The three words that need to disappear from magic

Conjurer's Coffee Break - Episode 016


- There's three words we need to banish from within the magic industry.

- I'm a member of a popular magic gig sharing group on facebook.
- Now, I don't post too many events on there as I have good connections with local performers who I know and trust, but I do see the posts others make, and this phrase really grinds my gears.
- Low fee alert.
- I'm sorry, but I don't get it.
- If the fee is too low, why are you passing it on?
- I said last week, that you have to be 100% happy with the fee you quote, and surely that also applies to the events you pass on too.

- The argument that it might suit someone else who's willing to work for a lower fee, doesn't apply when I see events like:
- 2 hours, Saturday night, central London. Unfortunately they only have £150.
- Has anybody considered saying to the client, I'm sorry, but that's not the going rate for a magician.
- I just said this to a client recently.

- You know, I can't blame the client for not knowing how much they should be expecting to pay.
- They've probably never hired a magician before.
- But it's our job to help them make the right decision. We're the experts, right?
- Don't just post the low gig because someone will fill it, and you might get a small kickback.
- That's not serving the client.
- Always serve the client's needs first!

- I mentioned this in the first episode, that I see myself as a representative of magic.
- And I want all my clients to have the best experience, even if that means that on some occasions they can't afford a magician.
- Yes sometimes I add that they might get a beginner whose local, but for a corporate event, or a wedding or even a milestone birthday party, the client should be paying for a professional, and I will explain that to them.

- And in case you're still unsure how to do that, I'm quoting this almost word for word from a stand up comedy group, that I'm also part of.

- I'm sorry, but the standard fee for something like this would be two, three, ten times what you've suggested. You would have a far better evening putting that money behind the bar for everyone, rather than going ahead with a less than professional magician / comedian.

- I mean, come on we all know how awkward it is watching a poor comedian. They're out of their depth and you start to feel sorry for them.
- It's the same with magicians.

- Passing on gigs that are too low, is also not serving the magic industry either.

- If we want to rid magic of hacky magicians who ignore or even insult their audience then we have to set higher standards.

- At the very least, that should be to only pass on work that you feel has a fair fee attached to it.

- 2 hours, Saturday night, central London. £400 minimum, surely?
- The weekend before Christmas, add another £100.

- But hey, what about those who aren't at your level. Don't you want to help them out?
- Yes, absolutley, but like I said last week, those starting out should be looking at charity events, events for friends etc...

- 30 minutes at a WI meeting, 6pm on a Tuesday. £50. Perfect for a beginner.

- 2 hours, at an informal family party on a Thursday night. £200.
- Perfect for a semi-pro, or someone a year or two into turning pro.

- It's difficult, I know. There are many variables.
- But, maybe we just need to think before we hit submit.
- Is this fee too low for what the client is asking for?
- If so, no magician should do it, and we shouldn't perpetuate it.
- We should be honest with the client, and explain their budget is off the mark.

- Oh and if you don't know, ask someone who does.
- I am pretty well connected to others in our industry, that I can send them a quick message to say, "I have been asked to do... but I have no idea how much I should ask for. What do you think?"

- As I mentioned at the start of this episode, I pass a fair bit of work to colleagues of mine.
- Not through facebook groups, but through personal connections.
- On most occasions, I ask that they contact the client directly and quote for the services, but I hope that on that times that a fee has been discussed with the client in advance, none of those performers would say that I have passed them something that needs to be labelled low fee alert.

- Let's make that phrase disappear.

- How do you deal with someone saying they only have a very very small budget?
- Let me know, if you agree with me or not in the comments for this episode which you can find via
- Don't forget to share this episode and the others in this podcast with friends, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from.

- Until next time, thanks for listening.

Additional Show Notes

- There will always be a range of circumstances that lead to an event having a lower budget. That's 100% fine, but what I'm trying to get across here, is that if you think the fee is too low, others probably will too.

- Of course, you don't have to take the gig, but I'm concerned there seems to be an over emphasis in some circles of magic, on being busy, rather than providing a quality performance.

- I'm also aware that there are going to be some people who have lower outgoings due to living in a different area, or whatever. That's fine, but I wonder sometimes if that's used as an excuse to themselves not to charge what they are really worth.

- At the end of the day, raising your prices is difficult, because it comes with increased rejection.

- Maybe that's what we need to get more comfortable with. Saying "No, this one isn't for me."

- Anyway, that concludes a few weeks worth of talking about pricing. I doubt I have all the answers, but as ever, hopefully there are some "jumping off points" there for you. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments.

Have your say!

Contribute to the conversation by going to the comments, which are found below the footer.

Leave a Comment