Why hire NoVA Santa Claus?
Well, as a naturally-bearded, portly gentlemen, NoVA Santa spends every day of the year interacting with people as Santa. And, he works hard to dress and act the part – as one long-time client said, “You always dress like Santa would, not like a guy in a rented suit”. NoVA Santa maintains an extensive wardrobe of Santa suits, robes, vests, and workshop character attire designed and tailored specially for NoVA Santa by professional costumers. Each outfit includes custom embroidery and trims, hand-tooled leather belts with unique sculpted buckles, hand-made boots and exclusive holiday accessories. Our dry cleaning bill alone each December is more than the cost of the best party-store ‘Santa-in-a-Box’ costume. So, there may be cheaper ways to hire a Santa for your event, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more authentic one!
How much is a Santa visit?
So, how much is a Santa visit? Well, that varies. NoVA Santa charges by the half-hour, with the first half-hour double the rate of subsequent half-hours. This is to offset the time spent in preparation and local travel – suiting up and getting the beard styled alone can take 90 minutes!
In addition to the base rate, a surcharge is applied to premium seasonal dates, with the first two weeks of December and Christmas Eve being our highest demand. Premiums are also attached to high volume events, as Santa needs more time to recover from visiting with 300 children, than he does from visiting 30.
So, again, how much is a Santa Visit? Here are a couple of examples. A 30-minute home visit in November might only be $100, but on the second Saturday of December, it might be $200. A 2-hour mid-week daycare visit might be $225, but a 2-hour Sunday professional photo session might be $500. All this is to say, every booking is different, so please contact us for a quote.
Rates may be discounted for extended booking or based on charitable considerations. Travel within a 20-minute drive-time zone from the workshop is free. Additional miles driven are $1 each way. Minimum booking is thirty minutes, or time of travel one-way, whichever is greater. Travel expenses and a per-diem will be quoted for multi-day events requiring distant travel.
Every event is unique, so please contact NoVA Santa for an accurate quote.
How do I hire NoVA Santa?
To book Santa for your visit, first check his calendar for availability. Once you have a date in mind, e-mail or phone us with your event specifics: where the event will be held, what type of venue, how many guests are expected, any special needs, and how long you will need Santa. NoVA Santa will respond with a quote, and pencil-in your event on his schedule. When you accept the quote, we will issue a contract. Once we agree on the contract terms, the inquiry is converted to a tentative booking, and once we receive the 50% retainer, it converts to a firm-booking. The balance of the agreed fee is due at the completion of your event. Retainers may be paid via PayPal or check. Balances may be paid with cash, check or credit card swipe (with prior notice).
Is the 50% Retainer refundable?
The retainer fee is not a deposit. A deposit is an advance, partial payment for services to be performed. A retainer is a hedge against the loss of income we are exposed to by blocking out the date(s) for an event on our calendar. You may think if the event is canceled 90 days in advance, that we would have plenty of time to re-book the date, and you should be due a refund. But the truth is, our best bookings are large, annual events that planners often book six months to a year in advance. The closer to the season we get, generally, the lower the “quality” of the booking (from an income and repeatability point-of-view). So, though it may be possible to re-book a cancelled date with a home-visit, small party or other last-minute event, there is considerable potential for loss if that date could have been filled months earlier with a large corporate event.
There are exceptions to our no-refund policy; if the appearance has to be cancelled by NoVA Santa for reasons beyond our control. If Santa is sick or injured, we will make every attempt to provide a quality replacement, often at additional cost to us beyond what the event pays (last minute replacements are generally not cheap!). However, the potential exists that no suitable replacement can be found, and in such case, the retainer will be refunded. Severe weather that Santa deems to be impassable is also a reason Santa may cancel an appearance, and a refund will be given. But this determination will be at Santa’s discretion. If the client cancels the event due to inclement weather, the retainer will not be refunded and the balance of the appearance fee is also due. All contracts are “pay or play”.
“Sounds pretty sterile and business-like!”
We agree, but we’d rather be all-business up front, and all-Santa on the day of your event! NoVA Santa exists for one reason only, and that is not to watch a clock or collect a check, but to bring the unique joy of meeting Santa to children of all ages.