What to Charge for Your Services!
It can be a bit scary not knowing exactly what to charge your clients at first. Are you overcharging? Are you not charging enough? How can I tell how much to ask for??? The honest answer is that it really depends on several factors. There is no real “right answer.” You should charge what you think you should charge depending on some various criteria. This week, I am going to offer some advice to get the ball rolling on what you think you should charge.
1. Research your target area: It is important to know what the general cost of living is in the area that you are trying to work. For example, I would not charge the same in Los Angeles, California as I would in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. It really depends on where you are performing and what the cost of living is. If you would like a rough estimate on what you should be charging in your area, take a look at some other performers who offer a similar product and see what they charge. It is ok to see what others in your area are charging, however DO NOT undercut prices to make a sale. It is frowned upon in the community to offer bottom of the barrel prices simply to make a sale.
2. Know your clientele: This is very important because your rate should fluctuate depending on who you are trying to book. I would avoid charging a flat hourly rate to every client because every event will be different. For example, I would not charge the same at a child’s birthday party as I would a corporate banquet. Below is a basic pricing example of the different types of events I perform. NOTE* The below prices are just for example and do not reflect my actual pricing for my shows.
- Birthday Parties: Between $150-200 for a 30 minute show.
-Cocktail event: $400-500 for 2 hours of strolling
-Corporate Events: $500-600 for 2 hours of strolling
-Trade Shows: $1500-2000 per day (includes pitching their product in my set)
-Restaurant: $100-$150 for 2 hours of table-hopping
The trick is to customize your price to the specific event in question. Lets look at restaurant work for example. In my example I am charging between $100-150. Let us assume now that I am getting booked for a 5 star restaurant in the middle of Hollywood, CA. I will more than likely charge double that simply because of the clientele. Like I said, avoid charging per hour and instead charge per event and customize the price to the specific clientele.
3. Be prepared to haggle: A lot of clients may feel entitled to “Haggle” with you. This means to negotiate your price to best fit their budget. This can sometimes be very frustrating for the performer because you want to get paid what you believe you are worth. Let’s assume you want to make $200 for an event. I would suggest charging $250 instead. Best case scenario you will end up with an extra $50. Worst case if they lower your price, you will still make what you originally wanted to make and the client will feel like they got a deal.
Now let’s assume that they cannot afford your base price (in the above example lets assume they wanted you for $150.) That would mean you would take a $50 dollar loss. In this case I would suggest simply cutting down on services. For example let’s say you offer magic and balloons in your show. Maybe suggest that you will happily do it for the $150, however you will not be able to provide balloons. It is ok to know what you are worth and expect the client to pay accordingly.
If you feel the gig is not worth your time, simply let the client know that unfortunately you will not be able to agree on the price. Remain professional and maybe offer an alternative form of entertainment that may suit their event needs. You may even find that the client will bend to your demands and end up booking you anyway for the price you wanted!
I hope this advice set you on the right track as to how to charge for your events! Again, it will depend on several factors and ultimately only YOU can decide what you should charge in the end! If you notice that you are booking more gigs with a certain rate then stick to that rate. You may even notice that if you raise your prices that you end up booking MORE GIGS! At the end of the day, the client wants to get their money’s worth. If you are under charging, they may feel that you are not that good of a performer. Lets face it, id rather pay the extra money and know that my event will be a success! Thank you so much for reading and please subscribe to the video for more advice for magicians!