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Daryl -the other brother
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Peter wrote " actually, money isn't what it's all about." Actually Peter, money is what it's all about. The original question on this post was how much do you charge?

Joshua wrote "If I raised my rates I would be robbing myself of the opportunity to perform for such a wide variety of people." This is only true if you only perform for money. When I am working I want to make the most money I can in the least amount of time. This is how I support my family, of course I want to make as much as I can. That's not being greedy it's just good business sense. However, Jeff McBride said we should be ambassadors of magic 24-7. I agree, I perform on the street all the time. Waiting lines, bus stops, L-Stations, anywhere the opportunity presents itself. I don't do this for tips or to promote my business. I do it so that a stranger can experience a little bit of magic in their day. (free of charge)

Quote:
On 2004-07-09 14:09, Frank Starsini wrote:
I often notice that the more the wealth, the bigger the ego, the smaller the imagination, and the less willing they are to experience magic.


WOW Frank, that's quite a statement. I work for wealthy people all the time and my experience has been that for the most part they're no different than anybody else. Sure you have your good and bad as with any income group but as far as not willing to experience the magic goes, I would say just the opposite. Doctors & Lawyers are trained to be observant and to think logically, so magic (which is illogical) really hits em hard. They are some of the most receptive people I work for!
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2004-07-09 13:16, Joshua Lozoff wrote:
I feel otherwise. One of the reasons I quit my previous lifestyle and became an artist is to have different priorities than just money.


Being an artist does not forgo the idea that you do not get paid well for it.

David Copperfield and Lance Burton are fairly compensated for being good magical artists. Many Hollywood actors are fine dramatical artists, and are fairly compensated for their efforts. And there are other artists like musicians, sculptors, painters, etc. who are being fairly compensated for their work. Some may even be better at their craft, and aren't fairly compensated. Of course, in the case of these examples, not only are they artists, but they provide more than that to the movie companies, casinos, theatres, record companies, etc. they work for.

Money does not need to be your # 1 priority, but it is important to be fairly compensated for your work and the impact it has on others. Being fairly compensated is not about being elitist, its about self-worth, and also the worth others see in you. Some of us will never know the value we have to our customers, until we step out of our comfort zones and ask for more.

Here is a great example of this: Post that Top Banana shared some time ag...... a book.

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Michael238
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Quote:
On 2004-07-09 01:17, RobertBloor wrote:
Alright I'll come out of my Magic Café Retirement for a moment to drop this unbelieveable bit of advice for young Carlo and then I'll scramble back to where it's safe...

Carlo, I looked at your site, and your June schedule indicated that you had approximately 16 events.

Assuming each of those was a 2 hour event ($300/event) then you grossed approximately $4,800 in June.

So here's the blockbuster bit of advice...if you're working that much, INCREASE YOUR FEES!

Working 32 hours for a month is too much work?
For $4800, 32 hours that is not bad at all.







www.mikebrownmagic.com
<BR>http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=885780636
Joshua Lozoff
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Quote:
Being fairly compensated is not about being elitist, its about self-worth, and also the worth others see in you. Some of us will never know the value we have to our customers, until we step out of our comfort zones and ask for more.


I agree with much of what you said. When I was an actor in Los Angeles, I did indeed work for as much money as CHEERS and the other TV shows I was in would pay me. Working for individual clients as a magician is a different situation, in my book, and I still respect and agree with Peter's original perspective.

I also must say that I very strongly disagree with the idea that financial compensation has ANYTHING to do with self-worth. I know that's the bill of goods we've been sold in this country, but I think it's terribly insulting to cleaners, teachers, firefighters, waitstaff, etc. As well as an awful thing to teach our kids. Do shallow sports stars have more value to themselves and their community at large than my housecleaner?

Or more specific to this thread, I will say that I consider myself a better magician than many I know who make much more than me. That belief does not lead me to increase my fees. It's just a completely unrelated issue to me, and to many other artists I know.

I know the value I have to my clients. I would know that if they paid me half of what I charge, and I would know that if they paid me twice as much. Does the art in the National Gallery have less value to you because the entry is free than at the Louvre, where they charge to get in?
Joshua Lozoff

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Peter Marucci
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Daryl writes: "Actually Peter, money is what it's all about. The original question on this post was how much do you charge?"

And I assumed -- wrongly, it appears -- that the "why" was unspoken and just as important as the "how much".

I answered the questions, written and unwritten, to the best of my ability.

But charge whatever you want and, when you kick off, they can write on your tombstone, "He made a lot of money".

That is, if that's what you want to be known for.
Futureal
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You're off topic Peter.
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2004-07-09 17:26, S2000magician wrote:
Quote:
On 2004-07-09 01:17, RobertBloor wrote:
So here's the blockbuster bit of advice...if you're working that much, INCREASE YOUR FEES!

That now means $6,600.00 per month. A near 35% increase in gross earnings, considering a 25% loss in bookings.

In other words...way less work, way more money.


Robert's trying to teach us simple economics; the technical term for the rate / booking point he's describing is the point of unitary elasticity. That's a fancy way of saying that you set your price so that a 1% price increase will result in a 1% decrease in bookings; it's the point at which you maximize your income.


One way to bridge the argument of income vs artistry would be to set your fee to maximize your utility, whether you value dollars or accolades or little children's smiles. The problem, of course, is quantifying the utility of a dollar, or an accolade, or a child's smile.
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2004-07-10 21:47, Joshua Lozoff wrote:
I also must say that I very strongly disagree with the idea that financial compensation has ANYTHING to do with self-worth. I know that's the bill of goods we've been sold in this country, but I think it's terribly insulting to cleaners, teachers, firefighters, waitstaff, etc. As well as an awful thing to teach our kids. Do shallow sports stars have more value to themselves and their community at large than my housecleaner?


Joshua, you've made a good point there, that didn't enter my mind when posting. So, I rescind my statement about self-worth, but I still hold that it is about the worth you are to your customers. Those people you mentioned are often underpaid for what they do, and they are valuable and important individuals, who should be thought as people of worth. Every person has incredible value.

Although positions like those of teachers, firefighters, cleaners, waitstaff, etc. often do not have negotiable salaries, as entertainers we can set our own fees, so the issue of fees and fair compensation is different. Just like the example of the movie score producer, I linked to.

Quote:
The Top Banana: In smaller markets the fee will be less but here is a good way to figure a fair fee...find a decent two bedroom apartment, two to three hours of strolling should pay the rent.... Los Angeles that means $500 an hour same in Seattle where rent will be $1000-$1500. Denver with rent at $750-$1000 aropund $375 to $500 is a fair rate.


I have to comment that this seems like a very logical way to approach determining an appropriate fee. Even though I know The Top Banana, I've never heard him share this before.

I've heard some others teach the approach that, "if you book about 1/2 your inquiries, then you are charging the correct amount."

But this thinking doesn't factor for the type of prospects who approach you, and other factors in making successful sales.

Depending upon your targets and method of lead generation, you could be getting all types of prospects calling you with interest. Sometimes, if you approach the right people at the right time with the right offer in the right way, primarily ones that are qualified buyers. And sometimes, when things are done poorly, primarily ones that are not qualified buyers.

Of course, past customers are easier to sell to, than new prospects who have never seen your show before nor heard of you by referral. That's another thing that could skew your sales successes.

And of course, entertainers with good sales skills will sell more successfully than entertainers with poor sales skills. Still another thing.

So, The Top Banana's advice seems like a pretty good way to determine the correct fee for your area, based on the pricing of other non-magic-entertainment things in your marketplace.

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
TheTopBanana
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This wasn't a random number in working with a selection of real working pros across the country I discovered that it was a great formula to determine a reasonable rate...and has held true through testing...
Peter Marucci
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Futureal writes: "You're off topic Peter."

Hardly.

But, as I said, my answers are to the best of my ability; if you aren't happy with them, I apologize.
Donald Dunphy
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I was thinking today about the idea of charging an adequate fee, and balancing that with not necessarily being in it for the money. I think it was Joshua that first suggested the idea of not being in shows for the just the money. Others agreed with his viewpoint.


You could still charge the appropriate value to the customer for your service. This way your customer has better appreciation for the effort and calibre of your performance. And you are not hurting other performers by underbidding them, based on the calibre of your work.

Then you take the extra money you earn, that you feel you don't need, and give it away to charities.

Simple and straight forward, and fits with your ideals of wanting to do the work more for the artistic merits of it.

Just a thought.

- Donald.

P.S. Another alternative, is if you want to make an impact with your magic, but don't desire financial gain, donate your services to charities. Just another idea.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
stephenbanning
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Quote:
On 2004-07-09 14:09, Frank Starsini wrote:
I often notice that the more the wealth, the bigger the ego, the smaller the imagination, and the less willing they are to experience magic.




Very well put. I've found the same many times. I haven't figured it all out, but in circumstances where these same people let their hair down, they're more likely to have fun. It's not just magic though. These are the same people who go to a symphony to be seen rather than hear the music.

Stephen
Donald Dunphy
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It's a shame that much of this thread has been about bashing people of other wealth status.

The lower income performers calling names of those who charge more, or their customers (higher income earners).

And the higher income performers calling names of those who charge less, or their customers (lower to middle income earners).

Both ways it is being done, it is judging people with blanket statements and is a form of PREJUDICE!

How can you grow your business with a spirit of criticism, condemnation, and judgment towards other people? Even if they aren't your potential customers or friends, it just hurts you as a professional to think this way.

I recommend that you try to accept people of all types and income levels, whether we are discussing performers or customers, for who they are -- human beings of value and worth. Then, you will see your business grow in the ways you so eagerly desire.

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Daryl -the other brother
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Very well put Donald. Couldn't have said it better myself.
MagicbyCarlo
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Let me make this clear, I didn't establish this topic to create some kind of magical class war. I was simply interested in average prices in different areas so that I could judge my own rate against other markets and determine if I was lower, on par with or higher than other areas.

I have received valuable advice regarding fees as a result of this post and I thank all that have contributed both openly and through PM. But please, don't argue over this. Charge what you feel you're worth, charge what your market will bear or charge according to the means of the client, but please don't argue with others who have followed another path in their business.

Everyone must set their rates according to need, market and demand; these dynamics will cause prices to vary from individual to individual.

While I wouldn't buy a pair of $200 blue jeans, recording artist Usher buys 10 pair at a time. So there is a market for $20 jeans and a market for $200 jeans and I'm sure there is a market for $2,000 jeans somewhere. Likewise there is a market for a variety of differently priced show. Let's accept that and move on.
Carlo DeBlasio
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<BR>and all around fun guy!
trenchant
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As long as we are prejudiced against everyone equally, I think there's no harm in it. In that spirit, then, let's bash the middle class, which has, so far in this thread, escaped notice.

People in the middle obviously have a problem with commitment. They have neither the talent to succeed nor the courage to face failure.

In determining my fees, therefore, I always assess a "middle-class surcharge" for these clients. Gosh, maybe I've stumbled across the rationale for the current tax code.
RickAllen
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Carlo said: Everyone must set their rates according to need, market and demand; these dynamics will cause prices to vary from individual to individual.

This is about this truest statement I have read on this thread. Fee's in L.A. Or New York vary greatly from those in Podunk Iowa (no offense if you live in Podunk.) If you are on par with the rest in your market you are where you should be, there is nothing however wrong with also being the highest paid in your area also.

A combination of art, self worth worth and financial gain seems to me to be the ideal solution. If either are unbalanced then you have a problem. I'm reminded of being told that the poor are in little position to help the world as the saying goes "money makes the world go round." You can't help others if your worried about how your going to pay your bills. That means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

One other thought on fee's, it is a proven fact (especially in my venues of professional speaking) that having your fee to low can actually cost you bookings in lost confidence in your abilities (weather founded or not)by the prospective client.

Regarding the Wal-Mart issues, there obviously is a need for such retail stores (the same as lower priced performers) or they would have failed long ago. Wal-Mart in fact has been a boon in many communities along with their sister stores, Sam Club. Accusations of 'sweet shops' and being unfair to employee's is no different then most other retail outlets who buy and hire from the same pools. My feeling is if you don't like the wages offered, go elsewhere, (yes I was a Jewelry manager and assistant district rep for a while, starting at minimum wage and moving up) same with performers, for the most part you get what you ASK for, when in retail I asked and got, based on my abilities, in performing I ask and get. The problem with most employees and performers who complain about low wages is that they show no improvement or initiative to get ahead, they just want the higher wages and fees because that's what THEY think they are worth, entertainment for entertainment sake is seldom the reason for being hired.

When I was in the child care venue full time I did upwardly to 400 shows each year, just in Child care. My fee in the beginning was a mere $49 not much profit left in the end, now was there? I charged that fee mainly because that was what I was erroneously told I could make, I steadily raised my fee's each year to a respectable $175 per program (30 min show X 3 a day average)I asked and got based on my ability to provide a worthwhile product and a reliableness to be and do what I promised. I was able to reduce the number of programs and still have increased income that also allowed me to focus on my speaking venues for even more income. I'm currently able to have a good income plus continue to advance the speaking arts and return an appropriate amount back for the good of the world giving me room for warm fuzzes. Works for me, how about you? ... Rick
RobertBloor
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Quote:
Rick Allen: Regarding the Wal-Mart issues, there obviously is a need for such retail stores (the same as lower priced performers) or they would have failed long ago.


(okay ONE last post...)

I personally see no need for Wal Mart. I believe Wal*Mart is causing more damage to our economy than any politician ever could.

Wal*Mart puts small business owners out of business. They're like a black hole of economics.

I say raise fees or get out of the game and leave entertainment to real professionals.

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
TheDean
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Interesting...
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
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S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2004-07-12 17:56, RobertBloor wrote:

I say raise fees or get out of the game and leave entertainment to real professionals.


You're not one of those people who believe that an extremely good amateur should not charge $100 for a show for which an equally good professional would get $500, are you?

(I know, I should have put this in a PM; but it's much more entertaining this way.)
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