Clowns and Magicians Often Ask Me this Question.

How Much Should I Charge for A Magic Show? That’s the question I hear many times from up and coming magicians. I don’t have an answer because it depends on many things. What kind of show? How far away is it?  How many people? Etc.

But I have learned a few things after 35 years. If it’s for a birthday party or kids show you should have references. How do you get references? When you are first starting out, you can do volunteer work. There are hospitals, libraries, senior residences, clubs,  family get togethers, etc.  You have to start somewhere. Ask the activity coordinator for  a letter of recommendation. Have your recorder on to capture all the comments after the show. A web site helps. You know more about that end of it than  I do.

After you get your feet wet, go out there and ask what you think is fair. Don’t sell yourself short. Lets say you have been getting $125.00 for a show. You think its time for more. You ask for $175.00. Sure. No Problem. Then you start cursing  yourself for asking too little. But there is a wonderful thing in magic. It’s called add-0ns.

If you feel your client would have paid more, you can tell them for a additional fee you can make animal balloons and every child will get one. There are DVD’s and books to teach you how.

You can hire a face painter to work with you for after the show. It happens to be the in thing now and guess who just happens to have in stock in the shop now the best line of face painting supplies by Wolfe Face Art & FX.   There are books and DVD’s on the subject as well. Of course you’ll have to pay the face painter but you can work out a deal where you can both make something on it. You can do Hand Shadows  Do you do oragami, or paper cutting  or towel folding ?

What’s towel folding? With a plain white towel you can make all sorts of wonderful animals. What’s more if the parents are willing to spring for it you can bring a towel for each child and teach them how to make it. And they can keep it. That takes time, it keeps the kids busy and happy and that’s what the parents want.

There’s Chapeaugraphy  and even juggling, but whatever you do it has to be entertaining and appropriate for the occasion. You may have to learn a new skill or two, but the more you have in your arsenal, the better off you are. You pick and choose what you have to offer according to the age and size of the audience.

Now, what if your client says  $175.00 is too much. Ask them what their budget is. If its close, and you usually include balloon animals in your act, you can say, well you can do the show for that price but you’ll take out the animal balloons. They might agree. And by the time the party comes around they may decide on the balloons anyhow. People spend a lot of money on their children.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions feel free to share. Hope you had a great Halloween. Christmas is just around the corner.


Filed under entertaining, Evelyn Matlin, Performing

4 responses to “Clowns and Magicians Often Ask Me this Question.

  1. As always, Great article Evey, thanks! .. But please don”t forget the elephant! If the client wants you to produce a live elephant at the show that’ll be extra… won”t it?!? Now if they tell you their budget is limited and if they would settle for a recently expired elephant the price could be halved! 😉


  2. evelyn matlin

    Oops, Jonathan, for some reason your second comment, which I found and answered first is after the Jeff Sheridan post. Then I found this one. Something like a treasure hunt. But fun!


    • Forgot to mention… if the elephant you produce is in an advanced state of
      rigor-mortis, the fee drops another 25% 😉 Point being, as Evey wisely suggest –always find out what the client wants, then if it’s above and beyond your “standard” show –charge them as “add-ons”… especially if there is an elephant in the room! 😉


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