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RJE
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I think Ken has a defined act(s) and a defined area that he chooses to work in. Given that, it probably works to his advantage to post prices. And, since it works for him, then as Flec said, why change it?

For us, we do not have a defined act or a defined area. We sell to many different markets and operate in an unlimited geographic area. We develop each show for each client (it is not unheard of for us to head out the door with 3 totally different shows loaded in the truck and trailer). Also, besides booking ourselves, we are currently represented by, or work for, about 12 different agents and event planners.

So, in our particular circumstances, it would be very impractical for us to post prices on our web site.
Victor Ian Smith
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Valid points from both sides. I would want to point out that the specific medium that is being discussed is "the magician's website". If we think like a business the first question we have to ask is what action do we want the customer to take once they visit the website?

Do we want them to read, then go to another website to read more - and compare? Or do we want them to read and then "call us for more information"? The call to action must be for them to "call for more" so that we can let them get to know us personally in a way that imparts a sense of trust to them that we are going to make the event special and in the end add "value" to their decision to book us versus another performer.

I like best the idea of providing a starting point rate (i.e. Private Birthday Parties starting at $200) and then being able to(as we see fit based on the customers budget) decide to charge or not for extra time (maybe over first 45minutes), birthday child inclusion in illusions (i.e. flying carpet), addition of animals (bunnies and such), and/or party favors, lessons, balloons, sound system, stage, etc.

If we then want to throw it all in for the flat $200 - because we feel that really is the budget limit- or charge for the add-on features (time-$50 / illusion-$25 / bunny-$25 / favors-$5 per child / lessons-$50 / balloons-$50, sound-$25 / stage-$50, etc.) we can get the show price upwards of $500.

I believe if you are honest with everyone and tell them that your fees change based on a variety of factors including the client’s budget and show features, they are not offended. It is like having rack rates that can be lowered if the client asks - but only if they request it or inform you that they can only afford $XXX. However, if we communicate too much, in writing (website), then we set ourselves up for "never getting full rack rates" when customers are willing to pay us more.

I also book senior care shows during the weekdays (only 9-4) and have found that it is better to negotiate after I have asked some questions about the budget and their event needs. In southern California I can get 2-3 times more for a show in Newport Beach than I can in Riverside and it is mostly based on demographics, facility size, number of residents and population type (i.e. Alzheimer, dementia, skilled, etc.). Isn't that the same for non-commercial private party clients?

It may take more effort and skill to have a more "flexible" pricing model but in the end I want to be known to my clients as "flexible" rather than "firm" and if done professionally and delivered in a personable way, the clients appreciate it and all feel like they have been given a "personal touch".

Final thought - posting too much information is selling yourself short and you will never know how much business is lost because...the ones lost simply never called.

:goodluck:
"Do what you love...

...and you will never work a day of your life"

- Confucius
CCPCris
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Where here is a point to consider, on one reason why I do not post prices on my website.

Venue A wants to book me for a 45 minute stage show, with 1 hour of walk around magic. The stage they have would have lights for my illusions and setting the mood, as well as sound equipment, and video projection system. So my rate would be say ($600.00).

Venue B wants to book me for the exact same package. However, they want me to bring my own lights to light the stage, and some special effects lighting, and they don't have a sound system in the theatre room, so I have to bring my own, oh and don't forget that they do not have a projection screen either. My booking fee is obviously going to be higher. The reason being is that I have to have a few more people to help set up and tear down, plus the added time in having my crew to run the stuff.

As it stands, I pay my workers by the hour, not the gig, so I would have to pay more, since there is more time being spent in the show.

That's just how I do things, I know everyone is different, but to me it makes no sense to have a price quote on my webpage if I am going to have to put twice as much work into a show, than another.
making the unreal, real...really!
Ken Northridge
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Atlantic City, NJ
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Quote:
On 2009-10-13 18:47, Victor Ian Smith wrote:
Final thought - posting too much information is selling yourself short and you will never know how much business is lost because…the ones lost simply never called.


Great post, Victor. Let me turn your statement around. And, please understand, I am not being critical. You have a valid point. I’m just throwing this out there as food for thought.

Posting not enough information is selling yourself short and you will never know how much business is lost because...the ones lost simply did not want to call. (Because they would rather get all there information on line and book on line as well.)

Have you ever been talked into buying something you really didn’t want? I must admit I have and still have a painful memory (ok, memories) of it. I believe there are many people out there that would rather not pick up the phone for fear of finding a high presure salesman on the other end. Therefore, they take their time analyzing information on line and reach their decision in their own good time in their own way.

My on-line bookings are probably up to about 65% now. I’ve been seeing a steady rise for over a year now. People are feeling more and more comfortable about this all the time.

This may be one of those personality things. Some like to analyze in peace and quiet and some can’t think unless they’re talking!
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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A Birthday Magician
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For Kids Parties....and on my website...I advertise my price and have done for many years. Two main advantages are...people who can't afford it, don't phone me...yay!. I never have to talk about price...they already know what it is.
Also my price is the same for a millionaire(I wish)and any other person...I do have a schedule of rates for corporate and schools. By not putting your price on your website I beleive you are not answering the fundamental question of 'How Much" and you will loose business if the customer does not see that information.
It is different for adult/corporate...but for the kids market..put your prices up to be seen.....certainly works for me.
magicofCurtis
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No need to put your price on your site....
Your style, photos, act, reference points and layout of your site will create its own image of COST....


Think about it... Discount stores use block lettering- usually lots of caps and certain type of names....

Regal stores use sleek lettering, lovely packaging, well lit store.... etc etc...

Why should we be any different?
Bill Nuvo
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Quote:
On 2009-11-19 00:01, A Birthday Magician wrote:
For Kids Parties....and on my website...I advertise my price and have done for many years. Two main advantages are...people who can't afford it, don't phone me...yay!.


I never get phone calls...I don't use a phone Smile hehe
Dynamike
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Quote:
On 2009-11-19 00:01, A Birthday Magician wrote:
For Kids Parties....and on my website...I advertise my price and have done for many years. Two main advantages are...people who can't afford it, don't phone me...yay!.

Now picture this: Imagine if there were no prices listed on your site. The prospect calls you up. You use the right sales pitch to get them interested in your show. You give them the same price. You can get more bookings that way if you know how to make and close the sale. But if you are satisfied with the amount of shows you are getting presently, there will be no need to change anything.
solrak29
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I like to state the range; simliar to Gigmasters but a little different.

I go by, "Starting at XXX.xx dollars".

That way if the starting price is out the question then there is no point
in them calling. I think they call the qualifying or something.
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Dynamike
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Good idea.
Paddy
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Milford OH
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Once a year I call around and get prices from all the entertainers in the area then set my price $25 higher. I don't put my prices on the site and if price is an objection I refute it by simply saying quality cost more than junk. I'm still busy enough to turn down about 30% of the calls I get due to being booked.

If the prices are on the site you can't do that and all you get are the price shoppers calling the lowest price. You also lose those people (and yes they do exist) that believe that low price equals low quality so you miss whole areas of opportunity.

Paddy
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Vick
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Just so you know

We are all millionaires ......

If you earn 50K for 20 years or 20K for 50 years

Or 100K for 10 years

or 200K for 5 years


Some good information here (I like Paddy's approach) and there is more than one way to be successful

Curtis is correct, clients call to get me (or at least the entertainer I play) for their event. It really can be more about image than price.


Another thing. I work the DC market (4 of the nation's 20 wealthiest counties are in that market) and shows are picking up here a little. Corporate shows are coming back this Holiday season but the parties are smaller, maybe a cocktail hour instead of a sit down dinner sort of thing. Some even in January to save on costs, but there is spending.
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Donald Dunphy
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As I mentioned in a post back on the first page, I've also tested rates on my website and in mailings.

They seem to work fine for me.

And yes, I do admit that there are a few prospects you might persuade by talking with them on the phone as you give them price information, but from tracking I really haven't found that to be a high percentage that everyone thinks it is.

If you are good at selling on the phone, then you should be able to write persuasive copy in your letters or on your website, to engage most qualified buyers.

Revealing your rates up front has 4 advantages that I've seen:

(1) you seem more confident about your prices and the quality of your service.

(2) you experience less haggling with prospects.

(3) you don't have to deal with rejection as often.

(4) you take the focus off of price (because you deal with it matter-of-factly up front), and onto other more important aspects of the show inquiry.

One more thing I will mention. If you are offering several options at a range of prices (on your website or in your mailings), the customers don't always go for the lowest priced package.

I've heard uninformed performers make this assumption about publishing your rates, but it isn't so.

- Donald

P.S. Just in case some think you get the bookings because you have low rates online or in your mailings, I am certainly not the cheapest performer in my area. In many ways, I'm one of the higher end performers -- and there are several reasons for that. My quality, experience, customer service, positive impact on their event, good reputation, etc.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
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