Santa Claus is the patron of Christmas in many different countries. His image is known to have been based on a 4th-century saint. Many people wear the red suit and white beard during the holidays, but do you know how much a professional Santa earns?
Professional Santa Clauses earn decent hourly rates. Most professional Santas make around $75 per hour, but top earners can earn $500 hourly. There are Santa schools that provide training and certifications.
How Much Does A Real Santa Claus Earn?
The difference between a professional Santa and someone who just wears a red suit and says ho ho ho is their potential earnings. Most of the mall Santas earn around $30 per hour. What’s interesting is that freelance Santas who are typically hired to visit homes, office holiday parties, and other events earn more, especially if they have received training from Santa School.
According to professional freelance Santa and owner of imsanta.org Dan Greenleaf, a typical hourly mid-range is about $150. In his interview with CNBC, he also mentioned that $150 is just the median rate. Other professional Santas earn as much as $500 an hour. He also reported that one of his Santas was offered $1,200 for one hour on Christmas Day.
Katie Bardaro, vice president of data analytics at Payscale, discusses that there is a wide range of Santa talents available, but only a few can provide an authentic feel. And since the supply is low yet the demand is extremely high, these Santas can drive the prices high.
Rates can also differ depending on the type of event, location, and timing of their performance. Greenleaf would charge a flat weekend rate of $250 an hour and $500 if it were Christmas Eve. However, the expenses of maintaining the figure of Santa Claus are also relatively high. (Source: CNBC)
The Cost of Being Santa
Greenleaf divulges that a low-budget Santa suit costs around $350, not including a low-end $200 belt and $100 leather boots, and another $100 magic Santa keys. If one wants a more authentic feel, then the suit and accessories would cost more. Greenleaf mentions he has a $1,000 suit and an $800 coat to top it off.
Another expense to consider is the hair-care products for maintaining snowy white hair and matching beard. Other Santas also need to dye their hair and beard white and maintain it moving forward. Greenleaf reports that his regular maintenance routine usually costs him several hundreds of dollars annually.
If one also wants to drive his rates, considering pursuing further education in becoming an authentic Santa costs an average of $250, excluding food and lodging. It was reported that Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School charges $520. (Source: CNBC)
The Highest Paid Santa
In 1951, a small Virginia hotel owner, Bill Strother, wanted to pursue a career where he could enjoy his passion for performing while helping other people and making some money on the side. He thought of an idea for a Christmas show. Later on, Miller & Rhoads Department store ran an ad to hire a Santa Claus for their store. Strother responded to their ad and proposed his Christmas show.
The management of the department store didn’t want the Christmas show but wanted Strother, whom they thought was the perfect image for the Santa they were looking for. Strother wasn’t interested, so he told them that his fee was $1,000 a week to throw them off. He didn’t expect that they would agree to his rate. He proceeded with the job since he didn’t have a choice anymore. This made him the highest-paid Santa. (Source: Saturday Evening Post)