The Magic Café
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Contracts (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

chris mayhew
View Profile
Regular user
Toronto ON, Canada
179 Posts

Profile of chris mayhew
My friend recently told me that his magic dealer told him if we were to do magic shows that we should make our customers sighn contracts stating that we are to do our magic show on this certain day at this certain time. Now he told me that his dealer does this and if the people sighn the contract but want to back out later they still must pay him the money since they wasted his time. Now I don't find this right, but I was just wondering if all magicians who have a show do this, and Im not talking about a show in las vegas.
View Profile
Elite user
Las Vegas,NV
436 Posts

Really I think that's stupid (not saying the post is stupid) but what if the people had to cancel cause of a death or somthing I mean how bad would you fell if you made a family pay you for a show that just lost a family meber. And even if that's not the probalm its still stupid cause you might scare the person your trying to get the show from by coming up and saying if you want me to do your sons b day you'll haft to sing the cotract.
View Profile
Inner circle
1848 Posts

Profile of RJE

Each performer may have a different approach to this. It is a good idea to have a contract to confirm the details of the show you have agreed to provide. The contract should state the date, time, location of the performance, length of the performance, agreed price and payment details. (Perhaps others can add to this list?)

The contract can ask for payment up front either in full or in part. This payment can be refundable, or not, in full or in part if a client cancels the show for various reasons at various times as outlined in the contract. (ie. The performer gets to keep 50% of the performance fee if the client cancels the show within 7 days of the performance date.)

It might also contain particulars about what you expect to be provided. (ie. a sound system, lights, adult supervision of children in the audience etc...)

Sometimes the contract can take the form of a letter of agreement. The letter also lays out what you have agreed upon already with the client in a less formal way and they are asked to sign a copy and return it to you.

In the end, the contract often is seen as a professional courtesy and lets both parties know what is expected of them. As far as a legal document, I do not have the expertise to say what is needed in a contract to make it hold up in court. Others on the Café can fill you in on that. Hopefully though, you will never have to find out firsthand.

Deke Rivers
View Profile
Loyal user
216 Posts

Profile of Deke Rivers
On the other hand, what if I turned down one or more shows because I promised the date to them, then they cancel? Is that fair to me? I would be saying "no" to paying work only to be left with nothing that day.

Or, what if I got a higher paying gig? I'd still be committed to the contracted buyer. So it benefits both parties.

I do hold people to the contract in most cases, and expect them to hold me to the contract. Last month we had a foot of snow, and the mother called to cancel. Of course, I agreed, but I asked that if they rescheduled they again hire me. They did a few weeks later.
View Profile
Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
I always use a contract for my larger shows and a signed confirmation letter for the smaller b-day party shows. I do this for several reasons:

1) It is a great way for both parties to know all the details of the event and to have it clearly stated and in writing long before the actual show date.

2) It protects the performer. As a paid performer, you are giving up your time for a specific event and your time has value. This is time that could have been given to another event that day. Because of this, you need to have a contract so that you are protected and get payment in the event that the person bails out on you.

Now of course in the contract you may have a weather cluase or in the event of an emergency etc. that the fee owed can be waived. What I also do is state that the fee can be waived if another date can be agreed upon by both parties.

Having a contract is a professional way to protect yourself as a performer. You never know who is out there and what situations you will run into. As a perfomer who does a LOT of festival shows, I MUST have a contract for every show I do. There isjust to much money at stake for things to go wrong if I do not have one to back up and support the agreed upon terms.

Kyle Peron

Entertainers Product Site

Join Our Facebook Fan Page at
Donald Dunphy
View Profile
Inner circle
Victoria, BC, Canada
7409 Posts

Profile of Donald Dunphy
For over 20 of my 25+ performing years, I have used contracts for shows. It makes you look more professional to the customer.

It clarifys all the show details (date, location, what's expected and amount of payment) in black and white for you and the customer so there are no mix-ups, and also covers you when customers cancel for unreasonable reasons. You can always waive the cancellation fee, if you choose to, because the situation is unusual (for example, Kyle Marlett's suggestion of a death).

For birthdays, I use a simple confirmation letter in lieu of a contract.

One of the best books on the subject is called "The Contract Book", by Jim Kleefeld. It's for sale on his website:

There are also several threads already on the Café about the subject:

- Café thread titled... Contracts

- Café thread titled... Standard Contrac...... parties

- Café thread titled... Standard Magicians Contract?

- Café thread titled... Contracts (different thread from one I earlier linked to).

- Café thread titled... What do you thin......contract

- Café thread titled... What happens when they won't pay?

- Café thread titled... Contract Help

- Café thread titled... A Lesson about using Contracts

- Café thread titled... Source for Contracts?

- Café thread titled... Contracts versus Invoice

There are also many more threads than these about the subject in the "Tricky Business" section. Simply do a search with the keyword "contract".

Hope all these links help you. Happy reading!

- Donald

P.S. Another benefit of using a contract, is that it gives ASSURANCE to the customer that you will be there, and that you know what you are doing. Try to put a positive spin on using a contract. The reasons don't have to be about you. Smile
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
View Profile
Inner circle
1552 Posts

Profile of Chrystal

I also use a contract for larger shows and the customer will always ask for one. They want to make sure you (the performer) is going to show up for the event. Contracts should cover all bases, time and dates, fees, type of performance..etc.

Donald is correct they work both ways, for yourself and for the benefit of the client as well.

View Profile
Special user
Independence, KY USA
597 Posts

Profile of RonCalhoun
If this is just something you're doing for friends if you fill like it then don't use a contract.

If this is a part time or full time BUSINESS then act like it. Learn about contracts or letters of agreement and use them.

The contract protects everyone the performer and the client.

Ron Calhoun
Billy Whizz
View Profile
Special user
Plymouth, UK
576 Posts

Profile of Billy Whizz
On 2005-02-25 10:17, RonCalhoun wrote:

If this is a part time or full time BUSINESS then act like it. Learn about contracts or letters of agreement and use them.

Ron Calhoun

Like Ron says, if its your business, act like it. Be professional. Sending out a contract shows the booker you are a professional entertainer, not just someone out to make a couple of bucks.
View Profile
Regular user
Cumbria, UK
160 Posts

Profile of stu-di-doo
I'm the only one in my area that uses contracts. I use them for all my shows. It's another part of my business that makes me professional.

My clients recognise this and appreciate the difference.

If you want people to treat you like a professional, you must act like one.

View Profile
Special user
Roseville, California
713 Posts

Profile of misterillusion
My contract serves as an invoice/confirmation. Since I have been using this, there have been no misunderstandings regarding date, time, location, type & length of performance, and fee. I believe it is just a good business practice.
May every day be magic!
Lee Darrow
View Profile
Chicago, IL USA
3588 Posts

Profile of Lee Darrow
After getting stiffed for a fee by the Halloweem (correct spelling) party, thrown by a local MENSA chapter, some years ago, I now work ONLY with a contract.

As to the "pay or play" clause, I usually only put those on my trade show contracts and those for colleges, universities and the like. However, my deposit (usually about 25% of my fee for a private party is non-refundable, but can be applied to any show that the client might book within the next 12 months should they cancel within 2 weeks of the original date of a show.

To parents who are professionals, this is expected and considered a non-isue in my experience (I don't do little kid shows, but I do a lot of sweet 16's, bar/bat mitzvahs and the like and have only had one client raise a question about that - so I waived it for them because they were a repeat customer.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
View Profile
Special user
Chicago, IL
935 Posts

Profile of wizardofsorts
I use a contract for every show, bdays included, and I take a 50% deposit on all non corporate events because I realize what a pain gettin two checks cut can be for some businesses. But for all of those events I use a "pay or play" clause. As to the death in the family thing. You can choose not to take your cancelation fee at your desgresion. Like recently I had a mother reschedule due to illness of the bday child. I didn't take her deposit. I let her use it for the next week. Then she cancelled that one too. Now I took the deposit. Something tells me if the bday boy even gets near someone who is sick she is the type that shuts down the whole block. If you know what I mean.
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Contracts (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.47 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL