuss any possible issues/impact this might have on our entertainment. We can suggest what might be the best options to minimise any impacts.

Grown-Up Chatting

This is your child’s special day so it would be appreciated if parents/guardians would keep their talking to a minimum when the Magic Show begins as this can also disrupt the show. Don’t worry if you feel uncomfortable asking your friends to be quiet. We will ‘pick on them’ for you (all part of the fun).

Smoking & Pets

During our time at your event/party, smoking is not permitted within our area of work. All pets must be secured away from the performance/entertainment area for the duration of our attendance. 

Photographic/Video Recordings

You are welcome to take still photographs or audio/video recordings of the entertainment so long as they do not, in the opinion of the entertainer, affect the smooth running of the show. However if any of these images or recordings are to be used in the public domain (such as social media, etc.), you must include a link to our website or a notification of our contact details. This is due to certain copyright laws that are governed by Zippo.

Date, Time and Venue

The entertainment will take place on the day, at the time and place set in our written confirmation. If this is not to the client’s understanding, then the responsibility is with the client to contact Zippo.


As we will have equipment to carry in, we ask you to do your best to ensure that we can park as close to your venue as possible. If there is no ‘free’ parking at your venue, you must let us know. You will be responsible for any required parking fees.


These conditions and any entertainment that takes place under them shall take effect and be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of (insert your country).

4. Give your clients the option to pay you via credit card.

Making it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you for your gigs will go a long way into ensuring that you get your payment promptly and without any issue. And for many people, the easiest way to make payments is through credit cards. In fact, credit (and debit) cards have become so popular that you can expect card payments to be the norm sometime in the near future.

There are other advantages in accepting credit card payments. Unlike checks, credit card payments won’t ever bounce. That’s one less thing to worry about. You will also seem more established compared to your competitors who accept only cash and check.

Take note though that with credit card payments, you do pay fees on each transaction. If this worries you, consider raising your prices to cover this small loss.

To start accepting credit card payments, here’s a good news: you don’t need to set up a merchant account. Merchant accounts are expensive and oftentimes, it’s difficult to convince banks to approve you for one especially if you’re a one-man/woman home-based business. Good thing there’s a great alternative.


Paypal is a worldwide online payments system that you can use to start receiving credit card payments without hassle. It works and people know it and feel comfortable using it. The only concern you might have is its fees can sting sometimes.

If you’re not okay with those fees, you can try other online payment options similar to Paypal like Skrill.

Mobile Credit Card Processor

With an app and/or a small credit card reader that you can attach to your smartphone or tablet, you would be able to take credit card payments anytime, anywhere

Another good thing about having a mobile credit card processor is you won’t need a merchant account. You therefore don’t have to worry about any application process, credit checks, and setup and monthly fees.

Do you have to pay for mobile credit card processors? The good news is there are a bunch of them that you can download for free both from the App Store and Google Play.

Square is one. It’s easy to set up and many small business owners rave about it. According to Business News Daily, Square accepts all major credit cards for a “flat rate of 2.75 percent per swipe or 3.5 percent plus 15 cents per transaction for manually keyed-in cards.” It also transfer funds to your bank account in one to two business days. How convenient is that?

Wave and 17hats are other services that work really well for entertainers. They are online free services that link with a payment service called Stripe. Wave and 17 hats let you generate an invoice which you can email directly to your client and with a click of a button, they can pay you online.

The advantage to this sort of system is you get free software that can help you manage your invoices (and they even let you see if the client has yet to open and read your invoice). Add to this, your client won’t be thinking at all about money during the day of the event but only about how awesome you made his or her kid’s party.

If you want to use Wave, check out the images below. They show what you and your client will see when you send out an invoice.How to create an invoice on Wave

How to send an invoice on WAVE

Customer sees an e-mail notification regarding your payment via Wave

How customers can pay you online for your gig using Wave

How you can monitor customer payments on Wave

5. Choose your clients wisely.

In our effort to get more gigs, exposure, and cash, we tend to say yes to every client that comes our way. But the truth is, sometimes it’s wiser to say no.

Just as parents and event organizers can get picky in choosing who to get for their party or event, you can do the same to a certain extent.

Be smart in your choice of clients. If you get repeat problems from certain areas, then don’t work in those areas.

And if you feel you have to take every booking to make ends meet, then learn how to raise your feesRemember, time spent wisely now will reduce your headaches a hundredfold later on.

As you can see, most of the tips are about how you can protect yourself from “customonsters” and clients who pay late or not at all. If you think about it, getting paid for gigs on time falls on your shoulders in no small degree. You have a say on which clients to take, you have a say on what payment terms to make, you have a say on which collection process to use. So help yourself by being proactive in safeguarding yourself in transactions. If you have the proper measures in place, getting paid wouldn’t be a tricky business at all.

And if you want to take systematising your enquiries and bookings to the next level you can always utilise Ken’s Magic Tap system. You’ll find valuable free training there and a paid option if that’s what you need right now.