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Thoughts on pay for a show assistant?


#1

Hi all-

What are your thoughts on pay for a show assistant? So far I have
had help from friends who have free time, would like to travel, or
want to work for jewelry! My husband has helped a lot too, but as I
am doing more and more shows some of them farther and farther away,
I would really like to have an assistant each time. I have 2
candidates who are interested. How much should I pay them? Flat
rate, percentage of my proceeds?

-Kate


#2

I pay a percentage or a commission to those who help me, and of
course I buy lunch.

Jerry


#3

Hi Kate,

Speaking as someone who has been a show assistant many times, I
think a per-diem approach works really well. When I was a student,
I went to the ACC show with a buddy of mine to assist two different
artists. The artist who I worked for paid me $100 per day, agreed
upon in advance, for a promised 10 hrs of help a day, including my
drive to Baltimore. I drove from NC to Baltimore and helped them
set-up, worked two full days on the show floor, and drove back to NC
(a friend of theirs help them pack-up and zip off to another show).
They paid me for three days: my drive and set-up day, plus two days
of general help. I was not paid for my ride back. I worked my butt
off, sold alot of their artwork, and really had fun.

My friend on the other hand was being paid hourly. The problem was,
nobody could decide what time would be considered “on the clock” vs
"off the clock". The general mood soured as they tried to hash out
wether she should be paid for lunch breaks, and driving time,
etc… She took for granted that she would be paid for all her time
spent away from her own studio, and bed, while the folks she was
working for only intended to pay her for time spent physically in the
booth. What a mess.

Trying to puzzle out each hour spent actually working can be
aggravating. A day rate is straightforward, and easy to plan for.

Good luck, and enjoy your shows!

-Troy


#4

Kate,

How much you pay and how you base the pay depends on how much
experience and what kind of job they will do for you. If your
assistant is merely an extra pair of hands to set up and you’re
just looking for someone to occupy prospective clients while you
take breaks or are otherwise engaged, then I’d suggest a flat fee.

The absolute best sales help I ever had I paid a flat rate for each
day she worked, transportation and lodging costs and a percentage
of total sales of 3 percent. I made reservations for and paid the
lodging costs and she kept all receipts for her expenses driving to
the shows (She sent me the receipts from the return trip which I
paid when I received them). I didn’t pay for the time she spent
getting to and from the show, only for the days she actually
worked. She didn’t do any set up or break down, which I was glad
because I’m very picky about how things go up and down. She helped
every day to get the merchandise into the cases but I let her leave
as soon as the day was over, again, because I’m particular about
how my work is put away.

Keep in mind that she’s one of the best salespeople there are with
lots of experience selling jewelry at craft shows, a specialty if
there ever was one. Your arrangements should vary depending on
expectations.

If you have other questions let me know.

Larry Seiger
http://www.lshancock.com
https://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/seiger1.htm


#5
    My friend on the other hand was being paid hourly. The problem
was, nobody could decide what time would be considered "on the
clock" vs "off the clock". The general mood soured as they tried to
hash out wether she should be paid for lunch breaks, and driving
time, etc.... She took for granted that she would be paid for all
her time spent away from her own studio, and bed, while the folks
she was working for only intended to pay her for time spent
physically in the booth. What a mess. 

Your friend sounds like a dreamer! Nobody pays you for the time you
are sleeping in the hotel!

Lee


#6

I have done a number of different things, depending on the person
and their motives for helping me. Young students have helped me for
free, to learn about show biz. In that case, I would always give them
a gift of a piece of jewelry. I gave a friend just $50 for a one day
show one time, plus motel cost and dinner out. She was in the mood
for a road trip. For a longer, major show I have given a flat,
pre-arranged amount of several hundred dollers, plus road expenses,
plus a % bonus if we go over the projected sales that I was
estimating when I decided on the flat fee. This worked well.

There should be some margin in your prices for expenses related to
selling your work. Figure this out (or start adding it in!), and
offer as much as you can for good help. If someone turns out to be a
good salesperson and helper, and makes you happy to have them around,
try to offer them more next time!

Whenever anyone helps me, I offer them the option of getting jewelry
at wholesale cost (50% off) instead of cash. It is amazing how many
take (purchase) the jewelry with the money that would be coming to
them. This is a win-win situation for me, since it drastically lowers
my cash outlay for their services to me. One acquaintance helps me
every year for free at a local 2-day show just because she thinks
it’s fun and likes to buy a lot of half-price jewelry. Win-win-win
situation!

Be flexible, let the helpers know exactly what is expected of them,
and try to make it as pleasant as possible for them. I do stay in the
booth almost all the time, by the way. No one sells my work better
than I do (with the possible exception of Cindy…wow, could she
sell! She just raved on about how great I was, and since she made
jewelry herself, she knew what to say in detail.).

I hope you will have many interesting experiences with helpers,
mostly good, as I have!

M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler
Goodland, MN
www.craftswomen.com


#7

I have trained many shop assistants. Usually I pay them minimum wage
to start and give raises as their skills develop and they are worth
more. It’s not too hard to figure how much to pay them–you know
what you charge for your work so you can figure what their help is
worth. Paying other people usually results in valuing your work
properly while when you do all of it yourself you tend to give away
parts to the clients. As in, that’s no big deal, I’ll just do it for
you, instead of charging what you really need to–

Janet