Author Topic: When to invest for new seasonal side gig  (Read 829 times)

randomusername

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« on: December 04, 2018, 03:23:21 AM »
My husband is a professional Santa Claus.  Or, he is now.  For the past five years he donated his time, but now that we've moved to a new area and decided to really go pro he had his first paying gig last weekend.  His next paying gig is a company Christmas party this weekend.  Additional ones are rolling in, even though we aren't really advertising, so I think moving forward his seasons will be pretty full, just based on word of mouth. 

So far we have already invested $1000s of dollars.  Some of the costs:
-Professional Santa school
-Background check
-Professional suit
-Beard maintenance (he's a real-bearded Santa, which can command a higher price, but takes a lot of work year round)
-Makeup (he has more makeup than I do.... if Santa isn't wearing makeup he's doing it wrong!)
-Backdrop and props
-Candy canes etc. etc.

I would LOVE to get him a custom made suit for next year, but they are pricey. 

My justifications...
-It would solidify his image to help him stand out from the crowd
-Anything that makes him seem more "real" is a huge selling point

But...
Should I wait until the sunk costs are already covered before investing more? 

Now that I type that, I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but would still appreciate feedback.

Attached picture is him last weekend so you can get an idea of his current suit.

randomusername

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2018, 03:58:13 AM »
Data point I realized I didn't include is potential earnings.  He currently is charging $100 per hour, but that may go up if demand is high.  This article is a good read on both earnings potential and associated costs for Santas in general:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/13/santas-have-high-earning-potential-but-big-costs-too.html

hops

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 231
  • Location: United States
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 09:12:04 AM »
In your shoes, since you've already invested thousands and he already looks fantastic in photos, I'd wait until the sunk costs are covered before investing more. I hope you update this thread periodically. This sounds like a neat gig and it was cool to see your post just a couple days after reading this article:

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/28/18116105/mall-santas-christmas

randomusername

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 09:47:34 AM »
In your shoes, since you've already invested thousands and he already looks fantastic in photos, I'd wait until the sunk costs are covered before investing more. I hope you update this thread periodically. This sounds like a neat gig and it was cool to see your post just a couple days after reading this article:

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/28/18116105/mall-santas-christmas

Thanks for the sanity check.  I'll definitely update if people are interested to hear how it goes.  I'm curious, myself.

CareCPA

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
  • Location: Northcentral PA
    • Care CPA - Tax, Accounting and Payroll
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 11:05:03 AM »
If investing in the custom suit will allow him to charge more, or if he needs more bookings and the suit would help that, then I would purchase the suit as soon as you can. If you're going to purchase it anyway, and it makes him more money when he owns it, why push that off?
Unless he's just testing the waters and isn't committed to this long term...

randomusername

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 11:18:24 AM »
If investing in the custom suit will allow him to charge more, or if he needs more bookings and the suit would help that, then I would purchase the suit as soon as you can. If you're going to purchase it anyway, and it makes him more money when he owns it, why push that off?
Unless he's just testing the waters and isn't committed to this long term...

Fair point.  He is a relatively young Santa, so we think he has a good 25+ years of it to go.  He is purposely doing a slow year right now as we get accustomed to the area.  Next year I plan to start actually advertising and trying to really get him booked, so yeah, the suit could come into play with that.  Food for thought.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1070
  • Location: PNW
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 11:24:03 AM »
I would not have guessed that there's a professional Santa School!  Cool side gig, I have always wondered how much they get paid...

randomusername

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2018, 11:26:10 AM »
I would not have guessed that there's a professional Santa School!  Cool side gig, I have always wondered how much they get paid...

There's actually multiples of them all over the country and world.  Santa conventions too!  For those interested, the documentary "Becoming Santa" is a fun watch.

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1431
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2018, 03:47:35 PM »

randomusername

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2018, 04:00:37 PM »
You might want to look into: https://www.hiresanta.com/santa-claus-jobs/
It was on 'Shark Tank' (and got funded)  https://allsharktankproducts.com/service/hire-santa-santa-claus-network/

Thank you!  Taking a look now.

Update on how things are going - Company party was awesome!  We now have actual reviews:

"Santa and Mrs. Claus are the real deal! They are wonderful with children and grownups as well. Santa brought the magic of Christmas to [client redacted]. Special thanks to them both for taking time.... especially this time of year..... to stop in and visit us!"

"Santa and Mrs. Clause were wonderful at our Santa workshop at [client redacted]! Thank you so much!"

I am Mrs. Claus, but really there as supporting role (we don't promise Mrs. Claus since my corporate job means I am not always a done deal when Santa is booked).

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1431
Re: When to invest for new seasonal side gig
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2018, 06:53:28 PM »
You / he will have to be very clear when accepting jobs that don't include Mrs Clause.  And probably should adjust the price.