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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Charging too much or too little? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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kenscott
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Tim,

Everyone has their way of doing things. It is true, if you want the work you have to ACT like you don't need it. If you act hungry then the client will not think of you as a professional.

Ken
Cheshire Cat
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I see from your replies, Chad, that you are not deliberately pitching low, but feeling your way. I wish you every success and happiness in entertaining children.

Tony. Smile
Chad C.
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Thanks, Tony. It's awesome to be able to get so much advice and encouragement from everyone. The more I learn, the more I realize I've got a lot to learn--but the experience has been a blast and I'm looking forward to continually growing as a performer.

Thanks again,
Chad
Dennis Michael
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Pricing!

Pricing is a Marketing Tool. Silly Billy markets to the rich and famous and does free shows in areas where these people are and at $100 a ticket events. Ken Scott Markets North of Atlanta, where the rich and famous are not inclined to live. Yes, more well-to-do people, so he can command the fee he asks.

As far as Hungry? This is a perception, difficult to book, hard to get, all can be perceived. At one of my seminars, I charged $99 and marketed heavily and got no takers. I changed the course name filling a perceived need of the buyer, and uniquely presented it at $600 and got over a thousand clients over the years. Pricing is relative. John Kapland gets $2,000 a show and does only 100 family illusion type shows a year, but makes the buyer triple this as a fund raiser.

Pricing is related to what you offer, and to whom, and it includes the worth to them. If you charge $200 and have a show that sucks, you will be out of business quickly. So skill and a great show matters. There are other factors which determine this also, starting out, experience, target market, number of shows, etc.

Tim, I find nothing wrong with your logic.
Dennis Michael
Emazdad
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I don't think you're boasting, just stating a fact. Like you, I know I'm good at what I do because my bookers and full diary say so. My methods work well for me, as do yours for you. Anyone new to the business can try everyone's methods and find the one that works for them. We both seem to sign off the same hymnsheet, Tim. I take great pride in the fact that my show is not the same as all the others. That's why people book me again and again.

As I've said before, most of my work is recommendatios/seen befores. The ones who have seen you before or have had friends recommend you, Tim, fit into your category of "I want Tim Zager" and they will
phone and still be waiting when you return their call, as do my repeat-recommend bookers. (I love a phone chat that starts, "I want to book you and I want to know when you're free so I can book the hall.") But you will still get the few callers that have never booked a magician/entertainer and have only the phone book to go on. These are the ones who I'm on about, who will have found and booked someone else before you phone them back. Maybe not a lot, but it's not their show that counts as much as all the others you would get out of it as new people see Tim Zager in action for the first time. Like mine, your shows obviously generate more bookings.

What tells a booker I'm a good busy entertainer to book for their parties is when they phone me 6-8 weeks before a party to book and find the date/time they want is gone and we have to go through the diary to find a date that's free so they can book me.
Next year they phone up a lot earlier, sometimes even booking me for next year when I complete this years. A lot of my phone calls start, "I know it's early, but my friend recommended you and told me to book up now as you get very busy."

My birthday parties run at a fixed price, which is set just above most of the other entertainers in Plymouth, but not high enough to scare people. (There are 2 that charge more, but give a lot less and I often hear complaints, especially from someone who booked one of them for their party last week and has just seen mine.) My price increases the further I have to travel. For other jobs, I price according to size of event, how long they want me, and how big the company is that is enquiring. Really big companies will not book you if you go in at what they consider too cheap a price. Our mutual friend Gary Jones taught me that, Phillip. If a big company phones, price higher than normal.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Cheshire Cat
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All nicely sussed out, young Emma's dad! Sounds a bit like I was ten years ago, working 12 days a week! Now when you get past the big 'five-o' you'll probably want to regulate your bookings a bit more. You'll find yourself taking a fortnight off over Christmas!! Or going away over Easter!!! Or even stopping doing houseparties!!!! You might also pull in your travelling range a bit more and come to the conclusion that Companies, etc., are more trouble than they are worth!!!!!

I'd just say (not wanting to preach) to anyone like Clive working full throttle, that now is the time to think of buying a second house as an investment or go in for a bigger property you can sell when the chicks leave the nest. Wish I could recommend personal pensions, but mine when I was 40 was turning over 14% per annum. Annual bonuses are now so pathetic I've said 'sod it' and taken one pension early.

I think you've got to look after yourself financially as a full time kids entertainer, as well (some may disagree). But those around you--family, friends, neighbours--probably sometimes talk behind your back about how few hours you work compared to them (they cannot see parties in their minds as a viable business!). You can also in the early days be penalized for your occupation on car insurance, mortgages, finance, etc. as these guys too don't know the first thing about what you do! It is sometimes said that 'tittle tattle,' gossip, jealousy etc. is a British disease, but you know, I've had a good number of USA customers also try quizzing me on 'how many of these do you do a week,' etc! (No doubt someone will want to take a wedge out of this as a quote and disagree!!)
Smile
p.b.jones
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"that now is the time to think of buying a second house as an investment or go in for a bigger property you can sell when the chicks leave the nest."

Hi Ace,

Might be better to wait a year or so and see if the 25 - 33% balancing out (drop) in house prices occurs as predicted and buy then.

I am glad my pension has some time to run. Hopefully the stock markets will recover some. I am still paying into my Maxi ISA in the hope that I am buying the stocks cheap and they will go up in the long term.

Phillip Smile
Emazdad
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I've got kids who manage to suck the money out of my wallet, even when it's safetly hidden in my pocket.

<<<All nicely sussed out, young Emma's dad! Sounds a bit like I was ten years ago, working 12 days a week! >>>>

I try to keep 1 or 2 weekdays free if possible. It's only now and again I'm working every day. At the moment I'm doing on average 8-9 parties a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, and the majority is on the weekends, so I generally get Mon/Tues/Wednesday off. But even if I am working on a weekday it's usually not until 4:00 PM so I still get to read my paper in bed and chill out with Billy and Chris most days. I know one thing for sure, I couldn't go back to working for a living.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2003-03-05 00:12, Steven Steele wrote:
This is an area that always gets a lot of discussion. I have sent material to people only to have them hire somebody for substantially more money. He in turn, called me and had me do the job, because he wasn't really a magician. Go figure. Anyway, in my neck of the woods...$125 for 30 minutes is average...$200 and up for 45 minutes to an hour.

Steven


I think the question begs itself, where is your neck of the woods? In my area, that would be reasonable for a formal show (I got $150 for a show at the bird sanctuary once). But if I were to go to a private party, I'd pretty much get these reactions: Smile Smile

Quote:
On 2003-03-06 11:41, Peter Marucci wrote:
A lot of good points made here.
Clive has one that I should have mentioned about turndowns:
Don't take it personally!
Remember, as Robert Duvall said to Ave Vigoda in The Godfather (just before he sent Abe on "his last ride"): "It's just business; it's nothing personal."


...and as Billy Crystal told the mobster in "Analyze This!" "Don't kid yourself, it doesn't get more personal!" Smile
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Andy Wonder
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Where is your neck of the woods, mandrake01?
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
japanjazzy
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I have been doing magic for almost 30 years and this subject keeps coming up. If you charge too little, people in your area get mad at you for undercutting them. If you charge the same, they question you as to how could you charge the same if you are not as good as they are.

I have an advantage right now since I am stationed in Okinawa and I am about the only one here. There is only one other and I have never seen or talked to him. On occasions I have had customers come to me and complain about him, but I let it be known that he and I are separate entertainers. On the reverse side, if someone is looking for entertainment and I am already booked, I will give the other person's name but let them know I do not know the quality of his show.

I charge two prices, one for on the military bases and another for the local community. As far as the phone bookings go, my wife handles most of it. The bad thing is, right now I am not home at all due to current world affairs with the military. I wish you all good luck in your areas.

Michael
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2003-03-17 16:40, Andy Walker wrote:
Where is your neck of the woods, mandrake01?


Rhode Island, there are other magicians here, but I'm not certain what the market bears. (In truth, I haven't worked for over eight years! I got a job that involved MAJOR (in my opinion) commuting and by the time I got home, I was too tired to practice. Then I had a three year personal disaster and 90% of my props are GONE! All I've got left is some close-up stuff that I kept with me just before the disaster happened.) Give me another year and I'll probably be doing kid's shows again... and personal parties will be at the $50-$75 range. Smile
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
magic4u02
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Not sure where you are from, but $50-$75 is really very cheap for a magic show at a children's party. Maybe in your location that might be the going rate, but I still find that hard to believe. I think your underselling yourself and abilities.
Kyle Peron

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mystic shriner
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$150 for a 30 Minute Show.
$200 for a 45 Minute Show.
$500 for a 30 Minute Adult Stage Performance.
This is what I charge where I live. I just moved here, and I'm lucky to know someone here who does puppet shows at kids parties and larger events and she helped me figure out what to charge (it's southern Illinois, very economically depressed). When we were back in Chicago, it was much about 50% higher. I don't charge as many as some because I don't think my show is as big as some other performers who need to pay for expensively produced shows. Most of my props fit in a roloncase and a suitcase, with the exception of my floating carpet. (I have a really cool home-made one that does'nt look like the typical market ones, so it's a little harder to figure out).
DON'T UNDERSELL YOURSELF. I work in sales for ClearChannel Radio. One thing I know about marketing is that people respect higher prices and assume that more money means more talent. Down here in Illinois $150 for 30 minutes is a lot of money, so they are more interested in my show versus the local clown ( I mean a real clown) who might charge $75 for the same amount of time for a "Magic Coloring Book" act and some balloon animals. (not to put either of these down). Have you checked out other magicians prices in your area? Smile
Evan Williams
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I'm 15, and started doing paid kid shows recently. I usually charge a flat rate of $75 for a show that lasts 30 minutes. I also will gladly stick around and do some closeup magic for the adults, hoping some might think "hey, Evan would be perfect for that business dinner my company is having next week."

I do charge under the pros, but I also try not to take their customers. I have been performing for friends, friends of friends, and so on. I do not advertise publically or try to get shows from people that might be more interested in hiring a professional.

Regards,

Evan
Dynamike
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Chad,

I agree with everyone because we are on the same track. Be ready with your plans for a higher income. Plan approximately how much more you will have weekly. Work on you finance to see what will help make you look more professional, (the right illusions, outfits, business letterheads, etc.) Put a portion of the money into more advertising, (business cards, flyers, ads, etc.) Put more time in for more practice. If you plan your goal the right way, you won't have to be a teacher any more. Magic wil be your crusade.
magic4u02
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Mike:
Very well said my friend. I agree 100%. Have a great show and great reputation with your clients. But, put the right money into advertising and promoting yourself as well.

Figure out what your time and talents are worth and plan your price accordingly. If you have magician friends in your area, find out what the going rate is and sicuss it with them. If they are friends, they will want to talk with you so that no one is underselling anyone else. It is also a great way to make a magician network. If one of you gets a show you can't do, you forward the client on to your other friend in your network. It makes you look good, and they will often do the same for you.
Kyle Peron

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ed rhodes
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[quote]On 2003-08-08 13:13, mystic shriner wrote:
$150 for a 30 Minute Show.
$200 for a 45 Minute Show.
$500 for a 30 Minute Adult Stage Performance.


I haven't checked out other magicians. Maybe I should. I just don't feel comfortable taking that much for a small private party. As I said, I did charge the Bird Sancuary $150 (and they seemed to be happy with the show) but I see that as a different matter.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
magic4u02
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Mandrake. Your price really depends on a lot of factors and no one really has the right answer for you. What you must do is determine several things:

- How much is your time worth?
- How long have you been into magic?
- What is your target audience and what do you feel thay feel comfortable paying?
- What is the going rate for similar shows in your area?
- Are you just starting out doing shows or is your name more established?

Each of these will be a factor for you in determining a price that you and your clients feel comfortable with.

Hope this helps.
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

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ed rhodes
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Muchly, thanks!
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
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