Once a face painter has deducted all of the expenses listed above, which come to about 40 percent or more of her gross income, the government takes about 30 percent of whatever is left. Self-employment tax approximately doubles what a person running her own business pays for taxes over what a person employed by a company pays. When you split up what's left by the hours a face painter puts in during the week as well as the time spent face painting, the result is a modest amount which is far smaller than the initial fee charged to a client.
So next time you hire a face painter, don't be shocked by her rates. She loves what she's doing, but it's still a business. The costs are high, but the income is not when it's spread out over the time invested to keep it running successfully.
When looking for a face painter, don't be quick to settle for a low price. Examine the artist's gallery for quality in workmanship. More expensive face painters bring speed, skill, and experience with them. They're more likely to have liability insurance and higher quality face painting supplies. This is going to translate into a better and safer experience for the guests at your event, and it is worth the extra investment on your part to hire a professional artist who knows what she's doing not only in painting, but in running her business.