How much should I charge?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Gary T., Apr 10, 2010.

  1. ok so, by choice am a close up magician, and i dont charge because i just do sort of walk around at the park or at private club sort of things (cuz im only 15 so i cant go into actual bars) that kind of stuff just to be doing it and enjoying the reactions.

    but last night i was at a private club my mom and dad do kareoke at and one of their old friends that i hadnt seen since before i picked up magic came buy with her new boyfriend, i showed them some stuff with a deck of cards (always on me and one of my favorite forms of magic), and they want me to do magic at someones birthday party, ive decided if its cool with them i would rather do like a 30 minute show, and i know i have enough material to fill it, but i dont know how much i should charge, i hope what i have planned will work for them tho because i dont know how old the person is, but they said that the person would be entertained by what i was showing them last night, so i figure they have to be like at least 12

    sooooo about how much should i charge?

    i might end up doing close up tho, so if the price varies plz include tha
  2. Gary,

    This sounds awesome - I remember when I first started doing actual shows; that's when I was really propelled to take my magic more seriously. It wasn't just for fun anymore - people were paying me to do it, and I had to make myself worth the price.

    Regarding your post and situation specifically, my best advice would be walk before you run. 30 minutes is a solid chunk of time to fill if you have not yet worked out a formal routine. My first theater show was supposed to be an hour long. I worked it all out in my head. Then, in rehearsals the day before, I had someone time it. It was 20 minutes. I was FORTY MINUTES short. I was WAY off. And I had to scramble to fix the problem. I was not prepared. You want to be prepared.

    Before you begin charging for your performances, you want to make sure you are well prepared. 30 minutes is a long time, but also a short time. When you start charging for it, you want to make sure you're giving them a rock solid 30 minutes, planned out from start to finish. If you can do that, confidently, then my next advice would be to perform as much as humanly possible. Experience is key. The more you do it, the better you will become, and the more polished your act will be.

    Performance rates vary from person to person. There are artists in this industry that easily charge $1,000 per hour, $5,000 per hour - or $50 an hour. It depends on the calibre of your act and how experienced, polished, and professional you are. But when I was young, and when I knew I needed that experience - I did it for free. This allowed me to get a lot of experience in a short amount of time, and the result was transformative.
  3. I don't have anything to add, really, but I want to emphasize what JB said.

    I've not done a 30 minute magic act, but I have been in 30 minute (and 45 minute) circus shows. If you've never timed out your material before, you'll undoubtedly be amazed at how quickly some of the material is done. In a thirty minute show, we had probably 8 separate 'acts.' And those were designed to stretch if we got ahead of ourselves.

    Before you sign on for a 30 minute show, you should sit down and see if you can write up a 30 minute act that actually makes sense and flows. Then script it, and time it. Perform it in your bedroom or whatever as if you were really performing it, and time the whole thing start to finish. Then cut off about 10% of that time, because when you get on stage and your adrenaline is pumping, you're going to move and talk faster.

    As a general rule, acts I've been involved in before started out at least 10 minutes longer than they were supposed to be.

    For price .. we're going to have a really hard time figuring that out for you. Everyone is different, and every region is different. What you charge will probably be very different to what I would charge. Also, skill levels and your own selling ability come into play here. My advice would be to find other local magicians and find out what they charge, then judge from there.

    Just remember not to undersell yourself, and don't undercut other magicians just because you can.
  4. Haha, i second this.
  5. #5 danielmontagne, Apr 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2010
    Hi -

    Last year, I did my first wedding, 12 tables. I prepared a lot of tricks, but the D day I realized that I could do only those that aren't use the table. And I did at each table the same three tricks:

    Professor Nightmare
    Red Hot Mama

    And for some tables:

    D'Light (amazing reaction from children!)
    Ambitious card
    2 Card Monte

    It was a great experience, and I was more confident with a stranger than in front of my family.
    and i charged 200 dollars for 1 hour

  6. Gary,
    I have been doing magic for 10 years and for a half hour birthday party including balloon animals for the kids I currently charge $125.

    If it is strolling magic at a wedding or private party I normally charge $100 per hour minimum and most of these gigs last about 3 hrs.

    When I first started out I would only charge $50 so I could get experience and people felt like they were getting a deal if my show wasn't as good as a more experienced magician.

    It definitely depends on your location though, your experience, and what you feel you are worth.

    I have also learned to turn down shows when someone wants a 1 hour show for $50.

    Now, if I was your age and just starting out I would never have thought to turn down a show but now that I have more experience and know what I am worth, I will not work for dirt cheap.

    Experience is key as JB has mentioned. Each time out you will learn from your mistakes, learn how to manage audiences, and improve upon your skills and act.

    Good luck and have fun. Most importantly BE ON TIME and be prepared.
  7. I honestly would do it for free.
  8. i would do it free if it were entirely up to me, but my dad will not let me do it for free lol, which he has a good point, the way he sees it if you do it for free for one person then theyre gonna want it for free again and so are other people
  9. Your dad is correct. People are easily conditioned. If they pay $50 for something the first time around, they'll expect to pay $50 every time around. It's harder to get people to pay more if you start off too low.

    Don't let the fact that magic is fun get in the way of the fact that you're trying to earn money off of it.
  10. Gary,

    Your father is correct. I found out the hard way when first starting in magic. You do one person a favor and then all of the sudden, every body and their brother wants the same $50 deal. Even two to three years later...people who hired you back then still want the $50 treatment.

    Word travels very rapidly about if you are doing things for free or undercutting the rest of the competition.

    That being said, I don't think you should do it for free, but I also don't think you are experienced enough yet to be charging over $100 either.

    Keep us posted how the show goes and good luck.
  11. 150

    whats up man i started doing shows for people at 15(family partys, few gigs) now im 17 i charge 150 for 1:30 minutes, these chargers are for private partys and cocktail or just plain business ester, christmas.... partys. You g2 to charge high to pay for your magic supplies. If you ever need to have a great first impression on a potential client, i suggest in a flash by Jay Sankey. That trick only got me soooooo many gigs you wouldnt believe
  12. i figure i should mention, as i havent mentioned yet, that i might not get the gig, they said they think they would like to have me do it but they need to bring the person by my house and have me show her some stuff to see if its good with her, assuming i get the job ive figured i have enough good material to fill anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, and it will cost me about 15 bux to get everything i need
  13. sweeeeeet! thx for the thread luis, makes me feel important, anyway i told my dad if i get it, i figured it would last 20-30 minutes, i think i could get 30 easy because i based alot of my times off actual recordings of the effect being performed, and then i plan to use extra time up by letting the audience inspect stuff and make sure its real and not rigged such as the rope im gonna use and the cards and stuff, so i told my dad that to buy everything i would need it would cost me about 15 bux, and my dad said to charge about 35, and that would leave me making 20, im totally psyched about getting even 20 for something i do for people in parks and stuff for free, but i know when you get good you can get much more, but seeing as its my first show do you believe this is a good price?

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