Get to your gig on time every time

watchIt doesn’t matter how great your show is, if you show up late that’s what your client is going to remember.

You should arrive early enough so that you can setup your show without rushing plus additional time to take care of any unexpected surprises. You’ll need additional time for bad weather, traffic, re-parking the car somewhere legally instead of that handicapped stall you unloaded from… etc.

I try to arrive earlier than I said I would to the client. That way the client never wonders if I’m going to be late or not.

“If you’re early, you’re on time;
If you’re on time, you’re late.”

Five Steps to Arrive On Time!

Step 1: During the booking process get the name and address of the venue. While on the phone with the client quickly Google Maps the address. Confirm the address location AND the directions from your home. If its a birthday party find out if there will be balloons set outside. If its another venue, find out what the outside of the building looks like and what entrance you should use. Often we can be one of the first people to arrive so some entrances will be locked.

There can be duplicate street names in a city, so by checking the directions as well you help eliminate that. Most people aren’t very good at knowing street names around their city, so use landmarks like intersections, rivers, train tracks, and stores to figure out where you’re headed.

Step 2: If you have multiple shows in a day. Use the Google Maps estimated driving time to schedule your route and drive times for the day. Allow extra time for bad weather, heavy traffic, or construction.


Step 3: On your booking sheet / confirmation sheet / invoice, include the venue name and address that you confirmed earlier.

Make sure that you receive a confirmation back from them that all the listed information is correct. If you do not hear back from them, it isn’t confirmed! Keep bugging them until you receive your confirmation. Basically you’re making sure that if you show up to the wrong place at the wrong time, its their fault and not yours. By having the CLIENT confirm the information YOU have, you’re protecting yourself.


Step 4: Call the client the day before the show to touch base and make sure none of the details have changed. Reconfirm the show details such as the address and directions. By checking multiple times throughout the process, you’re making it difficult for miscommunication.

Make sure that the client has your cell phone number in case they need to contact you. Make sure you have THEIR cell phone too. I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me. If the host doesn’t have a cell phone, or aren’t good at answering it, try and get a number for somebody else that will be at the party such as a co-worker, friend, or spouse.

If you have multiple shows that day, let the client know. You can let them know in advance that you have a strict start time because you have another show immediately after. By communicating these things in advance there will be less surprises for everyone involved.

Step 5: Even though I love technology and hate paper, I always print the “Show details sheet” and Google Maps directions.

On the printout I write down the time I need to leave the house. If its a show early in the morning I’ll also write down the time that I need to wake up. Know how long it takes to get ready, get into costume, and to load your show into your vehicle so that you can “hit the road” on time. Plan for any stops you need to make including filling up the gas tank.


When you print out your Google Maps directions, it also gives you an option to include “street view” or “Maps” which will show each turn you need to make. I exclude these when I’m traveling in a familiar area, but I include them when I’m traveling in an unfamiliar city. Its good to have this information available to you if you need it. I have these printouts in case my cell phone dies, or I have no data network available. I print out my show information sheet, google maps directions, and staple it together into a package.


I combine my Google Maps print out sheet along with my GPS directions. On my iPhone I have the TomTom GPS App that gives me turn by turn directions. With the app I can just listen to the audio turn-by-turn directions instead of looking down at the paper. When you first punch in the address to the GPS it gives you an overview of your route. You’ll notice that the mini-map shows the same route that google maps gave me. This tells me its taking me to the same spot– a good sign! Little checks like this will make sure you don’t get lost.



If you do a lot of out of town traveling, here’s a great tip I picked up from Rick Allen.

Lots of cities name and street names can be duplicated within the same province/state/ and city. This can cause major problems if you and the client are talking about different locations. I’ve heard stories of performers taking flights into a city, only to discover that they’re in the WRONG STATE! When you’re booking the show, along with the venue name and address, also get the postal code. Postal Codes are completely unique. By using postal codes in combination with the city name, street number and address it will lead you to the correct area. If you use postal codes you’ll at least be in the right part of town if you get lost!

There are never any good excuses for being late. By having a process that you go through for each and every booking will help you arrive on time!