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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » You arrive at the party, and the client tells you to get lost. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Michael Messing
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Inner circle
Knoxville, TN
1814 Posts

Profile of Michael Messing
I, too, send out a letter of confirmation for birthday parties, scout shows, etc. It's not intimidating but does give the client confidence I'll show up and somewhat binds them. I've never had anyone complain about it and, so far (knock on wood), I've never had anyone tell me no when I get to the party. I've had a few not sign the agreement and then send it back with "we changed our mind" written on it. That's certainly preferable to showing up and being turned away.

A Birthday Magician
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Regular user
190 Posts

Profile of A Birthday Magician
I have not had that happen in 15 would shock me if I was told to get lost...I always confirm the job the day before via phone...maybe that has helped.
Mike Brezler
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Inner circle
Waynesboro, Pa.
1114 Posts

Profile of Mike Brezler
Knock on wood! I have never showed up and been turned away or not paid. I usually go to the home ahead of time and see where the Birthday party is going to be held so I can go over all the details. It might be an extra trip, but I have piece of mind in knowing where the house is located, how big of an area the party is in, and if I need to bring any tables, etc. I do this within a week of the show. I only do this for home shows and not for parties at fire halls, etc.

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121 Posts

Profile of akolodner
Deposits are GREAT for my cash flow and give the client peace of mind that I will show up. I set up a merchant services account with my bank (Bank of America) that lets me take credit cards over the phone and then process them over the phone. The money is in my account the next day. My clients love that they don't have to deal with payment on the party day and usually say put "the balance on my card". Service professionals take deposits in every field. It represents commitment on both ends. I noticed a huge increase in my bottom line since I started taking 50% deposits and credit cards.
Arnie Kolodner
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Loyal user
251 Posts

Profile of scaevola
I second the motion for an investigative trip prior if at all possible. Sure its time out of your day but the time that I did this it made my show 100% better. Not only was I familar with the space, but I showed the party hosts a short set of some great close up magic. It was a HUGE confidence booster to me to get them laughing in amazement. Of course I did some hard hitting mentalism that was all about "establishing a connection." When I went to the actual party I knew the hosts would be "on my side" before I started performing. Also I learned the names of the kids, even got a bit of info on who would be coming. I am sure it would have been a great party anyway but staking out the place did wonders. I got a big tip tacked onto my bill at the end of the night.

The trip to see them took about half an hour. I did three or four tricks, but mostly scoped out the place and discussed the details of the party.
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Profile of TonyB2009
Showing up a few days beforehand to check out the birthday childs house may work for some of you, but those of us who do this for a living don't have time to waste on such nonsense.

It may be a great confidence booster to entertain the parents with some strong close-up, but I don't need a confidence booster. I know I can entertain any group you put in front of me. And I know I can entertain in any space you place me in - I don't need to walk the space beforehand.

But then I often do ten shows or more a week. Doing shows is what gives you confidence, not casing the joint in advance. I would find it a bit creepy if the magician turned up a few days early to inspect my house.
Ryan Price
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winnipeg, MB, Canada
641 Posts

Profile of Ryan Price
I have to agree with Tony about going to the house prior to the event (unless it is requested from the booker). You are a stranger entering their home so now they have to make sure is immaculate twice. Once for the party and a second time for the magician who wants to come over to visit and snoop around.
If the show was on the other side of the city and the bday mom for some reason wanted me to come over and check the area out I would do my best to talk them out of it. My fee covers me for the bday and not for an hour on Thursday night.
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York ,PA.
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Profile of manal
[ this event was on the Navel Base, [/quote]

That explains everything as it is well known many bellybuttons are heavy drinkers.
Life is too important to take seriously.
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Profile of scaevola
This wasn't a bday party. It was a Halloween party the family was putting on for friends and a few local dignitaries. I did about four hours of close up that night (and was appropriately compensated.) I was not inspecting the house, I was meeting my hosts. A big part of my function that evening was greeting the guests, who were arriving, with some magic. My costume and some of the particulars of my act were customized to that event. Meeting the hosts and seeing the place helped greatly with that. Also they were very close by and had contacted me months before the actual gig.

Am I going to do this for my next show? Certainly not. They are getting the basic stage show combined with a little walk around. In and out in about an hour. But I am going to keep the strategy of seeing a place beforehand in my toolbox. It made that one gig easier in too many ways to discard.
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Long Island, NY
405 Posts

Profile of drosenbe0813
I did not take deposits for shows until I was burned twice in the same year. Now I take deposits for all my birthday party shows. I've never had a mother question it, and most bring it up first ("ok, do you want a credit card deposit".) I also can track who hasn't sent in their deposit, and it has let me book the same time slot, since I've followed up to find that the first client changed their minds.
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Profile of stijnhommes
Contracts should contain a lot more than the date and the price of the show. It should list responsibilities of both the client and the performer. If either side doesn't meet the agreement, it should also tell what happened. If the client turns you away, they don't get a refund on their money, unless there is a death in the family, the birthday boy became ill, or bad weather is coming in, etc. If you turn up late you can either agree to perform for a lower fee, or reschedule. Putting all that in writing means all parties know what is expected well in advance.
KC Cameron
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Inner circle
Raleigh, North Carolina
1878 Posts

Profile of KC Cameron
If they say "get lost" then go to a good comedy at the theater. Stewing over spilt milk will only make you feel bad.

DON'T TAKE DEPOSITS - take a non-refundable booking fee. Legally, in the U.S., a deposit can be considered refundable. This way you have a legal right to keep it if canceled.

On another note, if a client cancels on you, chances are they won't book you in the future because they feel guilty for wronging you. They also won't mention it to friends. If you take legal action, they will tell EVERYONE you are a S.O.B. who "cheated" them. - Not exactly good for business. Being gracious is generally the best choice- more chance on later bookings and positive reviews.

Stewing over a lost business opportunity is not fun and no good will come of it.
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