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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Another "Money" question (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Daniel J. Ferrara Jr.
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Regular user
Long Island, New York
182 Posts

Profile of Daniel J. Ferrara Jr.
I have been doing a lot of kids parties lately and I have been getting paid after the show. I have noticed that a lot of people offer to give a deposit. I haven't been collecting any money before the shows.

My question is: do you ask for a deposit at the time of the booking, or just collect the money on the day of the show?
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

Profile of Peter Marucci
While a lot of performers would recommend getting a deposit, for a variety of reasons, I've never done it in more than 50 years.
I've never seen the need.
Yes, I've had people offer or volunteer to pay a deposit. But in those cases, I simply tell them it isn't necessary and payment the day of the show is all that's needed.
It works for me.
Deposits probably work for others.
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

Profile of Dennis Michael
Daniel,

I noticed you're from Long Island. You must ask yourself, "Would the people in my neighborhood be inclined to stiff me?" If the answer is Yes or maybe, or quite possibly, then a deposit is in order.

In the seminar business, a client is most likely not to cancel and will attend if a deposit is made. This is a fact. Now regarding magic, you agree ahead of time (Confirmation Agreement Letter) that the client square away business upon arrivial, in an envelope to you, and the chances of getting stiffed are minimal, but it can happen. Even with a deposit they still can stiff you or write a bad check.

I've done both ways and I personally like getting paid on arrivial (before hand). Yes there are cancellations, and yes I've been stiffed, but only once. I personally feel a client can verbally badmouth me if I accept money and don't deliver a service, in favor of enforcing an agreement.

You must try different approaches for the type of neighborhood you perform and make that decision yourself.
Dennis Michael
Billy Whizz
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Special user
Plymouth, UK
576 Posts

Profile of Billy Whizz
I never ask for a deposit except for birthday parties in December. The reason: I find I get a lot of cancellations in December. I think it's because it's so close to Christmas that people realize they maybe can't really afford little Jonny's party. And the cancellations always seem to be short notice, which means I can't fill that slot.

The rest of the year, if I take full payment/deposit up front, I feel as if I'm working for nothing on the day because I'm not collecting the Pennies.
p.b.jones
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Inner circle
Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
2642 Posts

Profile of p.b.jones
Hi,
I do not take deposits as a rule unless it is a really large fee and/or considerable traveling/ accomodation costs involved (for example, trade shows in London).
Phillip
Cheshire Cat
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Special user
Wilmslow, UK
941 Posts

Profile of Cheshire Cat
We always take a deposit (do about 300 parties a year). This goes back to the 1980s when, to quote a great term from Dennis, people seemed more likely to "stiff" you. I think it also worth pointing out that people LIKE paying a deposit, as it gives them some sort of feeling of having 'secured' your services. Discipline is required though. We have a Customer Deposit Account at a bank and nothing is touched or even thought about until it's EARNED, and then we transfer it electronically into our main distribution bank account. Each to their own though. As a final note, we find people these days to be very trustworthy over payments (probably get a lemon this afternoon after saying that!!) Smile
Tim Zager
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Loyal user
Kansas City
222 Posts

Profile of Tim Zager
I never ask for a deposit and explain it is not necessary. If offered a second time, I usually accept it for the reasons Ace mentions above.

Tim
.
Make sure your customers never lose your information,
with a Digital Business Card.
Emazdad
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Inner circle
Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

Profile of Emazdad
I never ask for a deposit unless the show is a long distance job or a Birthday party in December (see Billy's post). On my contract it says "payment before commencement of show." However, I don't insist on it unless I get to a show and I feel it's safer to get paid first. Although payment before is a safety net from getting ripped off, it does have a down side. You don't get many tips when paid up front.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Zorak
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Regular user
Maryland, USA
114 Posts

Profile of Zorak
Everyone has their approach to this subject. "To take...or not to take, that is the question?"

I work with a simple (fun designed) contract that asks for a $50. deposit. This deposit assures the client that I have reserved that time slot for them. It gives them the confidence that we will show up.

Unfortunately, I have had clients tell me their horror stories about a magician or clown backing out at the last minute. We fill in for them if we have an opening in that time slot. To my mind, this is almost always inexcusable.

I always have back up acts that could fill in for me in an emergency. I never leave my client in this desperate situation.
Of course, in the case of a last minute show, a contract is impossible (unless it is faxed).

You know how sometimes you get a dozen calls for the same day and time slot? The deposit assures you that you have the committment of the client.

I also have in my contract a mutually agreed upon "rain date."

I have only been stiffed 3 times in all my years of performing. I have, however, had last minute cancellations. I mean, "walking out the door" last minute cancellations.

It's not so bad for me, but my clown assistant just spent 45 minutes getting in make-up and costume. Not to mention the calls and request for that time slot that we turned away. (We always refer them to a qualified performer).

For the past 2 decades, the contracts and deposits have worked great for me. We also include in our contract a friendly party tips sheet, our brochure, and website: http://www.kiddiekazam.com

After the show we mail out a specially designed "Thank You" postcard, addressed to the birthday child.

We haven't had a single negative response to contracts or deposits.

Oh well, that's the way we do it. Works for me! Smile
Magic is in the hearts of children from 1 to 101
Please check out my Website: kiddiekazam.com
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