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Chris Stolz
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Inner circle
Mississauga, Ontario
1957 Posts

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Hi All,

I'm planning to start up my own company for designing illusions. Seeing as this is basically consultant work, I am at a loss for what to charge. I have designed my own illusions for many years and certainly have the experience with both performing and designing stage illusions.

Is there anyone who is doing this sort of thing who could offer some advice reguarding the dollar factor?

Again, I will be designing not building. I use 3d design software to design both the illusion itself and the lighting plot.

Any help is much appreciated!


- Chris.
Chance Wolf
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Inner circle
2425 Posts

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Hi Chris,
The rate you charge is relevant to your experience and reputation. Have you ever seen those celebrity inside stories showing those idiots paying $10,000 for a HAIRCUT??!! For God's's a haircut!! Well, let's just say I wish my experience and rep got me those big bucks!
I would start at about $25 an hour, get some clients under you belt and move up from there as you gain a track record. I try to run an "honest clock" when I do design/graphics and punch in and out as I get the work done then add it up at the end. It is more fair to the clients as I just feel bad "rounding up" my hours.
Good luck with your new venture!
Chance Wolf
Wolf's Magic
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!
Magic Nathan
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Regular user
110 Posts

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It would be a good idea to post photos of you performing your illusions as well as photos of others performing your illusions on a website so interested illusionists can see your experience and judge if they want to hire your services.

Chris Stolz
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Inner circle
Mississauga, Ontario
1957 Posts

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Thanks guys,

I am working on the new website as we speak. It has samples of some of my designs as well as photo's of some of my performances.

I think the $25 and hour sounds like an OK way to go.

Do many designers simply charge a flat rate?

Thanks for the replies thus far,

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Profile of massimo
There a few who charge a flat rate, but you can really eat the clock up and time wise it is unprofitable for you. On the hand, it is a good deal for the client.
I do not design, but I built props, I like to figure what all the hard costs are and negotiate the labor. I realize that's not the same as you do, but it should give you a different point of view.
Steve Dela
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U.K. London
961 Posts

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Lets say an original illusion takes you only 8 hours to design, that is only $400, if you have created an original and very nice illusion I think you might find letting it go for $400 a little painful.

I would design the illusions, then talk to top builders that might want to make them, then do a ltd edition run and you can get much more money for your designs.

it is up to you, but don't rush into it.

In Magic
Steve Dela
Associate Member of the Inner Magic Circle
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Inner circle
Phoenix, Arizona
1185 Posts

Profile of ufo
Couple of random thoughts for you. First, depending on the project you might want to offer an hourly or flat rate. If its obviously a big, complex design then hourly might be the best for you. If its a simple layout, etc you can use the flat rate to make sure its worth your while.
Working with builders is also a good idea and could lead you into marketing some of your ideas that havent been sold off exclusively for others.
Lastly, if you are just getting started....just like performing, do some SELECT cheap or free gigs to get the track record and good references. Good luck, we need all the genius designers we can get in the magic world!
"What's your drug?" she asked. "Hope" he said, "The most addicting one of all."
Chris Stolz
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Inner circle
Mississauga, Ontario
1957 Posts

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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all of the comments thus far. I've decided to go with a flat rate. I have designed for performers in the past but I have never marketed such a business. Basically, I was approached and an offer was made. Seeing as I have marketed myself as a performer and teacher for many years I'm not too worried about promoting myself.

I'm currently in the finishing process of a new website for the company and it will be up and running shortly. The site will feature sample images of many designs and a full exlanation of my process. I've taken a look at many designers and builders sites recently and it's disappointing to see that no one explains the process. I think that it's important for first time buyers to feel comfortable knowing how it all works.

Thanks again for all the help,

Chris Stolz
Magician / Actor
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Veteran user
361 Posts

Profile of Kline
Hey Chris,
I wil be in Ontario this summer - I have a few ideas for things I would like to use on the tour - shoot me an email with some ( any ) work you have done and references !
Steven Kline
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