When it's time to style this party, I will always style it hard!
July 18, 2014 8:15 AM   Subscribe

An acquaintance has asked me to serve as the (paid) stylist for her child's birthday party. I'm not a professional party stylist, just a maniac with a glue gun and far too many ideas. What's a fair price for my labor? Party location: NYC.

I've Googled around and found costs for party stylists outside of NYC, or websites of professionals who want to have a consultation before giving a price quote. I want to be fair, but I've also found myself in enough situations like this where my idea of fairness has led to the creation of a virtual sweatshop in my own dining room, with my poor husband paper-cutting and glue-sticking at 5 o'clock in the morning. I would like to avoid that this time around.

Here's what I'm thinking: $300, plus the cost of materials, plus $30/hour for assembling all of the various crafty items and decorations. The $300 would cover the parts that are harder to measure by the clock: the planning, the designing, the production of samples, the sourcing of materials, any shopping or travel, and actually setting up on the day of the party. The $30/hour charge would apply to making all of the decorative finery, party favors, games, signs, etc.

If you've retained the services of a party stylist, does this sound like a reasonable deal to you? Does the size of the party (number of attendees) or the location (indoors/outdoors) matter? Please keep in mind that I would be a stylist, not an event planner, so I won't be dealing with vendors, finding a location, etc.

posted by 2or3things to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Personally, I would prefer one stated price. I can see the unquantified $30/hour charge to be reduced by you (you spent six hours but only charge for four) at the same time the person thinks you are padding or overcharging. So, lose-lose. I would also make the proposal pretty specific - twelve centrepieces of xxx, 6 balloon bouquets of nine balloons each, for example. That way if your quote is to high you can negotiate expectations down (less balloons etc) for the same price.
posted by saucysault at 10:21 AM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I agree with saucysault, I would give one price (flat fee) with a breakdown of the components. A per hour fee leaves the customer with no sense of how much they're going to end up having to pay. It can also mean that your friend pays for your learning curve. If it took forever to make a centerpiece (of your own design) because it was more complicated than you thought, it's not fair to pass that on at an hourly rate.
posted by shoesietart at 11:09 AM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Another option is make a two part bid - $300 plus materials plus an amount to be agreed upon later for construction, calculated at $30 per hour (estimated range $xx - $xxx). Then when the planning is further along, the two of you can agree on how many pieces you will make,how complicated they will be and then you can give her a firm price for construction time. That gives her a firm budget and you the confidence that your budget will cover your time. It also will give you a solid foundation for negotiating more money if she changes the requirements (oops, three more guests)
posted by metahawk at 1:23 PM on July 18, 2014

Best answer: Here (Bay Area, not SF) flat rate pricing is pretty standard. I have actually been considering taking up kids parties as a job. The rates seem to be $1000-$2000 per job depending on if the dessert table is provided etc.
posted by saradarlin at 5:45 PM on July 18, 2014

Don't know about party stylists, but various kinds of stylists in my industry charge a day rate, which for a production day would be 10 hours. saradarlin's range sounds right to me, a styling assistant would make $200-400ish/day depending on if it's more like running errands or specialized prepping. These rates generally don't include things like mileage or materials.
posted by bradbane at 7:03 PM on July 19, 2014

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