How Much Do You Charge?

I am in this line of work because watching the joy, intrigue, and delight come from you and your guests as I perform is the greatest reason to wake up in the morning, and I never take your event lightly…

“How Much do you Charge?”

That is a question that I hear quite a bit, and it’s a great question. Unfortunately the answer isn’t easy. Not only from a live entertainer, but from any professional.

If you were to ask a plumber or a dentist ‘how much do you charge?’, they would probably ask you what exactly you want. What if a plumber quotes you for fixing a leaky faucet when you need your bathroom remodeled? If you were to ask a dentist “how much”, the dentist needs to know if you’re talking about a root canal or just a cleaning.

Once the pro knows exactly what you need, you are usually offered an estimate instead of a set price.

It’s the same for a variety artist or live entertainer. Magicians, singers, dancers, and comedians are all professionals just like plumbers or dentists, and not all jobs cost the same.

Some of the factors that determine how much I charge:

What type of event?

I am hired for a variety of events, and they are all different. Walk-around entertainment (some people call it different things such as strolling or close-up), is a lot different from a big stage show, or fairs and festivals, company parties, weddings, conventions, etc. All of these events require different amounts of time, commitment, preparation, expenses, creative energies, and more! Just to prove a point–I can’t make an elephant disappear for the price of a card trick.

When is your event?

I get very busy in December. I’ve already got several bookings for December over a year in advance and I usually have to raise my prices the whole month long because it’s my busiest month. Similarly, y the busiest day for me is generally the Saturday before Halloween (depending on the day of the week that Halloween falls on). Summer is my busiest season, but January-March is pretty slow and I take the time to work on creative endeavors.

December 2015 I was asked to perform for a child’s birthday party. I told the person that I was happy to do it, but I can’t charge less than $1000, the person was outraged, and I could hardly blame him, but just a few days later, I was booked for the same time and day of the birthday party. The booking was for a real estate firm (not a kids birthday) and they did pay my full fee. If I had agreed to perform for the birthday party for $100, I would have lost $900. As much as that child deserved a special birthday, I can’t pay my own bills by turning away big shows.

I love being a magician and variety entertainer. I never take for granted how amazing my life is to be able to do what I love for a living. Having said that, I also love being able to pay my mortgage and gas bill and electric bill and insurance and….well, you get it. The reality is that I must be able to pay my bills just like everyone else.

Where is your event?

When I’m booked for a show outside of Salt Lake City, for instance Denver, Colorado,, I have to travel there, perform the show, and travel home. I’m basically booked for the entire day (or more!), which doesn’t include any preparation for the show I may have to do beforehand. That doesn’t even include travel expenses! Both time and travel expenses have to be considered when determining the cost of shows.

Recently, I had the honor of creating a magic show for a library in Wyoming based off of Charles Dickens’ work. The props and prep for this show included months of research, gathering the needed items from various sources, many items had to be shipped, plus a new show means a lot of rehearsal time, and so on and so forth. I had a blast, the audience loved it, and the show was a fantastic experience but none of that came about for free (drats!)

Can I pay you in exposure?

Short answer….

NO!

There are a lot of charity functions that deserve a donation of time and energy. I do as much charity work as I can, but I have to eat just like anyone else.

Sometimes I’m asked to perform for free, not because it’s a worthy cause but because of all the ‘exposure’ I’ll get. I understand that it doesn’t hurt to ask, but I want these people who ask to understand that I can’t pay my bills with ‘exposure’, and I can’t build my business by advertising myself as someone who works for free.

Do you want anything specific?

I also provide extra options for your event.

Would you like me to saw your guest of honor in half? I can do that!

Would you like me to perform a magic trick with your company’s product? I can do that!

I was once asked to walk around and perform card tricks at a party. While entertaining the guests, I was to sneak a specific card into the pockets of specific people at a party. At the end of the party, the boss announced…

“Check your pockets. If you have the King of Hearts, then you win this XBox! If you have the Ace of Spades, then you’ve won a vacation to Hawaii!”

The client wanted it to appear as though the cards appeared magically and then the prizes were given out randomly, when in reality the prizes were actually given to specific people for specific reasons. It went perfectly!

All of these things I am able to provide, but it’s an extra expense that I must charge for.

I realize that your party/event/get together means a lot to you, and it means a lot to me. I am in this line of work because watching the joy, intrigue, and delight come from you and your guests as I perform is the greatest reason to wake up in the morning, and I never take your event lightly. The bottom line, and intention of this post, is that like all professionals, I charge for my services. And like all professionals, you get what you pay for.

If you have an event coming up and you would like live entertainment, please contact me. Let’s talk about what you have in mind, and I will put together a special show for your special event, ensuring you get a big bang for your buck.