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Author Topic: Balloon Distractions  (Read 16961 times)
Papaballoon
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« on: December 10, 2009, 09:45:03 AM »

Balloon Distractions is a somewhat controversial business.  I do NOT know all the details so what I "know" is somewhat  second hand...BUT

From what I understand.  the owner/operator contracts with a restaurant or business to supply balloon twisting services for $XX an hour. Then sends twisters to the gig who work for free.  they get tips.  I will not comment on this practice, but really do not know the entire procedure.  They provide "training" by teaching the twisters how to make a relatively small number of balloon creations.  I believe 10 or 12 and evidently limiting them to those alone (?)

Supposedly the owner hires mostly college age, young and naive workers who think that working for nothing is a good thing.  and admittedly, in SOME ways the training and experience are good.  But after a few months I think that I would break off and do my own thing.

the ONLY real advantage is to get someone else to "book" you into a place so that you can get experience.  But I would think that anyone with any real ability would leave after a few months or weeks.

I don't really have anything to say about the whole thing except that If it were ME doing the managing, I would make sure that the workers got at least SOMETHING out of the deal.  I don't think I would call it "Marxist" exactly, but sort of EXTREME capitalism where the person with the business charges a high price but doesn't have to actually pay the workers.  To be quite honest, if it is run in the fashion that I understand it is, I would not wish to be a part of it in any way shape or form.

as a side comment, a quote from a fictional character on the subject of "Evil"...."...Evil is when people start treating other people as things..."

Papa
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jaredtheballoonguy
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2009, 10:18:27 AM »

Papa,

Thanks for the info.  I saw their ad on Craigslist and went to their website.  I filled out the odd questionaire they had, but heard nothing back.  Now, I'm glad I didn't.  Thanks!
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mbfloyd
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 11:07:59 AM »

I started out working for a similar company called "Balloonabilites"

I was taught how to make about 10 things and they placed me in a restaurant.

I worked for tips only and bought my own supplies.

I learned a lot on my own and got good enough to get gigs on my own but I stayed with the company for 5 years. I liked going to a lot of different restaurants in a lot of different areas. When I moved across state all I had to do was let them know and I immediately had restaurants to work in my area. I was in college and it was nice to just call in and get my assignment.

They down side is all the $$$ they made off me being a good twister and that if the night was a bust, I wouldn't make any $. This is why most of my designs use only a few 260s, gotta save money to make money. Also, if I got sick they would want a weeks notice.

I don't think I'll ever work for another agency, but I value the roll they provided when I first started.

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unicaw89
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2009, 02:21:51 PM »

Any questions I would be glad to answer. I have been working with balloon distractions for over 2 years. They got me started and without them I never would have entered this fun world of balloon art. The artists do get paid by the company for training and recruiting locations as a residual. I of course can't tell prices but the money paid by the restaurant is distributed among the artists by those who contribute to the company. There are seasoned balloon artists on our team, and those starting off. I once worded it to a friend a junior monopoly of network marketing. Its a numbers game, not an hourly wage game. I can understand where the controversy comes from and can respect it. There are many other companies like balloonabilites that I have heard of in the past. I actually remember one charged the balloon artists to do gigs!??!
   As with training they give a dvd that has an ok number of shapes on it, definitally more than 10-15, and your recruiter trains you more so. They have balloon Jams once a month to try to increase each others talent. Its a fun company to get plugged into and with it I land most all my paying gigs by meeting families at restaurants. 
   I know of many artists who work rogue and work in restaurants for free. Why not do it with a company, have insurance doing it, and get paid for expanding your abilities?
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Cody Freakin' Williams
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Papaballoon
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 05:32:51 PM »

unicaw:  I am glad to know this.  I have heard so much bad stuff about Balloon distractions that i find it hard to get facts. If you work for them and like it..that is a great thing.  I have always worked independently and had not heard of them until just the last few years. THAT was why I was cautious about making bold statements about them and their policies and practices.  So much of what I had heard was regarding the company taking advantage of teh workers.

I am not likely to go to work for them, in fact, I highly doubt that there is a group working in this area.  We have about a dozen workers around here who regularly work at restaurants and have established clients.  So I doubt if they would have any traction here.

Good!  I had no interest in trashing anyone's reputation...mostly because it was pretty trashed by others, and THAT is the information that I had!

Papa
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unicaw89
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 05:44:34 PM »

Yeah I was talking about this with the CEO Ben a few days ago about the bad rep in the clown groups. Magicians and balloon twisters seem to like the idea when they know about all the facts. Clowns however, just hate it lol. I go to clown conventions regularly and I tend to at times get ostrisized because of my employer. If you are just looking for a few extra gigs a week to build up your clientel then its a fun lil company. If you are only an entry level artist who only cares to work a gig once in a while, then you will of course only work for tips like the multitude that I know who do this without a company. I don't think its a terrible company that abuses its artists, It may not be the next big balloon thing. But its a nice start in my humble opinion...
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Cody Freakin' Williams
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jaredtheballoonguy
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 05:54:01 PM »

unicaw,

I'm glad you brought a second view to the table.  After what you've written, they don't seem too bad.  So my only question, I guess, is:  Why didn't they get back to me?Huh
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unicaw89
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2009, 06:36:18 PM »

Lazy regional director most likely, where are you from bro? I can forward some info along if you want?
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Cody Freakin' Williams
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jaredtheballoonguy
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2009, 09:32:53 PM »

Fort Lewis, Wa., near Tacoma.  Thanks!
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unicaw89
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2009, 10:34:09 PM »

They have a cell in Seattle, its about 30min from ya I think.
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Cody Freakin' Williams
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Ty-Me
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2009, 01:59:29 AM »

http://www.clown-forum.com/clown-forum/1913-balloon-distractions-com.html
This is a link for a conversation with Ben on the clown forum. A lot of question and a lot of other responces from people that used to work for him.
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Ty-Me
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2009, 02:27:20 PM »

Thanks for posting the link Ty-me

    Some of those accounts are sadening to see. With the insurance information I have the paperwork for it sitting right next to me. Artists are covered up to $1million dollars in liability, and of course only insures gigs that are sanctioned by BD.
    The starters kit that was mentioned is required for unexperienced artists to get, it consists of an apron, balloons, 2 pumps and a dvd. Its not an expensive price for tools you would need. I paid $60 for my apron alone outside of BD. If you are experienced and have your own tools then you dont need to get the starters kit.
    With the wage system, the restaurant is only paying $45 to BD for 4 hours. Even if you paid the artist minimum wage its only a few dollars left over to go to managment. With out the inspiration of bonuses no artists would recruit new locations, or really bother to train new twisters. The company would just not expand to where it is now. Mr. Fudge and Ben designed a pretty nice business structure for BD to distribute wages evenly amung those who are active in the company, and to help it expand. The story of Jon's leaving strikes a bad tune with me, I dont know how something like that could have happened.
    My history with BD has been just fine. I have had a hickup over a false complaint made by a guest  Angry which had Ben calling me that morning to find out the whole story. Other than that I just know how to not clash personalities. With my own wages, I have never been shorted, he gives me money for gas when they are short handed in the next city and need help. I do know that if I begin to make any deals for over high dollar amounts I will get it in writting. Right now I make that of what a person makes part time off residuals, then I make my tip money and private venue money.
   Im happy with BD, I understand the business model, and know that I am not forced to work. If I wanted to leave and go rogue, I could anytime I want. I have a nice list of clientel made through BD and am taking the applied knowledge frrom BD with me as I continue my career through the fun of balloon art =). If you can make money doing what you love, then you will never have to work a day in your life. =)
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Cody Freakin' Williams
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2009, 03:57:40 PM »

Sad to hear the restaurants are paying 1970's prices for 4 hours of entertainment,  Would be nice if BD would charge 2009 rates.  Just double your price and you should have a two hour rate.  I guest if your just a hobbyist this is good money.  I guess like any business you need to have a low bidder in the group. Not looking to go in circles talking about BD - we had enough of that with Ben was saying in the mbd2.com forum, his comment was - "it just a bunch of DB haters and its the same people posting over and over again. So he said to me on the phone and was never going to post again."  But that Ben.

That's just my two cents.
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unicaw89
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2009, 04:38:54 PM »

I too would like to see balloon distractions charging more. But I just dont know of many restaurants that are willing to pay that. There are some locations that are canceling becuase the can't afford the $45 a shift and they are seeing it as just more overhead.

I dont want anyone here to think that I signed onto these forums to talk about BD. I signed on for the community, to learn, and to share. I think I have begun to make more posts in this thread than any other lol. There is alot of he said she said on this topic so im going to copy and past the compensation manual on how the money is distributed. Take it any way you want, as positive, just, demeaning, or even Marxist. There are 3 sides to every conflict with 2 parties. 1 for each side, then fact.

Here is the compensation manual...


Balloon Distractions, Inc. Compensation:
Updated MAY, 2009 

All of the information in this document makes null and void any and all previous compensation agreements between Balloon Distractions and all Independent Contractors on the team.

Compensation Timetable:
All trainer and sales compensation will be processed no sooner than 30 days after the last day of the month being compensated: The July bonus would be paid out the first week in September, August bonuses go out the first week in October, and so on. This is done because the restaurants pay Balloon Distractions (on average) about 45 days after they receive the invoice on any given month.

If you did not qualify for a compensation bonus on any given month because you were inactive you will still receive a notice detailing why you did not qualify. If for any reason you feel there has been an error in your compensation please contact me right away.

Monthly Reporting:
Every trainer, salesperson and regional manager is required to email in a monthly progress report based upon questions asked in the NOTES section featured at the top of the internet scheduling page. (BalloonDistractions.com/xsched/)

These questions are normally short and sweet and require a quick email to answer. We believe that taking a couple moments to assess your progress at the end of each month will help you focus on your strengths, your weaknesses and where you need to concentrate your efforts in the coming month. These reports also allow us to communicate with all of our movers and shakers on a regular basis. 

Active versus Inactive  :::::::::::

To get your full monthly bonus you must do ONE of the following:

#1. Personally fill 10 restaurant gigs per month with zero complaints.
#2. Sell 1 new restaurant per month ( deal must be closed and on the schedule).
#3. Add 1 new artist, artist must fill 2 gigs with no complaints within that specific bonus month.

Regional Directors are exempt from the active / inactive requirement, the Regional Directors role is to grow the region while at the same time making sure that all the gigs in the region get filled every week.

Your monthly bonus will be forfeit if you do a NO CALL / NO SHOW on any scheduled gig, as a Trainer, Salesperson, or Regional Director in the company you have an obligation to fill all of your scheduled gigs. You are are getting a profit-share check, therefore you are being held to a higher standard.

Trainers Compensation:

You will receive $10 per (complaint free) gig filled by a twister that you have trained as long as you have been active within that month.

For areas that have 8 or less gigs per week that requirement drops to 6 gigs per month. If the area in which you are living has eight or more gigs per week that means you have at least 32 opportunities to fill gigs within that month.

If you personally fill 4 or less gigs per month and you do not add a new artist or a new restaurant you will forfeit your full bonus for that month, if in the following month you become active again you will qualify for any and all bonuses owed to you. 

If you personally fill between 5 and 10 gigs per month:
Your bonus will be pro-rated accordingly:

5 gigs= 50% of the full bonus
8 gigs= 80% of the full bonus, and so forth.

Sales Compensation:

For every new restaurant that you sell this idea to you will get paid $15 per gig filled (complaint free) if you personally fill 10 gigs per month or add one new restaurant per month.

The sales professional that schedules the try-out with the new client gets the sales commission, even if another artist does the try-out. If two salespeople have approached the same store the commission always goes to the sales person that secures the try-out.

The restaurant info must be added into the scheduling computer accurately: correct street address, zip code, full name of the GM, etc.

If the restaurant is SLOW (beyond 60 days) in paying their invoice Balloon Distractins will hold back the commission on that specific client until the past due invoices get paid.

One of the main reasons that restaurants are slow to pay is that the salesperson puts th WRONG ADDRESS into the computer and the client never gets the invoice.

PLEASE put the correct information into the computer when you sell a new place !!

Regional Leader Compensation:

As our organization grows we have identified a need for regional leaders around the United States. The regional leader has FOUR main duties:

#1. Sell restaurants when needed.

#2. Train new staff as needed.

#3. Train TRAINERS to help in our expansion. (If you recruit a trainer who then goes on to build a crew you will make $5 whenever that recruit’s crew fills one gig with no complaints.)

#4. Make sure that all the scheduled gigs in their respective region are filled, either by calling existing staff or training new staff to pick up the slack.

Regional Leaders are EXEMPT from the active / inactive requirements as long as all the gigs are filled every week in their region.

Average gigs per week in your region:                                            Monthly Regional Leader Bonus: 

0-4                                         none

5-25                              $100

26-40                              $250
   
41-60                              $500

61-80                              $750

81-100                              $1,000

This is in addition to your sales and trainer commissions.

DESERTION : If ANY member of the team does not fill a gig, train a new artist or sell a restaurant within a 30 day window we will take you off the team automatically. The only exception to this is for medical reason in which case there needs to be paper verification from our doctor to document the reason for your medical absence. 

If you quit without giving the company 2 weeks prior WRITTEN notice you will forfeit any and all bonuses owed to you. If you return to the company after resigning your crew bonus will NOT be restored to you. If you decide to quit by not showing up for a scheduled gig all your bonuses will be forfeit. If you have any questions please call or email my office:

Ben Alexander
bentoddalexander@msn.com
(Phone number removed by poster)
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Cody Freakin' Williams
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mbd2
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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2009, 03:18:52 PM »

I'm not sure this is legal 

If you quit without giving the company 2 weeks prior WRITTEN notice you will forfeit any and all bonuses owed to you.

I think if a company owes you money for services, even if you quite by law they have to pay you.  Imagine working for a company based on commission and quieting in the middle of the week. They would still have to pay you your commission that was do prior to you quieting.  This is typically true for vacation days and bonus earned.  I could see if bounces were paid yearly it would be forfited.  But I'm not a lawyer nor do work for BD. So it really doesn't matter.  Grin

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