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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Ritz Carlton gig - What to charge? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ksalaz1
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Hello fellow magicians,

I recently interviewed for a gig at a Ritz Carlton. After stunning the events coordinator with some close up mentalism (thank you Mr Osterlind)I had audience with the entire staff and became a big hit (thank you Banachek). Afterwards the event coordinator came up to me and was speechless, but managed to get out that he would definitely like to hire me. I told him my price was $500.00/hr. for the kind of close up and parlour work he just experienced. He said that they usually pay entertainers (like Tarot Readers, fire Walkers, etc.) $350 for 3 hours. I told him I would get back with him. The Hotel is located not on the continental US, but I have family in that location.

Does anyone here have any experience dealing with the Ritz Carlton and their pay scales?

Any advice woud be welcomed.

Ken Salaz
"Master of the Obvious"
JimMaloney
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I don't have any experience with the Ritz Carlton, but I will say this: don't lower your price just to get the gig. You know what you're worth, so don't sell yourself short.

There's a great anecdote about Nate Leipzig that relates to this. One day, he was sitting in the Lamb's Club and someone called looking to book him for a party. Nate gave his price, which at the time was $150. The person on the phone balked, saying, "Well, I thought I would be able to get a magician for about $50." Nate's simply replied, "I'm sure you can get a good magician for $50, but if you want Nate Leipzig, the price is $150."

He got the gig.

-Jim
Books and Magazines for sale -- more than 200 items (Last updated January 17th, 2014. Link goes to public Google Doc.)
Jim Snack
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I'm a little confused by your question. You indicated that the events coordinator at the Ritz-Carlton told you that they usually pay entertainers (like Tarot Readers, fire Walkers, etc.) $350 for 3 hours. By "events coordinator" do you mean someone from the Sales & Marketing department who finds entertainment for their meeting planner clients?

If so, the economic buyer is not the Ritz-Carlton, but the company or association that is booking the hotel for their meeting. It is possible that the Sales & Marketing Department is providing entertainment for $350, then marketing up the cost to the meeting client to $500 or more. That would be one reason they don't want to book you at your fee - no room for a commission.

Why not simply ask if they mark-up the cost of talent when they bill the client. If the answer is yes, ask them up front, how much do they want to make as a commission. Let them know that you are comfortable paying an agent's commission of 20-25% out of your fee, so if they book you, they will still earn a commission.

You might also want to consider the value of spin off work from the meetings at the Ritz-Carlton. As long as you can pass out business cards, there is value there.

Jim
Jim Snack

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ksalaz1
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Jim,

The person I am speaking to books the events directly. We have discussed already that he will add 20% on top of my price. I have considered the spin off work as well, but the problem is, if I lower the price, then all the spinoff work will be at that price as well. I will be contacting him later today.

Ken
"Master of the Obvious"
Wolfgang
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Here's my advice, which many will disagree with.

I view negotiating a show fee the same as buying a house. If you and a client have different ideas on what a show should cost, and you both want the deal to happen and to walk away happy, you should meet in the middle.

Don't dig your heels in unless you're indifferent to getting the gig. If the client won't meet in the middle, they don't value your talents enough.

Unless you're a name that carries status, it's hard to be too demanding. And if you don't already have a show to perform during that same time, you're losing money by not billing that time. And remember, there's value in getting exposure as an entertainer.

Do what's smart for your business in the long-term. Or don't.
"Sure, I do Scotch and Soda in every show. What? You mean there's a trick by that name?"
ksalaz1
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Wolfgang,

Thank you for your view point. I think I will try to navigate somewhere that will work for both of us, but not sink me in the big scheme of things.

Ken
"Master of the Obvious"
Big Jeff
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I sell toner cartridges and if a big potential customer calls and wants a lower price than normal, I usually can lower the price somewhat. I look at it as 85% profit on 5 cartridges is better than 100% profit on no cartridges.

If you lower the price you charge and get 10 more shows a year at that price, that's 11 more shows than you would have had at the higher price.

HOWEVER, if you are so busy that you can get other show at full price then DO NOT lower your price. Supply and demand, if you have the dates available do it.

You could ask for a free room and meal.

Big Jeff
icentertainment
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Ask the events manager to tell you why he enjoyed your performance so much compared to a tarot reader

Sell the benefits- if they spend 350 on a tarot reader then they must have a super budget

I mean seriously what does a tarot reader do- 1 on 1 performances. and usually at a table

You can perform for multiple people anywhere- no table required- no set up requierd
Your interactive, safe (fire guy isn't)

tighten your fist and don't lower your price.

You gotta sell them and point out to them the difference between a crummy tarot reader and you.- You are selling yourself-

do not compare what we do to a tarot reader.
ksalaz1
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I agree with you icentertainment, I was planning to have that discussion with him to point out the difference. There is ablsolutely no parallel between the tarot Reader and myself. They sit in the corner with candles and speak to maybe 10 people the whole night. I would be blowing minds for up to 40 people at a time, depending on the sightline. I might offer him to do it for $450.00 or $400 per hour and see where he goes with it. The point that Big Jeff makes is good- 5 shows booked at 85% is better that 100% of no shows. I have arrainged it with them that they would book me with back to back shows on the same day so that any day there would be a minimum of two shows.

KSalaz
"Master of the Obvious"
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