Next time I write a contract for a party, I need to spell this out:
I will arrive at your house a few minutes before the party begins. I will be ready to begin at the contracted time and will engage the children for a full hour. If you need me to stay later due to late arrivals, wanting me to stay for pictures, or any other reason, there will be a charge of $25 for each additional fifteen minutes.
Today's party went great, but I agreed to wait an additional five minutes to begin past 3 (my first mistake). I then attempted to do all the activities I bought, even though the younger girls clearly wanted to linger on their tierras (they had already spent about 20+ minutes on it) and the older girls wanted to continue painting their fingernails. Even when 4 had come and gone, I was still pushing them to finish their make-up (the older girls) or selecting their dresses (the younger girls). I had promised they would get to do a fashion show, so I had to allow that to happen. When the party was over, the parents asked me if I would mind waiting for the cake so they could take a picture of all the "princesses" in their dresses with the cake. It didn't seem that time consuming, so even though it was already 4:30, I agreed. Well, the dad had to run to get the ice cream cake from the store across the street still!!! At 4:50 we were finally singing Happy Birthday (three whole verses!), then the girls took the dresses off and I could finally go home. ARGH!!!
Since I didn't have anything about staying past the contracted time in writing, I didn't think it was a good idea for me to push it. I really wanted this family to recommend me to their friends.
But I will definitely make sure I have something in writing for the next contract I write.
And as always, please keep me in mind for your child's birthday party (www.missrachel.net)!