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New user
Cumberland, MD
54 Posts

Profile of MagicRhett
Hello All,

I'm new to the forum, and hope I'm posting this in the correct area. I had a question about deceptive steps. I build illusions for my own show and other magicians on my area. I only build public domain, or my own design. I am building a set of deceptive steps, and another magician in my area wants me to build him a set as well. My questions is, how much do you all thin mis a fair price to charge? I'm obviously not a well known builder like William Kennedy or others, but I do use good quality wood and aluminum when building. I don't want to ask too much or too little. I have never built steps to sell before so I'm not sure how to price them, besides the material. So any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
A few things to consider, as well as the basics...

If you would be building for others in your area, they are likely considering themselves friends. As such, they may be thinking they can get a "friend" discount... a better deal than if they went elsewhere. This alone will help you find qualified leads and weed out those who might rob you of valuable time (and $$ in the form of labor).

I don't build illusions anymore, but I do build magic props. If you expect to make any money and consider this to be a "real" job (even if only temporary), you'll have to figure the three factors present in almost all manufacturing... cost of materials, cost of overhead, and cost of labor.

Cost of materials is easy to justify. But it, as well as the other two factors is more justifiable by the efficiency of your production(s). If you waste materials, shop supplies, etc., you can hardly justify charging the client for your inefficiency. Same is true with labor. If you work slowly, you can't really justify passing along those expenses. In other words, if you were a buyer, would you be happy paying someone to watch paint dry? Probably not. Overhead depends on your own set-up, and you might include the cost of tool maintenance, or purchase of special tools in this.

That being said, if you do quality work and pay special attention to details, you may find that your rates for labor are likely going to be less than you might want, if you wish to keep your product prices at a competitive level. The expression "Labor of Love" is well-known to many of us magic builders.

As a rule, unless your production volume is high, you are going to either A) have to charge higher prices for the equivalent item (easier if you've gained a name), or B) find yourself accepting less to stay competitive. Few magic builders that do high quality work, also produce in high volume (although it is possible).

You might want to check prices for comparable products. Then, compare your quality to theirs. If the other builders have a "name", then perhaps allow them some consideration for them jacking their prices somewhat for that fact alone.

Ask this same question in the Workshop forum here on the Café, and link to this one. You might find other qualified responders there... some who might not see this thread.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
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New user
Cumberland, MD
54 Posts

Profile of MagicRhett
Thank you for the informative response. I'll definitely look into the workshop area and ask. Thank you!
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