Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jacob L, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. I hope the title got your attention haha. Anyway, my friend and I went to a hookah bar last night just to chill. It was pretty dead (what do you expect at 8:30 on a Tuesday night anyway?) so we're just chillin at our table with some cards when our waitress asks if we are playing cards or messing around. I go "here, say stop for me." and from there it just picked up. She called her friend over, then they called the owner over, who wanted us to show some stuff to his friends sitting across the room. We were performing for them for a while, they were freaking out and we were having a great time. After we were done the owner (Bebo) sat down next to us and started talking to us about our magic and asking us questions about how we got started and all that. (We also got a free refill haha) Then he pitched to us that he wants us to come in on Thursday nights when they have the place packed to perform. SCORE! We are all for it, we have him and his friends our cards, swapped emails, and he's going to put a video of us on the facebook page to promote it. It all sounds awesome, but I have a few concers I was hoping you guys could help me out with.

    Mainly it's pricing. I know there are tons on threads and advice on here about it, but we have a unique situation here with two of us. If we are both there, i doubt he would shell out 20-25 bucks an hour for each of us, even if we are there for only two hours. I currently get 25 an hour at the pizza parlour, so I feel like I'm worth at least that much, if not more. What's the best course of action? Either we split the 25 an hour, but that's only 12.50 a piece, and I'm not going that low. Or we alternate weeks, which seems to be the better option. I can always ask for a price, but I have to be prepared for him to say no, you know? We are friends with him now so I don't want to seem like we are trying to rob him. Should I ask him first what he thinks is appropriate? They seem to do pretty well business wise since pretty much every weekend I've been there they have been packed, and it's going to turn into a nightclub soon with the hookah bar on the second floor, so that will attract even more customers.

    I'm just looking for advice on what the best course of action here is, since I don't want to screw ourselves or Bebo over. Thanks guys!

  2. I would absolutely NOT work for anything lower than $25.00 per hour not matter how many magicians are there with me. I may sound arrogant, but I would not even work for less than $50.00 an hour. If it were me I would talk to your friend and alternate weeks and ask the owner if he will pay you $100 for the 2 hour session. Just be honest and say that is what entertainers make. If he says you can do it for tips ownly...then I would say I'm sorry but I'm not interested.

    Great job getting the attention of everyone, doing the impromptu performance to lead to a business situation. It definitely works.

    Now, if the owner says absolutely no way on $50 per hour, then I think you need to negotiate food and / or drinks provided at the end of your work session.
  3. #3 Jacob L, Jan 18, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2012
    Thanks you Rick. I feel like when I got to other restaruants to pitch magic, I price myself pretty fairly. I rose my pitch price to 30 an hour, but my step dad says that's way too much and I disagree since I know other people make much more than that. I guess he's just stingy haha. I feel like even asking for 35 to 40 an hour is fair for a resatuant walk around set. I think I'll start at 50, and that'll give me some cusion to negotiate downwards. I would still be stoked for 40 an hour, so that'll give me some wiggle room. I'll talk to my friend about it, thanks for the advice!

    Edit: What if he asks how much Mellow Mushroom pays me? If I say 25 and I'm charging him almost double, I don't think he'd be to happy about that.
  4. say that, unfortunately, you are not allowed to disclose that information.
  5. Brendan is correct. I would say that you are in a confidential contract and cannot disclose information. Your dad sounds like my dad who is 57. They are from the older generation and can't stand to see how our generation spends money so freely and how much things cost. My dad went nuts on me when I told him I paid $32,000 for my new explorer. When I tell him that I make $125 for most of my birthday party shows with balloons, he just doesn't understand that entertainers can charge that type of money. I know a few guys who were making $50 per hour at restaurants 10 years ago even.
  6. I was thinking along those same lines of not disclosing that information.
    And Rick you're exactly right. He's like "if you asked for more than 30, I wouldn't hire you." Although he also says "you can ask for that much, but be prepared for them to say no." I feel like if you can back up what you charge, then you're good to go. I emailed the guy saying I'll talk to my friend about pricing and get back to him, and we'll go from there. Thanks for the help guys!
  7. While I personally have no advice for you since I have no experience in such things, just want to say congrats on selling yourself! Very cool!
  8. Im pretty pumped about this brotha! My adrenaline was pumpin last night haha
  9. Buddy of mine here in town makes about 400 for 30 minutes at clubs and bars...

    I did a show but only got paid 150 for 30 minutes because im less known

    These places, especially if busy, have the money to pay you much more than 25 a hour....throw a number at him thats super high, and talk it out. When i got asked to do my show i said 500 for 30 minutes, he laughed at me lol
  10. Chris: Thanks man!

    Michael: Yeah for real man, I was actually shaking a little, that hasn't happened in a while haha.

    Phenomena: 150 for 30 minutes isn't bad haha. But that's a pretty interesting point. That's why I'll start at 50-60 and work our way from there.
  11. #11 William Draven, Jan 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2012

    Congratz on an awesome evening, some powerful magic, and most of all possibly landing a steady gig! It's always good to see people getting out from in front of the webcam and actually working the scene for a minute or three, as opposed to showing off their latest move on crotch pointed cameras over skype as their only outlet for magical presentations.

    As the owner of this business Bebo is only going to be interested in what's best for him, and his customers. As long as his customers are happy, and keep buying product, he's happy and will be willing to work with you. So when you're talking about getting a gig at a venue like this it's always good to point out how your magic will increase their sales, bring more people to their venue, keep the servers happy, help with the moral, etc etc etc. Now this may not be the case in this particular instance, because from what it sounds like you've pretty much got the job, but just for your future reference. That's good stuff to know.

    As for your pricing, you can approach Bebo with a couple of options, and he may like that. Option 1: You both work the bar on the same night, and he pays a premium for both of your services. Always negotiate for a tip, never assume you're allowed to accept them. Some places won't let you take tips away from the wait staff, and will only pay you your rate at the end of the night! I know I bring this up in How To Get Gigs and Keep Clients, but you never want to low ball yourself to a business owner. As Phenomenon pointed out, these people usually have a budget for marketing, and if you come in too low, they won't take you serious. It's like walking onto a Mercedes lot, and the sales guy telling you a brand new 2012 Sports Coupe is only 12 grand. You'd wonder what the hell is wrong with the car since the MSRP is usually around 70 grand for those things. Same applies. If the guy is used to booking out talent at 300 to 500 a night, and your pitching him at 25 an hour (say you work 4 hours that's only $100) You may be telling him that you're not at the level of entertainment he's looking for to book without even realizing it!

    The advantage to this is: Bebo gets twice the magic coverage, twice the draw to his place of business. Two performers have a wider range of material than one, and you can cover more space at the same time. Not to mention he's got two in house marketing machines that can keep promoting the special of the day, or drinks while they are doing magic.

    The Disadvantages: For Bebo, it usually means a higher price tag. Double what he'd normally pay for a single entertainer. The other draw back is, for you guys, you'll have to make sure your material is diverse enough to where you're not doing the others stuff.

    Option number two: Bebo books you both, but you work solo, alternating weeks. The advantage is of course Bebo is paying less upfront, but the down side is that with only one of you working each week, that means less floor coverage, and it will take you longer to circle the room, or advertise in house specials. But the good news is you get to be less concerned with what the other guy is doing for material.

    25 an hour isn't bad for a single guy working, and I've seen it go up to 80$ hour for the top dogs. I'd say average is around 50$ an hour for four hours of work, of course that number was pre-recession so you may be closer to ball park on the 25-40$ mark. If you haven't agreed on terms yet you want to pitch him higher than you expect to get paid. That way you have room to move in. If you normally get 25$ then you want to pitch him at $40 or $50. If he says yes, score! If he bucks you, then drop your price a little and see what he does. Once you go below your expected rate, then you know negotiations are failing and the gig may not be worth your time.

    This is what I'd pitch him.

    Option 1: Two performers, one night a week on a reappearing bases. The venue has permission to use your name and likeness in it's marketing or advertisements to get the word out about your appearances (and the venue SHOULD promote you!) Minimal booking of no less than two hours per booking with no more than six hours at the rate of $75.00 dollars an hour to be split between both performers (that's $37.50 each) plus tips. First night, as a trial run, is half price. Venue provides each performer with a complementary meal, and fountain drinks, or a discounted meal and fountain drinks the night of their performance.

    Option 2: He can book you independently, one night a week, on a reappearing bases. The venue has permission to use your name and likeness in it's marketing or advertisements with a minimal booking of no less than two hours per booking and no more than six hours at the rate of $50.00 plus tip. First night, as a trial run, will be half price. Venue provides each performer with a complementary meal, and fountain drinks, or a discounted meal and fountain drinks the night of their performance.

    Option two may look cheaper numbers wise, but if he's a good business man he'll realize he's getting the better deal by booking you both. Either way though, you're going to win.

    Tips can either be kept individually or added together and split down the middle between the two of you at the end of the night. Your choice.

    Hope you rock this man! This is an excellent opportunity for you to have some fun, and really amaze people too in the process. Keep us posted as to how this turns out for you!

  12. You need to charge what you're worth. If you feel based on your market and your experience that $50/hour is accurate, then don't go for less. And William has a great idea by offering him some options. It helps him feel like he is in control, and has some flexibility without compromising price. I do this all the time with clients. I tell them my rate for walk around and my parlor act, then offer them different combinations based on their event, and each hitting different price points.

    For example:
    1) 2 hours walk around + 30 minute stand up show = $XXX
    2) 1 Hour walk around + 45-60 minute show = $XXX
    3) 2 Hours walk around = 45-60 minute show = $XXX
  13. The advice given is pretty good. I do have one thing to add.

    Given the way that bars and restaurants typically handle tips, I highly recommend you give a percentage to the wait staff. Typically the bar tenders and waiters/waitresses will give a percentage of their tips to the bus boys, bouncers and bar backs as appropriate. If you are allowed to get tips, then it's likely that you will inadvertently take tips from the wait staff. And if you don't, then they probably will think you are. Since tips are how these people make their living, they are very protective of them. I recommend giving at least 10% of your tips to the wait staff.

    That is, of course, assuming that the tips are part of your contract. If you're just supposed to get the hourly rate and not ask for tips, then all of this is useless to you.
  14. Jacob, let us know how this goes. There is a ton of great advice here and I really like Draven's approach. I'm actually getting ready to get into working at a Winery and am going to be going through the same process in the next two weeks. I'll let you know how mine goes as well.
  15. William, I like that approach. I'll talk to my friend about that (or hopefully he'll read this thread haha). You hit on some really good points, I'll be sure to take those into consideration when I'm booking more gigs.

    Justin: I like the combo packages, once I get a stage show down I'll be able to pitch that.

    Christopher: I get tips at the pizza parlour and the wait staff isn't worried about me taking their tips at all because they still do get tipped. At the hookah bar, you pay as you're leaving. So if I get tipped while performing, the wait staff will still be getting tipped on the reciept as they pay. I've had no complaints all at ever with getting tipped, even when it's a double digit one.

    Rick: Best of luck to you man!
  16. Thanks for the help guys, i like what Draven said alot.
    He made a good point when he said we need to make sure our material is different.
    That isn't to hard for us, we both have different styles.
    There is only a few tricks we both do, rubberbands, and a card trick or two.

    Because our styles are so different, i think we work well together.
    Plus, whenever we get together... it gets real. haha

    thanks for the help guys
  17. I think once the nightclub comes into play we'll do both of us there, because otherwise it could get pretty cramped with two of us and only two rooms. But again we'll talk to the owner about it. I appreciate all the help guys!
  18. Great stuff in this thread. The only thing I'd add is a question, why would you listen to your dad on what to charge? Is he a working professional magician? If hes not, then he has no clue on the subject. A great piece of advice is to Only take advice from people that are at in life where you want to be. A lot of these other guys on the forums are making some great $$ from magic, they're the only ones you need to listen to because they're at a point you're trying to get to. Good luck bud!
  19. Very good point gavinross! I've told him that the pricing is different for magicians because we are a whole different type of entertainment. Sure you could pay 5 or 6 servers what you pay me, but that's because I offer something completley different. He doesn't seem to get that. I've kind of stopped talking to him about my price haha. I booked a birthday party for 40 bucks for half an hour which isn't bad for just starting out and ended up getting 50 out of it. I didn't tell him what I charged before it was final because he probably would've argued with me on it haha.

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