It’s a nice sunny day. You’re painting faces at the local park for a Batman-themed birthday party and life is grand! Then suddenly, the 4-year-old wiggle worm you are painting decides to turn his face without warning to look at some kids screaming and playing nearby, and it happens… your worst nightmare. Or one of several nightmare scenarios for the professional face painter.
Your brush, which you were using to paint detail lines around the eyes of his Batman mask, pokes him in the eye, and he starts screaming and crying bloody murder. The parents are freaking out. You are freaking out. The wiggle worm is freaking out, black and blue paint are streaming down the front of his shirt because he’s in tears. His parents take you to court and sue you for damages to his eye. You have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in medical and legal fees. Your career is over! Or is it…
This, amongst other crazy, one in a million instances is the worst fear of many face painters. Let’s face it, it could happen. Kids can be unpredictable. Weather is unpredictable. Life is unpredictable.
So how do you protect yourself from these insane, unforeseen circumstances that, quite frankly, you cannot control? Face Painting Insurance. Get you some!😂 Seriously though.
Paying for insurance now for things that may or may not ever happen in the future gives you serious piece of mind and protects you from the uncertainties of life. While it is not required for every state/province/country, it can honestly make or break your business in case of an incident. And quite honestly, you can pay for a one-year policy out of the income from a single job, so cheaping out now may cost you so much more in the long run. So where do we get this magical artist insurance? Is it going to cost me an arm and a leg? What hoops do I have to jump through to obtain it?
Don’t freak out. Obtaining insurance for your face painting, airbrushing, henna tattooing, balloon twisting, clowning or whatever your personal business description entails is extremely simple. It takes a few minutes and about 100 EUR/USD to insure your personal face painting business, including your equipment. This simple once-a-year transaction will be a lifesaver, should you ever need it. Preparation is huge in our line of work. Many of us started out with little to no information and have just figured things out along the way. But no more!
Read our Professional and Beginner’s guides for a complete look into everything you need to know about face painting!
— Ultimate Face Painting Tutorial for Beginners
— How to Become a Professional Face Painter and Get Paid
Why Should I Get Face Painting Insurance?
You may not have a choice if you want your business to grow. For many public fairs and festivals, face painting insurance coverage is mandatory. It’s not just for injuries though. As if the above scenario didn’t scare you enough into get a policy right away, there are a multitude of scenarios that this coverage can protect you from.
I have a face painting friend who was painting at a local children’s festival. No big deal. Until… a group of rambunctious littles came to her tent. The children’s mother was distracted on her cell phone, not paying attention to the fact that her children were all up this busy artist’s kit and table. She asked them nicely to step back and not touch the kit. No dice. She asked them repeatedly to stop messing with the setup until… the whole table came crashing down! Nobody was injured except for… her precious kit. Nearly her entire setup was ruined. Paints smashed, broken and full of dirt. Glitter everywhere, her case broken. At least $400 worth of materials literally in the dirt.
She had to cancel her upcoming gigs and could not paint for several months until she was finally able to save up enough money to replace at least a portion of her supplies so that she could start painting again. She was uninsured. If she had been covered, the policy could have covered the cost of the damaged materials and she would have been up and running again in no time.
The bigger your setup is, the more you have to lose. Do you have tents? A trailer, perhaps? A Craft-N-Go even? The more extravagant and fantastic your beautiful, well thought out set up is… the more horrible and life-altering the loss or damage of it could become. We want you to be fully prepared, be sure to read “You Booked Your First Gig! Tips & Tricks for Crushing it as a Pro” so you know what to expect for your first event!
Say you have a trailer, and a freak thunderstorm rolls through as you are painting at an outdoor festival. The wind rips off the awning from your trailer and damages the trailer wall and the setup of the lady selling leather purses across from you. INSURANCE! Y’all. I cannot say it enough. That 100 EUR/USD policy once a year could save you thousands in the long run.
Where to Purchase Your Policy
You may have a local company you use and trust that ensures your home and cars, or even a personal insurance policy. If your company also covers businesses or free-lancers, ask them specifically about artist insurance. Your policy availability will also depend on your specific services. Be sure anyone who works for you, or under you is also added to your policy.
Some policies or companies do not cover henna tattooing or other specific services. Be sure if you offer this service that you read the descriptions of what the policy covers (honestly, read them anyway… that’s just common sense).
Additionally, if you have employees or artists that subcontract under your business name, some policies do not have the option for adding people under you. In this instance, you should require each of your people to purchase a policy as well.
Here is a list of companies we have found that offer insurance for a variety of “face and body art” industry variations. Noted are a few that require membership, simply apply for membership in these associations for benefits.
Beauty and Bodywork
Clowns of America International (You must be a member)
Specialty Insurance Agency
K&K Insurance Agency
West Point Insurance
Alternative Balance Professional Group
Bomba Insurance Agency
Francis L. Dean and Associates
Professional Beauty Direct This policy also covers a variety of other beauty and holistic treatments. For those that additionally operate as makeup artists, etc. this could be a good policy for you.
Blackfriars Group is the company where many UK face painters get their Public Liability Insurance from.
Thistle Insurance Services
Some organizations/potential clients may ask for a document to verify your clear criminal record called DBS check in the UK, especially if you paint unaccompanied children. Face painters are not required by law to obtain a DBS check. However, DBS checked artists are far more likely to land big gigs than those who don’t have the documentation.
Additionally, you can read this comparison guide composed by respected artist, Lilly Walters Schermerhorn that compares several of the companies listed above.
Smart Practices for Every Face Painting Business
So now that we’ve explained the importance of obtaining insurance, let’s go a step further. While obtaining insurance is very smart business practice, why don’t we talk about how to minimize the risks in needing to use that policy. It’s like car insurance. While the law requires you to have it, you don’t want to go around town, weaving in and out of traffic and driving with your feet! That’s insanity.
The same applies for your business insurance. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice common sense safety guidelines to reduce risks anyway. Here are a few things to consider:
Cleanliness and Sanitation
This cannot be emphasized enough. Don’t be dirty! When a customer walks up to your table to be painted, you want them to be excited and impressed. Their initial reaction should not be “Ew!” Clean up after yourself!
- Have a trash receptacle for used wipes, Q-tips, stencil papers and general trash.
- Change your water regularly. Many artists keep a large bucket under their station for long gigs in order to dump dirty paint water. Keep a supply of fresh water available for changing.
- Clean your kit and tools. If you were going to get your makeup professionally done, would you trust an artist that had eyeshadow all over her kit, or lipstick smeared all over her counter? Of course not! So why should you be any exception?! Kids are far more susceptible to germs and bacteria. So if anything, you should be taking extra precautions. Clean your kit and containers regularly. Wash and sanitize your brushes after every job. Olga uses and suggests a product called Brush Bath from Silly Farm in your paint water to keep brushes and paints more sanitary.
- Some states and countries legally require painters to use a clean sponge on each child. While this is not required everywhere, it does ensure safety and lessen cross-contamination. And quite frankly, sponges are cheap.
- Have a proper kit or container to carry your supplies in. Rolling up your brushes in an old towel and shoving everything in a bag will not protect your equipment and therefore your clients from environmental contaminants and the like.
Safe Products, Allergic Reactions and Skin Safety
Do not purchase paints from unknown online suppliers. A surge in popularity with apps like Wish that offer cheap products can get you into trouble. Use only safe, recommended products from known suppliers and shops.
Use only professional grade face and body paints. Professional face paints are water activated glycerine or wax-based and have been tested for safety, which means that they follow CSPA, FDA, EU and Australian Standards guidelines.
Even more importantly, and you will hear this from us repeatedly. DO NOT USE UNSAFE, UNTESTED PRODUCTS ON SKIN! Craft paints are not face paints and should never be used on skin. They are toxic and can cause a host of health issues, allergic reactions and more.
We go into great detail about these topics in both our Ultimate Face Painting Guide for Beginners as well as our How to Become a Professional Face Painter and Get Paid guide.
A Safe Setup
In deciding what equipment and products to spend your hard earned money on, keep safety in mind. While some professional products can be far more expensive, note that in some cases, less expensive alternatives may not be as safe.
Keep in mind a variety of scenarios that happen often when working near children, outdoors and when frequently setting up and tearing back down your setup. It needs to be able to take a beating! Spending a little more money initially on your equipment can and will save you money, time and liability in the long run.
- If using a tent, make sure it is either staked into the ground, or held down securely with something heavy such as sandbags, heavy water jugs, or something similar. You do NOT want your tent flying into some poor family during a windy outdoor event. Those tents canopies can quickly act as a parachute during a storm.
- When choosing your kit or container for your supplies, be sure it either comes with or can be modified to prevent closing on not only your hands, but a child’s in the event of an accident or bad weather. Join the Facebook group Face Painter’s Kits for some fantastic ideas!
- Designate the materials you use for face painting to be set apart. DO NOT use your face painting brushes for craft projects and such. This could lead to exposure of toxic substances for your clients.
- Signs and banners can help advertise your business and attract potential customers. But make sure, especially if you are outdoors, that all of these colorful extras are properly weighted down, tied down and secured. The corner of a banner that comes untied from your tent could cause a black eye with a slap to the face in windy weather.
- DO NOT PAINT CHILDREN WHO ARE SICK, HAVE OPEN WOUNDS, SNOTTY OR HAVE OTHER FACIAL SORES. These could be potentially detrimental to your equipment and your other clients. You do NOT want to be the Ebola monkey spreading chicken pox to all the kids at your local renaissance fair because you were foolish enough to paint that a fairy crown on that little girl that had sores on her face.
Once again, this topic is covered more extensively in the aforementioned Beginner and Professional Face Painting Guides.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
You do not want to be held liable for unsafe surroundings or circumstances. If you are at a venue and notice spilled liquids, unsafe electrical cords, unsafe structures, etc. do not be afraid to report them! This could save time, money and most importantly… lives. Don’t allow venues or other vendors to engage in unsafe practices around you. This could affect you far more than you initially realize.
We truly believe we have the best jobs in the world! But… as Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker… “With great power comes great responsibility.” While on the outside, our choice of career is colorful, fun and awe-inspiring… it requires much planning and precaution. Mayhem can lurk anywhere, and it is our responsibility as a leading professional resource in this industry to make you aware, so that you are not caught off guard. Be sure to secure an insurance policy for yourself and anyone working under you right away. You can quite literally pay for your policy with one hour of face painting and it can save you a lifetime of stress and income should you have to use it.
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Do you already have insurance? Do you have a horror story to share, where insurance was needed to help ease an unforeseen situation? Please share your stories and comments below. 👇👇👇 If we can all learn from each other, we will truly lessen the event that these situations actually occur.