If you think you have what it takes to be a professional Santa during the busy Christmas season, then you may want to consider pursuing this odd seasonal job.
In this guide, I will let you know what’s expected of you as a professional Santa as well as how you can land your first Santa Claus job, regardless of your experience. I will also dabble into how much you could get paid.
Whether you want to work a few hours a week or full-time, I can promise you that there may be something for you.
What’s expected of me as a Santa Claus?
Before I even start about the many places you can find a Santa job, I first want to talk about what’s expected of you as a potential Santa. Yes, like any job you apply for, there will be some important requirements, all of which I list here.
First, you have to look somewhat like Santa. I’m talking an older look, white beard (natural, preferably) and maybe even a Santa belly. The more you naturally look like Santa, the better your odds and pay will be. While this isn’t mandatory, your job prospects will look much nicer than a 20-year-old skinny kid with a fake beard.
Aside from looking like Santa, you need to play the part. Since you’re acting the part, kids will think you’re the real deal. This means you need to have a genuine interest in Christmas as well as be jolly while on the clock. No one wants to hire a monotone Santa that’s only there for a paycheck.
According to experts, you need to be outgoing. Since you already know, you will be talking with children all day. It’s so important to be happy, friendly and willing to talk to any kid that lands on your lap.
How much should I expect to make?
How much you make will be greatly dependent on how you find a job, how much you work throughout the week and where you live.
If you work on your own and look like the real deal, then it’s not unheard of to earn $75 to $200+ an hour. This is on the higher end, but remember that your start-up fees, mostly including the costume, can be quite pricey. So, don’t forget to subtract that amount.
However, if you’re a mediocre-looking Santa and apply to some random mall job, then your hourly rate will be in the $15 to $25+ range. Most mall Santas work full-time, often 9-6 or so.
As it’s a seasonal gig, the average Santa earns about $5,000 to $15,000 for the year, but again, as there are so many variables, you will find that your salary could vary.
Anything else I should know?
Most Santa jobs require that you already have the entire setup, from the boots to the belt and suit.
Depending on how serious you take this job, your entire outfit can easily start in the hundreds and go up from there. Some Santas have paid more than $3,000 for their setup!
While some of your malls or retailers may supply the outfit, these jobs won’t pay nearly as much if you were to do it on your own. I will explain all of this in detail below, but just let it be known that you will make what you put into your suit.
Aside from buying an outfit, be prepared to pay monthly membership fees as this is one of the best ways to get your name out there. You can also start your own website, which is yet another fee to consider.
Becoming a Santa is the real deal, and if you think you have what it takes, then here are some places/ideas where you could land your dream Santa job…
How to Find Santa Claus Jobs
As long as you think you look the part and can play the part, then you shouldn’t have a hard time looking for a Santa Claus gig as they are often in demand during the busy Christmas shopping season.
In this section, I wanted to talk about the many ways you can find a Santa Claus job. Depending on where you live, you could find a ton of jobs, whereas some areas may have a slim pickings.
The same can be said about the type of job. You have your choice of working at a mall, seeing hundreds of kids a day, or you can work private events, where you may only work with a select few.
Nonetheless, there’s a lot of opportunity, all of which I explain here.
Consider a Santa School
If you’re serious about becoming a Santa, consider attending a professional Santa Claus school.
It may sound silly at first, but it could do wonders for your Santa resume.
The one school I linked to prior is based in Denver and offers a variety of opportunities, from classroom training to connections with professionals already in the industry. What’s included all depends on the package you choose. There other options as well. Just search for “Santa schools + your zip code” to see what comes up and what kind of training/job placement opportunities they provide.
There’s a lot to absorb, but this could be one of the best ways to get your feet in the door. Be sure to check out the website to see what’s included as there’s too much to list here.
Create a Profile on GigSalad
Since 2007, GigSalad has helped millions find the perfect entertainers, including a professional Santa Claus.
If you don’t have the time to market yourself with a website or want to increase your chances at landing even more customers, then consider creating a listing here to see you can garner any interest. This option will offer your services immediately to people looking for a Santa in your town.
Treat it like a resume as there will be a lot of competition in your city. I would just recommend looking at other profiles to see what other highly-rated Santas are doing in your area and try to clone most of their strategies. Just make it better.
Generally, as long as you add detailed pictures, an in-depth overview as well as aggressive pricing, there’s no reason you shouldn’t receive inquiries as long as you look like a legitimate Santa.
Keep in mind that GigSalad does cost money, but it’s so minimal that you can easily offset it with one gig you find on the platform.
GigMasters is Another Option
GigSalad isn’t the only game in town as GigMasters is a close competitor that works in the same way.
Founded in 2009, the platform was designed to help customers and providers connect with DJs, bands, photographers and more.
If you want to sign up, it does cost you a fee, with memberships starting at $139 for three months. If you want to take this job seriously, some start-up costs will be necessary.
While this website focuses moreso on acting opportunities, you can often find Santa jobs as well, most of which are temporary. For instance, while I was writing this, I found a company casting actors who wanted to work as Santa Claus for up to four hours at a private party.
Depending on the gig, some will require you to be on-screen as a Santa while some may require you to show up at an event. You will be able to read the description to see what the opportunity is all about.
It’s free to check out job listings as well as apply, so you really have nothing to lose.
Market Yourself with a Website
Today, it’s easier than ever to attract new customers in the online world.
If you want to work in a private setting as a Santa, such as a corporate event or party, consider creating your own website and marketing it via Yelp, Facebook and Google in what’s known as search engine optimization (SEO). That way, when someone searches for a Santa Claus in your city, your website can pop up.
And, no you don’t need to have any programming knowledge as popular companies such as Wix.com and WordPress can get you a website set up in minutes. You will have to learn how to market yourself, however. If you don’t mind paying for an education, I recommend these highly-rated online marketing books on Amazon as well as these awesome low-cost Udemy tutorials. But, if you are strapped for cash, Backlinko, AuthorityHacker.com and Moz can help you as they have a ton of great free resources.
Creating your own website gives you your own control. You don’t have to pay a commission nor are you limited to one platform. While you can add your name to the many ideas I mentioned prior, nothing will ever beat a website in terms of leads.
Visit Popular Job Boards for a Full-Time Gig
Indeed, SimplyHired and a very niche website, HireSanta.com, can all help you find a nearby Santa job. When I took a quick look in late October, I found hundreds of jobs, most of which paid anywhere from $20 to $85+ an hour. I’m sure there would be even more come November.
Just as you would search for any other job, it will work no differently here. Just search for “Santa Claus,” along with your zip code and see what kind of opportunities pop up.
Keep in mind that if you do go this route that many of the jobs are part- and full-time, so if you don’t mind committing at least 10+ hours a week, it’s a way to go.
Start looking at these job boards around late October/early November when companies start to hire.
Talk with a Local Mall
As you probably know, almost all malls work with Santa during the holiday season.
Depending on the mall, some work with an outside company, whereas others hire directly. You will never know unless you talk with one.
Take this opportunity and talk with your local mall to see how they find their Santas. If they do hire directly, see what you can do to land a job.
Check out Craigslist for Temporary Gigs
I love the Craigslist “Gigs” section. I have mentioned it so many times because I have found it as a great way to make money fast.
While almost all of these jobs are temporary, you can find Santa gigs on here throughout the holiday season, some of which pay $200+ for the day.
Make it a habit to search the listings daily and see if there’s anything of interest. If you do find something, just use your gut instinct as many scams do exist. Generally, as long as the hiring party is willing to pay a certain percentage up front, you can almost always consider it as a good deal.
Like many of these potions, you will have to sell yourself, so be sure to have a list of reasons why they should hire you as well as pictures of you as a Santa in action.
As with any job, networking is always key to landing a job you may have never known existed before.
From joining local Facebook Groups and asking about information to even asking a local Santa at your shopping mall, there is more than one way to network.
In doing so, someone may be able to point you in the direction of a gig that fits your needs.
If you want to work as a Santa this upcoming Christmas season, you really need to understand how the whole experience works. This is one of the main reasons many of your professional Santas who take their jobs seriously often recommend taking some sort of class to get started.
If you haven’t done so already, I recommend you check out the documentary, Becoming Santa. It provides an inside look as to what Jack, the star of the show, did as a Santa throughout the season. It’s a great inside scoop as to what the industry is all about.
If you look the part, can play the part and have the motivation to find a gig, then there’s no reason you can’t find a job in your town, adding a few extra thousand bucks in your pocket this holiday season.
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