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Regular user
Manchester, NH
195 Posts

Profile of ClodAppleleft
Hey everyone,

I have been offered my first kids show. I normally work REn-Faires and my show in general is geared towards kids, but this is my first time going to someones house to do the show. The show is for my neighbor, and I have offered to do it for free because of all the help they have given us since we have moved in. My neighbor is insisting on paying me. The thing is, I have NO idea on how much to charge, especially if I get other offers from the other parents afterwards. So my question is, How much should I ask for?

There are many different ways to cut an apple.
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

Profile of Dennis Michael
Based on your situation, and you were going to do it for free, charge him $20.00, He'll be happy and you get a case of beer out of the deal!

As for other offers from other parents, charge the going rate of what your worth. This could be $75 to whatever.
Dennis Michael
Billy Whizz
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Special user
Plymouth, UK
576 Posts

Profile of Billy Whizz
It's difficult to say what to charge for a show because every country/city/state is different. Here in the south west of England, UK, the average is about £90.00 but if you were to drive a few hours up the line to London you could easily charge over £300.00 for exactly the same show. You need to find out who's working in your area and what they charge.

As for doing the show for your neighbor, do what DenDowhy said and charge maybe $20, but make sure that if any of your neighbor's friends ask, that your neighbor says the price is 'whatever you decide to charge'. If they tell their friends they only paid you $20, their friends will expect you to do it cheap for them too.

All the best and good luck, Billy Smile
Tim Zager
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Loyal user
Kansas City
222 Posts

Profile of Tim Zager
If they insist on paying, I would ask them to write a letter of recommendation instead. Something you could use to promote yourself in the future. (worth MUCH more than $20)

This would help you avoid being known as the "$20 magician." It's easier to explain to a prospect you did a free show as a favor for a friend.

Just an opinion...

Make sure your customers never lose your information,
with a Digital Business Card.
flourish dude
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Inner circle
from ? But I know where I am going!
1195 Posts

Profile of flourish dude
I learned this a long time ago with my own electrical business and working for family and friends:

You either do it for 100% free or charge them full price.
heres why:

In allot of cases these type of people are the hardest to please. If you did it for free, then what can they say they did not pay for it?
if you charge full price then you have the funds and the mind set that this is a regular show and they get what everyone else get.
Think about this for awhile and I think it will start to make sense to you.

I (in most cases) do it for free. Then if they want to take me out for dinner or something I go but I don't ask for it.IF they damand that they pay me I charge full price.
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
Andy Wonder
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Special user
Auckland, New Zealand
747 Posts

Profile of Andy Wonder
Yes I absolutely agree with flourish Dude when it comes to performing for frineds or family. Discounts can be very messy. I had an aunt want to hire me for a show last year and I charged her half price. She ended up giving me a big tip on top of that. I felt quite uncomfortable about the whole thing, I should have just charged my normal rate. I could have brought a gift for the child to be nice and it would have been more appropriate than discounting my fee.

I understand ClodAppleleft in your situation you don't really have a normal rate because you are just starting out. What you can do with your shows is what I did when I was a teenager is just perform for tips only. You can let them know you are not really charging fees because you are doing it for the experiance but invite them of offer a tip if they enjoy your show.

There are all sorts of places you can perform for tips only that will give you good experiance. Just try not to directly compete with professional magicians that do this for a living.

I used to go up to the children's ward of my local hospital and perform for free up there just to have the experiance.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Cheshire Cat
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Special user
Wilmslow, UK
941 Posts

Profile of Cheshire Cat
This may sound underhanded CA, (but we know others do it to us), but why not get your wife or partner to phone around a few entertainers in Yellow Pages locally to find out what's what, and what time durations they pay these amounts for? (Ladies usually phone entertainers hence a female making enquiries). Being a beginner I would pitch at the lower scale of fees if I were you, and then gradually build up as your reputation and customer base increases. We never give discounts to friends but usually take the child a nice present (or pass the parcel prize which they obviously win) instead. Smile
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Loyal user
230 Posts

Profile of Vilago
On 2003-01-10 14:24, flourish dude wrote:
I learned this a long time ago with my own electrical business and working for family and friends:

Makes perfect sense to want to be nice, but it always seems to bite you in the end. At least if you offer the show for free, you can say it's your present to the little one.
Andy Wonder
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Special user
Auckland, New Zealand
747 Posts

Profile of Andy Wonder
Vilago, exactly!! but you can't make a discount their present.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
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New user
Bradford, England
95 Posts

Profile of mslj
Another one for the all or nothing approach.

Do it for nothing but get some free publicity with leaflets in the party bags and/or giveaways. Also avoids the issue of money between you and your neigbours.

As for what to charge in general. Go for Ace Parties suggestion (although from the wrong side of the Pennines he gives some sound advice!) of phoning other magicians in your area to get an idea of the range of prices. It makes good business sense to do that. Firstly you are not under pricing yourself and secondly you are not upseting your local colleagues by quoting too low prices. Healthy competition is good but price wars are not! It's also quite common for the cheapest to get very little work, bookers tend to be a bit suspicous of the very low quote.

I like the idea of giving the show as a gift. A nice touch that will pay dividends.
Cheshire Cat
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Special user
Wilmslow, UK
941 Posts

Profile of Cheshire Cat
Can just picture it MSLJ, all our friends in USA, Canada, NZ etc. saying: "what is a Pennine?". Is it some sort of illness of the male genitalia? Suggestion, look into English history - The Wars of the Roses. - Tony. Smile
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Special user
Upstate NY, USA
746 Posts

Profile of iwillfoolu
For setting a fee I assume you are not a full time magician. Neither am I, but I do have set prices. There are a number of factors to take into consideration:
Are you in a busy metropolitan town with lots of competition
What others in the area charge
What type of show is it
How good you think your show is
How many shows you want to do
How much expense there is in the show
How much expense advertising
Are you insured
How much is your practice time worth
How much is travel time worth to you
If you use live animals .... That's a whole post by itself (INSURANCE for sure on this one)
(Most importantly)What will the market bear

The less you charge the more shows you will do but the less you will make. If you charge too little you could lose money on the deal and if you charge too much you won't get any shows. Also if you do 4 shows a month for $100 each you get exposed to four different audiences (Part of the learning curve) If you do one $400 show a month you have less show expenses (gas for your car, streamers, giveaways) but you will not get the exposure to 4 audiences.

Once your price is set make sure to vary it for long travel times.

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