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Jamie D. Grant
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Hiya,

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

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

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

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

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

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

What constitutes a show?

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

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

The Rates

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

Superstar:
Whatever the heck you can get.

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

Semi-Pro Worker:
2 hours- half of the Worker's 2 hours.
1 hour- half of the Worker's 1 hour.

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

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

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

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

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

Beginner:
Barter.

Occasional Worker:
1 hour for $150
2 hours for $250

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

Pro Worker:
1 hour for $600
2 hours for $1000

Superstar:
Millions!

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

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

Jamie D. Grant
TRICK OF THE YEAR: Industrial Revelation, BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Approach, The AIP Bottle, and my new book Scenic 52, can all be found over here: SendWonder.com
Kindness takes practice. My TEDx talk
reminis16
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Great Post!
mrnavyblue
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Well thougt out nice one
mc_magi
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Great, awesome post! Thanks Mr Grant. This is especially helpful to me since I live in Vancouver as well
Many thanks once again Smile
Jeff Corn
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Very helpful information. I'm trying to organize a roundtable discussion on this subject rather soon.
Yes, that is my real name. Yes, I am a real person. No, you probably won't agree with me.
TKE
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Thanks for the insight
Dannydoyle
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What about the ability to do other shows? What about the fact that you may book lots of other work from the one gig evey week?

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

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

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

Getting what you state in say Chicago is easy. In Key Largo it is underpriced, in Utah it may be overpriced.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jamie D. Grant
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Hiya,

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

Let's hear some more thoughts,

Jamie D. Grant
TRICK OF THE YEAR: Industrial Revelation, BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Approach, The AIP Bottle, and my new book Scenic 52, can all be found over here: SendWonder.com
Kindness takes practice. My TEDx talk
Dannydoyle
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Well as I said it is really more of an equasion with a ton of variables.
Those are what to concentrate on and figuring out what each one is worth to you.

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

So lets concentrate on variables instead of numbers.

Do you book shows from the place?

Do you make up a lot of dough in tips?

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

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

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

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

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

My recomendation is to get as many of those variables in check as possible and define them so they are less variable.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
dominik
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Quote:
On 2006-06-27 02:25, Jamie D. Grant wrote:
What constitutes a show?

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

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



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

And what's wrong with cards anyway? I do some coin routines and even the sponge balls, but almost anybody who has seen me before is requesting card tricks.
Dannydoyle
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His point was that showing family some "tricks" does not constitute a show.

He was not demeaning cards in any way, it was simply an example.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
dominik
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Quote:
On 2006-06-29 09:08, Dannydoyle wrote:
His point was that showing family some "tricks" does NOT constitute a show.
He was not demeaning cards in any way, it was simply an example.

Got that.

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

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

Jamie's suggestion of 2 hrs. for a very nice 1 bedroom apartment would be the relative starting point. From there you would use Danny's subjective factors to lock in on the exact price you should charge.
. . . but the third man answered, "I am building a cathedral."
Dannydoyle
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A professional gets paid for what he does. Pretty clear. Not too much grey area.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It has been 20 years for me doing this, I haven't been asleep for all of it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jamie D. Grant
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Excellent points Danny.

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

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

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

Jamie D. Grant
TRICK OF THE YEAR: Industrial Revelation, BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Approach, The AIP Bottle, and my new book Scenic 52, can all be found over here: SendWonder.com
Kindness takes practice. My TEDx talk
Dannydoyle
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My corporate event rate is huge when compared to booking a recurring restaurant gig where I will get other things from.

No doubt.

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

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

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

Avoid absolutes when thinking of this stuff. Absolutes close a lot more doors than they open.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Red Shadow
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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.
Dannydoyle
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Skill level is not relevant.

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

Your certainly not going to point out a lack of it now are you?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
SoCalPro
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"I charge £65 per hour"

What is this in USA money?
Alym Amlani
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Quote:
On 2006-08-01 13:39, SoCalPro wrote:
"I charge £65 per hour"

What is this in USA money?


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