Magicians - How much do you charge?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by StevenLevitt, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. How much do you charge the public for your acts?

    What is the current price range for magicians where you are living?

    How do you work out your costs?

    I generally charge a minimum of £85 for close-up acts for an hour. However, I will do less if it is for a friend. The prices will go up if I need to travel quite a way to go to the venue. Also, the size of the show and who the people are watching the show also changes the prices.

    In the UK, I have noticed for standard costs magicians charge from £100 - £500, and when I spoke to Paul Daniels, about £5K+...

    So it all varies a lot, so how about yourself?

    (We need a business section on this forum :))
  2. Well I'm doing my first full performance in around 2months, I'm doing it for free to promote myself but I have been told I will get alot of tips.

    Around $100 + (I've lost my pound sign :()

    Tell you when I know ;)
  3. Well, I'm in middle school so... the answer is I don't. I perform because I love the reactions and the joy that people get out of magic. You should go check out people like Wayne Houchin and others and proportionalize that to how much you charge, how good you perform, and how long you perform.
  4. I wish I could tell you more but sorry :) I don't really know.
  5. Ok this post was just as incredibly useless as your last one. If the topic doesnt have to do with you...dont answer. There are plenty of people on this forum who do perform for money and do paid shows.
    I usually charge between 100-150 dollars for a gig..which will last at least an hour.
  6. If you have to ask, you can't afford me.

    Business is a personal thing - probably why we don't have a section. When I teach youth on fee - I talk about comfort level and setting the bar. This is one reason I tell so many youth to wait until they feel they have an act worth making a living off of. Start off too low, it may be hard to raise the bar.

    What you feel comfortable charging is a direct link to your performance value - if it is too low, perhaps you aren't ready.

    This topic probably won't have people listing actual prices - i hope it doesn't - because different areas get different fees, and there is no right or wrong. HOWEVER, you should really think about why you are charging what you are - why not higher? Why not lower? How do you justify your cost.

    For those that are unsure - ask yourself what it is you would charge for a show - compare that to other magicians that are working in your area.

    Luckily for me - not many do what I do - so a great board game.
  7. Steven, I'm really really sorry that I'm taking up the space on your thread but I have something to say to people like cedwards90.
    I thought that theory11 forums was a close-knit place for magicians and xcmers alike to hang out and discuss ideas. I just wanted to help out but I'm like criticized everywhere, and more. I'm a little younger and I know that I think differently than you guys but I really hope that people like cedwards90 and such will take this into consideration. Even I'm pointing this out and I'm in middle school! I think it's time for cedwards90 and those people to change their ways and be a little nicer. For even being a little bit nice can carry out in a long way.
  8. I enjoyed his post.
  9. im sorry mate, didnt mean to come across so harshly. Just try to keep your posts on topic and helpful. you will get the hang of it, goodluck!
  10. Now back on topic, thank you. :)
  11. I charge between $100 - $150 per hour unless it is a close friend or coworker. Then I will do it for $50 bucks.
  12. I have a gig coming up and I am charging about 75-80 bucks an hour. But for me I have not been performing for money superr long plus I'm only 15 so I think it's a fair amount of money to charge.

  13. As Morg said earlier, I don't charge a set fee, it varies with different clients, different venues, different gigs.

    Also, look at what you're giving the client, I charge a lot more for an hours stage work than I do for a couple of hours walk around.

    The art of negotiation and educated guessing is important too, if you're a professional caliber performer and are worth the money you want to get as much out of the client as you can, but at the same time you don't want to scare them away!

    As long as it's worth the while, I'd prefer to price a little lower and get the gig than pitch in too high and lose it!!!

  14. Ah, learn the art of up-selling and you'll have no problem getting the fee you desire, even if it means a bit more work on your end. As always though, leave the client feeling like they got more than their monies worth, and you'll never be out of work. ;)
  15. Charge what you think you are worth!

    Like other performers, I also don't have a set rate for my services. I have charged anywhere from $150 an hour to $300 for walk-around/strolling magic. Stage is a bit different. There's more $$$ in stage shows.

  16. Morris Magic

    Okay, I disagree slightly with some of the things said so far, but here is my experience so far.
    My first paid show was a teenagers birthday party for $80. At the time I felt bad for charging that much for an hour of doing something that I love and would have probably done for free.
    Since then I set some goals for my magic hobby. How many shows I wanted to do a year, how much I wanted to charge, and how to get my show up that caliber.
    Part of that process was talking to other magicians (we have a fairly large group here in Edmonton). Doing that I found there was a 'standard' cost for professional magicians in the city. Some were more and some were less. But they were often frustrated when other magicains would undercut the rest of the industry. It becomes an issue when someone tried to book you and then they say "well the guy we had last year was only $80!" It is frustrating to have to try and explain why your show is worth five times that. But this is part of the business.
    So I had the bar that I had to reach, and I worked hard at getting it there. I wasn't doing a ton of shows so it was very easy to raise my prices each year to reach my goal.
    Now I have a price list brochure. The magic industry does not have to be sketchy and subjective when it comes to a client's inquiry about cost. It's not that difficult. I choose to keep my prices based around the common Edmonton prices. My price list looks something like this:

    Walk Around Up to 50 tables or Strolling First Hour $XXX
    Additional Hours (ea) $XXX

    Parlour Show 25 people or Less 30-60 Minutes $XXX - $XXX
    26-50 people 30-60 Minutes $XXX - $XXX

    This provides a good understanding to the client to determine if they can afford the show or not. I also make it explicitly clear that my show is flexible to suit the needs and budget of the client. (not that I can adjust the prices for them). When you start switching prices for people, you run into problems. Almost all of my work is through referrals. So if your referrals have been told a price, then that is what they are expecting. I feel a set price list adds integrity to my business side of what I do.

    There are things that add to the cost - ie travel (cost and time), hotels, special messages/talks for corporate events, etc But those things are covered with the client to make it explicitly clear what they are being charged for. I then give them a receipt or invoice, that clearly lays out everything. I do that all before the show. Overall, I have included most of these services in my show costs. If there is something unexpected that comes up, I bite the cost because it is my fault for not including that in the cost. Really though, there is nothing major that comes up (yet!).

    This way I don't have to try and price right, and potentially loose a gig. When a client talks to me they usually have a price in mind. If it is lower than what I charge, I sell my services for what they can afford in their budget. For instance if they wanted a stage show, but can't afford that, then I sell them the idea that I could walk around for the hour and do a "intimate, personalized, mini-magic show for each table" (ie table hopping), instead (this is a cheaper service because I have to prepare far less material than with a stand up show). So I make it work for the client. Then I leave cards and information about my stand up show so that next time they will have the information to budget for me to come again.

    I find this low pressure, and it works great. Also for corporate gigs, they often need something solid they can take to their committee to show them. A price list not only has my prices, but also my services and information about how I can enhance their event. This is me, selling myself to the committee without even being there.

    As far as justifying what you charge, it is important to realize a few things:
    1. How much your effects cost: (obviously a lot of material you have invested in costs a lot of money, and the cost of your show needs to take that into account, as well as cover the cost for new material.
    2. Your training and skill level: Just about every job pays increased wage based on skill level and training. If you have a university degree, you will get paid more than someone who doesn't. Even then if you did a four year degree, you will get paid more than someone who just did two years. What set's you apart from the guy who charged $80 for the show is that your training and skill level is higher. So you can't be afraid or feel bad to charge according to your skill level and training. As magicians we have trained a long time just to perform a single trick, let alone an entire show. Just like with a degree form a university, the longer your training the more you should feel justified in charging the client (to a point ;) ) .
    3. Cost of consumable materials - Obviously if your show uses a lot of flash paper, if you give away money in your show, or anything else you use that is consumable (as in you don't get it back), then you must include that into the cost of your show.
    4. Your time - You have worth. Usually I am pushing the humble angle, but you cannot forget that you are worth something. Any job would pay you to do a job. How much are you worth? I'm guessing it's more than minimum wage. If you are trying to make a living doing this, the cost of living also should help you to justify your costs.
    5. The industry - This is the entertainment business! This is the same industry that hockey players, football players, actors, (and more) make MILLIONS of dollars. Sadly people will pay large amounts of money to be entertained or to have their guests entertained. It's not about taking advantage of this or people, but it is important to recognize that people love to be entertained, and they are OK with spending accordingly.
    6. Extra work for any specific requests - in my stage show, I charge enough to add a theme. So I will re-script my patter to add in a message or theme. For instance I had a corporate show last month, and their theme was "take a break", and I have another corporate show coming up and their theme is "Superheroes". I don't charge extra to theme my presentation, because it is wrapped up in the cost. This is the same for a wedding or birthday etc. But it takes time and effort and you need to get paid for that.
    7. Other performers in the area - As mentioned before, you don't want to undercut other performers of the same caliber in your area. Feel free to charge more, but don't steal business from others. It is unprofessional, rude, immoral, and ignorant. So this might mean you need to ask for more money, but this should be added to the list of price justifiers.

    Wow, sorry that turned out to be quite long. Hope it helps someone.

  17. The first gig I had about two or so years ago, was at a country club. It was a fairly big event, and I charged 125$ an hour. It ended up being three hours of performing (tiring, to say the least, but great fun) and received about 200$ in tips.

    Leaving me with about 500$ in three hours. I had other gigs there two more times after that and received about the same.

    It really depends on how long, how many people there will be, etc. But, the post above (JtMorris) states most of it.

  18. Steve, I'm not sure if that was a hit at my ability to sell myself or just general advice to everyone. :p

    If the former, then you know little about me or the sheer amount of work I do or the money I make working as a magician. ;)

    If the latter, I do agree, it's important to learn skills of negotiation which is something that you really need to learn on the job.

    Sometimes though, people have budgets that they have to stick to and sometimes people have bigger budgets than others.

    If I think that I can get £1000 out of 2 hours work at a big club gig, then I'll pitch in around that price, I won't pitch in at £150 p/hour. The fee I want varies from gig to gig.

    Like Steve said though, you've got to be able to back up the cash they're forking over!

    Everything is different, Every. Single. Time.

    Similar formats, different figures.

    This is the way I play it and it works pretty well for me, but it'll be different for everyone, there's no right or wrong.. Well.. Within reason :p

  19. When I do shows, I calculate a lot of things in. My bookings normally come from someone calling or emailing me about the show, and I email or call back with a price.

    I calculate gas in there (don't tell them that), I calculate the time, and I calculate how much I feel I am worth.

    Once again though, it depends on the gig.

    I feel bad about saying that htough as it is just repititious at this point...
  20. Nah, it just came off that way since I quoted you. Really, it was to no one in fact, up-selling was something that took me a while to truly understand. It's one thing to say it, but you have to be confident and believe to really make the client believe you have their best interests in your mind (and really, you do. But don't BS, we're really just trying to get a few more $$$ LOL).


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