How much do magicians usually earn performing? How much do you earn?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kingdamian1, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. So, I know, this is a tough subject to talk about. Mainly because it really depends on a lot of things. But, I, and I think many of the users here, would like to know how much do magicians, regular closeup magicians or street magicians (I am not talking about Lance Burton, I know he has a ton of money lol) earn?

    What about you? how much do you make performing? Is it hard to make money doing magic? Share your thoughts
  2. While I cannot tell you exactly how much I charge as these are trade secrets haha I can tell you that I typically make anywhere from $200 to $1,500 per event depending on what the client asks of me and how long I will be there. Though this sounds glamorous, about half that money gets dumped right back into advertising lol
    RickEverhart and kingdamian1 like this.
  3. There's no universal answer for this. The amount one can make will vary wildly due to region, style of show, marketing ability, and discipline.

    I am currently on the low end of things, as I have a good day job that pays me enough. I won't leave my house for less than $400, and that's generally only if I'm giving a deal. For bigger events or longer engagements (weekend fairs, for example) I'm closer to $1,000. These are not exact numbers.

    In Fresno, though, I would have trouble pulling in more than $200-$400 for the same gigs, because that are is saturated with "performers" who will work for free.

    It also depends on whether you're focused on getting a set fee for your performances, or handling door splits/ticket sales.

    For set fees, I know a guy in Baltimore that won't do a show for less than $1,000. Another guy in the DC area is $2k-$7K per gig. A guy in Florida is $3K-$10K per show. A friend up in CT makes at least $25,000 a year doing nothing but performance (that's a low end estimate, he's usually significantly higher).

    A lot of that depends on how good your show is, and also how good you are at marketing it. Marketing gets you the first gig, the quality of the show (and how much they like you as a person) determines how many repeat clients you have. The more repeat clients you have, the less you have to hustle to make your living.

    A guy I know in CO made 125K from a door split residency he has, which is pretty darn good. But he's spent, I think, about 7 years getting to that point. When he started it was much, much less than that.
    RickEverhart and kingdamian1 like this.
  4. It all depends on your demographics and as mentioned previously, how many working performers are in your area. My area is on the low end economically so people around me won't pay much more than $150 for a half hour bday party show. It's even more difficult when people in your own IBM ring, then get the same phone call and say they will do the gig for $100 and undercut you. It sucks at times but is the nature of the beast.
    kingdamian1 likes this.
  5. This is going to get a bit rambly, I think.

    Rick - I had similar problems in Fresno. It's totally saturated. We actually had a guy try to steal a fire gig from us a week before the event, who contacted the organizer (a friend of ours that knew we were doing her a huge favor by giving her a massive price break) and offered 1/5th our price, and more than twice as long a show. She forwarded the email to us with a "Who the f--- is this chump?" tagged in there. He torched his options in our client base then and there.

    I think there's two market situations that make it really difficult for a magician -
    A saturated market, and an empty market.

    Saturation means people can shop via price alone. We know that's not much of an indicator of quality, and often the lower the price the worse the show, but laymen don't know that. The good part of this is that if you establish yourself as a professional who gets results, you can use the pricing as a selling point.

    An empty market means you have to convince people they need your service. The good part of that is that once you are established you'll rule the market in that region for a while until more people show up. Set things up right and you build trust and contacts that will be loyal for years.

    The amount you are able to make reliably will directly relate to how good you are at establishing relationships with clients. Be it regular folks throwing parties for friends and families, or professional venues in your region, you need to establish a reputation as someone who will make the person hiring you look good. No matter how good you think your show is does -not- matter if you aren't making the people who hire you look good.

    So how do you figure out how much to charge? There's two ways that I know of that are reliable. One is to ask around - talk to local/regional performers and ask what they charge. Ask people who hire talent what they pay people who do gigs for them. Then set your ego aside, and compare your show to what those people are offering. You may need someone else to look at this objectively. It's important to understand the value of what you're offering to the people who might hire you, in comparison to the market. Price your gig a little bit lower than the market average, until you're doing shows regularly and have the drawing power to warrant average prices. Then if you get above that, increase prices. Don't let the cart get ahead of the horse, though. Nothing will tank you faster than trying to get higher fees than you are actually worth.

    The other way is longer, but involves less asking around. Take a guess at a price you'd be happy to get, and try to book the show. If you can't book it after several months, lower the price. If you book it easily, or if they give you significant tips with your fee, consider raising the price. If your price is so low everyone takes it, it's probably too low. This will hurt you down the road.

    There. Not as rambling as I thought it would be.
  6. I am a professional magician from the Netherlands and i usually get €450 for one hour of table magic €600 for 2 hours. I've also got some big clients like Louis Vuitton, Coca Cola & Google that will pay me €1000 for 2 hours of close-up magic. It al depends on your clients budget and if you perform at private party's or corporate events. ;)
    RickEverhart and kingdamian1 like this.
  7. For me, I hated trying to guess and judge how much an event was worth and trying to figure out what their budget was and price accordingly.
    Then at one of the local magic club meetings, some of the guys were talking about being undercut by other local magicians. They said they felt like because of our area, magicians shouldn't charge less than $500 for a show. At the time I was all over the map, but under that.

    I really struggled because I didn't think that I was worth that much. So began to think about my show and my value rather than thinking about what they could pay. That led me to decide to just have set prices based on what I feel I am worth in this market. Some guys charge more and some less. My standard pricing that I give clients is:
    Stand up show (Parlor): $600
    Walk around: $250 for the first hour, and $150 for each additional hour.

    That works for me here. I don't do kids shows at all. That's a different beast. I do mostly businesses.
    Stu-pendous and RickEverhart like this.
  8. And a good way to know if you are worth what you charge, is if you are getting repeat work. If nobody is rebooking you for next year, your value may be a factor.
  9. I'm much the same as Justin, for such a small City there's a quite a few working magicians here. I had a lot of difficulties trying to put a value on my show. I didn't want to undercut the other guys because we're all in the society and are friends.

    One of them just told me "charge more than you think you're worth. I reached a number that I'm happy with.

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