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If you have a flair for the creative and love to paint, you might be wondering how you can transform this skill set into a viable career.

Think beyond the traditional role of a starving artist. Face painting presents a wonderful career opportunity that many people never think about, but it can provide a lucrative income for doing something that you love. 

Before you start your face painting business, there are a few things you should know. This guide will help to prepare you for the path that lies ahead. 

How Much Can You Make as a Face Painter? 

Understanding how much money you can bring in as a face painter is often what inspires people to get started on this career journey. For those who are lucky enough to make a full-time career out of painting, they can be rewarded handsomely for their time. The average annual salary for a face painter in the United States is roughly $27,500. 

Many face painters make the business decision to charge by the hour. Depending on the intricacy of the designs and how fast you are, you should be able to paint somewhere between ten and twenty people per hour. In exchange, most face painters will make about $100 per hour. 

Keep in mind that there are other considerations when deciding what to charge. If you will be expected to travel outside of your general service area, you may charge an additional trip fee on top of your hourly rate. You might choose to offer a discount to clients who book you for multiple hours. 

Remember that most sessions will be booked on the weekends. Given that you may not see a lot of action throughout the workweek, you might be able to work a second job Monday through Friday. This could boost your annual income if you feel that face painting does not earn enough to support your lifestyle. 

How to Start a Face Painting Business

If you are ready to take the plunge and start your own face painting business, here is a step-by-step guide to get you on the right path. 

1.Register Your Business

No matter what type of business you want to start, it is important to take legal action to protect yourself. Do a little bit of research on how to register your business in your state.

Many people choose to register their face painting business as a limited liability corporation because it protects their personal assets in the event that someone takes legal action against them. You might also be required to file for special licenses to run your business depending on where you live. 

Along with legally registering your business, you should consider investing in an insurance policy. A general liability insurance policy can help to protect you in the event that you face litigation.

For example, you could be sued if someone is harmed during the process of your face painting or while in attendance at one of your events. An insurance policy can help to protect you from the legal ramifications of this litigation. 

2.Get an Education

Fortunately, this is one career move that won’t leave you saddled with student loan debt. You don’t necessarily have to have any type of education behind you to hang out your shingle as a face painter.

However, many people like to take the time to learn more about their craft. You can watch free videos on YouTube from channels like JestPaint. Udemy also has some classes on face painting that you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

3.Invest in Quality Supplies

A face painter is nothing without their paints. If this is just a hobby for you, then you might be okay with a relatively inexpensive set of paints. However, a career face painter often wants to invest in a nicer quality of water-based face paint. Of course, there are a couple different kinds of face paint. 

Cake face paint is the traditional style used by most face painters. It is most similar to pancake makeup. This type of paint is easy to take on-the-go and lasts a long time without needing to worry about it drying out. All you have to do is mix it with a bit of water and brush it directly onto the skin. 

Liquid makeup is more of a creamy water-based face paint. The colors can be a little less vibrant than those offered with cake face paint. It can be a bit more difficult to use, so many beginners invest in cake face paint. 

Consider investing in the Fusion Body Art Carnival Kit to get you started. It runs around $50 but has all of the basic colors you need to create a wide variety of designs for both boys and girls.

It includes six mini-split cakes, five full-size split cakes, and a full cake of white face paint. It is great for traveling or for those who are just getting started and want a smaller set to invest in for the beginning of the business.

You will also need to invest in a quality set of sponges for applying your face paint. Splash Face Painting Sponges are inexpensive but long-lasting. They are small and can conveniently fit into your travel kit. They are also darker in color which allows them to look newer and fresher for longer periods of time before you must replace them. 

In addition to water-based paints and sponges, you will also want a few other items to get your business off the ground.

Many people like the addition of glitter to their designs. You will also want a nice variety of paintbrushes including some that are larger for foundation paints and some smaller brushes for more detailed touches. A carrying case can also give your business a more polished and professional look when you pack up to go to gigs. 

You will be working with these supplies for the foreseeable future, so purchase the best quality that you can afford upfront. You can always upgrade later on. 

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Nobody wants to hire a face painter with no talent. Prove yourself by practicing on models of all types to create beautiful designs. Each time you complete something that you are proud of, be sure to take excellent photos to document the design.

These pictures can later be uploaded to your professional website or included in a binder full of your past work. This portfolio is what you will show to prospective employers as well as to your clients who might have a hard time deciding what they want you to paint on their faces. 

This is also a great time to volunteer around the community. You might sign up to provide face painting at local festivals, churches, day cares, community centers, and more. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to get your name out there and practice your craft. While it can be hard to give away your services for free, you are working hard to build a local reputation for yourself. 

5.Make Your Business Polished and Professional

In today’s modern age, you need to make sure that your business looks polished and professional. Work with experts to help you craft a logo that accurately represents your business.

You might also want to hire someone with tech skills to help you create a website. Create flyers, business cards, and other promotional items that you can hand out to interested parties. 

6.Set Up Social Media Pages and Accounts

In today’s modern world, having a website isn’t going to be enough to get your business off the ground. You need to be working to connect with others via social media. This is a great form of advertising because you can show off photos on your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Connect with other businesses and with clients wherever you can. 

7.Decide What You Are Going To Charge 

Once you have established the framework for your business, you need to focus on one of the most important aspects – how you will get paid. Do a bit of market research to see what other face painters in your area are charging for their services.

Make sure that your rates are right in line with your competitors. You don’t want to be the cheapest because you might be underselling your time and talents. However, you also don’t want to be the most expensive since you are a brand new business. 

Some people choose to advertise their rates on their website and promotional materials. This can be an easy way to weed through clients that are not willing to pay a fair rate for your services.

Unfortunately, this tactic does not allow you to explain that you might charge extra for a trip fee or offer a discount to clients booking for multiple hours. Consider whether you should advertise your rates or whether you should price each job according to the details of the booking. 

8.Decide On Which Payment Method are You Going to Accept 

Before you can go to your first gig, you need to decide how you will be accepting payments. Will you take cash only or will you accept card payments? If you are accepting credit card payments, you need to make sure that you are charging enough to cover the processing fees associated with this payment method. You will also need to invest in equipment to read cards and collect funds. 

Square makes reasonably priced solutions if you want to accept card payments. Their on-the-go terminal allows you to accept credit cards and print receipts. Investing in this equipment will set you back by about $300. 

9.Market Aggressively 

You have already built up a wonderful portfolio through volunteer work and practice. Now, it is time to make your business official and start seeing those gigs pour in!

Get creative with where you advertise for your services. It isn’t enough just to put a website up on the internet and hope that you get noticed. Take your promotional materials to other small businesses in the area, and ask if you can leave them on bulletin boards and in lobbies. You might consider sending out mailers to businesses in your area. 

Look for businesses that might offer services that can pair with your own and build relationships with them.

Not only are these excellent places to put your promotional materials, but you can build stronger relationships and ties throughout the community. When their services are booked, they can naturally recommend that you join them for a fun afternoon of face painting. This relationship works both ways, and you can also help them out. It’s a great thing for everyone involved. 

10.Sell at Craft Fairs and Shows

In the beginning, you might not have paying clients lined up. This is a great time to attend local craft fairs, farmer’s markets, and art shows. You can set up your own booth and charge per face painting to help cover the entry fees and the cost of your paint. Make sure to take lots of pictures so that you can post them on social media! 

Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

By this point, you have already launched your soon-to-be successful face painting business. You put in the long hours of practicing and perfecting your craft. You created a sleek business profile, set your rates, and advertised as much as possible. Growing your face painting career is now happening in earnest, and it is all because of the hard work that you put into it. 

Face painting has the potential to be as big as you want it to be. It could be a part-time gig for the weekends or a full-time income. If you have the passion and talent for painting, you might want to investigate this potential career move!