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Topic: Rates Faq, Version 1.0
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Jun 27, 2006 01:25AM)
Hiya,

I see a lot of posts about rates and thought I'd try to offer a little insight...

This will be directed at the Strolling or Walk Around Performer:

I believe, and this is simply my opinion, that you should work at a level system. What level you're at will depend on a number of things, such as:

[b]A)[/b] How many shows you've done.
[b]B)[/b] Whether any of those shows have booked you again.
[b]C)[/b] You're popularity, or demand.
[b]D)[/b] What your clients are willing, or able, to afford.
[b]E)[/b] How much you want to work.

Based on those factors, you can start to gauge whether you're a:

[b]A) Beginner[/b]/ Let's say 1-25 shows
[b]B) Occasional Worker[/b]/ 25-100 shows
[b]C) Semi-Pro Worker[/b]/100-200 shows
[b]C) Pro Worker[/b]/ 200+
[b]D) Superstar[/b]/ No one cares how many you've done, you're so cool, with it, etc.

[b]What constitutes a show?[/b]

A 'show' should be any environment where you're able to approach complete strangers and say, "Hi, My name is Jamie D. Grant and the host of this party has asked/hired me to entertain you for a few minutes. I'm a Magician."

As you can see, showing your family, even if they're all in the same room, some card tricks doesn't count. You have to be there at the request of the planner.

[b]The Rates[/b]

We'll start at the top- I generally price for 1 and 2 hour shows.

[b]Superstar:[/b]
Whatever the heck you can get.

[b]Pro Worker:[/b]
2 hours- the average rent for a very nice 1 bedroom apartment in your city.
1 hour should be the rent divided by 2, plus 10%. So here in Vancouver it would be-
2 hours=$1000, 1 hour=$600

[b]Semi-Pro Worker:[/b]
2 hours- half of the Worker's 2 hours.
1 hour- half of the Worker's 1 hour.

[b]Occasional Worker:[/b]
2 hours- half of the Semi-Pro's 2 hours.
1 hour- half of the Semi Pro's 1 hour.

[b]Beginner:[/b]
2 hours- You shouldn't be doing 2 hour gigs as a beginner, in my opinion.
1 hour- Free, volunteer, or exchange for goods. Now when I say 'Free' I'm not saying that you should approach IBM and say that you'd love to do an hour of magic for nothing at their Christmas Party.

If you're a beginner, you should be looking for shows at places where you're able to volunteer. Old folk's homes, Scouts, whatever you can find. But it needs to be an event. Maybe an awards ceremony, for their cocktail party, something that's organized.

The way I started was at local art shows and I'd trade for Art- I think it's always important to give your magic Worth- even at the beginning. When you go to a volunteer gig, it seems like you're being generous and the Worth you're getting is Satisfaction. But if it's for an Art Show or Play Opening- ask for art or tickets. Never say the word 'Free'.

I guess that's about it. According to the above examples, my level system looks like this:

[b]Beginner:[/b]
Barter.

[b]Occasional Worker:[/b]
1 hour for $150
2 hours for $250

[b]Semi-Pro Worker:[/b]
1 hour for $300
2 hours for $500
this is the level I'm currently at but am planning on bumping up soon to...

[b]Pro Worker:[/b]
1 hour for $600
2 hours for $1000

[b]Superstar:[/b]
Millions!

Of course, all those factors we mentioned in the beginning (A-E at the top) will play a big part in whether you should bump yourself up, or down- don't base your level solely on the number of shows you've done. As with anything, Quality is worh more than Quantity. You need to have a good idea of how you're viewed by potential clients and how you're being received by current ones.

That's about it. [b]Don't undercharge[/b], and give yourself credit! We're magicians!

Jamie D. Grant
Message: Posted by: reminis16 (Jun 27, 2006 01:47AM)
Great Post!
Message: Posted by: mrnavyblue (Jun 27, 2006 06:01AM)
Well thougt out nice one
Message: Posted by: mc_magi (Jun 27, 2006 04:30PM)
Great, awesome post! Thanks Mr Grant. This is especially helpful to me since I live in Vancouver as well
Many thanks once again ;)
Message: Posted by: Jeff Corn (Jun 27, 2006 04:56PM)
Very helpful information. I'm trying to organize a roundtable discussion on this subject rather soon.
Message: Posted by: TKE (Jun 27, 2006 05:23PM)
Thanks for the insight
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 28, 2006 11:56AM)
What about the ability to do other shows? What about the fact that you may book lots of other work from the one gig evey week?

Seems as if we have a great start. But need to go a lot deeper.

My hope is to point out less with actual figures, and more helping people think about what subjective standards are and how to apply them.

The actual numbers mean nothing but the subjective standards that need to be thought out and applied are more important I think.

Getting what you state in say Chicago is easy. In Key Largo it is underpriced, in Utah it may be overpriced.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Jun 28, 2006 08:44PM)
Hiya,

Dannydoyle, I'm glad you jumped in on this. Those figures are actually just examples based on the rent equation, listed under [b]The Rates[/b] (I didn't come up with that idea but I can't remember where I read it) which would help to figure out what's appropriate to your city...

Let's hear some more thoughts,

Jamie D. Grant
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 28, 2006 10:07PM)
Well as I said it is really more of an equasion with a ton of variables.
Those are what to concentrate on and figuring out what each one is worth to you.

I did a restaurant gig almost for free, BUT I booked a minimum of 4 $500 shows per week and they let me off whenever I felt like it. So was I dumb to do it for free? Many say yes. My bank said no.

So lets concentrate on variables instead of numbers.

Do you book shows from the place?

Do you make up a lot of dough in tips?

Can you work at your leisure to do other work that is higher paying?

Cost of doing business in the place. Do you live close?

Many places let your family eat for free. Depends on the deal.

These are just some variables that make up an equasion. YOU have to figure out how important each one is to you personally.

Heck maybe you just want to do the job to unwind on weekends. I don't but maybe that is important to you.

My recomendation is to get as many of those variables in check as possible and define them so they are less variable.
Message: Posted by: dominik (Jun 29, 2006 05:36AM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-27 02:25, Jamie D. Grant wrote:
[b]What constitutes a show?[/b]

A 'show' should be any environment where you're able to approach complete strangers and say, "Hi, My name is Jamie D. Grant and the host of this party has asked/hired me to entertain you for a few minutes. I'm a Magician."

As you can see, showing your family, even if they're all in the same room, some card tricks doesn't count. You have to be there at the request of the planner.

[/quote]

What if I approach a total stranger (or a group of total strangers), and I am not getting paid for it. Suppose they laugh, applaud, and tell their friends to watch that cool guy. Does that constitute a show, in your opinion?

And what's wrong with cards anyway? I do some coin routines and even the sponge balls, but almost anybody who has seen me before is requesting card tricks.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 29, 2006 08:08AM)
His point was that showing family some "tricks" does [b]not[/b] constitute a show.

He was not demeaning cards in any way, it was simply an example.
Message: Posted by: dominik (Jun 29, 2006 10:48AM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-29 09:08, Dannydoyle wrote:
His point was that showing family some "tricks" does NOT constitute a show.
He was not demeaning cards in any way, it was simply an example.
[/quote]
Got that.

In your opinion, do shows have to be paid to be counted as shows? To test new material, I like to go to my favorite pub and approach a group of total strangers and blow them away. Usually I inject the new material somewhere in the middle of my set. In my opinion, those are most realistic (and not the easiest) testing conditions for breaking in new material.

What about performing for people who have seen me do magic before, those who are neither close friends nor total strangers? They are easier to approach, but harder to blow away. Their expectations are so very high ;)
Message: Posted by: DoctaJones713 (Jun 29, 2006 11:54AM)
While I agree that there are many subjective factors that must be considered when deciding the price that you will set for your gigs, you have to have a relative starting point upon which to base yourself.

Jamie's suggestion of 2 hrs. for a very nice 1 bedroom apartment would be the relative starting point. From there you would use Danny's subjective factors to lock in on the exact price you should charge.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 29, 2006 04:52PM)
A professional gets paid for what he does. Pretty clear. Not too much grey area.

[b]You[/b] have a different standard for "blowing away" a group you randomly approach than one which has paid some good hard earned money to see you. Their standards are far different from watching someone in a pub for no money, and someone who has made the claim they are going to do a show.

Do you see the difference? It is colossal! They have nothing invested in you just approaching them in a pub, and "blowing them away". Once they pay, it takes on a new meaning for them and hopefully for you.

In my mind it is not the same thing. During a show no matter what the audience MUST be entertained. Not so in the other situation. Lots of things change.

Docta, like I said you even have to consider the subjective points before you even have a rough starting point. There [b]is no[/b] relative starting point. The subjective standards are what make it relative.

Your saying 2 different things. Lets say your relative starting point is $150 per hour. Not unreasonable. [b]But[/b] you can book 5 shows a week for 400 bucks each. You would be a maniac not to take the gig for $75 per hour. Your relative starting point has just cut in half. Which is my point. It makes it useless unless you know the subjective factors.

The factors which make them subjective are the ones which need to be considered. It is what keeps most guys from working or from working for what they are worth.

Tips also are a consideration. I worked relatively cheap (prior to purchasing the establishment) in Florida. [b]But[/b] made about $500 a night in tips. Should I just turn down tips and hold out for more money from the owner? Again it is all subjective.

It has been 20 years for me doing this, I haven't been asleep for all of it.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Jun 29, 2006 07:18PM)
Excellent points Danny.

I posted this thread for the completely uninitiated for them to get an idea of where to start. Every pro I know has a different system for what they get, but I think if you have no idea then this is a valid starting point.

As for tips, I'll leave it to you to field all questions on that. I should have specified that I work solely at Corporate Functions and Private Parties (no restaurants) where I wouldn't dream of accepting a tip unless I felt it would be detrimaental to my audience relationship. I also, and this is just me, would never do a show for free with the intent of making bookings from that gig. I get paid to work, and any show I do for free would be a volunteer gig for a cause.

Hope that clears up where I'm coming from. I'm glad we're getting different ideas going.

Jamie D. Grant
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 29, 2006 08:41PM)
My corporate event rate is [b]huge[/b] when compared to booking a recurring restaurant gig where I will get other things from.

No doubt.

I refuse to get into the tip thing. Take them or don't it is up to you. Both sides have merit. To me if you eliminate the possibility of tips, you shorten your list of available venues. So it seems dumb.

At events where I am paid my full fee I almost never take tips unless it is as you have described it as being. If the relationship suffers then yea. Generally speaking I will not and avoid it.

I don't do free shows in hopes of booking anything. But then again if you are there 10 years, and book regularly and are cut out of the budget, then you have a history of booking shows to look at. Like I said all relative. Which is my main point.

Avoid absolutes when thinking of this stuff. Absolutes close a lot more doors than they open.
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Aug 1, 2006 12:05PM)
Perhaps I missed it, but nobody seems to have commented on the level of skill that is relevant when setting a price.

I have seen many magicians doing self-working tricks and effects such as dynamic coins, which don't require any skill. They use cheap plastic props (that look gimmick ed) and can often be found in your local toy-shop.

I'm not saying that this is bad, but those people cannot charge the same rates as someone who does an Elmsley count with a key card double undercut flourish with a pack of cards.
Or fancy maneuvers with a coin, rope and ring etc.
These tricks require serious skill, and it shows. I've worked gigs next to other magicians who did these self-workers and they got no respect at all. I then came along to the same table and they refused to let me leave!

I know, to the client who pays the bill, they have no idea on the magicians level of skill. So its up the magician to explain that to them, and show them that you have quality effects, which is why you charge a little extra.

My two cents.

Stephen

P.s: I charge £65 per hour. Every hour. I have on average 3 shows per week. (Manchester, England)
I know that's cheap compared to the competition, but I still have clients who cannot afford that. So I thinks its the right price.
And I know some of you are going to laugh at that price. I don't care. You might be able to charge double. But I get repeat booking, I get happy clients and I get the opportunity to perform on a regular basis.
When everything about you is about money, and how much you can rip off the client for, then your only good trick is making their money disappear.

P.s. - At Christmas I charge £95.00 per hour.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 1, 2006 12:27PM)
Skill level is not relevant.

To the customer who pays, you are the best solution. Skill level is implied in the sale.

Your certainly not going to point out a [b]lack[/b] of it now are you?
Message: Posted by: SoCalPro (Aug 1, 2006 12:39PM)
"I charge £65 per hour"

What is this in USA money?
Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (Aug 1, 2006 02:43PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-01 13:39, SoCalPro wrote:
"I charge £65 per hour"

What is this in USA money?
[/quote]

http://www.xe.com/ucc :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 1, 2006 02:54PM)
There is another factor to consider. This is your competition and their prices.

I don't do kid shows any more. But I get at least 15 calls per week for them. These people are shopping for price. They don't realize that a good kid show is going to cost them $250 or more. I send all of them to a friend of mine who is an expert.

Strolling close-up at parties here is dreadfully low. There are way too many people here competing for the same party. I tell my agents how much I'll work for. There are a lot of $100 an hour magicians in Houston.

Restaurants are a different situation. In music, there is what we call "sit down gigs." These are jobs where you work the same place for four nights a week or more. The scale for these is lower than the scale for the kind of show where you set up in the afternoon, do the show and tear down. So a piano player in a restaurant may make, say $150 a night. But the same guy in a band doing a concert might make $250 -- this varies according to the scale in your town, of course.

An every night restaurant gig may only offer $100 a night. That's for about 4 hours of work. I won't do it, but there are a lot of guys who will.
Message: Posted by: SoCalPro (Aug 1, 2006 04:53PM)
KU7,
Is magic your only job?
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (Aug 3, 2006 09:58PM)
There are so many things wrong with KU7UK3's post I can't get my mind around where to start to respond to it.

Hopefully a wiser forumite than I, with more self-control than I have (shouldn't be hard to find!), will post a suitable reply.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Aug 3, 2006 10:21PM)
Lol,

I'll just say this,

"The Magic is You."

I'm sure Bill Palmer could rock (and by that, I mean Entertain) us all with a Svengali Deck :). Would I be fooled? Who knows, probably, lol. But would I be entertained? I'm sure...

jamie
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 4, 2006 12:26PM)
Jamie.... of course your pricing is in Canadian. :spinningcoin:
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Aug 4, 2006 05:00PM)
Hiya Pete!

Well, it's all based on the rent for a nice one bedroom apartment in your city. Thank goodness I pay my rent in Canadian, even though it's getting better :)

jdg
Message: Posted by: solrak29 (Aug 10, 2006 09:47PM)
Keeping the other factors in mind (i.e. Danny's and others), I like Jamie's basic idea. From a beginner's perspective. It kinda sets a goal and some tangible number that would mean something to someone. It don't think it is set in stone, but at least some sort of idea or guideline to help you make your decision on
your rate.

I also agree 100% that your skills at sleight of hand vs. selfworking is the not the issue. Though you could use it as a convincer to get more money in
negotiations, but I think that would be hard to sell if the person hiring you
does not know what an Elmsley count is :). It entertainment value in the end if you ask me and what your employer or client deems it is worth.

Sorry for getting side tracked...

Now here is where I think it hard wired based on Jamies level...correct me if I
am wrong.

So it would be safe to say, that before doing [b]any[/b] paid gigs that I stick with barter type method of payment up and untill my 25th show? Then after my 25th show I should re-negotiate (if I am working at an establishment) because I am at my next stage? What would be some good barting ideas? Also should there
be a price differential for specific type of shows. I'm assuming we're talking
solely on resturaunts and strolling, but I think each venue demands a different
pricing? Please shed some light here.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Aug 11, 2006 12:27AM)
Hi Solrak29,

Thanks for posting!

I would think that you probably shouldn't be approaching restaurants if you're still at the beginner level. In my opinion, your first 25 shows (this will differ from person to person, obviously) should be done for functions that are one offs (i.e art show, private party, friend's wedding, etc.).

By the time you start getting into Restaurants or Corporate Work, you'll really want to have your routines down and be comfortable with your performances- this, btw, might take a lot longer than people expect. Until that time, hit the streets looking for places where you can perform, make mistakes, and be comfortable. Then start going for the moohlah...

My 2 cents,

jdg
Message: Posted by: solrak29 (Aug 11, 2006 08:56PM)
Jamie thanks for the added advise here...

Please see my comments in-line...

[quote]
On 2006-08-11 01:27, Jamie D. Grant wrote:
I would think that you probably shouldn't be approaching retaurants if you're still at the beginner level.
[/quote]

I totally agree...I was thinking along the lines in your earlier posts, but thanks
for emphasising that.

[quote]
In my opinion, your first 25 shows (this will differ from person to person, obviously) should be done for functions that are one off's (i.e art show, private party, friend's wedding, etc.).
[/quote]

Any advise on finding these? Since street magic is not considered the same here...
or is it?

[quote]
By the time you start getting into Restaurants or Corporate Work, you'll really want to have your routines down and be comfortable with your performances- this, btw, might take a lot longer than people expect. Until that time, hit the streets looking for places where you can perform, make mistakes, and be comfortable. Then start going for the moohlah...
[/quote]

I agree whole heartedly. I am just starting on my routines...I don't like just
doing someone elses magic verbatim. I've been seriously pursuing this when I
read someones posts about "getting an act first"....

So once I have "my act"...and hit the 25 mark and have the done what you written
above...then its time to approach the world and say..."show me the money" :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 11, 2006 10:01PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-03 23:21, Jamie D. Grant wrote:
Lol,

I'll just say this,

"The Magic is You."

I'm sure Bill Palmer could rock (and by that, I mean Entertain) us all with a Svengali Deck :). Would I be fooled? Who knows, probably, lol. But would I be entertained? I'm sure...

jamie
[/quote]
I've sometimes been known to do the Svengali pitch with a borrowed deck.

Whether you do things that require sleight of hand only, all gimmicks or a mixture of the two is irrelevant. What matters is whether the audience knows that you are using any of these. The source of the magic should not be noticeable to the audience.

What ever you use to entertain the audience -- entertainment is the key word.

This said, the fellow who can work out of his pocket will probably be better at getting the audience to believe he is doing good magic than the guy who pulls a different deck of cards out of his briefcase for each of 25 different effects.
Message: Posted by: solrak29 (Aug 12, 2006 05:05PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-11 21:56, solrak29 wrote:
[quote]
In my opinion, your first 25 shows (this will differ from person to person, obviously) should be done for functions that are one off's (i.e art show, private party, friend's wedding, etc.).
[/quote]

Any advise on finding these? Since street magic is not considered the same here...
or is it?
[/quote]

Any thoughts on the above? And at what point would one consider themselves ready
even for this part?

I also thought to myself based on the beginning post that we're talking about 1 and
2 hour gigs. Would it be best to limit yourself to how long you do a gig based on
the number of people? For example, it is hard for me to see strolling magic for
2 hours for only 10 people. Just curious on this one.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Aug 12, 2006 07:26PM)
Hiya,

I would agree that when starting out you probably won't want to be doing 2 hour shows. You could even start out by doing half hour shows if need be. Try and find some local events to volunteer your services: old folks homes, friends functions, anything you can think of really. Even though you may be a beginner, you want to start off on the right track of approaching events. Something like, "Hi, I'm a local magician and I've finally decided to take my skills public. I'd love to do a 30 min show at your event in exchange for..." might work...

You should also try and look for events that will have more than 10 people. You'll find out that when starting, in my opinion, the more people there are,the easier it will be on you. If there's 1,000,000 people at one function then you could do 2 card effects all night. If there's only 1 person you might need a bit more :)

As for when you're ready it's hard to tell. You're probably best off asking a fellow local magician to take a look at your set (which includes your dress, demeanor, attitude, and effects).

jdg

p.s. also keep reading and searching here on the Café. There are a ton of posts regarding where and how to start.
Message: Posted by: solrak29 (Aug 14, 2006 09:13PM)
Thanks again Jamie, your points are well taken.

There was an earlier post about an IBM....

The IBM group that I belong to, do shows as a group...would you say this can
go down as a gig? I'm thinking yes.
Message: Posted by: wsduncan (Aug 16, 2006 09:59PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-29 17:52, Dannydoyle wrote:
A professional gets paid for what he does. Pretty clear. Not too much grey area.

YOU have a different standard for "blowing away" a group you randomly approach than one which has paid some good hard earned money to see you. Their standards are far different from watching someone in a pub for no money, and someone who has made the claim they are going to do a show.

Do you see the difference? It is colossal! They have nothing invested in you just approaching them in a pub, and "blowing them away". Once they pay, it takes on a new meaning for them and hopefully for you.
[/quote]

Danny,
My perception is that most of the time, when people see this sort of magic [i]they[/i] didn't pay anything. Their host or the resturant or someone else did. So does that still apply?

Here in Seattle, for example, we have Monday Night Magic shows at couple of local bookstores (they have stages for speakers / poetry readings, etc.) and people come out specifically to see a free magic show.

In my mind having people get out of their chairs and drive to the show is more of an investment than simply stumbling in and having dinner where I happen to be working, or being compelled to attend a company party where I've have been booked.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 18, 2006 08:50PM)
An investment of their time, yes definitely that applies if you ask me. Even more so when you put it that way. No doubt sir.
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Aug 20, 2006 09:08AM)
Thank You Jamie for your advice - translates well I thik using the rent thing - as for tips we don't do the tip thing in Australia - here people are supposed to be paid a decent wage for a decent job - very grateful for that - have watched videos of American drag performers running round the stage trying to fit in the odd bit of entertainment between collecting tips - hope that never comes here for magicians - quick trick - swing on a pole - collect a tip
Message: Posted by: fccfp (Aug 23, 2006 04:24AM)
I have not had a regular strolling gig for several years (25?). Recently I had the opportunity to speak to the manager at a local, family oriented, restaurant. This place caters specifically to families w/ young kids and is relatively inexpensive. (I don't eat there). They have me for two weeks and we will go from there.

Factors I took into consideration:
1) The restaurant caters to folks that don’t have a lot of green and what they get is probably around $6-10 per head.

2) They are trying this out to see if it is something they want to do. Manager is experimenting; owner is waiting to see what happens.

3) I believe (hope & pray?) that this gig will raise my visibility in my area, allow me to give out cards & collect names.

4) I hope to benefit from the publicity/advertising they do to promote the night. (ME!)

5) It will pay for an upcoming convention :)

6) I would enjoy doing it.

7) I will be able to say I was the “House Magician” @ (name of restaurant).

I quoted well below my regular rate for a birthday party and a fraction of what I get for larger shows. They offered me free meals there for my wife and me, we will not be taking them up on it. On the plus side, it is on my commute home from work and I won’t be lugging all my equipment, backdrop & PA. These are big pluses to me. I don’t think I would have done it for this amount if I had to drive an additional 20-30 minutes each way. If this turns out to be a regular, long-term arrangement, great, if not I won’t be too disappointed. For two appearances, it will still be fun. I would not do it for free, but the enjoyment factor is important to me.

Not everyone will agree with my reasoning. It works for me & that is enough. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 23, 2006 09:29AM)
Now think of it this way.

IF you book shows, how much will you get for those shows? Dosn't sound like people eating here can afford your regular show fee. Yea you get exposure, but what kind?

Being "House Magician" at a cheap restaurant, is that something you want to brag about?

Why don't you and your wife eat there? That should be your first question. It matters.

I am not saying don't do it, or it is right or wrong, just your coin has 2 sides.
Message: Posted by: Amon (Aug 24, 2006 07:16AM)
I'd be curious to find out how your new gig goes..let us know.
Message: Posted by: SoCalPro (Aug 26, 2006 03:47AM)
Hey Danny,
Here is my 2 cents..........
I currently perform at 5 restaurants a week. One of which is a low rate restaurant. You can get a steak, veggies, salad, AND soup for about 8 bucks. I do not get many gigs from it (that’s OK), I never make good tips from it (I don't accept tips anyway), and sometimes the guests are less than classy (sometimes downright dirty). Now for the good part. This restaurant has employed me for 13 years!!!!! That has been a guaranteed paycheck for 13 years!!!! I know this is an exception and not the rule, but they have had me EVERY WEEK through thick and thin, bad times and good times (kinda sounds like a marriage). Although I may not enjoy performing there every week, it has been a steady paycheck, and I have met some really nice people(no, really). Not to mention that it has given me a GREAT place to practice new magic.

Again, just my 2 cents, and NOT the norm (kinda funny cause the place is called NORMS). :)

JIM
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 26, 2006 08:41AM)
Hey Jim,
As I've always said, if it's worth it to YOU, personally, then it is great.

Look at the flip side of the coin though, too. A guaranteed, poor paycheck for 13 years.

Heck, I only started 20 years ago. At 13 years ago, I probably didn't really deserve a fantastic job!
Message: Posted by: Magicshore (Sep 8, 2006 11:30PM)
Jim,

3 cheers for you. Correct me if I'm wrong...but I think your heart, the love of magic, and your desire to give people a good time, makes you a true giver. I'll take that any day over a pocket of more, more, more, more money. Most won't get it, though.

John
Message: Posted by: Montethrower (Oct 21, 2006 11:23AM)
What a brilliant post!! I'm glad I found the link on the tablehoppers page. !!!

o.0


Monty
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 23, 2006 12:42AM)
Glad to be of service-I'm thinking of bumping myself up a level for this Christmas. We'll see how it goes...

jdg
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Feb 20, 2007 07:15PM)
Just thought I'd revisit this thread. I should also mention that when I wrote this I was referring to Corporate Functions/Private Events and not restaurant work. Perhaps we need a separate restaurant FAQ...

Hope everyone's well,

jamie
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 28, 2007 01:10PM)
I was just surfing old threads and thought this one might need some new insight from the new workers who have jumped into the Café pool in the last seven months...

jdg
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 29, 2007 09:59AM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-28 21:44, Jamie D. Grant wrote:
Those figures are actually just examples based on the rent equation, listed under [b]The Rates[/b] (I didn't come up with that idea but I can't remember where I read it) which would help to figure out what's appropiate to your city...[/quote]

Hi Jamie -

You mentioned in this post that you can't remember where you read about this rent calculation idea.

You might have read the "rent" calculation idea in [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/search_post.php?topic=75604&forum=5&post=3727853]this post[/url] from TheTopBanana, on this older thread: [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=75604&forum=5]Cafe thread titled... Fee for strolling magic at private parties?[/url]

I commented on it, when he posted the idea on that thread back in July 1994, because I thought it was a clever way to calculate your fee. I'm sure the idea didn't originate with him, though.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 18, 2008 02:29PM)
Thanks for the history Donald!

~jamie
Message: Posted by: Barry Donovan (Oct 19, 2008 12:56AM)
Wow it took you a year to reply jamie!

anyways my thoughts on gigs, as a beginner you say to limit your shows,
I'm on my 5th strolling/table event next week and all have lasted 2 hours so far, the 1st lasted nearly 3 hours, however I wasnt stuck for ideas, I just kept moving and performing, I never realised how fast the time goes until I check my watch later on. but you know when its time to finish, not based on time but when you can stand up and realise every table has been performed for.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 19, 2008 04:00PM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-19 01:56, Purist wrote:
Wow it took you a year to reply jamie!

[/quote]

Lol, I've been too busy making bottles...

~jamie
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (May 15, 2009 01:05AM)
Still think this is a useful idea for a thread...
Message: Posted by: Michael K (May 27, 2009 09:07PM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-15 02:05, Jamie D. Grant wrote:
Still think this is a useful idea for a thread...
[/quote]

Yes very much so. Many thanks for the generous and experienced information.

Michael
aka Professor Fountain
Message: Posted by: abc (May 28, 2009 09:41PM)
This is one of the first threads in months that I have read beginning to end and I actually think it should be made a sticky thread. I remember when I started out, getting to the fee was a really difficult decision. Many new magicians would find the information in here very valuable.
Message: Posted by: chrisgq (May 29, 2009 06:26PM)
Very nice post! Very informative....thanks all
Message: Posted by: Decibel33 (May 29, 2009 07:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-01 13:05, ku7uk3 wrote:
Perhaps I missed it, but nobody seems to have commented on the level of skill that is relevant when setting a price.

I have seen many magicians doing self-working tricks and effects such as dynamic coins, which don't require any skill. They use cheap plastic props (that look gimmick ed) and can often be found in your local toy-shop.

I'm not saying that this is bad, but those people cannot charge the same rates as someone who does an Elmsley count with a key card double undercut flourish with a pack of cards.
Or fancy maneuvers with a coin, rope and ring etc.
These tricks require serious skill, and it shows. I've worked gigs next to other magicians who did these self-workers and they got no respect at all. I then came along to the same table and they refused to let me leave!

I know, to the client who pays the bill, they have no idea on the magicians level of skill. So its up the magician to explain that to them, and show them that you have quality effects, which is why you charge a little extra.

My two cents.

Stephen

P.s: I charge £65 per hour. Every hour. I have on average 3 shows per week. (Manchester, England)
I know that's cheap compared to the competition, but I still have clients who cannot afford that. So I thinks its the right price.
And I know some of you are going to laugh at that price. I don't care. You might be able to charge double. But I get repeat booking, I get happy clients and I get the opportunity to perform on a regular basis.
When everything about you is about money, and how much you can rip off the client for, then your only good trick is making their money disappear.

P.s. - At Christmas I charge £95.00 per hour.
[/quote]

I don't know why, but it has always bothered me that magicians seem to need to prove themselves to other magicians. Some magicians get so caught up with how much skill they can display, they forget about entertainment. I'm going to tell you a true story minus names and locations.

I was working in San Diego with a man named Charles Brown, a local entertainer...I'm kidding! Okay, here's the real story:

When I had first started performing (years after I started in magic), I worked strolling magic for a shopping center. I was using gimmicked coins, cards, and Tenyo magic products. I was not the only entertainer there. Walking around somewhere was another magician who used pure sleight of hand for all his cards, coins and other magic. He was a real flourisher! And he had many years on me. By the end of the two hours that we were there, one of the shopping center's admin came to me and told me that their shoppers had been talking about me! I'm not making this up, but at one point of the conversation, he said to me, "People are indicating they prefer your magic over *other guy's* magic." I was floored!!!

Bottom line...entertain lay people, not magicians. There aren't too many lay people (if any at all) who are going to walk away saying, "Wow, did you see how well that magician could spread those cards!" or "That coin roll was the best part of the trick!" No, they're going to say "And then the coin changed in my hand!" and "He made the card magically turn face down!".

Ever since that first review, I've continued to use gimmicked magic. Can I do an double lift? Sure. But I'm not good at it! I don't like doing it. Can I do a coin roll? Nope! I don't even try!

I don't think it's a bad thing to show off with flourishes, but I DO think it's a bad thing to say "he has less skill because he can't flourish". Magic should be about entertaining. Period. How well you are at that is the real indicator as to skill level!

Oh, and sorry for picking on your post, ku7uk3. I hope you take no offense to it.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (May 29, 2009 08:32PM)
FWIW...

I worked restaurants 3-5 nights/week for a lot of years.

At one point, I worked the same place 4, sometimes 5 nights EVERY WEEK for about 2 years. I didn't charge them much. I don't solicit tips, but unless I'm instructed not to accept them, I take them when they are offerred. At this place, I made as much and often far more in tips than I did in pay from the store. In addition, I booked a ton of gigs off it, and my "chops" were at their best ever. I got $30 an hour for 2 hours a night, plus a meal, plus tips and bookings. Not a lot of cash, maybe, but not bad for a couple hours work at a BBQ joint in Middleton, Idaho (population at the time about 1500, and only 5 minutes from my house).

As Jamie points out, restaurants are vastly different from one-off corporate gigs. I typically don't do JUST strolling at a corporate gig. I usually book an after-dinner show, and I try to up-sale them on strolling during the cocktail hour. The reason I do this is simple: I usually have to get there before the event starts to set up my PA and act, so I'm there anyway--might as well make a little extra jack during the "down time" until my show.

Here's what I do...

Let's say I'm talking to the client, and she has just booked a 60-minute platform act after dinner for an audience of several hundred, for say, $750. I would then mention strolling magic, explain what it is, and how it is a great warm-up, etc, etc. I'd state that my prices for strolling are cheaper than my platform show because I don't have to load/unload, set-up/tear down. I normally get $400 per hour for it, but since she has booked me for the platform show and I'm going to be there anyway, I'll give her a big discount if she'd like to add strolling to the booking, say 60 minutes for another $250. Much of the time, they go for this, so I get an extra $250 without much more work during a time where I'd be standing around waiting anyway--everybody wins.

Further, the strolling allows me to make personal contacts that I wouldn't make from just a platform show, resulting in more long-term income.

One more thing: I've heard and read a lot of people saying that you should never join the client for dinner at the banquet. You're supposed to decline, and these folks say it makes you somehow seem more prestigious and professional. I TOTALLY disagree with this philosophy! I WANT to sit down over a meal with corporate bigshots and their spouses (who are often bigshots at another corporation) every chance I get! It gives me an opportunity to make more contacts, it makes it more likely that they'll remember me for repeats and referrals, and often I make new friends. I think you are missing out on strong relationship/networking opportunities if you decline having dinner with them.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (May 30, 2009 12:33AM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-29 21:32, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
FWIW...

I worked restaurants 3-5 nights/week for a lot of years.

At one point, I worked the same place 4, sometimes 5 nights EVERY WEEK for about 2 years. I didn't charge them much. I don't solicit tips, but unless I'm instructed not to accept them, I take them when they are offerred. At this place, I made as much and often far more in tips than I did in pay from the store. In addition, I booked a ton of gigs off it, and my "chops" were at their best ever. I got $30 an hour for 2 hours a night, plus a meal, plus tips and bookings. Not a lot of cash, maybe, but not bad for a couple hours work at a BBQ joint in Middleton, Idaho (population at the time about 1500, and only 5 minutes from my house).

As Jamie points out, restaurants are vastly different from one-off corporate gigs. I typically don't do JUST strolling at a corporate gig. I usually book an after-dinner show, and I try to up-sale them on strolling during the cocktail hour. The reason I do this is simple: I usually have to get there before the event starts to set up my PA and act, so I'm there anyway--might as well make a little extra jack during the "down time" until my show.

Here's what I do...

Let's say I'm talking to the client, and she has just booked a 60-minute platform act after dinner for an audience of several hundred, for say, $750. I would then mention strolling magic, explain what it is, and how it is a great warm-up, etc, etc. I'd state that my prices for strolling are cheaper than my platform show because I don't have to load/unload, set-up/tear down. I normally get $400 per hour for it, but since she has booked me for the platform show and I'm going to be there anyway, I'll give her a big discount if she'd like to add strolling to the booking, say 60 minutes for another $250. Much of the time, they go for this, so I get an extra $250 without much more work during a time where I'd be standing around waiting anyway--everybody wins.

Further, the strolling allows me to make personal contacts that I wouldn't make from just a platform show, resulting in more long-term income.

One more thing: I've heard and read a lot of people saying that you should never join the client for dinner at the banquet. You're supposed to decline, and these folks say it makes you somehow seem more prestigious and professional. I TOTALLY disagree with this philosophy! I WANT to sit down over a meal with corporate bigshots and their spouses (who are often bigshots at another corporation) every chance I get! It gives me an opportunity to make more contacts, it makes it more likely that they'll remember me for repeats and referrals, and often I make new friends. I think you are missing out on strong relationship/networking opportunities if you decline having dinner with them.
[/quote]

Just wanted to comment on the last bit - I whole heartedly asgree. Take the opportunity to allow your client the chance to know you PERSONALLY. A personal relationship functions just a little differently than a business one.

This can give you a distinct advantage for future bookings.

Great idea.

Best,
Robert
Message: Posted by: Kevinr (May 30, 2009 04:18PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-01 15:54, Bill Palmer wrote:
An every night restaurant gig may only offer $100 a night. That's for about 4 hours of work. I won't do it, but there are a lot of guys who will.

[/quote]

I hear you Bill BUT in that same 4 hours they may make $130 in tips so they are making $230 bucks (counting the $100 they are getting paid) Plus sold gigs for the weekend.. So they are getting paid $230 for marketing... NOT BAD!
Message: Posted by: spatrick (May 30, 2009 11:34PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-01 15:43, Alym Amlani wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-08-01 13:39, SoCalPro wrote:
"I charge £65 per hour"

What is this in USA money?
[/quote]

http://www.xe.com/ucc :)
[/quote]

So whats that in Canadian money? ;-)

S. Patrick
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Feb 8, 2012 08:47PM)
It's almost time to update this thread to 3.0!
Message: Posted by: yin_howe (Feb 22, 2012 02:29AM)
Great post.. wouldn't found it if not for the bump up..
Message: Posted by: Hansel (Feb 22, 2012 06:36AM)
Jamie:
Excellent Post !!!!
I hope to saw your writing in many other topics ! ( Group Approach,How many tricks,Audience Management,Marketing )
Thanks,
-Hansel
Message: Posted by: ThatsJustWrong! (Feb 22, 2012 11:42AM)
[quote]
On 2012-02-08 21:47, Jamie D. Grant wrote:
It's almost time to update this thread to 3.0!
[/quote]

For Criminey's sake, Jamie, please do and hurry. We need to know the going rates these days because I've been carrying this IR around [b]every-frickin'-where[/b] and my chiropractor's copay is killing me!

:) :) :)
Message: Posted by: gadfly3d (Feb 22, 2012 11:59AM)
Guys the price for a show is determined by 1. what you will work for and 2. What someone is willing to pay.

Gil Scott
Message: Posted by: Leland (Feb 22, 2012 01:32PM)
Ask for a lot of $$ and hope you get it?
Message: Posted by: ThatsJustWrong! (Feb 22, 2012 06:47PM)
I tried that with a monkey, Leland, and it didn't work. Still no monkey. :(
Message: Posted by: Eric the Excellent (Feb 22, 2012 06:58PM)
I realized today that I had not commented on this thread, despite it giving me grand advice. So, thanks, everyone! This seems like an excellent plan to start with.
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (Feb 26, 2012 02:07AM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-27 02:25, Jamie D. Grant wrote:

[b]Pro Worker:[/b]
2 hours- the average rent for a very nice 1 bedroom apartment in your city.
1 hour should be the rent divided by 2, plus 10%. So here in Vancouver it would be-
2 hours=$1000, 1 hour=$600

[/quote]

Isn't 10% actually $550? $600 would be 20%.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Dec 10, 2012 02:31PM)
Hey Gang!

I posted a "RATES FAQ 2.0" a year or so ago and thought I'd repost it here so it's all in the same place:

[i]Previously...[/i]

Hiya Gang,

I just read another thread about rates and thought I'd repost this here (I wrote this on another forum 4 years ago) with some updates. 2 things right off the bat, though:

[b]1)[/b] Never undercharge
[b]2)[/b] You don't have the event booked until the 50 % deposit has been deposited into your bank account (and cleared!)

Okay. here we go:



This will be directed at the Strolling or Walk Around Performer:

I believe, and this is simply my opinion, that you should work at a level system. What level you're at will depend on a number of things, such as:

[b]A)[/b] How many shows you've done.
[b]B)[/b] Whether any of those shows have booked you again.
[b]C)[/b] You're popularity, or demand.
[b]D)[/b] What your clients are willing, or able, to afford.
[b]E)[/b] How much you want to work.

Based on those factors, you can start to gauge whether you're a:

[b]A)[/b] Beginner/ Let's say 1-25 shows
[b]B)[/b] Occasional Worker/ 25-100 shows
[b]C)[/b] Semi-Pro Worker/100-200 shows
[b]D)[/b] Pro Worker/ 200+
[b]E)[/b] Superstar/ No one cares how many you've done, you're so cool, with it, etc.

[i]What constitutes a show?[/i]

A 'show' should be any environment where you're able to approach complete strangers and say, "Hi, My name is Jamie D. Grant and the host of this party has asked/hired me to entertain you for a few minutes. I'm a Magician."

As you can see, showing your family, even if they're all in the same room, some card tricks doesn't count. You have to be there at the request of the planner.

[b]The Rates[/b]

We'll start at the top- I generally price for 1 and 2 hour shows.

[b]Superstar[/b]:
Whatever the heck you can get.

[b]Pro Worker[/b]:
2 hours- the average rent for a very nice 1 bedroom apartment in your city.
1 hour should be the rent divided by 2, plus 10%. So here in Vancouver it would be-
2 hours=$1000, 1 hour=$600

[b]Semi-Pro Worker[/b]:
2 hours- half of the Worker's 2 hours.
1 hour- half of the Worker's 1 hour.

[b]Occasional Worker[/b]:
2 hours- half of the Semi-Pro's 2 hours.
1 hour- half of the Semi Pro's 1 hour.

[b]Beginner[/b]:
2 hours- You shouldn't be doing 2 hour gigs as a beginner, in my opinion.
1 hour- Free, volunteer, or exchange for goods. Now when I say 'Free' I'm not saying that you should approach Apple and say that you'd love to do an hour of magic for nothing at their Christmas Party.

If you're a beginner, you should be looking for shows at places where you're able to volunteer. Old folk's homes, Scouts, whatever you can find. But it needs to be an event. Maybe an awards ceremony, for their cocktail party, something that's organized.

The way I started was at local art shows and I'd trade for Art- I think it's always important to give your magic Worth- even at the beginning. When you go to a volunteer gig, it seems like you're being generous and the Worth you're getting is Satisfaction. But if it's for an Art Show or Play Opening- ask for art or tickets. Never say the word 'Free'.

I guess that's about it. According to the above examples, my level system looks like this:

[b]Beginner[/b]:
Barter.

[b]Occasional Worker[/b]:
1 hour for $150
2 hours for $250

[b]Semi-Pro Worker[/b]:
1 hour for $300
2 hours for $500

[b]Pro Worker[/b]:
1 hour for $600
2 hours for $1000


[b]Superstar[/b]:
Thousands!

Of course, all those factors we mentioned in the beginning (A-E at the top) will play a big part in whether you should bump yourself up, or down- don't base your level solely on the number of shows you've done. As with anything, Quality is worth more than Quantity. You need to have a good idea of how you're viewed by potential clients and how you're being received by current ones.

That's about it. Don't undercharge, and give yourself credit!

Jamie D. Grant
http://www.Professional-Magician.com

[b]UPDATES/September 2010[/b]

[b]1)[/b] Never listen to what another magician tells you he makes. The competition will always try and intimidate you by saying they make more. Don't worry about it.

[b]2)[/b] Be brutally honest with yourself. Are you ready to take on a gig? If it doesn't work out- you'll burn that client forever. I've done the same company's Christmas Party 7 years in a row. That's several thousand dollars that could be thrown out the window if you take the fist gig before you're ready.

[b]3)[/b] Send a contract. Read that sentence again.

I hope that helps!
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Dec 10, 2012 02:34PM)
[b]UPDATES Dec. 2012:[/b]

At the end of this Magic Friday episode show I talk a bit more on this subject...

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnJBfXIt684&feature=youtu.be][img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tyr4Od7MlBI/UH-MxQCH4wI/AAAAAAAACdQ/WHgT8Cxlm3w/s1600/watch_on_youtube.png[/img][/url]

And, needless to say, my word in not the be all, end all, but is just what I have found works for me. If it can help even one other person, then I'm totally happy!
Message: Posted by: AndyLuka (Dec 11, 2012 08:54AM)
Wow this is an awesome thread. Thanks for the Bump Jamie