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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Your Rates vs. Agents Rates (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

TroyRoark
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Loyal user
Springfield IL
282 Posts

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If you are using agents, do you charge a different amount for your show if someone calls you directly?

Example: Someone calls you for a magic show. Then they happen to call one of your agents. Will that agent quote a different price?

My feelings about this are that you should be charging the same as your agent for the show. If they call you, you will quote the same price that your agent will quote.

I realize that you will be taking a 10-20% cut in pay. But you also want to keep a good working relationship with your agents, and undercutting them is not a way to do that.

Your opinion?

Troy Roark
p.b.jones
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Inner circle
Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
2642 Posts

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Hi,
I agree with you Tony. I also think that if you are charging the agent 10 to 20% more and he is regularly getting you work then you are probably underpricing your show when you sell it!
Phillip
Allan
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Elite user
405 Posts

Profile of Allan
First let me make one point. I rarely work through agents. That is my choice, as I want to control both my business & my destiny.

When dealing with a client I offer the price that I want for my services. When dealing with an agent I offer a discount, but not a large one. The agent takes the discounted price & puts a markup on it. Yes this raises the price over what I would have charged on a direct basis, but so what? As long as I satisfy the price & the customer is happy. It becomes a win win situation.

I once had a client that would not book me. She simply did not want to book the talent on a direct basis. She was seeking the comfort zone of dealing with a large company. She instead went to an agent & hired a magician at a higher price. When she discovered that she had in fact booked me at a higher price than she needed to, she went ballistic. She asked me to let her cancel with the agent & use me on a direct basis. Of course I refused & reminded her that she chose this path. I explained that she had special needs & that the agent had performed their function & was entitled to the fee. The end result was both a happy client & a happy agent.
TroyRoark
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Loyal user
Springfield IL
282 Posts

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Allan,
How do you feel when you buy a high priced item, and then find out that it was on sale somewhere else?

You did not end up with a happy client beacuse you explained to her why she paid more money for you. If she was happy it's because you did a good job. No one likes to know that they could have paid less for the same service.

One more thing: If that agent finds out you're offering a lower direct price, she'll probably quit working with you at some point. Some day the call will come to their office, asking: "Allan costs how much?!?! I just talked to him on the phone and he's charging a lot less than that!" Not only does your agent lose that show with the client; but the client is much less likely to call that agent ever again, and your agent knows that.

BTW, P.B. is right. If an agent is getting you several shows at a higher price than you're charging, it's time to raise your rates.

Food for thought.

Troy Roark
Jimo
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Bristol
18 Posts

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The best bet in my opinion is to set a fee that you or the agent can charge. Make it the same amount. Book any show yourself and consider it paying yourself to be the agent. If the agent books it, he did the work so he deserves the fee. That keeps everything SIMPLE and everyone happy! Cheers!
Jimo
Vaclav
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Now Seattle. Before? Who knows.
68 Posts

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Some of my work is through an agent, and my price for them is the same as I would charge the client.
Yes, it means the client pays more going through the agency; but have you heard before about wholesale and retail?
Vaclav
Allan
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Elite user
405 Posts

Profile of Allan
Troy,

Your point is well taken. I love to pay the lowest price for the things that I buy. However the price I pay has a direct relationship as to how well I do my homework before I buy. Sometimes I see a better price after my purchase & I realize I should have looked further prior to purchasing. Sometimes I just want the item & don't want the hassle of shopping. When I see a lower price later, I just say to myself "that's what I get for not checking". I am not mad at anyone including myself.

Yes, the client was happy. I did everything she wanted & the show was a great success.

As for the agent, I have a unique situation. I am a very busy magician. I am very good at what I do. I am 98% self booked & only work for agents when they approach me. They only use me for special clients because of the fact that I am higher priced.

I do not advertise, have a web site or solicit business. The kind of conflict I had was a rare occurance that has not happened before or since.

When it happened, I protected the agent, did a great show & the client was happy. My price to the end user is my price. I give a small discount to the agent & do not care what they charge their client. Whatever they charge, I make sure their client is totally satisfied with what they get for their money.

There is one part of the story I did not mention. After the show, one of the guests asked the client how to contact me. The client gave her friend my direct number. When I asked how she got my number (I had given out the agent's card at the party). She replied that she knew the story & wanted to hire me on a direct basis. I booked the show & sent the agent the differece between what I charged the client; and also what I would have charged the agent. I felt that it was only fair. As you can imagine, the agent was thrilled & continue to use me for their most demanding clients.
MagicCoach
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82 Posts

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Great thread.

If you want to develop long term working relationships with agents, bookers or bureaus, you must be seen to be consistant in your pricing.

If someone rings me or rings an agent, they get the same price. There are two really quick ways to get in the black book of any agent. Offer your services to a client cheaper if they come to you direct and handing out your own contact details at agent booked gigs.

And don't think the agents don't talk to each other. They do. They gossip, backstab and trade info just like any average group of magicians. Word gets around.

Now some people don't need to develop these partnerships. 80% of our work comes direct and I really enjoy the extra $$ that provides. But the extra 20% of work is usually interesting high profile stuff that helps lift our image. I'm happy to pay the commission for these jobs.

Timothy Hyde

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http://www.magiccoach.com
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braddevant
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Regular user
133 Posts

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Since I have my show priced where I believe it should be, I cut my fee to the agent so that he can sell my show for the same fee I would charge direct. No unhappy customers means a happy agent and a happy agent means more shows for me! If a client asks to book me direct next time the answer is always no. Also if someone at the show wants to book me they are referred to the agent. When booked through an agent that show and all shows generated because of that show belong to the agent. That's called ethics.
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