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Topic: Get a free copy of the 2012 US Magician Salary Survey
Message: Posted by: amakar (Mar 29, 2012 03:27PM)
Hi Guys -

In the corporate world, websites like glassdoor.com or monster.com provide salary ranges by profession and location.
For our magic market, there isn't an index or any market research that indicates the average rate for specific magic markets.
My goal is to fix that and provide a resource for magicians.

I put together a short survey that we can use to create a market report for rates across our market segments.
Now before everyone starts worrying about a local competitor stealing their pricing strategy, let me assure you the survey is anonymous.
All responses will be aggregated and summarized.

However, if you wish to receive a copy of the survey results, please enter your email address in the survey.

In the spirit of magicians helping magicians, I think this will be a valuable report.

Please take the survey at:


If you have any questions, please let me know!

Message: Posted by: Vick (Mar 29, 2012 05:09PM)
Wow, I'd like to see the results on that survey.

From what I can tell there is a difference on booking fees depending on what you do, how you do it and where you live/perform. You can go to gigmasters and see what some performers charge. I see guys in my markets charging 50% less for the same type show and I see a few with quality stage acts charging more.

Magicians (and people in general) tend to either go a little higher when saying what they earn to look better or a bit lower to throw off the market or not let on to how successful they are.

If I recall statistics and probability taught me you need about 10,000 pieces of data to even things out (other might correct be here)

Posted: Mar 29, 2012 6:12pm
Also my rates change by the season, my fees in May are different than October and December due to market demand. Are ranges allowed in the survey? My fees my change for the same show due to travel. A corporate show in DC close to where I live is a different fee than if I am traveling to say Atlantic City
Message: Posted by: amakar (Mar 29, 2012 05:18PM)

Thanks for the feedback.
The responses are open text field so feel free to add ranges.


Message: Posted by: Vick (Mar 29, 2012 05:20PM)
Also it depends on what is going into the show, I can perform a corporate show without large illusions and that is one fee structure. Add Houdini's Metamorphosis or having the CEO appear and the fee structure changes.

Posted: Mar 29, 2012 6:21pm
I did, thanks for letting everyone know. I am very interested in seeing the results.
Message: Posted by: amakar (Mar 29, 2012 10:12PM)
The survey is getting some good responses!

I appreciate everyone's contributions! Please pass the word to you fellow magicians.

I'll keep the survey open for a few weeks and then assemble the data for the contributors to review.


Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Mar 30, 2012 12:14PM)
Just filled out the survey. I will look forward to the results. Thanks for setting this up. I think the point Vick made about there being so many variables will somewhat confound the results, but it is a very good starting point. I also think there are similiar issues in providing income levels with any profession, as there too there would be variables unexplained. Good luck with the project.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Mar 30, 2012 01:11PM)
You've got to be kidding.
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Mar 30, 2012 02:48PM)
What benefit would such a survey provide myself or any one individual? I'm pretty sure that this wouldn't give reason to make any changes. Just a curiosity perhaps?

I'm having difficulty understanding. Some people charge $100, others $20,000. Just because the average is $900 (for example), doesn't mean much. Does it?

If you are a salaried worker, then perhaps you will use the info to ask for a raise or decide to move elsewhere. But for independent business people where we create our own level of value?
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Mar 30, 2012 03:13PM)
Agreed with Scott! and what I make is my own business. magicians are notorious for trying to find out what others are charging to compare themselves.

what I charge is for me to know and that's it in my opinion.

just my feelings

Message: Posted by: Vick (Mar 30, 2012 03:18PM)
You have a great point about we set out own prices and value

For me it's curiosity, I've never done restaurant work so I'm curious what the pay range is (I've heard a very wide range, from free food to $350 per hour and honestly am not sure what to beleive ).

If a thousand+ performers were to fill the survey out then the data might be somewhat valid, even with all the variances.

Would it change my fee structure ... no. Could I base anything on it .. no
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Mar 30, 2012 04:28PM)
That's $700 for a 2 hr gig at a restaurant.

Let's say the restaurant has a 10% entertainment budget (does any restaurant have a budget that large for magic?).
That would mean that the restaurant is making $3500 an hour.
At $10 a plate, that's 350 plates per hour. 35 new plates every 6 minutes. Dude must be working a stadium size restaurant. Cooks going nuts.
At $20 a plate, that's 175 diners per hour. 17 plates in 6 minutes. Dude must be working a huge buffet line.
At $50 a plate, that's 70 diners per hour. Every 6 minutes a new group of 7 walks in the door. Seems unlikely at $50 per plate.
At $100a plate, that's 35 diners per hour required. A lovely couple comes in for a fancy dinner every 2 minutes. Doubt it.

I'm no expert but this all seems a bit unlikely as a routine gig.

$350 an hr. at a restaurant? More likely a grand opening or some celebration.
Message: Posted by: amakar (Mar 30, 2012 07:54PM)
All good feedback guys!

Keep it coming and for those who don't want to participate, that's cool...I understand.

From a business perspective, its important to understand your market and what tolearnaces the market will bear.
I work in the corporate world 5 days a week and the other two days are focused on entertaining in a completely different market.

For a specific education background and job experience, I can tell you a range of salaries for specific positions.
Human Resources does this all the time and they license market data from other HR consulting firms to ensure pricing is in line with market averages.

This is also why the survey is anonymous and you could always submit your responses with a generic email.

As you explore other markets, you might adjust your pricing or it opens new potential markets to pursue.

I also come from an academic background and conducting research for disseartations and academic papers is always key to understanding business performance.

I appreciate all the feedback and for those who don't want to participate, I appreciate your perspective as well.

Message: Posted by: MrHyde (Mar 30, 2012 08:53PM)
Andy, I would be interested in getting the results of this, but not living in the USA will not put my pricing in.

Hope you will send it to me anyway.

Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Mar 30, 2012 10:40PM)
I see our "jobs" as being more of a product rather than a position to be studied from an HR perspective.

I equate this to trying to survey the prices of new cars: some cars sell for $20,000, others $45,000, others $75,000, and some can go for $200,000 or more. We study all the prices and come up with some sort of average car price per area or market or however. What does this tell us?

In the end, the conclusion is this: you must pick your market (and it's corresponding financial capabilities) and build a product to appeal to that market. This is a business decision rather than an "industry norm" type of situation.

Cadillac was created for one market segment. Chevy for another. Do you really think there is much difference between the 2 in real product terms? No, each is a distinct business/marketing model to grab money for it's respective target market.

You choose: what is your business model? You can make a ton of money by picking any one market segment and giving them want they want.

Tolerances? Again, if you build enough value into your offering, you can change how you are perceived and it no longer matters what tolerances for other service providers may be subject to.

I come from a business education myself and love studying stuff. However, I've also realised that, as entrepreneurs, we can create the rules as we go along.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 31, 2012 09:13AM)
I am with Al on this one also.

Does it account for the hogwash guys are going to lie about making? Without a requirement to send in a tax return as proof this is going to end up being useless.
Message: Posted by: solrak29 (Mar 31, 2012 12:08PM)
This is a fantastic idea and when I was first starting out as
a business, I've spent countless hours looking for similar

However, after looking at your survey, I was little confused
as to exactly what information you were looking for. At first,
I was thinking of a statistic of earnings per year by geographic
location. But it looks like you are looking to find what others
are charging for their shows. Also, in having open plain text
input lends to think that you are manually tabulating this data.
This leads to error prone calculation and analysis. Then your
last question really threw me off as to the validity of the
whole premise of this survey. Having to have to put your email
on the same page as the survey is not completely anonymous,
is it?

Yet, I am very much interested in your results and how your achieved
your results. I have also posted what I thought was correct
for what I do.

I hope it is not bad form, but I also put one together just out
of interest and curiosity for a different data set.

Feel free to chime in [url=http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CF93YXM] Click Here for Survey [/url]

Since this is completely anonymous, I will share the results in this thread.
Message: Posted by: amakar (Mar 31, 2012 02:40PM)
Howdy -

This is a qualitative survey...not a quantitative survey
Since some markets are per week or per day I left it open for responses.

The collection of the email is purely to distribute the survey to the participants.

Magicians are a funny bunch...some are afraid of competition and theft of ideas while others forms masterminds to help each other grow.

The points of the survey is to create a resource that can be shared.

I'll take a look at your survey as well!


Message: Posted by: solrak29 (Mar 31, 2012 03:17PM)
I updated to remove the race (used a template) and replaced with genres:

[url=http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CF93YXM]Click Here For Survey[/url]

Thanks for you response Andy. Just showing what I initially expected
and also interested in the result that it would achieve (if any).
No offense intended, just giving you what one might perceive in taking your
survey; as you asked for input.

I am also all for Master Minding, which is why I posted the usage of
SurveyMonkey for the survey and provided an example of what I thought
would also be useful. In hopes, like you, to provide as a resource.
Plus, just leveraging off a great idea which you have posted.

Can't wait for your results.

Message: Posted by: amakar (Apr 3, 2012 09:41AM)
The responses keep coming in...Thanks to everyone who has contributed!

I'll be closing the survey by the 15th and I'll compile the results.



Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Apr 3, 2012 09:54AM)
ALL magicians lie.
Message: Posted by: amakar (Apr 3, 2012 10:16AM)
Well not this one Al :)
Message: Posted by: RJE2 (Apr 3, 2012 10:53AM)
On 2012-04-03 10:54, Al Angello wrote:
ALL magicians lie.
That's a lie! ;)

(Sorry Al, couldn't help myself. :) OK, that's a lie. I could have helped myself, but it was too fun not to!)
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Apr 3, 2012 02:36PM)
Excuse me all magicians but one lie, and I'm not sure if you can believe that because he may have his fingers crossed.
Message: Posted by: magicmaninsd (Apr 3, 2012 07:03PM)
A looong time ago I heard some advice about magicians and prices:

Whatever a magician tells you he makes, cut it in half and take 10%.

I don't care what anyone else charges for the markets I'm in. Hell, Giovanni Livera charges $20,000 a gig! Can I do the magic he does? Probably. Can I charge what he does? No. So who cares?

Now, for my own education I do know what other LOCAL magicians charge (or at least ranges) for kid shows. This is just from hearing what parents tell me. It really holds no weight with me though. I know the kind of clients who hire me and I charge according to their abilities, no Joe Blow Magician down the street.
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Apr 5, 2012 11:07PM)
On 2012-03-31 10:13, Dannydoyle wrote:
I am with Al on this one also.

Does it account for the hogwash guys are going to lie about making? Without a requirement to send in a tax return as proof this is going to end up being useless.

Aren't some tax returns a big lie? haha
Message: Posted by: Steven True (Apr 6, 2012 01:55AM)
Please don't have me hog tied and run out of town on a rail but I have found that we magicians get all upset when someone talks about what they get for doing a show. I have been on threads that many magicians say call around and see what others are charging in your area. I don't think the survey is asking us to give up trade secrets but are we not on here as, "magicians helping magicians"? I am not going to ask anybody outside of my area what I should charge or how much they charge. But if I ask another magician in my area I will explain why I am asking. I would not try and undercut anyone trying to make a living or just someone trying to make a little extra money on the side. I have been out of performing for a long time and am about to get back in it and I would love the help from others. I am not trying to steal your shows just trying to get along with other performers. I don't do restaurants or stage shows. I don't do close up or strolling, I just do children and family entertainment.
Again please don't have me drawn and quartered for this post. I just want to make some money and have fun doing it. I am not going to ask anyone how they did a certain trick that I watched them do. I have to earn that on my own.
Just a few thoughts from me. Hope no one was offended.

Message: Posted by: Steven True (Apr 6, 2012 01:57AM)
Oh by the way I could not fill out the survey because I have not started back performing yet.

Message: Posted by: amakar (Apr 7, 2012 01:28PM)
So far I've received over 67 responses to the survey! Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far!

I'll be closing the survey on April 15th and summarize the results and send them to the participants.

If you want a copy, please contribute to the survey and we'll keep the knowledge sharing going!

Message: Posted by: RobertSmith (Apr 12, 2012 12:47AM)
I would only suggest that, given you're asking magicians about what they get paid, that you take your final data figures and reduce them by at least 70%.
Message: Posted by: MickNZ (Apr 13, 2012 01:53AM)
Message: Posted by: amakar (May 19, 2012 04:14PM)
Hi Gang -

It took a while to compile the information but I published the survey results.
The survey had nearly 100 people respond across the 12 markets.

I've sent out the survey results to the contributors but I am also giving it to the Café members

It was interesting seeing how disparate some of the markets were when it came to pricing.

Get your copy here:


I'd be interested in your feedback!


Message: Posted by: MrHyde (May 19, 2012 06:59PM)
Andy, thanks for making this available to everyone
especially those outside the USA who were interested
but obviously didn't contribute

Well worth downloading

Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (May 19, 2012 08:10PM)
This was a very helpful product. More than anything, it makes me consider pricing as a means to grow income. I do think it is important to keep in mind that we are not all selling the same product (in that not all shows are created equal in content). It might be helpful for those of us who responded to the survey to relook at the survey questions now that we see how you constructed the results. This will allow us to provide feedback so that future surveys provide even more informative responses. Thank you for providing such an informative document that will allow me to better look at pricing across markets.
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (May 19, 2012 11:49PM)
Very interesting Andy. Thank you for sharing with everyone!

Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (May 20, 2012 08:00AM)
I tried downloading (after I signed up, etc, etc) but my computer jusdt sits there, staring me dumbly in the face. Any way I could get the results emailed to me?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 20, 2012 12:06PM)
I am going to confess confussion here. What does it matter what another charges? Your show should be based on the value you provide, not an arbitrary average of something someone else says they charge.

Your value to the client is not based upon anything except what you bring to the table. I think this is why many magicians have so much trouble with business.

For example if you live somewhere and the average cost of a show is $900 and you can not do a show that lives up to that, what does it matter what the average is? Concentrate more on providing value for the dollar you charge and worry less about what others charge is not a bad way to think of it.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (May 20, 2012 12:28PM)

It is because magicians--like ALL humans--want to have a point of comparison. It is our inate curiosity. Why do you think the Forbes "Richest people in the World" issue is one of their most popular?
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (May 20, 2012 01:10PM)
I make $600,000 a year. Now you can shoot for that number.

Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 20, 2012 01:14PM)
On 2012-05-20 13:28, Mike Maturen wrote:

It is because magicians--like ALL humans--want to have a point of comparison. It is our inate curiosity. Why do you think the Forbes "Richest people in the World" issue is one of their most popular?

I was not asking about curiosity. I was asking about those who thought it was a tool. Though I do think the word tool applies, just not in that sense.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (May 20, 2012 04:08PM)

Lately there seems to be a whole toolbox full of "tools" around here.....


I was asking about those who thought it was a tool. Though I do think the word tool applies, just not in that sense.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 20, 2012 04:43PM)
I was actually being serious though about the value of a show. If you want to see what others charge just out of curiosity then cool. But to think that what one person charges (Or in this case SAYS they charge.) has any impact on YOUR value is ridiculous.
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (May 20, 2012 06:26PM)
Danny - perhaps from your vantage point it makes no sense because you are well established in your market and found your price point over the years. For someone less established, this information provides general guidelines on market values in various markets. In addition, of course what others charge has an impact on what I charge. That is what the concept of open markets is based on.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (May 20, 2012 06:49PM)
Car dealers can tell you exactly what the other cars are selling for.

Most all large corporations have spies.

Even small food stores check each other's prices.

Turn your eye on the competition and they will eat you alive.

Andy, Thanks for sharing the report. Well done.

Message: Posted by: amakar (May 20, 2012 07:26PM)
Thanks for all the comments.

I've received a lot of good feedback from the participants and I'm glad its generated interest.

Establishing benchmarks, understanding the market and data driven decision making is important in any business.
Businesses establish price points for their products and services based on what a given market will tolerate. For a business owner interested in moving into a new market, survey data helps to determine entry price points for the market. All of this equates directly to help position your product or service to a customer.

I'd digress into a Deming cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act for improvement here but these topics are a little heavy for a magic discussion board :)
Message: Posted by: Amazing Magic Co (May 21, 2012 05:27AM)

Thanks! Nice job on the survey and report.

Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (May 27, 2012 01:37PM)
On 2012-05-20 14:10, Al Angello wrote:
I make $600,000 a year. Now you can shoot for that number.


I'm a race car driver.
Message: Posted by: amakar (Sep 18, 2013 03:30PM)
Its been a while since I revisited this thread. The majority of you should have received your free copy especially if you contributed to the survey.

I've also published the survey on Amazon in case you missed the chance to get it.


More importantly, is there an interest in running the survey again for 2013?

Message: Posted by: misterillusion (Sep 18, 2013 05:27PM)
I'd be interested, but I never got my original copy and I can't buy the one on Amazon because I don't have a Kindle.
Message: Posted by: amakar (Sep 18, 2013 05:44PM)
Hi -

You an actually read the report using read.amazon.com

What was your name and email that you submitted in the survey?

If you were a survey participant, I had emailed it out to everyone who contributed.

Message: Posted by: misterillusion (Sep 18, 2013 11:52PM)
On 2013-09-18 18:44, amakar wrote:
Hi -

You an actually read the report using read.amazon.com

What was your name and email that you submitted in the survey?

If you were a survey participant, I had emailed it out to everyone who contributed.



I think I participated. I would be under Charlie Fass (Mister Illusion) c.fass@surewest.net. If I did not, I don't mind purchasing a copy on Amazon (other than Kindle)
Thanks, Charlie