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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Negotiating a venues cut (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

topherhester
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I’m in the early process of negotiation with a few local venues on doing a “haunted show”. Right now we’re still talking about potential dates and if it’s doable from their end. A few options range from a “haunted” restaurant, to a historical society that has several old buildings and also serves as an event venue for weddings and even a farmers market. My question is, since the format will be a small show (appr 15 to 20 tickets) with tickets sold ahead of time, what is the general starting point or standard on how much of those ticket sales the venue keeps and what goes to you. It’s the next step in the process so I’d like to make initial offers soon. I’m guessing ticket prices will range from $20 to $30 a piece based on other events they’ve hosted (ghost tours). Maybe more for special shows closer to Halloween. Even at $30 a piece, that’s $600 per show to divide between the venue and the performer. The added benefit is any other sales (food/drink) all goes to the venue. But I clear almost that much doing kid birthday shows. The venue will more than likely handle the actual ticket sales through their website or Facebook page. Of course the experience of it is important but I’d like it to still be worth my time.

Any experience in this regard will be appreciated. I’m in far north Dallas. PM if necessary.
Slim King
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Orlando
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I've done many negotiations with Live music but not too many with Bizarre magic yet .. I usually try for 100% of the door but I also offer the Venue a few dozen tickets for their promotional help. You may have to do more than one show a night. I'd never give more than 50% of the door although it depends on what the venue will do for YOU... One thing is certain .. You don't want to put them in a situation where they could possibly lose money.. They won't take the chance.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Seattle, WA
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Depending on the venue, they should be making up their portion of the money by the "concession" sales (i.e., drinks, food, etc.). Under no circumstances, should they be getting a cut of the door. You are bringing the people in with the entertainment, and they profit by having people in their establishment.

The only reason a venue should be getting any cut is if they're also doing a majority of the publicity to bring the crowd in (or they already have an established crowd). If you don't have to do any advertising or promotion, then that's an expense you don't have to worry about, and can easily hand that over to the venue.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Mad0hatter
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While I've never tried it myself I think there was a suggestion in one of the Hillford's books along the lines of renting out the venue your self and factoring that cost into ticket sales. While that probably won't be a real solutions for the bars and restaurants but it could probably work.
prankmonster
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Quote:
On Mar 30, 2019, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:
Depending on the venue, they should be making up their portion of the money by the "concession" sales (i.e., drinks, food, etc.). Under no circumstances, should they be getting a cut of the door. You are bringing the people in with the entertainment, and they profit by having people in their establishment.

The only reason a venue should be getting any cut is if they're also doing a majority of the publicity to bring the crowd in (or they already have an established crowd). If you don't have to do any advertising or promotion, then that's an expense you don't have to worry about, and can easily hand that over to the venue.


Interesting. So you are saying the venue should not get any cut of the door? The venue is supposed to make money through sales within the establishment. Is this the norm? Do most venues agree to such terms?

Let's say a venue was indeed involved in advertising and marketing or promotion. How does that change things in terms of numbers? What is considered the industry standard?
professortango
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It depends upon a lot of variables. If the venue itself is selling food and alcohol, they shouldn't be receiving a cut of the door in most cases. Now, with a bizarre show which is limited to small groups, they aren't going to see as many drink sales as they would with a band or regular show aimed at crowds of 50-100. Due to the nature of a smaller show, if they balked at only earning food/drink revenue, I would be willing to give them up to 15%.

With venues that do not have the ability to sell alcohol, you're going to need to give them a cut of the door or a flat rental fee. Even still, I wouldn't go over 15%.

If its a more dinner theatre style show with a meal provided with each ticket, stay away from venues that charge a catering fee over $30 a plate unless you're planning on providing an evening worth $100-$200 per ticket.
prankmonster
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Thanks for the perspective on the numbers. I liked how you said if they "balked at only earning food/drink revenue", I guess being a performer means being a master of the deal and business and negotiation as well.
ManxBull
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It all depends on the region and the show. I prefer a small audience, 20 - 30 people, as most bizarre props and presentations are best suited to this. This always means I have to pay a flat fee up front for the hire of the venue, then it's down to me to get people in and recoup my money and (hopefully) make a profit.

The upside is that with this audience size I need generally only pay for a back room at a pub or club at what is usually a very modest rate.

Once they're in, income can be supplemented afterwards by offering readings, displays of oddities and haunted objects from my collection, plus 'wishing well' type attractions (relics such as mummified fingers or fairy artifacts which allegedly, according to legend, grant wishes in return for a small donation - who knows? Try it and see!).
prankmonster
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Quote:
On Apr 4, 2019, ManxBull wrote:
It all depends on the region and the show. I prefer a small audience, 20 - 30 people, as most bizarre props and presentations are best suited to this. This always means I have to pay a flat fee up front for the hire of the venue, then it's down to me to get people in and recoup my money and (hopefully) make a profit.

The upside is that with this audience size I need generally only pay for a back room at a pub or club at what is usually a very modest rate.

Once they're in, income can be supplemented afterwards by offering readings, displays of oddities and haunted objects from my collection, plus 'wishing well' type attractions (relics such as mummified fingers or fairy artifacts which allegedly, according to legend, grant wishes in return for a small donation - who knows? Try it and see!).


I really like the wishing well attractions idea. I can see it being totally accepted especially right after a bizarre show. Step right up and put some dollars in that singing bowl that answered your questions earlier. I like it.
weepinwil
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Quote:
On Apr 3, 2019, prankmonster wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 30, 2019, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:
Depending on the venue, they should be making up their portion of the money by the "concession" sales (i.e., drinks, food, etc.). Under no circumstances, should they be getting a cut of the door. You are bringing the people in with the entertainment, and they profit by having people in their establishment.

The only reason a venue should be getting any cut is if they're also doing a majority of the publicity to bring the crowd in (or they already have an established crowd). If you don't have to do any advertising or promotion, then that's an expense you don't have to worry about, and can easily hand that over to the venue.


Interesting. So you are saying the venue should not get any cut of the door? The venue is supposed to make money through sales within the establishment. Is this the norm? Do most venues agree to such terms?

Let's say a venue was indeed involved in advertising and marketing or promotion. How does that change things in terms of numbers? What is considered the industry standard?


What is the difference in a small theater presentation and a large theater presentation? Obviously it is the size of the crowd and the ability to bring in better entertainment names. So think about this, the movie theater sells tickets and also handles the concession. What most people do not understand is that most of the ticket sales pays for the movie and the operating expense and profits come from the concessions. Using this as a trusted format for years of profitable business as your guide it is only reasonable the ticket sales should go to the performer and the concession sales to the business. My son put two kids through college selling popcorn an sodas, not tickets, as a theater manager.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
GlennLawrence
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Randolph NJ
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Very true, Wil! I have often heard it said that movie theaters are not in the movie business, they are in the popcorn & soda business.
GlennLawrence
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Randolph NJ
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Quote:
On Apr 4, 2019, prankmonster wrote:
Thanks for the perspective on the numbers. I liked how you said if they "balked at only earning food/drink revenue", I guess being a performer means being a master of the deal and business and negotiation as well.


And that is why they call it "Show Business". While it's a given that you need a good show that people will want to see, the business side is just as important, if not more so, to be focused on.
weepinwil
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Quote:
On Apr 16, 2019, GlennLawrence wrote:
Very true, Wil! I have often heard it said that movie theaters are not in the movie business, they are in the popcorn & soda business.


It is unbelievable what the theaters paid to show movies like Star Wars. My son was managing a theater then and 95% of the ticket sales went to the movie distributor. The company also sent door guards to make sure no one got in without paying. Consequently, that included me and my family as well as my son's family. Usually, employee families could get in free, but not on some of the movies as every ticket and seat was counted. Had ticket sales have been the theater's profit, it would not have worked that way.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
weepinwil
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Here is a novel idea..... charge $1000 for a ticket and split 50/50 with the venue. "You ain't going to sell many seats at that price!" You might say.... well I only need to sell one. Believe it or not, there would probably be at least one or two that would be willing to pay it to see the impossible. You might even do a reading after the show for free. "I see that your bank account is going to be down a little this month!" Not only do they get a great show but an accurate reading.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
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