(Close Window)
Topic: Fee for strolling magic at private parties?
Message: Posted by: MagicbyCarlo (Jul 8, 2004 05:18PM)
For private parties (non-restaurant), right now I charging $200 for a single hour, and $100 per additional hour.

I'm wondering what the rate is where others are working.

If you don't want to discuss this openly PM me.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jul 8, 2004 05:42PM)
I think that is about the going rate where I live.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jul 8, 2004 06:16PM)
Carlo,
That's about right.
I charge about $150 an hour for a maximum of two hours (my poor old legs won't take any longer than that! LOL!)
Message: Posted by: MagicbyCarlo (Jul 8, 2004 10:35PM)
Peter,
I know what you mean! Aleave and I are good friends, two before any gig longer than an hour. It keeps my surgically altered low back from barking to loudly.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 8, 2004 11:09PM)
Rates are a bit higher here in Southern California, but I'm seriously considering moving to Frank's neck of the woods, so I guess I'd better set my sights a bit lower - or plan to cultivate a better-healed clientele than Frank's!

;)
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jul 8, 2004 11:48PM)
I need more to cover the Chiropractic expenses to straighten my back after doing tables.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jul 9, 2004 12:17AM)
Alright I'll come out of my Magic Café Retirement for a moment to drop this unbelieveable bit of advice for young Carlo and then I'll scramble back to where it's safe...

Carlo, I looked at your site, and your June schedule indicated that you had approximately 16 events.

Assuming each of those was a 2 hour event ($300/event) then you grossed approximately $4,800 in June.

[b]So here's the blockbuster bit of advice...if you're working that much, [i]INCREASE YOUR FEES![/i][/b]

Seriously. If you're maintaing that type of schedule, I'd charge at least $325 for the first hour and $225 each additional hour.

[b]Now you all are probably thinking I'm off my rocker...[/b]

Here's the logic - if Carlo is averaging 16 gigs a month, and he jumps his fees up, he's guaranteed to lose some business.

Let's make it a big number like 25% of those. So he loses 4 gigs, or approximately $1,200 of income (assuming 2 hour gigs).

So no he's doing only 12 gigs per month at $325/$225. That's $550 per gig.

That now means $6,600.00 per month. A near 35% increase in gross earnings, considering a 25% loss in bookings.

In other words...way less work, way more money.

BTW...FWIW...as you asked, my strolling rate is $450/$350.

And with that I'm officially retiring from Magic Café...again.

Bye guys.
Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: armagician (Jul 9, 2004 01:20AM)
I live in a small town but charge $100 per hour. buy 2 or more hours and get a 15% discount on every othe hour
Message: Posted by: Daryl -the other brother (Jul 9, 2004 01:34AM)
I spent a lot of time & effort marketing to higher income clientle. I do a lot of private parties and wine tastings for doctors & lawyers ect. My wedding shows are targeted at couples that don't have to worry about budget. Strolling magic I charge $500 1st hour, $400 2nd hour, $300 3rd hour. The price on my wedding shows vary a little by package and # of people but it works out to about $1200 for a full show on a Saturday night. At these prices I don't work a whole lot but when I do it's worth it.
Message: Posted by: TheTopBanana (Jul 9, 2004 03:22AM)
Strolling in any major market should sell for at least $500 per hour with an optional (i.e. you as the performer decides if you want to offer it) discount for additional hours.

In smaller markets the fee will be less but here is a good way to figure a fair fee...find a decent two bedroom apartment, two to three hours of strolling should pay the rent.... Los Angeles that means $500 an hour same in Seattle where rent will be $1000-$1500. Denver with rent at $750-$1000 aropund $375 to $500 is a fair rate.

As for the rest of it I agree with Robert...

P.S. just showing up here violated the conditions of my parole so I shall now retreat before I get in more trouble....
Message: Posted by: sniper1 (Jul 9, 2004 04:59AM)
That's the problem here in malta , the art of magic isn't apreciated , I mean business wise . usually I charge around 100$ per hr with a maximum of 2 hrs

and even at that rate they tend to feel its on the steep side

well this is their way of thinking

I used to work for 6 mnths for a pub and grill every sat night , doing the tables .

after the contract closed I had another offer from a different place but after about4 months I went back to try to make a new contract with the bar and gril and this is what they said " hey your exelent in entertaing the guests, but for around 50$ I'm getting this painist which plays here for 4 hrs instead of 2 hrs , "
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jul 9, 2004 06:50AM)
Actually, money shouldn't be what it's all about.

While there are several good points made here about higher rates, I purposely keep my rates low for a very important reason:

People today, especially young people, are raised on a "diet" of computers, DVDs, television, etc. You might be the only live performer that they ever see, and your rates should not be so "out of sight" that they can't afford that!

To set your rates too high is to be elitist, allowing only those who can afford it to see a live performer. Now, if that's what you want, that's fine; but . . .
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jul 9, 2004 11:40AM)
I think you can find a market for anything you want to charge. The job becomes selling and servicing that market. The better image you can project with your service, appearance and contracts, the easier it is to get more money. Why does a T shirt cost more at Nordstoms than Walmart?

So work smarter, not harder and have more free time to learn and be with your family. You need free time to grow and recharge your batteries. I charge a million dollars for a private close up show. I may not sell many, but I only have to sell one(JOKE).

Actually I charge what a DJ would for a few hours work and that is $500.00. It is not based on hours, unless I think it will go more than three. I usually go and do some strolling until I have hit all the guests and then go home. If they want me to add a stand up performance, I up it another $100.00 as I am already there. This is for private parties in someone's home. It can be 10 or 50 guests, it doesn't matter. I am hired for birthday parties, anniversaries, graduations, holiday parties at that rate.

For store openings, faires, corporate functions, it is another matter altogether.

Charge what you are worth and be worth more than you charge.

Kirk
Message: Posted by: Joshua Lozoff (Jul 9, 2004 12:16PM)
Amen to Peter's last post. There is an asumption in this thread that we should charge the maximum that we possibly can, and that it doesn't not matter where we perform. Or rather, our goal should be to perform at the places that can pay the most.

I feel otherwise. One of the reasons I quit my previous lifestyle and became an artist is to have different priorities than just money.

I love making money, and I'm very grateful I can make a living from magic, but I also love performing, and wealthy folks are not the only people I love sharing my magic with.

If I raised my rates (which are about the same as Peter's) I would be robbing myself of the opportunity to perform for such a wide variety of people. That's a type of poverty I'm not interested in.

By the way, a t-shirt at Nordstrom's cost more than Wal-Mart because Nordstrom's pays adequately, respects its employees, doesn't hate unions, and doesn't support the most exploitative sweatshop labor in the worst human rights-violating contries in the world. Wal-Mart's goal is to exploit as many folks a possible to make a quick buck. Nordstrom's (I hope) cares more about its community than that.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jul 9, 2004 01:09PM)
I often notice that the more the wealth, the bigger the ego, the smaller the imagination, and the less willing they are to experience magic.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 9, 2004 04:26PM)
[quote]On 2004-07-09 01:17, RobertBloor wrote:
[b]So here's the blockbuster bit of advice...if you're working that much, [i]INCREASE YOUR FEES![/i][/b]

That now means $6,600.00 per month. A near 35% increase in gross earnings, considering a 25% loss in bookings.

In other words...way less work, way more money.[/quote]

Robert's trying to teach us simple economics; the technical term for the rate / booking point he's describing is the [i]point of unitary elasticity[/i]. That's a fancy way of saying that you set your price so that a 1% price increase will result in a 1% decrease in bookings; it's the point at which you maximize your income.

While Peter makes a good point about fewer and fewer people getting the chance to see a live performance, and that we (probably) should do our best to reverse that trend, I cannot agree with his assessment that someone who raises his prices as Robert suggests is "elitist". There are many valid reasons to perform magic, and earning a living is one of them; it is as valid (and noble) a reason as wanting to bring joy into other people's lives. If earning a living is your goal, there is nothing - [b][i]nothing[/i][/b] - wrong with earning the best living you can, within the confines of the law and morals. There is absolutely no reason to apologize for following sound economic theory when operating a business.
Message: Posted by: TheTopBanana (Jul 9, 2004 04:30PM)
It started as a simple question "How much do people charge for close up?"

and then decended into being artists and walmart exploiting workers which is a blatent lie, Walmart does not and never has exploited workers

but it is a great sensationalist claim to support you specious position congratulations on some great propaganda....
Message: Posted by: Joshua Lozoff (Jul 9, 2004 10:21PM)
I'm sorry you feel that magicians calling ourselves "artists," descends the conversation in some way.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jul 9, 2004 10:55PM)
I think it is funny that the most salient point of my post seems to be overlooked in a desire to take a poke at Walmart.

I also really thought I would get some comment on the Million Dollar Fee.

Kirk
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 9, 2004 11:31PM)
[quote]On 2004-07-09 23:55, KirkG wrote:
I . . . really thought I would get some comment on the Million Dollar Fee.[/quote]

My wife liked it.
Message: Posted by: Daryl -the other brother (Jul 10, 2004 01:27AM)
Peter wrote " actually, money isn't what it's all about." Actually Peter, money is what it's all about. The original question on this post was how much do you charge?

Joshua wrote "If I raised my rates I would be robbing myself of the opportunity to perform for such a wide variety of people." This is only true if you only perform for money. When I am working I want to make the most money I can in the least amount of time. This is how I support my family, of course I want to make as much as I can. That's not being greedy it's just good business sense. However, Jeff McBride said we should be ambassadors of magic 24-7. I agree, I perform on the street all the time. Waiting lines, bus stops, L-Stations, anywhere the opportunity presents itself. I don't do this for tips or to promote my business. I do it so that a stranger can experience a little bit of magic in their day. (free of charge)

[quote]
On 2004-07-09 14:09, Frank Starsini wrote:
I often notice that the more the wealth, the bigger the ego, the smaller the imagination, and the less willing they are to experience magic. [/quote]

WOW Frank, that's quite a statement. I work for wealthy people all the time and my experience has been that for the most part they're no different than anybody else. Sure you have your good and bad as with any income group but as far as not willing to experience the magic goes, I would say just the opposite. Doctors & Lawyers are trained to be observant and to think logically, so magic (which is illogical) really hits em hard. They are some of the most receptive people I work for!
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 10, 2004 01:37PM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-09 13:16, Joshua Lozoff wrote:
I feel otherwise. One of the reasons I quit my previous lifestyle and became an artist is to have different priorities than just money. [/quote]

Being an artist does not forgo the idea that you do not get paid well for it.

David Copperfield and Lance Burton are fairly compensated for being good magical artists. Many Hollywood actors are fine dramatical artists, and are fairly compensated for their efforts. And there are other artists like musicians, sculptors, painters, etc. who are being fairly compensated for their work. Some may even be better at their craft, and aren't fairly compensated. Of course, in the case of these examples, not only are they artists, but they provide more than that to the movie companies, casinos, theatres, record companies, etc. they work for.

Money does not need to be your # 1 priority, but it is important to be fairly compensated for your work and the impact it has on others. Being fairly compensated is not about being elitist, its about self-worth, and also the worth others see in you. Some of us will never know the value we have to our customers, until we step out of our comfort zones and ask for more.

Here is a great example of this: [url=http://www.thedean.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=240&view=findpost&p=1381]Post that Top Banana shared some time ago, on the Dean's List forum. Quoted chapter from a book.[/url]

- Donald.
Message: Posted by: Michael238 (Jul 10, 2004 08:11PM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-09 01:17, RobertBloor wrote:
Alright I'll come out of my Magic Café Retirement for a moment to drop this unbelieveable bit of advice for young Carlo and then I'll scramble back to where it's safe...

Carlo, I looked at your site, and your June schedule indicated that you had approximately 16 events.

Assuming each of those was a 2 hour event ($300/event) then you grossed approximately $4,800 in June.

[b]So here's the blockbuster bit of advice...if you're working that much, [i]INCREASE YOUR FEES![/i][/b]

Working 32 hours for a month is too much work?
For $4800, 32 hours that is not bad at all.







[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Joshua Lozoff (Jul 10, 2004 08:47PM)
[quote]
Being fairly compensated is not about being elitist, its about self-worth, and also the worth others see in you. Some of us will never know the value we have to our customers, until we step out of our comfort zones and ask for more.
[/quote]

I agree with much of what you said. When I was an actor in Los Angeles, I did indeed work for as much money as CHEERS and the other TV shows I was in would pay me. Working for individual clients as a magician is a different situation, in my book, and I still respect and agree with Peter's original perspective.

I also must say that I very strongly disagree with the idea that financial compensation has ANYTHING to do with self-worth. I know that's the bill of goods we've been sold in this country, but I think it's terribly insulting to cleaners, teachers, firefighters, waitstaff, etc. As well as an awful thing to teach our kids. Do shallow sports stars have more value to themselves and their community at large than my housecleaner?

Or more specific to this thread, I will say that I consider myself a better magician than many I know who make much more than me. That belief does not lead me to increase my fees. It's just a completely unrelated issue to me, and to many other artists I know.

I know the value I have to my clients. I would know that if they paid me half of what I charge, and I would know that if they paid me twice as much. Does the art in the National Gallery have less value to you because the entry is free than at the Louvre, where they charge to get in?
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jul 10, 2004 09:02PM)
Daryl writes: "Actually Peter, money is what it's all about. The original question on this post was how much do you charge?"

And I assumed -- wrongly, it appears -- that the "why" was unspoken and just as important as the "how much".

I answered the questions, written and unwritten, to the best of my ability.

But charge whatever you want and, when you kick off, they can write on your tombstone, "He made a lot of money".

That is, if that's what you want to be known for.
Message: Posted by: Futureal (Jul 10, 2004 11:19PM)
You're off topic Peter.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 11, 2004 12:05AM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-09 17:26, S2000magician wrote:
[quote]On 2004-07-09 01:17, RobertBloor wrote:
[b]So here's the blockbuster bit of advice...if you're working that much, [i]INCREASE YOUR FEES![/i][/b]

That now means $6,600.00 per month. A near 35% increase in gross earnings, considering a 25% loss in bookings.

In other words...way less work, way more money.[/quote]

Robert's trying to teach us simple economics; the technical term for the rate / booking point he's describing is the [i]point of unitary elasticity[/i]. That's a fancy way of saying that you set your price so that a 1% price increase will result in a 1% decrease in bookings; it's the point at which you maximize your income.[/quote]

One way to bridge the argument of income vs artistry would be to set your fee to maximize your [b][i]utility[/i][/b], whether you value dollars or accolades or little children's smiles. The problem, of course, is quantifying the utility of a dollar, or an accolade, or a child's smile.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 11, 2004 12:24AM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-10 21:47, Joshua Lozoff wrote:
I also must say that I very strongly disagree with the idea that financial compensation has ANYTHING to do with self-worth. I know that's the bill of goods we've been sold in this country, but I think it's terribly insulting to cleaners, teachers, firefighters, waitstaff, etc. As well as an awful thing to teach our kids. Do shallow sports stars have more value to themselves and their community at large than my housecleaner?[/quote]

Joshua, you've made a good point there, that didn't enter my mind when posting. So, I rescind my statement about self-worth, but I still hold that it is about the worth you are to your customers. Those people you mentioned are often underpaid for what they do, and they are valuable and important individuals, who should be thought as people of worth. Every person has incredible value.

Although positions like those of teachers, firefighters, cleaners, waitstaff, etc. often do not have negotiable salaries, as entertainers we can set our own fees, so the issue of fees and fair compensation is different. Just like the example of the movie score producer, I linked to.

[quote]The Top Banana: In smaller markets the fee will be less but here is a good way to figure a fair fee...find a decent two bedroom apartment, two to three hours of strolling should pay the rent.... Los Angeles that means $500 an hour same in Seattle where rent will be $1000-$1500. Denver with rent at $750-$1000 aropund $375 to $500 is a fair rate.[/quote]

I have to comment that this seems like a very logical way to approach determining an appropriate fee. Even though I know The Top Banana, I've never heard him share this before.

I've heard some others teach the approach that, "if you book about 1/2 your inquiries, then you are charging the correct amount."

But this thinking doesn't factor for the type of prospects who approach you, and other factors in making successful sales.

Depending upon your targets and method of lead generation, you could be getting all types of prospects calling you with interest. Sometimes, if you approach the right people at the right time with the right offer in the right way, primarily ones that are qualified buyers. And sometimes, when things are done poorly, primarily ones that are not qualified buyers.

Of course, past customers are easier to sell to, than new prospects who have never seen your show before nor heard of you by referral. That's another thing that could skew your sales successes.

And of course, entertainers with good sales skills will sell more successfully than entertainers with poor sales skills. Still another thing.

So, The Top Banana's advice seems like a pretty good way to determine the correct fee for your area, based on the pricing of other non-magic-entertainment things in your marketplace.

- Donald.
Message: Posted by: TheTopBanana (Jul 11, 2004 08:03PM)
This wasn't a random number in working with a selection of real working pros across the country I discovered that it was a great formula to determine a reasonable rate...and has held true through testing...
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jul 11, 2004 09:22PM)
Futureal writes: "You're off topic Peter."

Hardly.

But, as I said, my answers are to the best of my ability; if you aren't happy with them, I apologize.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 11, 2004 10:27PM)
I was thinking today about the idea of charging an adequate fee, and balancing that with not necessarily being in it for the money. I think it was Joshua that first suggested the idea of not being in shows for the just the money. Others agreed with his viewpoint.


You could still charge the appropriate value to the customer for your service. This way your customer has better appreciation for the effort and calibre of your performance. And you are not hurting other performers by underbidding them, based on the calibre of your work.

Then you take the extra money you earn, that you feel you don't need, and give it away to charities.

Simple and straight forward, and fits with your ideals of wanting to do the work more for the artistic merits of it.

Just a thought.

- Donald.

P.S. Another alternative, is if you want to make an impact with your magic, but don't desire financial gain, donate your services to charities. Just another idea.
Message: Posted by: stephenbanning (Jul 12, 2004 10:09AM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-09 14:09, Frank Starsini wrote:
I often notice that the more the wealth, the bigger the ego, the smaller the imagination, and the less willing they are to experience magic.


[/quote]

Very well put. I've found the same many times. I haven't figured it all out, but in circumstances where these same people let their hair down, they're more likely to have fun. It's not just magic though. These are the same people who go to a symphony to be seen rather than hear the music.

Stephen
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 12, 2004 10:31AM)
It's a shame that much of this thread has been about bashing people of other wealth status.

The lower income performers calling names of those who charge more, or their customers (higher income earners).

And the higher income performers calling names of those who charge less, or their customers (lower to middle income earners).

Both ways it is being done, it is judging people with blanket statements and is a form of PREJUDICE!

How can you grow your business with a spirit of criticism, condemnation, and judgment towards other people? Even if they aren't your potential customers or friends, it just hurts you as a professional to think this way.

I recommend that you try to accept people of all types and income levels, whether we are discussing performers or customers, for who they are -- human beings of value and worth. Then, you will see your business grow in the ways you so eagerly desire.

- Donald.
Message: Posted by: Daryl -the other brother (Jul 12, 2004 10:53AM)
Very well put Donald. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Message: Posted by: MagicbyCarlo (Jul 12, 2004 11:20AM)
Let me make this clear, I didn't establish this topic to create some kind of magical class war. I was simply interested in average prices in different areas so that I could judge my own rate against other markets and determine if I was lower, on par with or higher than other areas.

I have received valuable advice regarding fees as a result of this post and I thank all that have contributed both openly and through PM. But please, don't argue over this. Charge what you feel you're worth, charge what your market will bear or charge according to the means of the client, but please don't argue with others who have followed another path in their business.

Everyone must set their rates according to need, market and demand; these dynamics will cause prices to vary from individual to individual.

While I wouldn't buy a pair of $200 blue jeans, recording artist Usher buys 10 pair at a time. So there is a market for $20 jeans and a market for $200 jeans and I'm sure there is a market for $2,000 jeans somewhere. Likewise there is a market for a variety of differently priced show. Let's accept that and move on.
Message: Posted by: trenchant (Jul 12, 2004 11:22AM)
As long as we are prejudiced against everyone equally, I think there's no harm in it. In that spirit, then, let's bash the middle class, which has, so far in this thread, escaped notice.

People in the middle obviously have a problem with commitment. They have neither the talent to succeed nor the courage to face failure.

In determining my fees, therefore, I always assess a "middle-class surcharge" for these clients. Gosh, maybe I've stumbled across the rationale for the current tax code.
Message: Posted by: RickAllen (Jul 12, 2004 02:05PM)
Carlo said: Everyone must set their rates according to need, market and demand; these dynamics will cause prices to vary from individual to individual.

This is about this truest statement I have read on this thread. Fee's in L.A. Or New York vary greatly from those in Podunk Iowa (no offense if you live in Podunk.) If you are on par with the rest in your market you are where you should be, there is nothing however wrong with also being the highest paid in your area also.

A combination of art, self worth worth and financial gain seems to me to be the ideal solution. If either are unbalanced then you have a problem. I'm reminded of being told that the poor are in little position to help the world as the saying goes "money makes the world go round." You can't help others if your worried about how your going to pay your bills. That means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

One other thought on fee's, it is a proven fact (especially in my venues of professional speaking) that having your fee to low can actually cost you bookings in lost confidence in your abilities (weather founded or not)by the prospective client.

Regarding the Wal-Mart issues, there obviously is a need for such retail stores (the same as lower priced performers) or they would have failed long ago. Wal-Mart in fact has been a boon in many communities along with their sister stores, Sam Club. Accusations of 'sweet shops' and being unfair to employee's is no different then most other retail outlets who buy and hire from the same pools. My feeling is if you don't like the wages offered, go elsewhere, (yes I was a Jewelry manager and assistant district rep for a while, starting at minimum wage and moving up) same with performers, for the most part you get what you ASK for, when in retail I asked and got, based on my abilities, in performing I ask and get. The problem with most employees and performers who complain about low wages is that they show no improvement or initiative to get ahead, they just want the higher wages and fees because that's what THEY think they are worth, entertainment for entertainment sake is seldom the reason for being hired.

When I was in the child care venue full time I did upwardly to 400 shows each year, just in Child care. My fee in the beginning was a mere $49 not much profit left in the end, now was there? I charged that fee mainly because that was what I was erroneously told I could make, I steadily raised my fee's each year to a respectable $175 per program (30 min show X 3 a day average)I asked and got based on my ability to provide a worthwhile product and a reliableness to be and do what I promised. I was able to reduce the number of programs and still have increased income that also allowed me to focus on my speaking venues for even more income. I'm currently able to have a good income plus continue to advance the speaking arts and return an appropriate amount back for the good of the world giving me room for warm fuzzes. Works for me, how about you? ... Rick
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jul 12, 2004 04:56PM)
[quote]Rick Allen: Regarding the Wal-Mart issues, there obviously is a need for such retail stores (the same as lower priced performers) or they would have failed long ago.[/quote]

(okay ONE last post...)

I personally see no need for Wal Mart. I believe Wal*Mart is causing more damage to our economy than any politician ever could.

Wal*Mart puts small business owners out of business. They're like a black hole of economics.

I say raise fees or get out of the game and leave entertainment to real professionals.

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jul 12, 2004 11:57PM)
Interesting...
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 13, 2004 12:28AM)
[quote]On 2004-07-12 17:56, RobertBloor wrote:

I say raise fees or get out of the game and leave entertainment to real professionals.[/quote]

You're not one of those people who believe that an extremely good amateur should not charge $100 for a show for which an equally good professional would get $500, are you?

(I know, I should have put this in a PM; but it's much more entertaining this way.)
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jul 13, 2004 04:44AM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-13 01:28, S2000magician wrote:
...You're not one of those people who believe that an extremely good amateur should not charge $100 for a show for which an equally good professional would get $500, are you?...[/quote]

The "amateur" should charge the $500. I really thing that what he was saying is that if you are good enough to get a gig don't sell yourself cheap. When I started doing magic and charging for it I called every magician in the book, plus the birthday party clowns and other children'd entertainers and got their prices. I then charged 25% more than they did. Everybody, except one, was $75 for a birthday party, I started at $100. Was booked solid within 2 months.

I have found that there is this "elitist" feeling that the more an magician charges, the more he's worth. It's true so about every year I call around and find everyone (except one who still charges $50) is up to my rate so I raise it again.
Message: Posted by: dynamiteassasin (Jul 13, 2004 07:19AM)
I'm 17 and mostly I do strolling magic in the streets of a U.S. Naval Air Facility in Japan. Yes, I live inside a U.S. Base.

Would you think $100 per hour is too pricey for my age if I perform in parties?
Message: Posted by: TheTopBanana (Jul 13, 2004 08:04AM)
Early on I gave a formula I believe in....and age is not a concideration only proffessionalism!
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jul 13, 2004 09:08AM)
Robert Bloor writes: "I say raise fees or get out of the game and leave entertainment to real professionals."

So, apparently, the only sign of professionalism is a high fee, by that argument.

Sorry, but after more than half a century in the business I have to disagree.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 13, 2004 10:23AM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-13 00:57, TheDean wrote:
Interesting...
[/quote]

I agree. Interesting...

- Donald.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 13, 2004 12:38PM)
[quote]On 2004-07-13 08:19, dynamiteassasin wrote:
Would you think $100 per hour is too pricey for my age if I perform in parties?[/quote]

No, I wouldn't.

Your age is immaterial.

[quote]On 2004-07-13 05:44, Paddy wrote:

I then charged 25% more than they did. Everybody, except one, was $75 for a birthday party, I started at $100.[/quote]

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if they're charging $75 and you're charging $100, you're charging [b][i]33-1/3%[/i][/b] more than they are, not 25% more.

[quote]On 2004-07-13 10:08, Peter Marucci wrote:
So, apparently, the only sign of professionalism is a high fee, by that argument.[/quote]

Your position weakens when you exaggerate.

Robert suggests that [b][i]one[/i][/b] sign of professionalism is a high fee; he [b]never[/b] suggested that it is the [i]only[/i] sign of professionalism.

Are we drifting a bit a field of the original question here?
Message: Posted by: rkrahlmann (Jul 13, 2004 02:36PM)
Re: high fee=professionalism.
When Groucho Marx made the transition from radio to television with "You Bet Your Life", one of the writers (yes, he had writers. He was a brilliant improvisor, but even more of a genius at giving scripted remarks an off-the-cuff delivery) was talented, but had only been in the industry a short while. As such, the producer hired him for $150 a week, which was the going rate for young talent. When Groucho heard of this, he said, "I don't want a $150 a week writer. Fire him and get me a $1000 a week writer." Instead of firing the writer who was delivering great jokes, he upped his pay, and told Groucho he now had his $1000 a week writer. It is not clear whether Groucho knew it was the same writer, but he was nonetheless pleased having such a professional on his staff.
The point is price DOES equal perception. Look around in your own experience, and chances are you believe that most professionals who charge a large fee are worth it. Price yourself too low, and you will be treated, and perceived, as someone who does not have a quality act. If you're priced to high, there is a chance people will think "They're not worth it", but by and large the first thought will be, "They must be good, other wise they wouldn't be charging as much."
I discovered this while making a living as a free-lance writer. The less I charged (trying to make myself "affordable"), the less respect I got, and the more trouble it was producing a piece the client was happy with. They felt as someone who charged a cheap price, they didn't have to respect me. When I double (then tripled) my rates, I got better clients, and more respect, and more jobs.
Of course, if you're charging a lot, you have to deliver the goods, and then some. Every job has the opportunity to over-deliver on a contract, and they go a long way to justifying a high fee. At a recent mentalism/tarot walk around gig, I made it clear in my contract that any time worked over two hours would be charged double, based on any portion of a half hour worked. After two hours I was leaving and saying good-bye to my client, someone came up and wanted one last tarot reading. I agreed, finished in 10 minutes, and rather than charge for the time, told the client it was on me. They were very pleased that I had gone this extra mile (if you can call ten mintues a mile). Had I been charging much less, the gesture would not have ment so much, and the client wouldn't have perceived getting a generous gift.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 13, 2004 03:30PM)
Excellent post!

When I hired a higher priced entertainer for my wedding reception 10 years ago, he included some suggestions for a great performance in his information kit. Some of his tips included some food and beverage ideas for him in his set-up room. No, not purple roses or green M&Ms. :)

I went the extra mile to give him some of those items and the set-up room, because he charged a professional fee, and doing these things (his suggestions only, not demands) seemed to be the right thing to do for a person of his caliber.

It is about customer perception, too. I was a lot more giving and flexible, because he charged a higher fee. BTW, he did back up his fee with a performance that was outstanding!

- Donald.
Message: Posted by: MagicalPirate (Jul 13, 2004 07:08PM)
Interesting. That means in my market I should charge $175-250 an hour for walk around. I guess that meets up with a market in which they charge $75.00 for a birthday party show.

Martin :pirate:
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (Jul 14, 2004 05:11PM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-13 01:28, S2000magician wrote:
[quote]On 2004-07-12 17:56, RobertBloor wrote:

I say raise fees or get out of the game and leave entertainment to real professionals.[/quote]

You're not one of those people who believe that an extremely good amateur should not charge $100 for a show for which an equally good professional would get $500, are you?

([/quote]

I'm not remotely understanding the thinking there.

X is an amateur.
Y is a professional.
They perform the same show.
X charges $100.
Y charges $500.

Sorry ... not getting it ... unless X is trying to undercut Y and drive him out of business ...?
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 15, 2004 01:48AM)
An amateur who is not familiar with going rates or who thinks that his skill is below professional level may charge less - even substantially less - than a professional who suffers from neither of these hobbles.

Or he may believe that, because he enjoys performing so much that he would willingly do it for free, he is getting $100 than he thinks is fair.

Or he may be malicious.

His motivation isn't the issue; his actions are.
Message: Posted by: Mogwai II (Jul 15, 2004 05:08AM)
Charge whatever you think you're worth. I think it also depends on "Who" is taking your service. If it’s a company, I like to take a bigger paycheck. If it's a small birthday party of people I know aren't that rich, I charge less.

I do since two years now, and had never any complaints. With that "high rate - low rate" principle I have a nice average rate, from which I can live happily ever after. :)
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (Jul 15, 2004 04:58PM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-15 02:48, S2000magician wrote:
An amateur who is not familiar with going rates or who thinks that his skill is below professional level may charge less - even substantially less - than a professional who suffers from neither of these hobbles.

Or he may believe that, because he enjoys performing so much that he would willingly do it for free, he is getting $100 than he thinks is fair.

Or he may be malicious.

His motivation isn't the issue; his actions are.
[/quote]

The issue is that he's undercutting the guy who performs to pay his rent.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 15, 2004 06:12PM)
[quote]On 2004-07-15 17:58, cheesewrestler wrote:

The issue is that he's undercutting the guy who performs to pay his rent.[/quote]

Exactly.

Is it magician A's responsibility to ensure that magician P can pay his rent?

Maybe magician P needs to find a market in which magician A cannot compete.
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (Jul 15, 2004 06:37PM)
[quote]
Is it magician A's responsibility to ensure that magician P can pay his rent?

Maybe magician P needs to find a market in which magician A cannot compete.
[/quote]

Oh, I see where you're coming from.

I getcha.

OK, well in that case, maybe Magician A needs to get his arms broken.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 15, 2004 07:41PM)
Mea culpa.

I thought this was a serious discussion.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jul 15, 2004 08:00PM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-13 13:42, S2000magician wrote:
[quote]On 2004-07-13 05:44, Paddy wrote:

I then charged 25% more than they did. Everybody, except one, was $75 for a birthday party, I started at $100.[/quote]

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if they're charging $75 and you're charging $100, you're charging [b][i]33-1/3%[/i][/b] more than they are, not 25% more.
[/quote]

OK I'm a magician not a mathematician. OOPs but you're right.
Peter
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 15, 2004 10:10PM)
Either way, you're still better off!

;)
Message: Posted by: hagemagic (Jul 18, 2004 07:51PM)
OK. Just a few points I'd like to add from personal experience.

1. Some are in it for money (it's their business). Some are in it for art. Either is fine with me. For me, it's a business. I increased my rates at the beginning of this year and compared to the whole last year, I have doubled by income from magic in just six months.

2. Increasing my rates has INCREASED my business. I now have revenue to enhance my show and pay for marketing. Even with this, my PROFIT is up from last year.

3. There's a market for ALL rates you want to charge. There's a market for $50 shows and there's a market for $5000 shows. You get what you pay for. The consumer knows this and the magician must at a minimum meet the customer's expectations (hopefully exceed expectations). Have a show to back up the price, but don't set a low expectation by your fee. Low expectations up front are hard to overcome no matter how good you are.

4. "Charge what you think you're worth." I hate when people say this. Most good people (magicians are good people) underestimate their worth. It's better to charge what the market can support or what they think you're worth (if it's a business you're running).

5. It's a good idea to find out what others are charging in your area without colluding to fix prices or set a going rate. Call around to see what others are charging for walk-around in your area, and the set your rate higher, lower, or the same (depending on how you want to be perceived in your market and how much business you want).

Take care.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 19, 2004 09:39AM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-18 20:51, hagemagic wrote:
3. There's a market for ALL rates you want to charge. There's a market for $50 shows and there's a market for $5000 shows. You get what you pay for. The consumer knows this and the magician must at a minimum meet the customer's expectations (hopefully exceed expectations). Have a show to back up the price, but don't set a low expectation by your fee. Low expectations up front are hard to overcome no matter how good you are.[/quote]

This is a comment about prospects who have never hired an entertainer before, and perhaps have contacted only one for information (the first one they hear of, or first one they actually talk to in the yellow pages), and not several entertainers (so as to make an informed decision).

Just a thought about this point. Often potential customers have no frame of reference for what an entertainer costs. They may not understand there is a range of $50 up to $5000.

While we may understand that $50 an hour is the low end, they might think that is the high end. Their frame of reference might be comparing our fees with their hourly, 9-5, wage. When they get $10-$20 an hour for their work, and they call an entertainer, and find out he charges $50 per hour, they may think that is a high fee, and that he will give them an incredible event with an incredible show.

With the comment about the consumer understanding that you get what you pay for, they may not understand that a $50 show is the low end of the range. They might think that is the high end.

Just a thought.

- Donald.

P.S. Although higher price might sometimes reflect that a performer is higher calibre, that is not always the case. There are good and bad performers that don't charge a lot, and also good and bad performers that charge a lot. Price is actually a pretty poor measuring stick for the consumer. There are other things they should consider, as well, and you covered most of those.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 19, 2004 04:32PM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-08 19:16, Peter Marucci wrote:
Carlo,
That's about right.
I charge about $150 an hour for a maximum of two hours (my poor old legs won't take any longer than that! LOL!)
[/quote]

Is this in $US or in Dollarettes?
Message: Posted by: hagemagic (Jul 19, 2004 05:10PM)
Donald, you make some great points.

You are correct that some people might not know what is a reasonable rate. When that is the case, it is up to the individual performer to let the consumer know why their fee is whatever it is. Hopefully consumers will do their research and find the best show for the money. If not, they will be burned by a sub-par show or in some cases (especially for those in it for the art) be completely satisfied with the performance and lower fee.

Consumers should consider other factors besides price. However, the first factor that most consumers consider is the PRICE. This can often be the go/no-go decision point for the consumer. I just bought a new vehicle and I immediately ruled out several top of the line models because of price.

Consumers want to find a product in their price range--not what they can afford, but what they are willing to spend. So, if $50 sounds too high then that's not the market for me. If $500 sounds reasonable, then that's the market I'm looking for. I don't want to try too hard to convince someone that $500 is a good rate, because that will increase their expectations of my performance to a level that might be difficult to attain. Rather, I'd like to book shows where people say, "Hey, we didn't pay this guy enough." You never want to hear someone say, "we paid this guy too much." That's why I let people rule themselves out and I don't try to "sell" them extra hard on my show. It's just the way I do it and it might not work for everybody.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Oct 1, 2004 07:12AM)
I took a gig for $200 for 4 hours and now regretting it. It's walk around and I did it while I was at the grocer.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Mar 24, 2005 03:59AM)
Hi,
I think we need also consider the comfort/feel good factor, by this I mean that many prospective clients feel more comfortable about the goods/service if it is as they say "re -assumingly expensive”. Everyone has this feeling to some extent in a thread earlier someone mentioned that though they would pay $20.00 for jeans they would not pay $200.00 but even they might feel a little insecure in a $5.00 pair. Lots of us spend on how things make us feel I definitely do I have lots (over 50 pairs) of $200.00 + jeans no they are probably not much better than the $20.00 pairs but they are more exclusive and I feel better in them (right or wrongly).
Many of our clients are the same whether you think they/me are shallow or whatever is not important it is more important to understand why people are compelled to buy what they want.

Phillip
Message: Posted by: todsky (May 1, 2005 07:08PM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-12 12:22, trenchant wrote:
As long as we are prejudiced against everyone equally, I think there's no harm in it. In that spirit, then, let's bash the middle class, which has, so far in this thread, escaped notice.

People in the middle obviously have a problem with commitment. They have neither the talent to succeed nor the courage to face failure.

In determining my fees, therefore, I always assess a "middle-class surcharge" for these clients. Gosh, maybe I've stumbled across the rationale for the current tax code.
[/quote]

Trenchant, I appreciate your acerbic wit. This entire post has been most passionate and amusing, especially the jibes.
Here in Montreal, for private house parties I charge between $150-$200 for the first hour, $100 each additional. My clients are usually those modest middle-class types.
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Aug 1, 2006 12:04PM)
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: Lee Darrow (Aug 1, 2006 09:48PM)
I had a call today for a one-day gig in January of next year- 9 AM to 4PM doing essentially my trade show stuff in a limited venue for 30 minutes every hour during that period of time with a one-hour lunch break and no travel involved.

I quoted a fee in the $1,500 range. Now that may seem to be pretty good money for what amounts to 3 actual hours of work, but the client flinched.

My response was as follows: "Yes, there are people in town who will do this for less, but I assuem that you want your company to be presented well during the performance, by the use of your slogans and even using your giveaways, brochures and business cards in a manner that will improve the prospect's keeping you and your company foremost in their mind, correct?"

Client: "Yes."

Me: "I'm also pretty sure that you want to make sure that you get their contact information and get them to one of your sales reps, instead of just running their badge through the scanner - using the performance as a sort of pre-qualification process, am I right?"

Client: "well we hadn't thought of it in exactly those terms, but that would be great!"

Me: "And you want someone who has experience doing this - who has a proven track record and with a client list that shows that he CAN do this for you, am I right?"

Client: "Well, that's one of the things about your web site that made us call you in the first place, yes."

Me: "Great! I just wanted to make sure that we were on the same page because there ARE people out there who will give you the same old 'Sales, Service and Quality Product' pitch that they use for every other client. I don't do that. I customize my presentations to YOUR needs, use YOUR promotional materials and YOUR giveaways. My goal is to Attract, Interest Create Desire and Stir to Action any GOOD prospect, and get them to your sales people as efficiently as possible and still make sure that they have s fun time watching what I do. Does that fit what you had in mind?"

Client: "Exactly."

Me: "Well, I've been doing trade shows since 1980 and customized shows, like customized cars, take extra effort and extra expense on MY part, which, of course means that I might be a little higher priced than some of the newer people out there. But you have to ask yourself a question about that - who would you rather have representing your company - a twenty-something kid who may be very good with cards and coins, but who has a very limited level of experience at doing trade shows and selling to people - or someone like me, with over twenty six years of experience and a client list like mine?"

Client: "Well, that's a no-brainer. We will send you a proposal this afternoon. What's your fax number - or would you prefer it to be emailed?"

Sell the benefits AND he sizzle, if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor. Your bottom line will improve, dramatically.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
P.S. - they also threw in parking and bought two dozen decks of cards with their company logo (ordered through me, of course!) based on my suggestion - at a tidy markup! - LD
Message: Posted by: rmoraleta (Aug 3, 2006 09:15PM)
Here in my country, I charge approximately $66 an hour to $100 for 2 hours.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 4, 2006 12:32AM)
Not magic, but in my photo job days I had a Vice President of a Fortune 500 company tell me why they paid the high day rates they did. (I was probably the highest paid photographer doing racing work in those days)... He said, "When I'm at the country club talking to my peers do you think it sounds good if I say I have a photographer that works for $100 an hour, or do I want to say I hire a guy we pay $3500.00 to cover an event plus all the expenses."

The other day one of the regular's at Dean's Shoppe came in and told us he quoted
$500 to do a bit of magic at a small dinner party. He did four tricks and the client paid him and added a $500 tip.
Message: Posted by: SoCalPro (Aug 4, 2006 02:12AM)
Ok, there are way too many posts here that I can argue with. Let me just say this. I live in Southern California. I live in Chino Hills but work in the OC, LA and IE. The bottom line is that you charge what you think you are worth and what the market will bare. I charge the following. Restaurants: $100 per (2 Hr.) night plus dinner. I am at 5 restaurants a week right now. I have had between 2 and 7 restaurants a week for the past 16 years.

For strolling magic I charge (locally) $275.00 for the first hour and $175.00 for the 2nd. If you are a larger corporation or a bit of a drive I charge slightly more. Sometimes a corporation won’t hire you if you don’t charge enough. If you quote them too cheap, they think you are not experienced enough. I have had clients tell me this.

My stand up “family” magic show starts about $250.00 and goes up to about $425.00, just depending on the situation. Sometimes I combine strolling and stand up and charge a higher fee.

My “Adult” show starts about $350.00 and goes up to about $550.00, again, depending on the situation. I offer my clients many types of performance options to choose from. I am able to customize my show to fit my clients needs, thus the fee will change.

Again, it is all what the market will bare and what you think your self worth is. Obviously, if you live in LA or New York, your fees will be higher than those livening in BF Ohio. I hear you can’t get a 1 bedroom apt. in New York for under $1500.00. The cost of living in NY, CHI and LA are much higher than most cities. For what I pay in mortgage, you can get a mansion in Alabama. I have a cousin working 2 nights a week at a restaurant getting only $40.00 a night, for 4 hours, plus tips!!!

So in closing, there is no correct answer on what you should charge for a strolling gig. Find out what the others are charging, be completive and offer a better product.

I hope this helps.

JIM
Message: Posted by: Michael Peterson (Sep 19, 2008 01:47PM)
A couple years later & I am wondering what everyone is charging these days?

I myself am charging $250.00-350.00 per hour, I am not performing full time as I have a 9-5 job & I don't do that many shows per month.

Anyone care to share?

Thanks,

Mike
Posted: Sep 22, 2008 12:29pm
Wow, hundreds of views & no responses.

Mike
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Oct 13, 2008 05:17AM)
I will bite. My fees are always changing. Currently, my minimum strolling rate is $250 a hour. Shows are widely variable depending on whether I do strolling in combination or not. Normally they start at $395-$495 minimum.

Restaurant strolling between $150-$200 for 1.5 hrs.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 13, 2008 07:57AM)
Here's a:

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=168328&forum=5]RATES FAQ[/url]

that I wrote a while ago....

Best!

jamie
http://www.whatizit.net
Message: Posted by: nonvpro (Oct 13, 2008 11:51AM)
Has anyone given any thought to the current state of the economy? It has effected not only the amount of shows that I have booked, but what I'm able to charge at for them.
Message: Posted by: The Naked Magician (Oct 14, 2008 02:23PM)
If a resturant don't know what they will get, I normanly do a 30-1 hour slot, for £50, or I will ask them for abita dinner. dish out some business cards while I'm there, if they don't like what I do, then they can tap me on the shoulder and ill pack up and go, if they like it then fine. when they start saying, go to this table and this table, then I start saying, okay now we are talking about a verbal contract.
Message: Posted by: weapon (Nov 22, 2008 05:01PM)
Hey guys, I live in NYC , my going rate is $300 for the first hour $150 each hour after. my clients seem to like the sound of a half priced rate for an addition hour, it always sells. 95% the time they book me for no less than two hours.
I always say never under sell yourself, if you think your magic is worth a high price sell it at that.
Message: Posted by: Jon Blakeney (Dec 18, 2008 11:24PM)
At a strolling gig Icharge $250 for 45 mins and $300 for the hour. For a standup show I charge $400, most people take the $300 package.
Message: Posted by: Eddie Torres (Dec 19, 2008 12:38AM)
Do people ask you to do 45 minutes of strolling? That seems strange to me for some reason, I've always been asked to stroll by the hour.

Eddie
Message: Posted by: montymagi (Dec 19, 2008 09:29PM)
I live in a fairly small size town in southern Louisiana. They just can't afford what is paid in LA or or a large city. I have been told often that I do not charge enough but I love the restaurants I work in. I charge $30 an hour plus dinner. The reason I charge such a small amount is I book almost all of my family shows from the restaurant patrons. I advertise in different ways but most come from there. For my family show I charge $125.00 for a half hour show and a half hour of either walk around or balloon animals. I think this is the first time I ever honestly disclosed my rates.