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Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Quote:
On 2008-10-16 23:22, TRUMPETMAN wrote:
I try to charge what the traffic will bear, and usually consult the few true professionals I know when setting my prices, to keep things in perspective.


Many years ago, a magic instructor (at an event) challenged our thinking by asking us, "How do you determine how much to charge?" What does "charge what the traffic will bear" mean? What does "the going rate" mean? These are the types of questions he asked us.

In most cases, these are general limits we create for ourselves, without any outside influence. Do other performers determine your rates? Does a successful booking percentage (close rate) determine your rates? Do prospects who don't hire you determine your rates? Is how we view ourselves / our own value an influence at all?

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
magicgeorge
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Belfast
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I'd be interested in the context of the Jeff McBride quote.

I would assume he is saying that magicians who perform a lot get good at it rather than they perform a lot because they are good. Although both are true to a certain extent.

I think a lot of stage time (if you're not too arrogant to listen to your audience and give yourself a dam good critiquing) improves your act faster than rehearsing. There's only so far you can go with rehearsing. You can polish the moves and declumsify your handling but the script, the gags and the little touches only evolve and get a proper fine polishing in-front of an audience


There may be clients who book the cheapest guy but I'm sure a lot of them will hear alarm bells when someone quotes way under everyone else. For most people booking an act they now nothing about I think they'll probably go for reasonably priced over expensive or cheap. However, the more word of mouth references or professional marketing material you have the less the price will be a factor.

George
TRUMPETMAN
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Naples, FL
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To address some of Donald's many questions, since he quoted me as a starting point of his last post.....

When setting my price, I tend to first consult my mentor and magic coach who helped break me into the local business.

He is a hard working, honest professional, who has been full time for many years now, including working a steady house gig five nights a week for almost 10 years. His view of ethics and community within the local circle of performers are honest and fair, and have helped keep mine the same.

Once I have spoken with him on raising or lowering rates, I start checking to see what others are doing in the area. The guys who are the real pros don't ever mind sharing info about their business.

That is how I determine what the traffic will bear.

Granted, things have been tough as of late, particularly down here. I live in what has been refered to in the press recently as the foreclosure capital of the USA. If anyone thinks that hasn't affected the birthday business, they must not work birthdays ! However, there are other venues that are going strong, if one knows where to look.

Mark
Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
facebook.com/robbietheringmaster
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Hi Mark -

So, you take your "pricing" cue from other performers. And that's fine.

But I wonder where they got their cue from? How did they determine what's a fair fee to charge?

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
TRUMPETMAN
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Naples, FL
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Hi back Donald !

Not sure how they established their idea of what rates should be, but the guys I am refering to have been in business for quite a long time. Many worked up north in big cities for decades before moving down here to God's waiting room (Florida , for the uninitiated !).

When I started, it just seemed like the logical and right thing to respect what others have done before me. I didn't want to shake the tree and keep all the fruit, especially if that fruit is bruised and half price...

Mark
Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
facebook.com/robbietheringmaster
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Hi again Mark -

I totally understand your point of view.

Here is something interesting that happened recently to me. I was talking with another performer whom I greatly respect (more of an equal than a mentor), and we got onto the topic of birthday show rates, because he was going to refer a show to me.

However, his rates were the same as he was charging 10-15 years ago. Mine were in that ballpark at one time many years ago, but now my minimum birthday show rates are more than double his.

But is he charging "the going rate" ("what the market will bear"), or am I?

I don't consider him to be undercutting me.

I think what it boils down to, is I have determined what I am comfortable quoting and delivering on, and he has determined what he is comfortable quoting and delivering on. We both have happy customers, repeat business, etc.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Red Shadow
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I discovered recently that I am one of the dearest in my area. There are 100 entertainers listed in my yellow pages and over 600 amateur and professional magicians in our local magic clubs. I regularly price check due to the competitive nature of this business and you often need competitive prices to beat out your competition.

However I have recently been charging £250 ($500) per show (within a 20 mile radius) and been getting it. The client knew about my cheaper competitors, but told me it was my WEBSITE that convinced them to go with me. They liked what I had to offer and choose me over the other, cheaper entertainers. I am now doing eight shows a week, and true, my prices start from £140 ($280) within a 5 mile radius), but that is still more than my local competitors charge.

I don't offer any discount, or coupons. My prices are the same for mid-week work and I am getting it. I don't think coupons help sell your show, I found a good website, promoted well is an entertainers best tool to success.

Stephen
Gerry Walkowski
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If anyone is going to Eric Paul's boot camp, I'd be curious to hear how the attendees and instructors felt about this particular subject matter.

If a magician is charging below market rates, in order to have a full calendar of shows, isn't he/she in effect hurting the market place by under cutting the local competition?

It just seems to me that if you are really good at what you're doing, and you are a fantastic marketeer of your services and your calendar seems to always be filled, that you should be selling your services at top dollar, not at or below the going rate. Or, is it that the only way you can fill your calendar is by charging below market rates?

I realize this might be viewed by some as a loaded question, but I'd honestly love to know how others feel about this touchy issue, especially the magic marketing gurus. So, if anyone is going to Eric Paul's magic marketing bootcamp, I'd love to hear what everyone there thought of this subject because it's one of those touchy topics that most magicians don't like to discuss.

Thanks,

Gerry
magicgeorge
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Belfast
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Quote:
On 2008-10-18 07:42, ku7uk3 wrote:
However I have recently been charging £250 ($500) per show (within a 20 mile radius) and been getting it. The client knew about my cheaper competitors, but told me it was my WEBSITE that convinced them to go with me.


You should change your WEBSITE then cos it says you charge £75....
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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General questions that rarely get discussed:

How busy do you have to be before you increase your rates? (How can you tell it's time?)

Do you feel it's wrong to make the same amount of money while doing less shows?

Do you feel guilty for asking for more money per show? (Do you feel that you are gouging your customers, or do you feel that you are making it so some can't afford your show, or do you have a fear of rejection, or do you feel that you aren't worth it, or do you have a prejudice against performers who are more expensive, etc.)

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Red Shadow
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My website says £75 for 1 hour in the SK3 postcode. That's the road I live on, and covers about ten houses.

Its a marketing tactic. I rarely do 1 hour shows anymore, most of my work is 2 hours and that starts from £140. Some people see the price I give for a local event, they give me a call, and I win them over with my telephone manor before giving them the actual higher price. Its worked so far as my calenders full.


Q: How busy do you have to be before you increase your rates? (How can you tell it's time?)
A: When you turning now more booking due to the wanted time slots already being taken, than bookings already booked in your diary.

Q: Do you feel it's wrong to make the same amount of money while doing less shows? A: Depends on the client. Some rich parents, I feel I should have charged more. Some poor parent simply trying to do something for their child, then yes.

Q: Do you feel guilty for asking for more money per show? (Do you feel that you are gouging your customers, or do you feel that you are making it so some can't afford your show, or do you have a fear of rejection, or do you feel that you aren't worth it, or do you have a prejudice against performers who are more expensive, etc.)
A: For 20% of my enquiries, I am too dear. For 33% of my customers I am already booked, 10% are just fishing for info or follow up calls, 2% are prank callers (kids) and the last 35% all make a booking. I ask what I can get. I don't feel good or bad about it, its just business.

Steve
themagiciansapprentice
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Steve,

some interesting statistics there. I'd agree only 1/3rd of all calls get firm bookings.

But how do you get round people booking, then cancelling? (I've been advised not to take deposits via the internet as I can get in trouble with the service provider if the client asks for their deposit back.)
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
Red Shadow
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I don't bother with deposits, too much work. I know its a big thing with other entertainers, but I get around 5 cancellations a year. That's just not enough to warrant the extra work involved.

I also don't bother with confirmation sheets, contracts, or after show marketing, mailing etc. I still do mailshots to the schools, but frankly, this year has been a bit slow with the bookings from them, and will only just about cover the stamp costs. But my birthday party shows have been on a major upwards spiral. Tripled since last year.

If a client cancels, I try to push them onto another date. If nothing can be achieved, I just bite my lip and let it go.
Most cancelled time-slots are taken up very quickly by someone else. I did say 33% of my calls were for already booked slots. So when a client cancels, I rarely lose money because there is always someone else to take the slot.

But ultimately, I cannot be bothered with all that paperwork some entertainers seem desperate to do. I have them available for the very few clients that ask for it, but if they don;t ask, why set yourself the extra work?
It hasn't affected my new client, repeat client, or referral client ratio since I stopped doing it, and I'm still busy.

Steve
Gerry Walkowski
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Donald:

Here's another topic you just don't see discussed.

If you have a very good client who books you religiously every year, do you raise your prices with that client? Personally, I know I'm quilty of this. I've had some clients who have been with me for 20 odd years and while I have raised my prices during that time, I almost hate to do it because they're almost like family members.
Starrpower
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I have allowed my existing clients to be grandfathered in at their current rate. There is value to repeat business ... no need to promote to them, no need to "sell" yourself to them, you are assured that booking every year, and so on. Plus, if they like me THAT much they are probably doing a fair amount of word-of-mouth promoting of my show! With that in mind, I allow them to keep their present rate.

But, I also make it clear that, if they miss even one year, they are now held to the present price structure.

Still, I have clients that I still have inched up the rate on. Depends on your personal preference.
magic4u02
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I think one must evaluate things every year even with existing clients that have you back year after year. It comes down to buiklding that relationship with them and that trust as well. I am always honest with my existing clients and they understand that it is a business for me and sometimes I have to raise my prices just to get ahead of the cost of living and other increases. But I usually do offer them a break below the current going rate and they appreciate that.

Kyle
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