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Entertainment Agency v Entertainers for Hire: What’s The Difference?

So you’ve been given the exciting task by your boss, fiancée or friend to find the best entertainment you can for an upcoming corporate bash, wedding or themed party. But where to start? Do you scour the web and contact entertainers for hire directly, or reach out to an entertainment agency?

If you haven’t hired entertainment before, it can be a bit of a minefield. With so many entertainers, musicians, bands, acts, agents, entertainment agencies, entertainment platforms and booking agents on the web, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Who do you speak to? How do you find the perfect entertainer?

Here, we take a close look at the differences between using the services of an entertainment agency or finding individual entertainers for hire. Both options have their merits – you simply need to decide which is best for you. Read on as Silk Street guide you through the options.

Hiring an entertainment agency

What is an entertainment agency? Yes, it’s a company with a roster of entertainers… but a reputable agency should be far more than that. For this reason, we tend to focus instead on the question: ‘What should an entertainment agency do?’

What a Great Entertainment Agency Does

What an entertainment agency does and what it should do are two completely different offerings. A top-notch company will understand not only their entertainers for hire and which ones might be suitable for you, but will have experience in the events industry itself: attending events, understanding events, experiencing events. The really good ones will have an insight into performing at events too. The Silk Street management team regularly performs at events; it gives us and our customers invaluable insight that not many other agencies can shout about.

Entertainment Agencies: The Costs

Of course, it goes without saying that you will undergo a surcharge, booking fee or some element of commission for booking through an entertainment agency. This can be anything from 10-20% through to 30-50%. These fees are unavoidable and will usually mean you pay more for hiring entertainment. However, this gives you access to the expertise, service and support of a team who are there to make your life easier. Plus, some entertainers may offer preferred rates to agents they work with regularly or discounts for bookings mid-week or off-peak. It’s always worth asking.

The Responsibilities of an Entertainment Agency

One of the greatest benefits of booking entertainers for hire through an agency is peace of mind. A responsible agency will ask you to pay a deposit and send you a contract to sign, which will include their booking terms and conditions. So if, in the unfortunate event that the magician you’ve booked magically disappears a week before your event, they will help you find a replacement. This helps take the pressure off, at what could be a very stressful time.

A good entertainment agency should do more than just list 1000s of entertainers on their books to increase their chances of you making a booking with them. They should be providing a supportive service to you throughout the whole process. Agencies with thousands of entertainers won’t remember them all – how can they make informed recommendations to you? If you’re not quite sure what you want, the agency should be able to at least work with your theme, budget and preferences. They should have the knowledge to help you narrow down the options. This inevitably saves you time.

The Expertise expected of an Entertainment Agency

Once you’ve chosen your entertainment and paid your booking deposit, the agency may ask you to discuss the booking directly with the entertainer. At Silk Street, we don’t just pass responsibility: we are an equal party in the whole process and offer help and guidance throughout. Some entertainment agencies have multiple agents, some of whom may lack the expertise you would get from booking entertainers for hire Silk Street give you a single point of contact on hand to respond to any questions you may have.

Not all entertainment agencies are created equal – trust us, the competition is hot out there – but choose your agency well and you’ll gain a partner with a fantastic level of service who really cares about your event.

Booking entertainers for hire directly

If you’re considering booking entertainers for hire directly, you are probably wondering where to start.

Put in the Time looking for Entertainers For Hire

First of all, you need to have a good idea of what you want. Are you looking for an outstanding wedding entertainer that performs a specific style? A DJ with unique mixes that complements your theme? Or a magician that can dazzle guests as they arrive, mingle and dine?

Unfortunately, the downside to this is that you have all the research to do yourself. You have to put in the legwork, find that perfect entertainer, and manage them or multiple entertainers directly – this means more of your precious time. Most entertainers for hire will have copious amounts of great feedback from past happy customers. Entertainers for hire, such as our very own Silk Street Jazz, have over 100+ 5* reviews on their website, which instils confidence before you even pick up the phone.

How Do I Contact The Entertainer?

Once you’ve found the perfect entertainer, how do you contact them? Whether you are making an enquiry or want to discuss the upcoming event details, getting hold of your entertainer by telephone or email may not always be as quick as you’d like it to be. You might have their mobile number, but if you’ve got last-minute changes to make, be prepared for a slower response to that voicemail you left a few days ago. Performers are always on the move, after all. However, some entertainers, like the Jazz Spivs, have a chat option on their website. This makes it easier to get through and ensure your query is answered straight away.

Freelance entertainers do operate more flexible contact times, so if you are looking to get hold of them in the middle of the evening, providing they aren’t out performing, you should be in luck. Early morning is probably a completely different matter, especially if they are working late the night before.

Understand the Entertainers Terms

One of the biggest drawbacks of hiring entertainers directly is the lack of security. If you pay a deposit, get a receipt. What happens if the band disbands a week before your wedding? Unfortunately, you are back to square one unless you have backup options. Make sure any entertainer you decide to hire supplies their full set of booking terms too. They should offer you a booking contract and let you know their cancellation terms upfront.

Entertainers For Hire: How much does it cost?

On the plus side, booking entertainers for hire directly will usually save you money. There’s no commission or booking fee, so entertainers receive 100% of the amount you pay them. That’s right, it’s usually cheaper. So why are we telling you this? Well, let us explain…

Most entertainment agencies don’t want to talk about money – and why would they? They want to maximise commission on bookings by getting people to pay a premium for entertainers on their roster. Silk Street are a bit different – here’s how:

Hiring entertainment with a difference

At the Silk Street entertainment agency, we truly care about your event. We will listen, recommend and help you plan your event to the finest detail. Not only do we have a great range of entertainers for hire; we also have exclusive ‘in-house’ entertainers that can be booked directly through us. Clients who use our services don’t just benefit from the booking security and guaranteed personnel, but also from personalised entertainment recommendations.

We add value to your booking by guiding you every step of the way, from the moment you pick up the phone, send us that email or message through the chat on our website. We get excited to help you and hope you’ll be just as excited once you’ve spoken to our friendly team.

So, what are you waiting for? For personalised recommendations on the best entertainers for hire, fill out our contact form. Alternatively, use our live chat or call 0800 756 5512 to speak with a member of our team. Don’t forget to collect your Guide on ‘How To Book Entertainment’ on the way out too!

Silk Street is a leading entertainment agency in the UK. From corporate entertainment to weddings and private parties, Silk Street offer a personal, concierge-style booking service designed to make finding and managing entertainment simple and enjoyable.



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