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Dennis Michael
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How Much Should a Magician Charge?

This topic is avoided and many don't talk about it. It almost like a magical secret or asking a magician how he did that trick! A taboo subject. Since this is one of the best (probably the best but I didn't want to offend anyone.) discussion boards on the Internet this topic should be addressed.

Assumptions:

  • 1. You're not a full-time professional illusionist with a stage show act (a la. Cooperfield, McBribe, Burton, Sigfried & Roy, etc.)
  • 2. You're a part-time semi-pro with a well practiced sellable act. (Not new at magic)
  • 3. Magic is a serious hobby.
  • 4. You want to see if your fees are in line with other entertainers of the art.
  • 5. You're good and ready to show your practiced skills for a fee.
  • 6. You're going to do shows for pay, and you're trying to figure how much should you ask?
  • 7. You're beyond the free shows, and your act in fine tuned.


If the above does not fit you, then you're fees should be considerably less until you get the experience and practice or considerably more because you're so great!

Kid's Shows:

Stage Illusions with full blown 45 minute act, School Assembly: $300.00
Large Kid Groups, Corporations: $200.00 With Santa $300.00 (Pictures $5.00 each)
Small Birthday Parties: $100.00 Minimum
Family and Friends Birthday Party: (How well do you want continue being a member of that family?)
Local Church: Let your conscience be your guide here!
Use a live animal such as a Rabbit: Add $25.00 (Plays big and it will be remembered forever!)


Close-Up Magic or Table Hopping: $100-$135 an hour, more based on name and popularity, or by contract price. (Another issue)

Club, Stage, Private Parties:
This is a tough one, what will the Market bare? What do I charge Bill Gates' private party or those gigs above kidshows and below the 35 million Copperfeild receives each year?

Simon Lovell told me he get at least in the four figures per gig, but if you know Simon, is he pulling my leg and telling me a yarn? Some pros get this and much more doing the curcuit. It really depends on the uniqueness, what the market will bare, and how sought after you are!

As with everything else there are exceptions. If you plan to make this a full time business, set an annual salary figure and base your fee structure on that. I want to make $120,000 a year and do only 12 shows means $10,000 per show...Are you that good? Get the point!

I want to do school assembly shows, 2 shows a day ($600 per day- 4 days a week leaving Mondays for the business end of magic and only have about a hundred school days to work with, would gross about $60,000 a year.

I want to do birthday parties on weekends and try to get 4 shows per weekend. (52 x 4 x $100 = $20,800) and this is near impossible. More realistically, it would be closer to 2 shows for an average of 26 weeks or grossing $5,200 annually. Regular job plus many weekends booked leaves little room for anything else! (Summer is very busy time!)

The above are examples of how to figure what to realistically charge. You may need to work at getting established before you see high figures. Also remember, without the business end, getting gigs will be difficult, if not impossible. Sometimes, one-third or more of gross earning is for the business end. (Not counting supporting the magic habit.)

Your comments are welcome!
Dennis Michael
Joe M. Turner
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Also remember that these numbers may vary slightly by region and by how saturated your market is with other performers.

There are suburbs of Atlanta where I can charge $200 and up for a birthday party without anyone blinking an eye. There are other parts of town where $150 is a real stretch. Honing in on a specific type of market can help you stabilize your prices.

Also, I think I can generally charge more here in my part of the state than I could if I lived down in central or south-central Georgia -- at least if I actually want to work.

JMT
...
Regards,
Joe M. Turner
[email]jmt@turnermagic.com[/email]
www.turnermagic.com
Peter Marucci
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Like a magic trick, fees are something where trial and error is often the best yardstick.

Someone told me, many years ago, that:

1: If you're getting a show from everyone who calls you, you're charging too little.

2: If you're not getting any bookings from people who call you, you're charging too much.

3: If you book a show in about half of the cases (of people who call), then you're charging about right.

Since you are the one getting the money, then you -- and only you -- should be the judge of what is reasonable.

Remember:
The fellow magician who claims to be making a six-figure income usually neglects to point out that there is a decimal point involved!

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Scott F. Guinn
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See my February Pro-Files column at http://www.online-visions.com
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Dennis Michael
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Scott,

It took about five-minutes to find the post you referred to. (I am slow in reading.)Rates of Interest

I must commend you on that article. It is excellent. It also applies to other businesses. I do seminars where clients each pay me $700. I don't get as many as I would if I charged $350, however, those that do come succeed from my teachings and make my statistics look great, increasing business to a point where I'm known in the State as the guy to go to if you want to get promoted, but you have to want it bad enough to pay the price.

When I did the lower the fee, I got all the dregs who thought I was a miracle worker and they were not motivated or wanted to put the effort forward to get promoted. It pulled my statistics way down. (A mistake on my part but it reinforces the concept mentioned in your article. Get what your worth and hold to that price.)

Point: If you got a sellable product, get what you are worth, even if is double the price of the competition, or going rate. Also, keep in mind what Peter said above, it's a good rule of thumb!

In addition you used the concept of hourly wage being more than the $100 you received for the time presenting the show. This is a common management way of thinking and a correct way of determine one's worth.

Generally speaking, any 45-minute magic show is really a 4 hour day (half-day) when you consider all that it takes to do the show as mentioned in your article. Ask yourself what are you worth per hour? $25 per hour minimum, then your show should be $100.00 minium.

Another common, pricing figure is to determine what your regular day is worth. As a Firefighter Officer, I get about $800.00 per day. Now, that is my daily worth to work overtime, therefore, to do something else, another profession, I should be equilivently paid. This boils down to about $100-$125 per hour minimum worth, $400-$500 for a half-day work. (45-minute actual show time.)

Your coporate rate is reasonable $500-$1,000, but you must be worth this to get repeat business (Peter Principle, pun intended). Ask it once and if the client is disappointed (He may never tell you this.), you won't get any referrals and business will take a dramatic non-recoverable drop.

"Under-cutters"... They're in every business. My seminar business is unique, and the competition try to duplicate my business and undercut my price. They get the business and make good money, but their statistics always are way below mine.

Analysis: People do recognize, quality product for a quality price. People will go the cheap route and not care about a quality product. Magicial clients are no different.

Finally, if your interested in this topic, the Cafe Readers should take the time out and read Scott's excellent, well thought out, article. It's worth it.
Dennis Michael
RayBanks
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Quote:
On 2002-02-15 06:07, DenDowhy wrote:
Scott,

Analysis: People do recognize, quality product for a quality price.


This is true of most any business.

I have a friend who used to be a very gifted cinematographer. In the sixties and early seventies his clients included '60 minutes', all of the TV networks, Herb Alpert Enterprises, etc. At that time his going rate was $ 250 per day plus all expenses, film and lab fees.

Hacing lunch with him one day he commented that he was going to double his rate to $ 500 per day plus expenses. He thought it might eas up his work load a bit.

WRONG! His phone never stopped ringing and he aded many more top shelf clients to his resume.

People really do think (and should expect) value for their dollar. BUT you do have to live up to their expectations. (In reality he probably should have been charging $500 all along. He was that good) Smile

Smile
-------------
Pick a card, any card...No. not THAT one...THIS one

Ray Banks
Randy Charach
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Randy Charach
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Here is an excerpt from my book that may be helpful to those interested in this topic:

How much is your show worth? Although the answer seems quite subjective, there is a way to determine a range of the current value of your show. You start by comparing your performance to other acts that have a similar show and are equally entertaining.

One of the secrets of increasing your value far above this range is to add extra service above and beyond the performance itself.

People will pay a premium to book your show over another magician who may have a similar show that elicits similar audience reaction. They will pay this premium if they enjoy dealing with you more so than with the other magician. It is worth extra money for them to book your show of similar quality rather than a less expensive show when they can rest assured that you would deliver as promised and exceed their expectations in every aspect of dealing with you.

How much extra is the superior service and comfort worth? That depends on your client’s resources and your sales and marketing ability. This means that you can increase your fees again by focusing your marketing efforts on higher paying venues and clients. I have always charged substantially higher fees than many other magicians in similar markets. The higher fees themselves are one of the reasons I get more bookings, but certainly not the main reason.

At my current fee of $5000.00 for a show at a corporate engagement in the U.S., I am in line with other acts of my caliber but still five to ten times the cost of the next best local performer. Now, granted I'm not doing an average of 300-400 shows per year as I used to when my fee was more modest, but I prefer to do less shows now.

Is my show worth $5000.00? Yes. If it wasn't I would not be obtaining repeat bookings from the same clients year after year at this fee. Is your show worth $5000.00? I don't know. Do you? Is it worth more than you charge now? Probably. How much more, I don't know. I could only answer that for you if I knew more about your overall business.

Keep in mind that you may have to make a lifestyle choice soon. I could be doing many more shows at my current fee if I chose to market myself aggressively. This requires traveling more than I currently am willing to do. I was just married last year and my first child, after my stepdaughter, is due soon. While I still enjoy performing out of town, I have chosen to diversify further into streams of income that do not require as much travel.

If you rely only on performing as your sole source of income, even if you are doing big numbers, you are working for a living. What I mean is, you are trading your time for money with little or no leverage. You are not reaping the benefits of business by leveraging your time. You have not set up a system whereby your skills, talents and abilities will create income, as they say, while you sleep. If you want to travel a lot, then you will have an easier time making more money as your geographical target area opens up as wide as you want it to. You should still set up other income streams that are conducive to your being on the road. Most of the same business options will still be open to you. Your social and family life will just be different than if you work mostly within a day or two of your hometown.

I suggest you raise your fee immediately as long as you follow most of the advice that I give you in this course. Raising your fee, as mentioned above, will raise the perceived value of your show. Some people will choose your show, all else being equal, over competitors, just because your fee is higher. They will feel that they are getting the best, and for some people, myself included, only the best is good enough.

Accept this advice only if you have a good show. You cannot rip people off and expect to stay in business long. They must feel that they got at least what they paid for and preferably much more.

When you raise your fee in the same market, to the same clients, do it gradually or expect to do less shows and probably make less money for a while. If you move into a higher paying market, you can make a big jump from your current fee. The trick is to start marketing and obtaining bookings in the higher paying markets before you abandon your other markets.

I am providing a vast array of information on various markets in this course. It is up to you to choose which ones to venture into, which ones to expand upon and which ones, if any, to drop. Create multiple streams of income as an entertainer by working various markets.

Randy Charach
http://www.millionairemagician.com
TheDean
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WaHoo Randy!

GREAT Post bud, I was gunna ask if you would comment on this one for us... You really are mental!

Thanks bud!

Yooz da' BEST!
Deano

Smile
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
magicmondo
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I was in a magic store in Dallas earlier today. I have just booked a party for a 6 year old offering my Whole Hog Package for $350.00. I was chatting with the shop keeper and while we were talking a customer walked in to pick up the materials for a show he was doing. he had printed invitations (which I do), created a nice page for the kids to color, is supplying the cake and party favors, all of which I do too. I asked his price and he told me $225 all inclusive. Why am I getting $350 for the same service? The answer... when you go the whole hog, people actually want to pay more because this means tthat they feel they can trust you... too cheap, too dirty. His act is good and his service is great, but at $350, I get nearly 4 times the booking he does. Price long forgotten and quality remembered. Selling on value is the key here. Before splitting to become a magician, I was a business principal and top salesman selling high value software applications to Fortune 500. Bringing this experience with me has helped me with my magic career. Never charge the least, find your point of differentiation and leverage like crazy. Nuff said.
Experience the Magic of Mondo

Visit me at www.magicmondo.com

"If there was no such thing as magic, I would look pretty foolish standing up here"
p.b.jones
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HI,
I recently purchased "SECRETS OF A MILLIONAIRE MAGICIAN" by RANDY CHARACH.

http://hop.clickbank.net/?pbjones/milmag

and I think that it is superb if you are looking to make more money as a magician then this is a must. It is written by a magician for a magician and Randy is pulling $5,000.00 per gig so he knows his business. I am not going to list the contents ext as there is way to much, But if you are serious about making your magic pay then click the link above and read all about it.

phillip

P.S. it is also Highly recommended by: Rudy Coby, Peter Reveen, Michael Ammar, James Dimmare, Ted Lesley, Alain Nu, Craig Karges, The Evasons, and others.
Mikael Eriksson
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A little comment on the following:

"Small Birthday Parties: $100.00 Minimum"

In Sweden, very few parents would pay that kind of money. I charge $50.00, and that seems to be where the line goes.

It seems that it´s easier to make your living performing magic for children in the u.s.? Smile

Mikael
malini
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Yea, in New Zealand the highest rate for a bth'day party is about US$40-50 in the smaller towns and US$60-70 in the larger cities.
Most New Zealand parents would not pay any more that, unless they are fairly well off.

It's interesting to see the comparisons between countries.

Smile
p.b.jones
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Hi,
how do those fees compare to earnings in your countries?

Here in the uk (not in london)

in my home area a small town in west wales

7% of people are unemployed
75% of people earn from £150 - 250
10% earn £250 - 500
5% earn £500- 1,000
3% earn 1,000 +

the above are my estimates

A recent newspaper survey country wide (ex london) showed that the average childrens magicain charges £75.00 per hour, My fees are higher than this for a 45 min show. However I have competiters ranging from
£35.00 per hour to £58.00 for 45 mins
How does this compare to wages/fees in your countries US. Sweden. New Zealand ? ? ? ?
phillip
Mikael Eriksson
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"7% of people are unemployed
75% of people earn from £150 - 250
10% earn £250 - 500
5% earn £500- 1,000
3% earn 1,000 +"

If that´s per week it seems compatible.

"A recent newspaper survey country wide (ex london) showed that the average childrens magicain charges £75.00 per hour, My fees are higher than this for a 45 min show. However I have competiters ranging from
£35.00 per hour to £58.00 for 45 mins
How does this compare to wages/fees in your countries US. Sweden. New Zealand ? ? ? ?"

In your currency I charge about £35.

Mikael
p.b.jones
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HI,
Yes the figures are per week
phillip
YT
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PB Jones - I was interested by your figures. Do you by any chance have figures from that newspaper survey that DO include London? Or do you know, on average, how much more is charged in London (e.g. +25%)?

Kind Regards, YT
p.b.jones
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Hi,
The figures were just for outside London
but I guess 25 to 50% extra depending on the area.
phillip
mr.t.ricks
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hi
This is a very interesting subject of fees. You should charge what you think you are worth and what you would like to earn in a year.

I have set rates for the shows that I perform: 1 hour 2 hour all day and so on. The fee changes with the area I am working in. Each area has a set fee, so every one in that town or village pays the same regardless of their status, rich or poor they pay the same.

For corporate events I add about £30 per hour on top of the set fee for their area. As for London rates I was asked to give a fee for a school show in London. As I explained to the client, I would be making about a 300 mile round trip. It would be
cheaper if they had someone local. My fee would be £250 for the hour show.

I got the booking, they said that they would have to pay around that fee anyway. From that show I got two weeks work doing two to three schools a day all at £250 per show. I stayed in a b&b and did about 22 shows.
I am looking forward to next year as some have already booked again.
(I am not bragging by telling you the London story but it goes to show that people do
talk to each other especially schools. They liked what I had to offer and it seamed to
be the right price)

This is not always the case. The school my kids go to asked me to give them a price
for there xmas show I did but was not booked.
Then one day my kids came home saying they had seen a clown at the school.
That day it turned out to be a good friend of mine so I asked him what he had charged
them, his fee was £30 more than mine was but he still got the job and good luck to him.
It all depends on where on the pay ladder you want to be; bottom, middle, or top. I would rather be in the middle.

Every year I get a number of phone calls asking my fees for all the types of shows I do I tend to get these calls around Jan of each year but don't seem to get any bookings from them. I suspect they are from some of my competition checking where on the ladder they are.
have fun
mr.t.ricks Smile Smile
regards to all

MR.T.RICKS
p.b.jones
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Mr T Ricks,
First HI! (I do not know if you remember me but some time likely about 10 years ago, we met in the TY Newedd Hotel in Hurwian you were fairly new to magic then, I was doing the close up at the tables.)

quote:
this is a very interesting subject of fees,you should charge what you think you are worth.

Trouble with this is everyone spouts it as an answer but it does not help newcomers very much. How do they know/work out what thier worth.

Quote:

I have set rates for the shows that I perform 1 hour 2 hour all day and so on.
but the fee changes with the area I am working in each area has a set fee
so every one in that town or village pays the same regardless of there status
rich or poor they pay the same


I would agree that this is the best policy
But I do have sub catagories for example
schools pay more than birthday parties.
an Adult cabaret for a small family function would cost less than for the local Social club.

quote:
for corporate events I add about £30 per hour on top of the set fee for there area

Depending how you label Corporate I think you might be missing some bucks here

quote:
every year I get a number of phone calls asking my fees for all the types of shows I do
I tend to get these calls around Jan of each year but don't seem to get any bookings from
them I suspect they are from some of my competition checking where on the ladder they are.

Eric Sharp always used to tell me about these calls. I think it must be a Cardiff thing. I can,t say as I have had many down here in Pembrokeshire.
Phillip
CSStanton
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I live in northern Michigan and I charge the following:
Kid show or walk around- $100/hour, $75/45 minutets, $50/half hour. Added to these charges is $.34/mile of travel. I talked to a magician at Davenports and he told me that he factors everything into the price of a show - insurence charges, gas money, hotel(if needed), food, EVERYTHING.
I do not live in a very big town, but I am the only magician. I have three shows this month ranging from Cadillac to Charlivoix. Many people dont have a problem with these charges, while others wont call me back.

A word of advice - if you get booked, be sure to tell them there is some kind of non-refundable fee if canceled 24 hours prior to the show. I have had this happen and lost time where I could be working at my real job or doing other shows. What do you think about this?
-Casey
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