Balloon modellers, also known as balloon artists or balloon twisters, are worth considering for an array of events, especially for decorations and live entertainment.
But how much do they cost? On average, balloon modellers will charge $90-$150 per hour for peak days and typically require a deposit to book your event. Experienced and certified twisters may fetch $175-$250 per hour, and renowned master artists charge $300 or more. The rate should include any travel cost, as well as the balloon materials and equipment needed to entertain your guests.
The table below is a guide based on your geographic location for what you can expect a balloon artist to charge:
|Country||Region/Province||Avg. Price Range (per hour)|
Pricing will vary on several factors, such as the overall caliber of the balloon artist as well as the type of event, date/day, number of guests, style, and complexity of the design.
Types of Events – Child Birthday Party vs. Summer Fair vs. Corporate Fundraiser vs. Street Festival
Date/Day – Peak times like weekends will be premium vs. Off-Peak times like weekdays tend to fetch discounts up to as much as 25%
Number of Guests – 15 people serviced per hour seems to be the benchmark balloon artists use when quoting their rate and the duration of their services.
Style of Events – Show vs. Walkabout vs. Packaged (coupled with magic or face painting) vs. Decoration Only
Complexity of Design – Basic items like swords, dogs, or hats vs. multi-balloon and multi-color cartoon characters with finer details.
While you may be able to find a balloon artist under the minimum dollar threshold we stated, it should raise a red flag. We find that most twisters who charge a lower hourly rate will want a minimum commitment of hours (minimum of 2, but usually 3-4 hours), or they are very green.
Drive time, travel expenses (fuel, vehicle wear, and tear, parking, tolls) and materials (balloons, pump, costume, accessories) leave very little room on the table to make a living for their actual performance.
Price isn’t the only thing to consider…
Price is not the only factor you need to consider when booking a balloon twister for your event.
We have identified seven other vital factors to consider when doing your research and due diligence.
- Clean Background
- Reviews or Testimonials
Is this person certified?
Believe it or not, there are specific certifications that balloon modelers can get just like any professional job requires.
Think of it no different than going to school to get a degree or learning a new skill by taking a six-week course. The top certification that a balloon modeler can get is through one of the best companies in the industry, Qualatex.
To become a Certified Balloon Artist (Source), you must:
- Become a Qualatex Balloon Network member, or work for someone who is
- Complete three online examples and pass with a score of 80% or higher
- (It is recommended that you become a practitioner for approximately two years. Work on your craft, trying to perfect, by continuing education and practicing balloon techniques to enhance skills. Qualetex offers events, provides instructional videos, and recommends hands-on experience during this time.)
- Sign-up for, prepare, and take the Practical Exam.
- Pass the 4-hour Practical Exam with a score of 80% or higher.
2. Clean Background
In addition to the credentials, you will need to ensure your artist has all necessary criminal and abuse clearances. This will differ from country to country, region to region, state to state.
Now, this wouldn’t apply as much if you had an adult-only function, but if this person is going to be entertaining and around small children, this is a no-brainer.
Most reputable balloon artists have this in their profile, but we feel you should take it upon yourself to ask directly and request proof of documentation before moving forward. Otherwise, please take it upon yourself to do some research online and check out appropriate websites for identifying offenders.
You will want to make sure your balloon artist has some form of liability insurance, often referred to as “Entertainment Insurance.”
Many balloon artists who perform at parties, school functions, or corporate outings may not think they have specific responsibilities or liabilities associated with their services. They’d be wrong.
While it is rare that any accident of significance would occur, you never know what could happen. Accidents happen.
Example 1: Even the highest quality balloon, was tampered with pops next to a small child’s eardrum. The child is rushed to the ER for hearing tests.
Example 2: A non-inflated balloon slips out of the artist’s fanny pack, onto the floor, and a crawling infant confiscates it directly into their mouth when no one is looking—instant choking hazard.
Example 3: The balloon artist loses grip on the balloon, and it deflates like a buzzing bee around the room, knocking over a sentimental tchotchke off the mantle. That was an antique!
Without having an insured balloon artist, you would be taking on all of the risks if something like this were to happen.
This is obvious. You won’t want a first-timer coming to your event.
Most online booking services or individual websites will touch on the total amount of gigs someone has done. Experience, however, is much more than just quantity.
- What types of shapes and size balloons is this person use to working with?
- What type of events do they prefer?
- What is the most significant event you have been a part of?
- Have they been faced with and handled difficult situations before? If so, what precisely?
- Are they capable of intricate single balloon designs as well as multiple balloon designs for the designed outcome?
- How long does it typically take them to complete a basic balloon figure? A complex one?
All of these questions will help you to get a better understanding of their speed, demeanor, and attitude towards this service. You want to find someone passionate about what they do.
Another essential question to ask in advance before booking your entertainer is to find out if he/she is capable of creating the balloon style that your guest would want, or that would be fitting for your theme.
Spend some time thinking about what your guest will want.
Can this balloon artist execute on your vision?
Will your guest demographic be patient enough to allow your balloon artist enough time to make a masterpiece they will enjoy and hold onto for days or weeks to come?
An example will be if your child retro theme party revolves around Sesame Street. Ask your balloon artist if they are capable of creating characters like Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abbey, and Big Bird so the children will be thrilled.
On that note, you need to understand that those types of balloon characters are more in-depth and complex, which will take more time. This is why you will see some artists say they can only create 10/15/25 balloons in an hour where others may say they can produce up to 100.
One last thought is to ask to review their portfolio. Most balloon artists will have several images of their best work they can share to give you, which will provide more clarity on their style.
6. Reviews or Testimonials
Don’t forget to check out the reviews. While you can’t please everyone, what tends to be the norm for this person?
Most online booking platforms will provide some grading scale for reviews as well as free-form text from previous customers. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to read the good and the bad (if they exist).
You may also be able to find testimonials on their website.
If you can’t find any reviews, ask the twister directly for a list of references. They should have no problem providing a few people who you can call to gauge their experience.
Can they engage and carry on conversations with your guests?
This is a form of entertainment, so the expectation should be that your balloon modeller has an act that captivates the audience, young and old.
Some balloon artists may not be a good fit given their age and ability to relate to the partygoer. This is especially true with young children, or a unique audience like a niche business event.
Remember, this is your money, and ultimately you are responsible for finding the best artist to make your party a success.
To help in your search for finding the best-fit twister, we wanted to provide some additional resources to save you time and money in advance.