The Ultimate Guide to Working as a Professional Santa Claus

Editor’s be aware: This text was final printed in 2014, however we’ve introduced it again for any new Santas.

Do you’re keen on Christmas? Are you filled with cheer? Are you able to develop a stomach and — extra importantly — a beard?

You might need what it takes to work as knowledgeable Santa Claus.

For those who’ve thought of pursuing this uncommon seasonal job, however didn’t know the place to start out, maintain studying for recommendation from skilled Santas in three completely different states. They share the within scoop on working as Santa this Christmas.

What Are the Necessities for Santa Jobs?

Sure, there are a number of necessary necessities if you wish to work as knowledgeable Santa Claus.

First, you have to look the half. It’s greatest for those who’re over age 50, have a stomach and might develop a powerful beard. (Nevertheless it doesn’t must be white. Some Santas really bleach their beards!)

Jim Beck, who labored as knowledgeable Santa in Denver for eight years, says he obtained into the enterprise as a result of folks saved telling him he regarded like Santa — even with out the beard. So after he turned disabled and will not work in building, he determined to present it a shot.

Michigan Santa Claus was additionally a pure. “Mrs. Claus all the time says, ‘My Santa has an actual beard and pure cookie zone.’ I’ve really had my beard for almost 45 years!”

Extra importantly, it’s important to need to be Santa Claus. You need to have a real love of Christmas and kids.

Santa Tim is having fun with his fifth season as a skilled Santa in Lenexa, Kansas. He began working as a Santa to “get pleasure from the entire Christmas spirit and provides again a bit of bit — to share hope and pleasure and love.” (If that’s not a Santa reply, I don’t know what’s!)

The place Can You Discover Santa Jobs?

Skilled Santa Clauses have numerous work choices, together with procuring malls, company and neighborhood occasions, and personal residence events.

The Santas we interviewed principally did non-public residence visits, with some company occasions blended in. None of them labored as mall Santas — although some Santas do choose these gigs as a result of they’re long-term positions with regular hours.

When requested why he didn’t work on the mall, Santa Tim defined, “Initially, I need to be unbiased; secondly, you’ll be able to solely spend round 30 seconds with a baby whereas on the mall. Once I do a house go to or company occasion, I get much more time with every baby.”

Santa Jim Beck has labored on the mall up to now, however now sticks with principally non-public events as a result of he “enjoys the smaller venues.”

How one can Begin Working as a Santa

Prepared to seek out work as knowledgeable Santa Claus? Listed below are the strategies our Santas advised:

1. Go to Santa College

You in all probability didn’t comprehend it, however Santa colleges are a giant enterprise.

One of the vital complete is the Skilled Santa Claus College in Denver, which is held over Labor Day weekend every year. The price of this four-day faculty varies relying on the bundle you purchase. Tuition can embrace meals, 38 weeks of pre-and post-conference coaching and consultations, publicity footage, make-up kits, 72 hours of classroom coaching — and even stay reindeer!

Santa Tim graduated from this faculty and located it a “very worthwhile funding” as a result of there are “sure quantities of psychology that go into chatting with kids.”

He discovered quite a bit about that there, together with the way to react when a baby says they need an iPad or tells you about abuse. Largely, he loved the college as a result of it set “such a excessive customary; you’re not simply Uncle Joe from subsequent door anymore.”

2. Community With Different Santas

You don’t must go to Santa faculty to seek out success as a Santa.

Santa Jim Beck obtained began by working for a longtime Santa who “subbed out different Santas.” Although he needed to pay the lead Santa a lower of his earnings, it led to gigs of his personal.

For those who’re simply beginning out, this can be a sensible transfer. Discover a native Santa who has extra work than he can deal with, then supply to tackle any gigs he can’t or doesn’t need to do. For those who supply him a proportion of your earnings, what Santa goes to say no?

three. Purchase a Swimsuit… and Begin Working

That’s how Michigan Santa Claus did it.

His first Santa swimsuit was made by a pal who’s knowledgeable sewer. He wore it whereas serving to to promote Christmas timber on the Residence Depot the place his son labored. He wished to “see what the response could be and if I favored it.”

Clearly, the response was “superior!” — as a result of he’s now in his 13th season.

four. Construct a Web site

For all the Santas we interviewed — identical to the social gathering princess we spoke with — net inquiries are key to nearly all of their enterprise. Creating an internet site is a vital step in beginning your small business.

For those who don’t have the cash for skilled net design, don’t fret: Santa Jim Beck’s website was designed by a pal and may be very primary. Regardless of its simplicity, it’s nonetheless how he will get virtually all of his prospects.

If you wish to DIY your website, these free instruments may help you appear like a professional.

5. Create a Profile on Gig Salad

When trying to rent knowledgeable Santa, most individuals’s first cease might be an web search. And Gig Salad, a website for reserving stay leisure, is likely to be one of many first issues that pops up.

For that motive, Santa Tim says making a Gig Salad profile was the “only” factor he did. Membership ranges from free to $39.99 per 30 days.

6. E-book Return Visits

The primary 12 months of being a Santa is certainly the toughest. Nevertheless, when you’ve visited some households, Santa Jim Beck says, “They’re usually going to need you again subsequent 12 months.”

Folks need continuity for his or her youngsters, which implies assured repeat enterprise every year — along with any new purchasers you drum up.

Santa Tim says this works for company occasions, too — as does phrase of mouth. “One HR girl will ask one other one, ‘What Santa did you rent?’ and that can get you some extra gigs.”

How A lot Cash Can You Make Working as a Santa?

The pay vary for skilled Santas varies extensively, relying on how a lot you’re employed and the way a lot effort you set into advertising and marketing your self. The vast majority of Santas solely work throughout November and December, although some maintain the vacation spirit going all 12 months lengthy.

Santa Jim Beck just lately raised his charges from $150 to $200 an hour, although he says he’s “not gung-ho like numerous guys are.”

Santa Tim estimates you’ll be able to earn “$three,000 to $7,000 in a season” working part-time on some weekday evenings and through each the morning and night on the weekends.

How A lot Does It Value to Begin Working as a Santa?

Along with rising out your beard, there are some start-up prices concerned in working as a Santa.

For those who select to attend Santa faculty, that might be certainly one of your largest bills.

Santa Tim says the remainder is dependent upon your “stage of professionalism,” including, “If I’m going to signify Santa for youngsters, I need to be as skilled and reasonable as I may be. Youngsters are taking a look at the whole lot about you: your eyes, your cuffs, your boots, your belt. I put $200 to $300 into bleaching my hair and beard; I’ve two fits that every price over $1,000, a $300 belt and $300 boots.”

Michigan Santa agrees, saying it’s “crucial” to “not ‘skimp’ on the swimsuit.” His is “lined wool with actual sheepskin white fur trim.”

Along with the swimsuit and the web site, he additionally says, “It’s crucial to arrange as a enterprise account and register the title of the enterprise with the state establishing LLC … [And] we’ve by no means had a problem however we do carry Leisure Legal responsibility Insurance coverage.”

What Do Aspiring Santas Must Know?

So you continue to need to work as a Santa? We requested our professionals for the one piece of recommendation they’d give to aspiring Santas, and right here’s what they stated:

“Develop a beard and learn to chuckle!” — Santa Jim Beck

“Earlier than you develop into a Santa, you actually need to grasp what it’s going to do to your life … You’ll must be Santa Claus. I’ve a unique customary daily; it’s a excessive stage of duty. It’s all over the place you go: For those who’re driving your automobile, and you’ve got street rage — persons are going to say: ‘Oh, Santa’s having street rage.’ You need to actually govern your self … Even in road garments, some youngsters will come up and seize your legs and let you know what they need — so that you’ve obtained to spend a couple of minutes with them.” — Santa Tim

“At all times keep in character when you have got your Santa swimsuit on. Work on that ‘HO HO HO;’ it should come from deep throughout the stomach! When [Mrs. Claus and I] have an occasion, we take the youngsters into our arms and on our laps and in our hearts, as our personal. Sure, we do obtain fee — however you’ve obtained to like kids and their households too!” — Michigan Santa Claus

Susan Shain is a contract author and digital nomad. She covers journey, meals and private finance (principally, how to save cash so you’ll be able to journey extra and eat extra). Go to her weblog at susanshain.com, or say hello on Twitter @susan_shain.

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