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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » "Magicians are too expensive" - Possible explanation (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mikael Eriksson
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Today I lunched with an aquaintance and his girlfriend and her daughter. They wondered what a birthday party show for the daughter would cost? When I told them $ 65, the girlfriend started to laugh, and said:

"How many hours are you going to perform?"

I said it's for a show.

"How long is a show?"

I said 45 minutes.

Later in the conversation I understood that they thought it was a high HOURLY RATE, and that was the reason they thought it was expensive. In Sweden there is always a lot of focus on the hourly rate, and often strikes break out because people are not satisfied with the hourly rate. So when they calculate what my hourly rate is, and compare what they are paid, they are shocked. Now take into consideration that magicians don't have any "education". We didn't go to Harward for several years, graduating as magicians. In the eyes of the public, we are just people who are clowning around doing childish stuff which we learned for free from our uncle. It doesn't matter if we tell them how much time we have spent learning and practising, and how much the equipment have cost us etc.

I wonder if the "hourly rate fixation" can be one reason it's harder to get paid in Sweden than for example in the UK/US?

I think the best thing would be to mention other professions that don't have any formal education, no "hourly rate", but charge a lot anyway.

Are there any other professions meeting those criteria? And I don't mean singers or musicians.

Mikael
magic4u02
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In the US I do not think people see it so much as an hourly rate they are paying. I think they see it as an overall price for the product they are buying. The product being the show, set-up and everything that that entails.
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JesterMan
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Quote:
Are there any other professions meeting those criteria? And I don't mean singers or musicians.
Mikael
Well, in addition to those two, how about plumbers...? Carpenters, electricians, and others in 'the trades'.

How about athletes, some of whom make our puny incomes seems like a pauper's pocket change. (And, you're pretty much guaranteed that you won't have a senseless brawl with us).

How many people attend the average performance? How much would the same sized group pay to see a movie (not even live), a play, or a sporting event? (And, for these last two, don't forget the investment in a good pair of binoculars to see anything Smile ). As entertainment goes, aside from an amateur show, or watching a video on a tiny screen, we are a bargain. And, quite often, we come to them.

Something to ponder.

JM
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Mikael Eriksson
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Quote:
On 2003-11-25 10:48, JesterMan wrote:

Well, in addition to those two, how about plumbers...? Carpenters, electricians, and others in 'the trades'.
Eh, plumbers, Carpenters and electricians have educations, and they charge an hourly rate, so they can't be used. At least in Sweden they go through a long tough education, and they have hourly rates.

Mikael
Jon Gallagher
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After planning weddings for my daughter and myself, I kept a list of what different people in my area charge....

Disc-jockeys - between $100-150 per hour with a two hour minimum.

Ministers for weddings - most require a $100-150 honorarium.

Organist for weddings - $80-150 for three songs.

Then I also have a list of other professions such as electricians, locksmiths, car mechanics, etc, and their hourly rate. I use this to compare my services with theirs. In most cases, it's like comparing apples to oranges, but it gets the point across.
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Mikael Eriksson
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Disc-jockeys, great!



Mikael
p.b.jones
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Now take into consideration that magicians don't have any "education". We didn't go to Harward for several years, graduating as magicians. In the eyes of the public,

HI,
I have a Masters degree in performing arts
and I have studied and graduated


"Today I lunched with an aquaintance and his girlfriend and her daughter. They wondered what a birthday party show for the daughter would cost? When I told them $ 65, the girlfriend started to laugh, and said:

"How many hours are you going to perform???"

I said it's for a show.

"How long is a show?"

I said 45 minutes. "

I get this too, I also get ........
"Wow you must be good" to which I reply "well people seem to think so"


"I think the best thing would be to mention other professions that don't have any formal education, no "hourly rate", but charge a lot anyway."

Artists,insurance sales people,College lecturers, Tarot readers, palm readers ext. Private car repair garage owners, Self employed plumbers, builders,carpenters ext. Gym ownwers, private trainers,
any commision based sales person with a high ticket product, estate agents, many dot com owners.

And why not musicians, singers , comediens, jugglers ext
It's a genuine occupation
Phillip

How many people attend the average performance... How much would the same sized group pay to see a movie (not even live), a play, or a sporting event? (And, for these last two, don't forget the investment in a good pair of binoculars to see anything ). As entertainment goes, aside from an amateur show, or watching a video on a tiny screen, we are a bargain. And, quite often, we come to them.

HI(,
I agree with you entirely
Phillip
magiker
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Mikael
Here in the Gothenburg area That is about the going rate.
I have not yet had anyone say that it is too much in most cases they seemed to think that I would be more expensive. That is for private kids parties.
I get quite a bit more for companies. I think part of your problem could be the fact that you were talking to friends.

Smile
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JesterMan
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Mikael,

At times they charge by the hour, but, at least here, I have seen them charge by the job (I have paid them as such). Your premise is flawed by removing the hourly charge from the start: Many of us charge hourly, too.

Depending upon the type of performance, I may charge by the job, or by the hour. Even when we charge 'by the job', we are taking the amount of time estimated to be performing (and prep) into account.

Oh, how could I forget commission sales!? (Thx, Phillip) I work as a mortgage consultant; I get paid well with very little beyond on the job training! There are people making 6 figures in the field. If you take out the time I spent to learn it on my own, the cost of equipment, and the time spent marketing, and all the rest that goes into it, it appears that I make over a thousand dollars an hour, for all the client can tell. Fortunately, most people understand that there is more to doing that job than the short amount of time they see. What they value is the service I can provide them, whether helping them buy a home, or saving money on the one they already have.Why should they (or we) see magic any differently? They either value the entertainment, or not.
JM Smile Smile

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Neale Bacon
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I hear that a lot too. I have 2 answers for that type of question.

1) You charge XXX for 45 minutes?
Answer No I charge XXX for 30 years experience doing 45 minutes.

2) What's your best trick?
Answer - I can get a room full of children to sit for 45 minutes.
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Emazdad
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When they say to me "wow that's a lot just to entertain some kids", I generally say to them, "If it's that easy why don't you do it". However these people are very rare.

Most comments I get from people are of the "You couldn't pay me enough to do what you do" type. As the thought of trying to keep a load of kids entertained sends a lot of normal adults into a cold sweat.

If they want view the show as an hourly rate, How many hours of work go into a one hour show. There's the years of practice, Advertising, Public liability insurance (if you havn't got it your a fool) there's the Answering the phone and processing the paperwork, including cost of envelopes and stamps, preparation and packing the show up at home, theres the washing and ironing of silks, stage clothing, polishing of shoes, loading car, traveling time, Petrol, unloading setting up, doing the show striking down, loading car, traveling time home, unloading car, etc etc etc. All this adds up to a lot of work on top of the 1-Hour you actually perform.

I've just done the one show today, 5-7pm, allowing for getting ready etc I allot 3pm as the cut off time for anything else I do that day that's when I aim to start getting ready. So this one party takes up from 3pm to at least 8pm when I'm home and the show is reset ready for tomorrow. So a 2-hour show takes up 5 hours of my day.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
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Andy Wonder
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The minute a client starts thinking in terms of an hourly rate it means they don’t fully understand the benefits of the service you offer. It is only ever people that have not seen your show that think this way. This is one reason why when you are selling a show you need to explain the benefits before you quote a fee. With the absence of any reference points with which to judge they may compare you to what they pay the baby sitter or their own hourly rate. Of course that is not a valid comparison; just try getting a bank loan based on earning $65 per show.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Donald Dunphy
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I second what Andy said.

If you quote a price before giving details, at the very least, you might come across as bragging.

If you explain what you do, and the benefits you offer, then offer information on pricing, then you are in a better position to "justify" why you make what you do. Besides, isn't it more advantageous to find out more about a customer's needs, before offering some solutions?

Here is a nice article, on why professional entertainers are worth what they charge:

http://www.schoolshows.com/article4.htm

The Gr8 DonaldD.

P.S. By doing it the way you did it, you may have lost the potential opportunity to do some business, or get some referrals.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Emazdad
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That's right the last thing you do is give them the price, I often get people phone who simply ask "how much do you charge for a 1-hour magic show"? I make them listen to my whole sales pitch and I ask them lots of details about their event before I tell them how much. If I was to just give them a straight answer they'd just say Thank you, hang up and continue going through the phone book. By detailing what I offer I'm one step ahead of all the others who just tell them a price.

The important thing to remember Mikael is that if you don't value your services no-one else will. I get the impression from a lot of your posts that you find it hard to justify your fees to yourself, if you lack the confidence and can't convince yourself you are worth it, how can you hope to convince a booker.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
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"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.
Dennis Michael
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One cannot survive as a full time professional at a rate of $65 per show. Consider set up time, advertising, traveling, practice, cleaners, replacements cost of effect, continuing education are just a small part of the whole business of entertaining.

At this rate one is in the whole even if he did one show a day! (unlikely). mayber 4 shows on a weekend and you would still be in a hole. Some DJ make $2,000 on a weekend doing 4 shows at $500 each.
Dennis Michael
Mikael Eriksson
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Well, the idea of first telling about my show, and THEN telling the price is of course good. I use it when it comes naturally, like usually they ask a lot about the show, and the last thing they ask is the price.

I have found though, that it doesn't work that good to neglect their question and talk about all the benefits, what they get etc, when they have started by askig the price.

Their reaction is "This guy is trying to avoid/stall the question, he tries to justify his price to me!" By the way, I myself hate when people don't give me straight answers. So I try to always answer immediately.

A few years ago whe had a politician here in Sweden, Bengt Westerberg, who was very unusual. Normally politicians don't reply yes or no when you ask them something, but they try to talk around, weave more information into their answers, or even make it sound like they said yes, when the content of their reply is no. Bengt Westerberg was different. He often replied "No!" or "Yes!" and looked the reporter straight into the eyes. I liked him. This little detail made him stuck in my memory very clearly.



Mikael
wizardofsorts
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Mikael,
But did he win the election? If so, was he re- elected? Just looking at the other side of this coin.
Edd Smile
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
Mikael Eriksson
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Quote:
On 2003-11-25 21:16, wizardofsorts wrote:

But did he win the election? If so, was he re- elected?





He was the leader of a minority party, and to my knowledge such a party has never ever won the election in Sweden. In fact, with the exception of a few years one single party has ruled in Sweden for about 100 years. He managed though, to raise the votes from 5,9 percent to 14,2 percent by his way of being, and he was re-elected as the leader of his party. They even named a political phenomenon after him. Not bad.



Mikael
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2003-11-25 19:56, Mikael Eriksson wrote:
I have found though, that it doesn't work that good to neglect their question and talk about all the benefits, what they get etc, when they have started by askig the price.

Their reaction is "This guy is trying to avoid/stall the question, he tries to justify his price to me!" By the way, I myself hate when people don't give me straight answers. So I try to always answer immediately.


A properly trained sales person, who is looking out for the best interests of their potential customer, does not want that person to make an uninformed decision. Just quoting a price does just that -- leaves them uninformed.

Most people ask about price, because they just don't know really what else to ask.

But really, they want to know 5 things about your service:

- What is it?

- What will it do for me?

- Is it what I want done?

- Is it worth the money?

- Who says so besides you?

Whenever someone asks me about price, I assume they have some of these other questions, too. I say, "Sure. I'd be happy to give you ALL the information."

If they push again and again for price, I will tell them that, "We have a variety of shows from $100-$1500. We serve many different customers in many different ways. I'm not sure which package is right for you, so if I could get some further information, I'd know what to recommend."

Upon saying that, a genuinely interested prospect will hear you out. Someone who is not genuine, will move along. You've given them enough information at that point, if they are really pushy about price.

But again, really they do want to know more than just price.

The Gr8 DonaldD.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Andy Wonder
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If a prospect asks the price of your show & you tell them directly without offering your sales pitch then you have as good as lost the sale. That is a fundamental truth whether you are selling magic shows, cars, insurance or vacuum cleaners. There a few exceptions. Features & benefits come first, then the price. If you mix up the sales cycle buy giving the price at the start you disrupt peoples buying pattern and you won’t make a sale. It is a basic law of nature and you ignore it at your peril.

I know when you are starting out in sales it can feel unnatural to neglect the question as you put it. The truth is you should not even be able to give a price straight off. What if you quoted $65 and then found out later the show was 5 hours drive from where you live & they needed you to perform for 250 guests? You really can’t even know yourself how much the fee would be until you find out more about the clients requirements. You may only have one 1 set fee of $65 for everything but the client need not know that.

Also if you let them ask all the questions you default into their information gathering pattern, which is likely to be just shopping around. If you are selling you need to take control of the situation by asking questions that direct the conversation through the sales process. You know where you want the conversation to head; you want it to result in a sale. They usually don’t have such a clear target in mind and just want to learn about you, so it is only natural you should lead the way.

Remember a successful sale is a win/win situation.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
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