Not only am I a huge Conan fan, but I’m also a huge fan of Patton Oswalt. And while this clip is aimed at simply being a funny story about a clown at a children’s party, it truly speaks volumes about the way that people shop for entertainment.

If you’re planning a large event for a company party, meeting, or even a college, there is a lot to take into account. This video articulates these concepts perfectly, and if you weren’t able to pick up on each element, here is a quick cheat sheet to take into consideration when thinking about hiring entertainment:

Experience – The amount of experience that an entertainer has should provide piece of mind in what value they will be able to provide your event. If your entertainer can boast that they have either a long amount of time as an entertainer, or have performed at very notable events, then you can tell that they likely will be able to provide you with a great show for your group.

Quality – The amount of quality can usually be related to the length/amount of experience that a performer has. Of course you want great quality for your event. That quality can be translated to things like: the act, how well they can related to your audience, the packages they can provide to create the best event possible.

Price – I cannot tell you what kind of budget you should have. I also cannot tell you that there is a “going rate” for any sort of entertainer. Sure, there are certain expectations. But if the previous two qualities are present in the performers act and overall business practices, then it should not come as a shock that your entertainer might charge a firm fee. But one thing is for sure; when it comes to entertainment, you get what you pay for. If you aim for the lowest fee possible, you will either get an inexperienced entertainer with a low quality show, or you will get an entertainer who was likely beat down in their price and may not try as hard. Sure, I’m a bit biased, but don’t think that lowest price is necessarily the best option.

The point is that you must do your homework on every act you consider. And, you must have a clear idea of what goals you want for your event. In this case, Patton Oswalt’s friend hired an entertainer with none of the first two qualities, and likely assumed that there was a “going rate” for a local clown. As you can see, there was definitely a sense of regret for not having done more research for their event.