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[If you’ve ever wondered how much you get paid for being Santa, today’s the day you find out :) My man Lance gives us the inside scoop in our latest side hustle series while yours truly is out playing Guy-Who-Waits-Til-The-Last-Minute-Claus getting presents… I swear, next year I’m jumping in a big red suit and making money instead!]
Santa loves to give, but he loves to receive as well. And not just cookies and milk. It costs a lot of money to run an operation with ten’s of thousands of employees, so Santa has to go out and pick up a few bucks on the side to cover the costs.
Enter Mikey Clause
One of my employees, not one of the new car ones, goes out each December and picks up $1,000-$2,000 by playing Santa. He not only does it because he likes the extra cash, but he loves making children happy and having a party a few nights each week. The money he makes helps pay for Christmas for his family, and also to save a little extra on the side as well.
Santa or “Mikey,” as we call him around the workplace, takes his side hustle extremely seriously. He spent a good amount to pick up a nice Santa suit. When you pick up a couple hundred kids on your knee it can wear out quick. He goes all out and even has some powder to change his eyebrows from brown to white. He takes it seriously because if he does a good job he gets return business the next year and a lot of word of mouth advertising.
In fact, I just had him come to our church party with about 200 people and man was he amazing. He is very interactive with the crowd leading songs, telling jokes, and meeting with each child to put on a good show.
How Much Santa Charges
Mikey Clause does around 7-10 events each December. About half are private family parties, 25% are corporate/company parties and the other 25% are church parties.
Private family parties: His rates are based on how far he has to travel, and how many kids are at the party. They are usually a lot smaller than corporate or religious parties so his rates are a little lower.
The general fee scale is:
- 1-10 kids: $50
- 11-15 kids: $60
- 16-20 kids: $70
- 21-25 kids: $80
- 26-30 kids: $90
And on and on up the scale…
Corporate/Company parties: $150 minimum… just depends on how long, and what you want, Santa to do at the party. Mikey Clause has made up to $500 from an all day corporate party.
Church/Religious parties: $150 minimum… around here the church parties end up having around 100 children so that is a lot of kids to get through.
Premium Rates as Santa
Do you want Mikey Clause on the 24th or even the 25th? Well, that is going to cost you extra. It’s actually the two most requested days besides Friday and Saturday nights before Christmas.
You really have to offer him a sweet deal to be away from his family on the 24th or 25th, but some folks are willing to shell out well over $500 on those days for him to come and hand out gifts directly to the kids for an hour. That’s not too shabby for an hour of work!
What You Get for Premium Santa
Santa will come and tell jokes, lead the group in a few songs, bring up dad or the CEO and have them put on antlers and a red nose to lead everyone in Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.
Everyone gets to sit on Santa’s lap and get as many pictures as they like. (Mikey Clause says the moms always like to hop on to get pictures of them kissing Santa on the cheek)
Premium Santa will hand out gifts to children as well. All the tags on the presents must be stickers, with the names written clearly with a sharpie so Santa can read them okay. He’ll then call out each child by name and have them come up to get their gift from Santa.
The presents have to be outside and usually hidden in a garbage bag on the side of the house so he can transfer them to his big red bag so he is all ready to walk through the door. He only goes through the front door, btw – no chimney action. After all, he is 370 pounds… there’s no extra padding in there.
So far Mikey Clause has turned down all the premium events this year because they want him to travel too far. While the money is nice, it can’t come at the cost of being away from his own family all day on the holiday.
Mikey Clause gets a lot of return business each year. However, he also advertises online on a local popular website and gets quite a few calls that way too.
Mikey Clause isn’t the only one out there trying to make some cash on the side. There is a lot of competition. Checking the ads online where Mikey advertises, there are a few dozen other Santa Clauses on there as well. Along with some people who are renting out Santa suits from $25-50 a day.
One of the big advantages is that Mikey Clause has a lot of positive referrals from customers. He hands out the contacts from people he has done business with to help verify his work. After all, you are calling some stranger from an online ad to come dress up in a costume and hang out with your kids. You don’t really want to take a chance with that one.
It Adds Up Over Time
Mikey Clause figures he has made well over $15,000 the last decade or so while going around spreading holiday cheer. He says demand has been picking up as the economy gets better. He says the demand for premium has been going up as well from wealthy families or companies, and so he has spent more time trying to work on those than saying “yes” to just anything that comes his way.
What do you think? Want to play Santa next holiday season? :)
Lance is a former TV journalist turned PR Manager who is on a quest to end the world from the fear of investment. Lance became well above average wealthy due to his long time hatred of debt. He has no miracles or luck in his story; just steady, healthy, long term action with a lot of investing and fun along the way. All pictures above are of Mikey Claus.
Want to read 50+ other ways to make money on the side? Check out our entire series here.