Skribblez the Clown — aka Ryan Scanlon — collected enough loose change to buy and remodel a condemned house near the Second Chance Village, where he recently taught a four-week course on panhandling.

The basics

Skribblez said pick high-traffic intersections near highway off-ramps, preferably where one-way streets cross. This allows access to two rows of cars hugging the same curb. The beggar can pivot with ease each time the stoplights turns red.

If a good spot is taken, $5 or less might convince your competition to scram. Many panhandlers are out for a beer or pack of cigarettes, said Scanlon, who sets a daily goal of $100.

The rules

1. Honesty sells. Don’t lie. Exaggerate your poverty, your needs, whatever ails you. Cold? Shiver. Hot? Work up a sweat. “They’re going to pay you for what they perceive to be honesty.”

2.“Don’t cater to the haters. Work on the ones who are willing to give.” Donors fall into three categories: true givers, shock-and-awe givers and haters. Ignore the last.

3. If offered work, take a name and number — not a ride. Speaking from bad experience: “A clown falls down so you do not have to. Do not get in those cars. Let them drive by.”

4. Drop a hand when a car rolls up, signalling — without being too pushy — that you’re ready to accept a buck.

5. Always be gracious. “That’s your service, to be thankful.”

6. If you have to talk, don’t speak too fast. “They’ll think you’re on drugs,” he said.

Sign-making 101

1. Use cardboard (“It’s traditional; it’s what people expect from the desperate on the street.”)

2. Keep it pithy, legible. Use thick, dark lettering. Don’t worry too much about spelling, “unless that’s a gimmick you’re working with.”

3. “If you don’t write ‘God bless,’ at least say bless you.”

4. Panic signs work, but you can’t be in crisis all the time. “If all you ever want is diapers, they’ll get tired of it. They’ll probably do a newspaper article on you [as a con artist].”

5. “Your sign is not to convey information. It is to make them feel something they didn’t before they rolled up on you.” Skribblez said he can make up to $7 an hour empty-handed, holding nothing but his emotion.

6. Be prepared to defend your sign. “You have to have the answers to all the questions they’ll ask you. That’s why you always tell the truth.”

—Doug Livingston