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Topic: Pitching opportunity
Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Jun 9, 2008 12:45PM)
Hello everyone,

I recently started a post in the New to Magic section talking about how I was offered a job pitching magic outside of this guys shop. I was really excited about this opportunity, but I recently found out that I was going to be out of town for the entire summer. I want to know if you guys think that I would be able to pitch during the summer at different places. I have no places lined up yet but I will soon.

So what is the problem, why do I even ask? Because I am 17 years old and I realise that I am limited because of my age on the things that I can do. I have always been interested in sales. I love the idea of pitching. Most of my reading consist of sales/marketing/business books. I also enjoy listening to audios. I recently bought Don Driver's DVD and I am anxiously waiting for it. I tell you all this so you know that I am serious about it. I was just wondering if It is possible. Will I need a Tax ID, can I get one, etc. etc. Are any other young people doing this?

Sorry for the errors within the post.

Thank you for the help.

Message: Posted by: Fitz (Jun 9, 2008 05:10PM)
Hi Shane,

You are on your way with Don's DVD, it tells all.

Your age is just a number, and you may even sell more because you are young and people like helping out. I started working behind a magic counter at the age of twelve so your not to young. I worked at Easley's Fun Shop in Phoenix. The first summer I worked for free, and the crazy part was it was a two hour bus ride each way to the shop. I worked there for seven years after school and while I was going to college. I almost pitched a svengalli to Larry Becker once... Those were the days

Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jun 9, 2008 05:40PM)
My boy. If you really wish to get involved in this dreadful low class business I must advise you forthwith to ignore all those marketing and business books immediately. The practicioners of this activity have probably never read one in their lives and in fact they would do you more harm than good.

I would say that possibly 50% of the operators pay no tax at all and would have no idea what a tax ID is. They work illegally and are most disreputable people indeed. Tax (tacks) to them is something you nail carpets down with. I knew many of them in my younger days and I am afraid most of them died of the demon drink. Either that or unwholesome activity with disreputable women of whom they met a great many in their travels.

I would advise you to find someone who indulges in this ghastly profession and ask if they will give you a job. It will be the easier way to go about things for you and you can learn from your employer. Try not to steal too much money from him as he may become a trifle irritated.Alas the culture of theft is alive and well on carnival grounds and your employer himself will probably not be a paragon of virtue.

Regrettably it will be difficult for you to find someone who sells magic so I would advise you to follow another route. Go to some county fair, craft show or similar venue and speak to one of those fellows who gather crowds by selling substandard merchandise that may or may not work properly such as paint pads, non stick frying pans, flower holders, eyeglass cleaners etc;. Ask for their boss and tell them that you are looking for a job in the pitch business. Or sneak a look at the contact phone numbers on the packaging. By hook or by crook you get a job with these people and you must be prepared to travel the country.

You will earn far more money selling kitchen gadgets than you ever will selling magic. You will have an employer who will do all the worrying for you concerning running a business and most of all you will learn the principles of showmanship and become a better magician.

This should be a temporary endeavour and should not be considered a permanent profession. It is far too working class for someone who reads marketing and business books. If you really feel that you wish to read about this dreadful business I would suggest you procure a book called "The Hard Sell" by Colin Clark and Trevor Pinch who are two worthy and higher class academics who researched this unworthy occupation. It will be an eye opener for you and you will be in danger of never reading another marketing book again.
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jun 9, 2008 10:18PM)
You sound just like Mark Lewis that has been ban from this fourm.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jun 9, 2008 10:42PM)
Don't be silly Donald. The chap is most disreputable and I do not approve of him. All the moderators have to do is to check the IP address and they will soon see that your supposition is quite incorrect. However I can understand your paranoia and irritation since the chap has expressed great disapproval of your DVD on the grounds that he alleges the information is ineffective. I am sure he merely wishes to discourage other people from following this profession and interfere with his own business. Very selfish of him if I may say so. Ignore him Donald and I know he will go away.

I expect he will ban you from Satan's Lair but you don't need the place anyway.

I do appreciate the fact that you encourage the young at every opportunity and of course this is to be commended. It has not gone unnoticed by myself that any chance you get to encourage young men of all shapes and sizes in their endeavours
you jump at the chance. And of course this encouragement encompasses Svengali decks as well as all sorts of other activities.

Most commendable if I may say so.

However I do know something about this dreadful business since my great aunt Jennifer was married to a person who was involved in it. Dreadful fellow who left my aunt penniless. It seems that these people end up old and broken down like the chap you mentioned. I even know another chap who in his dotage and twilight years can hardly stand, looks weather beaten and has developed emphysema and a nasty temperament which makes him growl at waitresses etc; one knows that waitresses are members of the working classes but even they should be treated with respect.

I really think it would be most commendable if you used your influence with all these young men to discourage them from such a dreadful life. You wouldn't want them to end up a broken down old man would you?
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jun 9, 2008 11:50PM)
Now you really sound like Mark Lewis...so I'm going to just ignore you.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jun 10, 2008 12:39AM)
Fitz.....I see you live in Phoenix, Arizona. Do you know my good friend Jolly Roger? He is one of the world's top Svengali pitchmen, although he is more known as a children's entertainer.
Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Jun 10, 2008 06:47AM)

Thanks for the encouragement. It is nice to see how others did in the past. It makes it easier to figure out what I will do now.


Message: Posted by: sethb (Jun 10, 2008 07:51AM)
I agree with Fitz, your age is not an issue, except possibly as to getting a Sales Tax Certificate, which you will need in order to obtain the decks wholesale, whether or not you collect and pay the sales tax. Spend $100, talk to an accountant who can properly advise you and get you set up so that keeping records of inventory, sales and expenses, and doing your taxes will be simple and easy.

BTW, I strongly suggest that you comply with your State's sales tax laws, don't pay any attention to that English fellow (it's no wonder the British lost the Revolutionary War!). At least in New Jersey, the bigger craft shows and municipal street festivals do get State sales tax inspectors from time to time, and if you don't have your Sales Tax Cert handy, things can get messy very quickly. I made a photocopy of it and taped it inside my briefcase, that way I know I've got it if I need it. SETH
Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Jun 10, 2008 11:05AM)
Thanks for the help. How much did the sales tax certificate run you. Will I need any other paperwork to be able to legally do this? Any more licensing?


Message: Posted by: sethb (Jun 10, 2008 12:28PM)
The Sales Tax Certificate (sometimes known as a "reseller's certificate") is usually free. You should be able to get one from your state's Division of Taxation. Some states even let you apply online and issue you a temporary ID number while they put a paper certificate in the mail.

Of course, you will need to file quarterly sales tax returns with the State based on your sales, and pay the sales tax. Some states also let you do this online and pay with an online bank transfer from a checking account.

Again, you will need to check with a local accountant for any other licenses and requirements. You may need a municipal mercantile license, and some counties may require you to file if you are doing business under an assumed name (like a company). It's better to know the requirements in advance than to run around trying to play catchup and pay fines and penalties. SETH
Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Jun 10, 2008 12:40PM)
Thanks for the wealth of help. You have given me a great head start.

Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jun 10, 2008 12:42PM)
And don't forget,when paying your sales tax,you get FIRST COUNT.
Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Jun 10, 2008 12:42PM)
What do you mean Don?

Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jun 10, 2008 12:48PM)
As I said these people are perfect scoundrels. Advising the young man to start a life of crime by implying that he should misreport his earnings. Quite disgraceful. I should advise the chap to emulate the weekend warrior Seth who seems terribly proper and will not lead the child into temptation and evildoing.

My old friend Murray the escapologist refused to allow his son to travel with pitchmen on the grounds that they would lead him into wickedness and debauchery. Quite right I must say.
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jun 10, 2008 12:53PM)
Mark, Why do you always have to be a butt head. One day somebody is going to catch up to you in person...you need to go away !
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jun 10, 2008 01:07PM)
Mistaken identity old chap. One must not jump to incorrect conclusions in life you know. I am merely advising the young man to keep on the straight and narrow and to pay his taxes. I have been visiting the gospel section here and have seen the light in these matters.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jun 11, 2008 07:15AM)
Ah, Mr. Riddle, you are aptly named!

But I digress. I wanted to remind Shane that if a company's sales tax returns are not accurate, then its income tax returns or business records also won't jive, which is like waving a red flag in front of the IRS bull.

For example, you can deduct the cost of sold inventory on your State and Federal income tax returns. But if your inventory purchases and sales greatly exceed the gross sales on your sales tax return (which the tax boys also have access to), then the legitimate question is, where is all the money -- and the sales tax -- from the sale of all that product?

This is same way they nail money launderers and tax evaders. If you are running a pizza shop and show only little or moderate business, then why are you buying thousands of pounds of cheese and sauce each month? It's not rocket science to figure out how pizzas should have been made and sold, based on the cheese/sauce purchases.

But I'm sure our newly minted pitchman is aware of these problems already. SETH
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jun 11, 2008 08:17AM)
It should be noted that these dreadful pitch people travel the country and often have no fixed address. That is how they keep ahead of the tax people. They are scoundrels of the first order and have never visited the gospel section of the magic Café where I have been inspired to find that Jesus loves me. I understand that he even loves Don Driver although I have absolutely no idea why.

Which reminds me. A scoundrel of my acqaintance informs me that you should never set up next to a booth where they are collecting for charity or full of the glory of the lord such as a Christian booth. The charity booths are the worst though. The aggressiveness from these people in collecting money is like that of a pirhana feeding on the weak of the fish world. They will shake tins and come out in the aisle and be very aggressive indeed.

My informant tells me that you must be very aggressive indeed in dealing with them. Learn to swear and look very menacing when dealing with them. It won't do any good though. They are full of a divine mission and nothing will stop them.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jun 11, 2008 09:33AM)
Also, don't set up your booth next to the pony rides! Although it seems like a good idea, most of the patrons are too young to be enticed by Svengali Decks, and the ponies can get a bit smelly after a hard day's work.

On the other hand, a Funnel Cake concession or any food vendor usually makes a good neighbor and helps draw a crowd. I have also found that being near (but not next to!) the restrooms or Porta-Potties can also be a good spot because there is always a lot of traffic there. SETH
Message: Posted by: RS1963 (Jun 11, 2008 10:01AM)
Shane you are very wise to have bought Don Driver's dvd's. I have known Don for many years and he is the real deal when it comes to pitching.

keep reading the books you have been reading and never stop learing.

As for the question of if Tom Riddle is or isn't Mark Lewis. If he writes like Mark Lewis, goes off the deep end like Mark Lewis. It is Mark Lewis without a doubt.

Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Jun 11, 2008 11:41AM)
Thanks for the help and encouragement everyone! I am still anxiously waiting to get the video.

I'll let ya know!

Message: Posted by: sier5 (Jun 13, 2008 03:28PM)
Sethb I don't know much about the law, but if he rents a dealers table at a flea market doesn't he not need a sales tax certificate.
Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Jun 15, 2008 01:10AM)

I used to resell at a flea market (not magic), and was never asked for a resell certificate.

Message: Posted by: sethb (Jun 15, 2008 07:22PM)
Just to clarify -- I didn't say you needed a Sales Tax certificate to sell things at a flea market. You don't, and most shows will not ask you for it. They figure, quite rightly, that it's your responsibility to know if you need one and to get it if you do. If you are asked to produce one at a show, it will be the state's Sales Tax agents that are asking, not the show operator.

But you do need it in order to buy wholesale -- many distributors will not sell to you without it. And if you resell those goods at retail, you are supposed to collect sales tax on those sales if your state has a sales tax. If you are reselling without a certificate and/or don't collect the sales tax, you will have a problem with the state, not the show. SETH
Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Jun 16, 2008 11:02AM)
As some fellows have stated, every state is different. Florida requires a Tax Number and an Occupational License to operate at a flea market or fair. The venue will tell you the requirements. It's not rocket science.

Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Jun 23, 2008 12:45AM)
Wanted to let you guys know that I helped a guy pitch today and I turned my first deck. That sure broke my ice, now I am no longer scared. Thank God for the first sale!

Thanks Everyone!