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Topic: Pricing in Rural areas
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Oct 1, 2007 11:19AM)
Hello. first of all,I am a professional magician/illusionist. I just turned pro ealier this year when I decided to make an income by performing. I have had 5 shows so far, I don't consider this a problem for a starter but I was advised that I should only charge 55 dollars only! Now I agree that I need to make a name for my self, but 55 dollars is pretty cheap and I live in Rural Kentucky! Has anyone have had any experience, success or failure in performing in Rural areas?
Message: Posted by: Baggins (Oct 1, 2007 11:22AM)
I sometimes perform tricks/a show at country fairs in my local area. I was once paid a chciken and he wasn't ribbing me.

baggins.
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Oct 1, 2007 11:41AM)
[quote]
On 2007-10-01 12:22, Baggins wrote:
I sometimes perform tricks/a show at country fairs in my local area. I was once paid a chciken and he wasn't ribbing me.

baggins.
[/quote]

So you were paid a Chicken! Was it good? ha ha.
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Oct 1, 2007 11:43AM)
Okay my concern is if you price your shows to low and people start asking for cheaper shows, is there any way to redeem your self and get your dignity back? to gain more respect from higher prices I mean, I have noticed that people respect those who make a lot of money.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Oct 1, 2007 11:56AM)
Forget about trying to build a viable business doing shows for $55. In fact, as long as you are charging less than $300 for a show, you are just competing with the part-timers who don't need to support themselves solely from performing.

Now, $55 may be what another local part-timer charges for a birthday party show, and if the market won't support a higher fee, then target a different market.

The more you charge, the more you will most likely have to travel. After all, there are only a certain number of $500, or $1000, or $2000 shows in a 50 mile radius of your home.

I built my business in rural upstate New York and found that I had to market myself within a 200 mile radius in order to generate sufficient income to support my business. That's what I explain in detail in my Success in Magic course. Others could do it within a smaller radius.

My advice: Don't take business advice from someone charging $55 per show!

Jim
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 1, 2007 12:04PM)
Something else that is important, is that your show most likely costs you more than $55 to actually do.

I was once doing birthday shows for $100, and sat down and crunched the numbers. Given ALL expenses, it was costing me close to $125 to do a show at that time.

Operating your business at a loss is not a wise thing to do. Businesses are supposed to make profit!

Also, as Jim said, there is more than birthday show business out there. Lots of other potential markets that will pay more. What types of customers do you serve, or can you serve?

- Donald

P.S. If you are new to this, you might not have weighed all of the possible / real expenses. Here are some of the things you have to consider: props, expendables, costuming, promoting and advertising, phone bill, cell phone bill, giveaways, vehicle maintence, vehicle purchase, vehicle licensing, gas, business insurance, automotive club, cleaning, etc, etc.
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Oct 1, 2007 12:12PM)
[quote]
On 2007-10-01 13:04, Donald Dunphy wrote:
Something else that is important, is that your show most likely costs you more than $55 to actually do.

I was once doing birthday shows for $100, and sat down and crunched the numbers. Given ALL expenses, it was costing me close to $125 to do a show at that time.

Operating your business at a loss is not a wise thing to do. Businesses are supposed to make profit!

Also, as Jim said, there is more than birthday show business out there. Lots of other potential markets that will pay more. What types of customers do you serve, or can you serve?

- Donald

P.S. If you are new to this, you might not have weighed all of the possible / real expenses. Here are some of the things you have to consider: props, expendables, costuming, promoting and advertising, phone bill, cell phone bill, giveaways, vehicle maintence, vehicle purchase, vehicle licensing, gas, business insurance, automotive club, cleaning, etc, etc.
[/quote]

Thanks Donald, I have taken the expenses into account, that's why I got concerned about my current rate of fees. Costumes I don't have to worry about but I do have doves to take care of. I see your point.
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Oct 1, 2007 12:12PM)
Why do people want a $2200 pair of sunglasses or a $500 pair of shoes?
Because they are set at a high value... and not everyone will have those brands....

Same thing with your act.... Go a bit higher and everyone around town will want you because you are valueable---- ....

Charge much more, but at the same time be flexible and friendly at doing such.....
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Oct 1, 2007 12:14PM)
In response to Donald's question, most of my target audeinces have been Church organizations, community based organizations and birthyday shows.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 1, 2007 12:20PM)
[quote]
On 2007-10-01 13:12, ibm_usa wrote:
Thanks Donald, I have taken the expenses into account, that's why I got concerned about my current rate of fees. Costumes I don't have to worry about but I do have doves to take care of. I see your point.
[/quote]

I don't quite understand your point. Your show costume (suit, tuxedo, whatever) does cost you money. It doesn't matter if you have already paid for it. That was an expense (investment) in your business. Also, because of wear, you will have to replace it with a new one eventually. Same for props, sound system, etc. They all have to be replaced. Divide each of your possible expenses by the number of shows.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 1, 2007 12:21PM)
Now I'm going to play a little bit of a Devil's advocate here. $300 for a birthday is not realistic in all markets, but $55 is too low in any market, except where chickens are used as a form of payment (LOL). $100 is a bare minimum starting out price and as Donald already mentioned, the cost of doing the show/business is leaving you with very little to nothing to pay yourself.

I agree with Jim stating that expect to travel more with higher pricing as your market area expands. But on the other hand, I know many full-timers that charge $150 for birthdays. And on the same hand I know some part-timers who charge $500.

Basically, the best thing to do is factor the cost of doing business (use all of Donald's examples) and then factor in your pay...what you are worth.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Oct 1, 2007 12:52PM)
You are right, $300 for a birthday is not realistic in most markets, and it doesn't surprise me that many full-timers charge $150 for birthday parties. My point is that one cannot build a sustainable full-time business at that level and must be marketing their services in markets that can pay higher fees.

I'm pretty certain that the full-timers who charge $150 for a birthday party show also market their services to other markets that can support higher fees. Given all the overhead in running a business and the limited number of dates one can work, a full-time performer needs to average over $300 per show just to support a full time business. He or she can take shows for less as long as there are enough higher fee bookings to subsidize the lower ones.

Jim
Message: Posted by: SoCalPro (Oct 1, 2007 12:55PM)
I'm hoping this thread is a joke. The last time I charged $55 was when I was 12 and just starting out. Who told you to only charge $55?
Message: Posted by: HypnotizeAmerica (Oct 1, 2007 01:51PM)
It's time to find a different market.

When I advertise my services for school assemblies most only wanted to pay $500-700. I know that sounds like a little bit of money but remember:

Uncle Sam gets 20% ($700 x 80% = $560)
Gas is $2.70
Marketing Cost ($30 per 100 postcards, then follow up mailings, etc)

By the time I was finished there wasn't anything left over. What did I do - I went to a different market that has plenty of money and willing to spend it.

No need trying to convert people, I'm lazy and I like to preach to the converted.

If the market you're in isn't paying you enough - find a different market.

And for God's sake buy Jim's course. The money you spend on it will come back to you 10 fold if you even half way follow his advice.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 1, 2007 02:12PM)
Hey Jim, I have a friend who is a clown who almost solely does Birthdays strictly in this area, one county and just bought a house (after 2 years work). She charges $150.00. She does do the odd festival, but she's not paid to be there but buys vendor space to sell face-painting and promote her business. She does do some care clowning during the week, but that pays peanuts.

I have a friend who charges $85.00/hour (I complain to her all the time) but she must be doing something right. She hires out dozens of clowns (their pay is crap but she has the market cornered) for birthdays, festivals, company function,etc. She does have a costume shop which really only "works" around Halloween. She makes $500,000/year. Of course she has a bigger market, but what she does is go to a city and corner that market. Sets up a few people to work there (all calls go to her main office) and then moves on to another city.

I can cite many other examples (not that I'm justifying working for little...just showing there are many exceptions to Jim's rules).
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Oct 1, 2007 03:05PM)
Here's how I arrive at the numbers I discussed.

Assuming a full time performer books an average of 150 dates per year and averages $300 per date, that performer will gross approximately $45,000 per year (150 x $300). Subtract expenses that can run as much as 50% of the gross, taxes, health insurance, retirement, etc. and you have little left. Now, there may be people who can survive on that amount, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a part-time salary for full-time work.

If you charge $150 per show, you need to book 2 shows per date just to hit these targets, or at least 300 shows per year. (Another option, as mentioned, is to act as an agent, booking a number of other performers at that fee, but then you are not a performer, you are an agent. That's a different business.)

Of course, you can book more dates, but you will have little or no time for rehearsal, repairing props, marketing and office work, not to mention having a personal life. I know of performers at this level bragging of doing 300-400 shows each year, but they don't last long in the business, burning out in a few short years.

Bill, I'm glad that your friend who works as a clown charging $150 per show was able to buy a house after two years, but I would not be surprised if she either had a spouse or other family member helping with the expenses, or is single and has little time for a personal life because she is working all the time. Check back in a few years and let me know if she is still in business with that business model.

Any way you cut it, you must do a huge volume to build a sustainable full-time business charging just $150 per show. I'd rather base my business on a different model.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Oct 1, 2007 03:24PM)
Get this guys - there is a guy in Nashville doing kids shows that only charges $75! When I get a call for a kids show I automatically quote them $250. I initially did this to avoid taking these shows, but you'd be surprised how many people book me at $250 for their kids show. I'm going to have to start quoting $300!

Moral of the story - charge what you are worth. There is a market for every product!

BDC
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Oct 1, 2007 04:27PM)
The words "standard of living" leap to mind.

IF you can sustain the standard of living you are comfortable with at $55 per show then charge $55 per show.

Personally I could not, so I do not.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 1, 2007 05:02PM)
That's the ticket Danny. It's about standard of living.

Yes it's true that my one friend has very little personal time (not the one that bought the house after 2 years). My other friend enjoys much personal time and is a single mom.

Don't get me wrong Jim, I agree with your statements. It's not a "healthy" way to live for me. But you need to change the full time earning to minimum wage earnings for comparisons. Full time at a factory (average) will get you 4-5 hundred a week. So say tops your are getting $2000, and that's before taxes. Times that by 12 months and you get $24,000 not $45,000. Note: My figures are in Canadian dollars.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Oct 1, 2007 05:21PM)
Bill,

Yes, you get $24,000, but then you get health insurance, holiday pay, vacations, sick days, and retirement plans, which adds another 30%. Furthermore, when you are employed at a factory, the business pays the overhead so you don't have the expenses that a self-employed person has. Add that in and we are at that $45K figure very quickly.

Jim
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Oct 1, 2007 05:38PM)
Big Daddy

Double your fee and sell on your background you be surprise how many people will still hire you at $500 to $800 for a kid show...

One can sell on price
or one can sell on background and style....
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 1, 2007 05:40PM)
I also remembered a similar thread in the past, so I dug it up for you:

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=72598&forum=44]Magic Café thread titled... Professional In Small Town[/url]

Some of the information might be helpful.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Oct 1, 2007 06:19PM)
Thanks Don
Message: Posted by: nucinud (Oct 1, 2007 06:59PM)
It costs more than $55 to do the show. Counting prep time, paper work, marketing, liability insurance, rehearsal time, set up time, the cost of props, hat tears, slush powder, mouth coils, rope, cards, gas, etc. Not counting travel time and packing the car.

Almost forgot, 9 volt batteries for my mics and sound system accessories.

$55 is an insult!
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 1, 2007 08:07PM)
[quote]
On 2007-10-01 18:21, Jim Snack wrote:
Bill,

Yes, you get $24,000, but then you get health insurance, holiday pay, vacations, sick days, and retirement plans, which adds another 30%. Furthermore, when you are employed at a factory, the business pays the overhead so you don't have the expenses that a self-employed person has. Add that in and we are at that $45K figure very quickly.

Jim
[/quote]
Ah yes. I see where you are coming from now.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 1, 2007 08:08PM)
You haven't really said who suggested the $55 fee, but be careful it isn't some of your potential customers suggesting that. Some will pay you little, and some will pay you more, if you ask for it. Your job is to find those who will pay you what you ask, and then deliver value on what you are paid for.

Most of the time, inexperienced customers have no idea what a professional performer charges for their services.

I've even had some prospects who told me I charged too much, and should be charging less. Someone else gave me some perspective on that idea. One perspective is that they might not know any better. Or it could be that they want me, but don't want to pay more. Another possibility is because they were jealous of the fee I was asking (if they only knew how much experience and work goes into my 30-minute show!)

- Donald

P.S. I prefer to go by Donald, as opposed to Don. Thanks! :)
Message: Posted by: SoCalPro (Oct 1, 2007 11:42PM)
Ah yes... then theres the people who say..."You charge HOW MUCH?? My Doctor doesn't even charge that much". :rolleyes:
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Oct 2, 2007 12:21AM)
"You charge HOW MUCH?? My Doctor doesn't even charge that much"

Becasue your doctor doesn't perform MAGIC!
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Oct 2, 2007 07:28AM)
Some people will respond with a great deal of surprise when one quotes a high fee.
When discussing your fee, it helps to prepare the listener properly. One way is to frame your quote in a value proposition to soften the blow. Another way is to soften it with a little humor. I read once that Lisa Menna, when asked what her fee is, prepares the listener by first asking, "Are you sitting down?"

Jim
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Oct 2, 2007 08:17AM)
Wow I was just speaking to someone the other day about a gig, they didn't hesitate about my cost $250, a juggler just quoted them $400.
Message: Posted by: SoCalPro (Oct 2, 2007 08:19AM)
I always tell them about my show first, then pop the performance fee in. They need to know what they are getting for their money.
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Oct 2, 2007 09:09AM)
Good call.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Oct 2, 2007 11:00AM)
Couple things to consider. IF the prices are being balked at then you need to think about how and where you are generating your leads from.

I have to wonder if you are not happy with the prices people will pay, why you market yourself to that demographic in the first place.

Second of all if you are selling on price alone, expect a few things to happen. First of all you will be very busy talking to price shoppers and negotiating. Not a lot of fun if you ask me. Second of all expect to get a lower percentage of gigs. There is always someone cheaper.

Second your repeat business may not be as high, as they will always look for that bargain.

Why train people to bargain hunt in the first place? Why teach them that this seems an acceptable form of shopping?

So here is where I recomend Jim Snacks course. Read it then re read it and then impliment it.
Message: Posted by: PatrickDonovan (Oct 2, 2007 01:51PM)
There is some very good information in this thread. I'll just echo what has already been said. If you have a show worth performing, it's worth more then $55. When I just started performing I charged at least $100 but it went up very quickly when I realized that was very cheap. I've performed in some very rural areas in PA and they had no problem paying what I would charge for a show in a larger city plus more traveling expenses.
Message: Posted by: mormonyoyoman (Oct 4, 2007 10:55PM)
[quote]
On 2007-10-02 01:21, magicofCurtis wrote:
"You charge HOW MUCH?? My Doctor doesn't even charge that much"

Becasue your doctor doesn't perform MAGIC!
[/quote]

Nor does the doctor offer effective guarantees.

*jeep!
--Granpa Chet
Message: Posted by: Review King (Oct 5, 2007 12:59AM)
[quote]
On 2007-10-02 00:42, SoCalPro wrote:
Ah yes... then theres the people who say..."You charge HOW MUCH?? My Doctor doesn't even charge that much". :rolleyes:
[/quote]

"Oh, your children are entertained and come away with priceless memories when they go see your Doctor?"
:rotf:
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Oct 5, 2007 09:07AM)
Christopher that is priceless!