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Topic: Is there a standard percentage for event planners?
Message: Posted by: ksalaz1 (Nov 16, 2004 01:16PM)
What percentage do event planners get of your fee? Meaning, If you are hired for $400/ hr, which is known both by the event planner and the client, does the event planner get 20% or 10% of $400?

The problem arose when a client I had done magic for privately arranged for me to work a corporate party, but I could only go through the event planner. Everyone knew what my fee was and the event planner asked if I give a percentage to event planners when I work with them. I didn't know what to say since my client got me the gig, but the event planner has the contract to do the gig. I asked him which other magicians he has used before and he said usually David Roth. I am excited to be able to work with the event planner and want to get more work, but want to do it professionally and not be taken advantage of. Any advice?

Ken
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Nov 16, 2004 11:32PM)
Are you being paid directly by the corporation and the event planner is handling logistics, or will you be contracting with the event planner who will be cutting you a check?

The reason I ask is because the event planner could be receiving a fee directly from the corporate client for coordinating everything. I have no problem paying a commission of up to 25% to a bonafide agent or bureau, however, I don't want the event planner to charge the client $800, then give me $400. My fee is the same whether I work through an event planner or directly with the client.

If the client is someone you already have a relationship with, and the event planner is simply doing the paperwork, then 25% seems a bit high for the commission. On the other hand, if you pay that commission without complaining on a gig that you do most of the work on, don't you think the event planner might want to work with you again?

Why not simply ask the event planner what his or her policy is in these situations. Then decide if that is acceptable to you. If not try to negotiate more favorable terms.
Message: Posted by: ksalaz1 (Nov 17, 2004 09:31AM)
Thank you Jim. Yes, the contact for the event was my own, but I am being contracted through the event planner. I spoke with the event planner and he says he will not be able to put a percentage on top since the client already knows my fee. I told him that out of fairness I would give him a comission out of my fee this time for his work on this project, but that usually my fee is $375/ hr for strolling magic. He thanked me and said "You just got a new client" The percentage was not discussed, as I wasn't sure how much to give him and he seemed to leave it up to me. But what is the standard in this situation?
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Nov 17, 2004 11:34AM)
In this case I suggest sending $50-$100, but I would have asked the event planner what commission he or she would like. You can simply say that you usually pay 10% (or 15%) for a referral, where you do all the contracting work and 20% (or 25%) when it's a new client that the agency sends you to and handles.

If your fee is $400 and you pay 25% to agencies, then you pocket $300 (intead of your usual $375). If you pay 20% then you pocket $320. Just work it out beforehand with the agent what the commission rate you and he/she are comfortable with. And send that amount for this booking.

Just remember, it's a partner relationship, so don't try to cut the agent out of spin-off bookings (someone sees you at the event and wants to book you for another event). Refer all spin-off work back to the agent and pay the commission you have worked to the agent. Build an open trusting relationship and it will pay off.
Message: Posted by: ksalaz1 (Nov 17, 2004 02:05PM)
Thank you Jim, you are being very helpful.

The event is for 2 hours so the total is going to be $750.oo Should I then send him between $100-and $200? Also, since I sent him my contract to him, he will be paying me. Do I get the full 750 from him and then send a check back for the comission amount? My standard contract asks for a 20% deposit and full payment on the day of the event before I perform at the event. I do this for all the "shows", but not sure if that is the proper way when there is a middle man such as an event planner.

thoughts?

Ken
Message: Posted by: MichaelKent (Nov 19, 2004 04:44AM)
I would fax him an invoice for $600.00. The rest is implied.
Message: Posted by: paulajayne (Nov 19, 2004 06:45AM)
Hi

Here in the UK event planner normally have a markup on the Acts fees, which they present to the client.

I would expect my full fee.

Paula
Message: Posted by: ksalaz1 (Nov 19, 2004 02:05PM)
I spoke to the event planner and said I would usually give 15% to 20% and he said that 10% would be fine. So thank you for all your help.

best,

Ken
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Nov 19, 2004 08:59PM)
There you go...done deal. It always pays to ask. Have a great show.
Jim
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 19, 2004 11:07PM)
A guideline I often use was learned from the musicians' union. One-nighters are gigs of three days or less and the standard commission is 20% assuming that the net pay is at least twice union scale. The act just shows up and performs. The agent does everything else. Regular gigs are 10-15%. The musicians' union (AFM, AFL-CIO) does not allow performance contracts to be bought and sold.

There was also the AGVA (American Guild of Variety Artists) and these contracts could be bought and sold. Therefore, there was no agent commission. SAG (Stage Actors' Guild) is even different.

Package shows are sometimes put together by speculating promoters. In those you actually contract directly with the promoter who bundles the talent into a show or series of shows. The promoter is normally at the mercy of ticket sales or he contracts the shows he can sell. Small fairs, media shows, and military base shows are frequently done this way. Transportation between fairs and shows is provided by the promoter (usually private plane). You may do 3-5 shows in a day and skip days. As a youngster, I loved them (but the contacts were plentiful since I had also been a studio and stage show musician); as an old guy I avoid them.

It was common to open for musical/band concerts. I think Jeff McBride also worked a lot of these with rock groups. The money was very good ($1800-$3000/day in the late 70s and early 80s) but the work was hard and props were very limited. I solved that part of the problem by having three shows packed (red, yellow and black) to ship out with props and it kept props together needed for the show. It also meant having duplicate props. That does costs money. That is why I still have three of most any major prop I own. They paid for themselves very quickly. Sometimes you lived in your costume from 10 AM until midnight. You lived on hotdogs and Cokes. But it was an adventure!

Bob
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: RonCalhoun (Dec 2, 2004 01:56AM)
[quote]
On 2004-11-16 14:16, ksalaz1 wrote:
What percentage do event planners get of your fee?
[/quote]

In a normal cases, NONE.

Agents, take a percentage.

Event Planners add their fee on to your fee and pass cost on to the buyer.
Message: Posted by: Tony Chris (Jul 8, 2008 06:44PM)
I agree with Ron. Event planners fall into a different category and there is a very fine line between them and agents. I work quite frequently for both types and I can tell you that here in Vancouver, Canada, usually an agent will take around 15% of the total fee and you simply never really know what an event planner will take.

It is always a tricky game when quoting an event planner because you never know what the actual client has as a budget. I have heard of stories where some entertainers have worked for event planners and found out later that the planner actually got quite a bit more than them.

Tricky I tell you!
Message: Posted by: Jerskin (Jul 8, 2008 07:11PM)
I got the wrong check once & saw how much the event planner was making vs. what I was being paid for the gig and it was triple-I was getting 1/3! ouch.
Message: Posted by: jamesbond (Jul 8, 2008 09:21PM)
Well, who cares how much the planner is making - bottom line is ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR PART OF THE DEAL??? Chances are that if it weren't for the planner that you would be sitting at home for $0. I personally don't care how much he makes as long as I get my rate. You have to realize that magicians are often dime and dozen commodity (sad but true) and if you charge only 15-20% on $400 that's NOTHING by today's standards... think about it how far will $80 get you these days - tank of gas??? The guy won't make a living from charging these rates I'll tell you that right now.

My 2 cents

Bond
Message: Posted by: Jerskin (Jul 8, 2008 09:45PM)
I agree-but it was interesting to have my suspicions confirmed!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 8, 2008 09:59PM)
I think it is often pointless to get caught up in "percentages".

What I mean is if you are going to end up with $2000 at the end of the night for 2 hours work, and you are happy with this, and agree to this, what does it matter to you what the person who gets you the gig gets?

I mean if you turn down the deal based on the "percentage", you can pass up the 2 grand. This is not a good move in MY VIEW only. I mean it is not about the 25% or 30% they are getting, think of the 70% or 75% YOU WILL NOT GET, if you pass. If you have another job that pays better, then take it. But really it is more about the actual dollars in the bank if you ask me, than the "percentage" number.
Message: Posted by: Jerskin (Jul 8, 2008 10:04PM)
Agreed.
Message: Posted by: jamesbond (Jul 8, 2008 11:29PM)
Right on Danny!

Bond
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jul 10, 2008 05:03AM)
[quote]
On 2008-07-08 22:21, jamesbond wrote:
Well, who cares how much the planner is making - bottom line is ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR PART OF THE DEAL??? Chances are that if it weren't for the planner that you would be sitting at home for $0. I personally don't care how much he makes as long as I get my rate. You have to realize that magicians are often dime and dozen commodity (sad but true) and if you charge only 15-20% on $400 that's NOTHING by today's standards... think about it how far will $80 get you these days - tank of gas??? The guy won't make a living from charging these rates I'll tell you that right now.

My 2 cents

Bond
[/quote]

I agree. I know at least one event planner who uses me makes at least double of my asking price. I heard 20-30 pct but I do not believe its true. Everytime they book me I am excited. Not so much about the gig but this means there are clients paying top dollar still! As long as the event planners are booking me at an acceptable (although not premium) rate, I can plan my marketing accordingly and not be disappointed so much when magicians here get the penny gigs out from under me.

And what you say about magicians being a dime a dozen, its very very true. I am marketing more now then when I started and provide the client with mentalism and try to set myself apart from the bare bones magic dude. In the long run, the layman has no clue what a mentalist does though. One of the event planners who uses me sell me as "unique" entertainment. I learn from them not the other way around.

I do not know how it is in the rest of the world but these are tough times where I am at. People are watching every nickel and dime. Magicians are bidding $100 on shows here and getting them..........sometimes. :cool:

I would go with an agent in a hearbeat if I could find one. I feel my act is good enough but its hard to involve an agent where I am at.
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Jul 10, 2008 01:59PM)
[quote]
On 2008-07-08 22:59, Dannydoyle wrote:
I think it is often pointless to get caught up in "percentages".

What I mean is if you are going to end up with $2000 at the end of the night for 2 hours work, and you are happy with this, and agree to this, what does it matter to you what the person who gets you the gig gets?

I mean if you turn down the deal based on the "percentage", you can pass up the 2 grand. This is not a good move in MY VIEW only. I mean it is not about the 25% or 30% they are getting, think of the 70% or 75% YOU WILL NOT GET, if you pass. If you have another job that pays better, then take it. But really it is more about the actual dollars in the bank if you ask me, than the "percentage" number.
[/quote]

Danny, I think this is the best advice I have ever read from you! :)
Message: Posted by: Gregory The Great (Jul 10, 2008 02:13PM)
What I don't understand is who in their right mind would pay $375.00 to $400.00 dollars an HOUR for walk-around? I have got a few hundred for a 2 hours of walk-around, but what company doesn't shop around? I have found that agents may not care what your skill level is, they don't know or care how many years you put into performing they just want to sell you. I find it hard to believe you can get steady work at $375 an hour. (I'm not doubting your skill, just the company)

I charge $500.00 an hour.... I haven't worked yet but when I do....
Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Jul 10, 2008 02:50PM)
Let's not get started on this line again!!! LOL

B
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Jul 10, 2008 04:49PM)
Gregory,

I see your viewpoint and I once was in the $150 price range when I first started off many moons ago. Through time, development and the proper marketing I came to realize companies have budgets. Now if you are the event planner for the company and the company has $25,000 to spend. Would you want to spend $150 an hour for entertainment, or go with someone you think is cool in your opinion and pay the fee they are asking $500, $600, $800, $10,000 per hour to get what you WANT?

THE key is to get into the market that will attract these type of clients and to know the difference when they contact you. I have learned the difference (for the most part) and I enjoy performing and I do not always make my decision on the fee factor when I do a show.

View it this way, do you always buy the cheapest pair of shoes? Do you always dine in the cheapest restaurants? Do you always buy the cheapest car? Do you buy the cheapest house? Do you always take the cheapest flight? Do you buy the cheapest magic tricks/props?

The answer is no. There are other factors that go into a buying decision than the price. One has to be priced for the type of client they are marketing themselves to.

I have had clients who spent $200,000 on their event for 120 people do you think they want someone for $100 bucks or someone that fits with their $5,000 bottle of wine? And I have had clients who could only spend $2500 on their event. Do you think they want a magician at $500 per hour? NOPE...

Hope I gave you some insight buddy!

Blair nice to see you popping around again....
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jul 10, 2008 08:36PM)
A key thing to remember is that an agent works for you. You pay them.

Event planners are usually in business for themselves and hire you. Often they are the promoter. other times, they work for the promoter, host, etc. They are never paid by the talent.

Bob Sanders
Magic by Sander
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Jul 11, 2008 03:51AM)
Theres some good advice here in this discussion

Using many event planners as I soley work the corporate market

as long as I get my fee whether its 600 dollars or 2000 dollars- I am happy as the planners add there fee to my
price-what they charge can vary from 15 percent to almost double what I charge-doesnt concern me as long as you are happy with your charges & the planners are aware that there fee is on top of that!!

Cheers

-Brent
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jul 11, 2008 07:51AM)
I was working pretty regular with three planners before the slowdown. They of course always ask me how much then they talk to the client. Before I never thought about who the client was, hotel etc but will from now on. I am always afraid of going too high and not getting the gig. The planners know me and know my worth of course but since I started out "low" per hour ($150) with them already, I am afraid to raise it now.

Posted: Jul 11, 2008 9:22am
Here is another dilemma I face. For mentalism shows, I do not haul in a lot of stuff. My shows are 30-45 minutes in duration and I charge much higher then I do for one hour strolling.

For example, the event planner or client wants one hour of me (sometimes they say: how much for one hour or a one hour show?). I tell them okay you can hire me for $150 a hour strolling BUT I can give you a 30 minute show for
$595 etc. Thinking maybe I should raise my strolling fees. I usually tell them I have a 2 hr minimum. The problem arises also when the planner needs a special 20 minute presentation for 20 people or so. They hear the "hourly" rate and I am treading water from there on.

Of course I patter this and that about how the audience is all entertained at once with a show, working out of my pockets for strolling etc.

Welcome any thoughts on this. Before the slowdown, I was breaking away from the "hacks" but its nice to see they are working for pennys and dimes once again.

BTW: I have Maximum Entertainment on order.
Message: Posted by: Gregory The Great (Jul 11, 2008 01:24PM)
I feel that I really do understand the "market" but is this work REGULAR or is it every once in a while? I work through agents and book myself so I understand what the agent is there for. I'm wondering if it is a geographical thing or just guts to ask for hundreds of dollars an hour? I know some magicians that charge $375.00 an hour but only work once in a while... Maybe... (And those magicians blow other magicians minds, they are that good!) I too don't mind agents getting a cut, but you need to tell them up front what you are willing to work for. I found it very hard to go up in price after the relationship is made between you and the agent. I have also found it doesn't matter if you are just okay or good, it depends on how the agent markets you! For example, I have seen "magicians" that didn't know what a DL was or a TT and they were getting more money than I was. I feel I do a good job at what I do, I have received many good comments and reviews but I never thought they could afford to pay that much. Instead of over thinking this (as usual) I guess the real question is how do you get to work for those types of companies ON A REGULAR BASIS? I would think they go to an agent for all of heir entertainment needs, before looking for locals they know nothing about. How do you ask for a lot more than the going rate?
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Jul 11, 2008 04:59PM)
Gregory,
The key is to work with the top event planners. I work with a few. When I mean by top event planners they do about $6 million to $170 million + a year in event sales. YES, I could not believe the number either until a few years ago I came across a site that showed the top planners and their figures.

Even the large companies will contact entertainers directly. Most companies will create an entertainment committee and each person has a different responsibility, IE find the entertainment, cater, etc.
Now for the large PR events - marketing events - product luanches. Companies usually go through their PR rep in house or outhouse and then the PR reps usually goes with one of these large event planning companies.

Here are a few of the big boys in your area - FL

company, headquarters A Joy Wallace Catering Production & Design Team, Miami
phone, Web site 305/252-0020, http://www.ajoywallace.com
chief executive Joy J. Wallace
average number of special events produced annually 400
average annual revenue from special events (forecast for 2006) $6.5 million
noteworthy events this year Heating up south Florida with work for the Vizcayan Ball, Museum of Discovery & Science, and Conservancy of Southwest Florida galas.

Deco Productions, Miami
phone, Web site 305/558-0800, http://www.decoproductions.com
chief executive Sharon Siegel
average number of special events produced annually 130
average annual revenue from special events (forecast for 2006) $10 million

company, headquarters Strategic Events, Atlanta
phone, Web site 770/379-9334, http://www.strategicevents.com
chief executive Scott Gilmore
average number of special events produced annually 14
average annual revenue from special events (forecast for 2006) $6.5 million
noteworthy events this year Updates for 2006 include opening of office in Italy. Client roster includes IBM and BellSouth.

And one big boy for you guys to lick your chops at:

company, headquarters George P. Johnson Co., Auburn Hills, Mich.
phone, Web site 248/475-2500, http://www.gpjco.com
chief executive Robert G. Vallee Jr.
average number of special events produced annually 4,100
average annual revenue from special events (forecast for 2006) $250 million plus
noteworthy events this year Busy, busy: GPJ produces more than 10 events every day worldwide for global brands going after B2B and B2C audiences, stressing innovative, "brand consistent" experiential event marketing. Clients include Cisco, IBM and multiple automakers.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 11, 2008 09:57PM)
[quote]
On 2008-07-11 09:22, Candin wrote:
They hear the "hourly" rate and I am treading water from there on.

Of course I patter this and that about how the audience is all entertained at once with a show, working out of my pockets for strolling etc.
[/quote]

Don't tread. Don't try to justify the fee. When I quote a fee, I shut up. Silence is uncomfortable to most people so they try to fill the void. They can schedule you on the spot, they can ask questions, they can say they have to go to committee, or they can say it is too much/too little. No need for you to twist in the wind.

If you've pre-sold the show, they should want you, so trying to justify the fee makes a client question why you need to do so. It makes you look hungry. Trust me on this - silence works.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jul 15, 2008 03:33AM)
I think I got my degree in the wrong subject. I see no ryhme nor reason for the way the event planners work where I am located. I think I have contacted them all and only three use me sparingly. I know its not how good you are that matters. I hear constantly the perfomers who stay busy and its not based on their show. Do not get me wrong, most are good but its who markets them.

I think "agents" represent the top names only.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jul 15, 2008 03:36AM)
[quote]
On 2008-07-11 22:57, tacrowl wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-07-11 09:22, Candin wrote:
They hear the "hourly" rate and I am treading water from there on.

Of course I patter this and that about how the audience is all entertained at once with a show, working out of my pockets for strolling etc.
[/quote]

Don't tread. Don't try to justify the fee. When I quote a fee, I shut up. Silence is uncomfortable to most people so they try to fill the void. They can schedule you on the spot, they can ask questions, they can say they have to go to committee, or they can say it is too much/too little. No need for you to twist in the wind.

If you've pre-sold the show, they should want you, so trying to justify the fee makes a client question why you need to do so. It makes you look hungry. Trust me on this - silence works.
[/quote]

That is some excellent advice. One of the things I hate the most is the quote over the phone. Most times its over the net.
Message: Posted by: Gregory The Great (Jul 17, 2008 01:26PM)
Thanks for the "LINKS" it might actually HELP!!