How much does a magician cost?

how much do magicians cost?

Let’s get straight to it. How much do magicians charge for performing 2 hours of magic at your wedding or coprorate event?

It varies.

I know, that answer sucks, right?

But it’s true, and it’s true for several reasons. Let’s forget things like mileage, peak/off peak times etc and just look at the fact that a magician is just a person offering a professional service, like an accountant or a stripper lawyer.

And just like accountants and strippers lawyers, some are cheaper than others.

A lot of people presume that because a magician has so few props and that he only takes a few moments to get ready, that he/she should be cheap. If we see a band arrive four hours early to set up, test the acoustics and perform a few sound checks, we can see why we would pay them more. It’s almost like a show before “the show”. It looks like a lot of trouble and bother, so you are never surprised if they quote a decent fee.

Whereas a magician can just “turn up and do a few tricks”, can’t he?

Let’s think about what you’re paying for first. Sure, you’re paying for someone to entertain your wedding guests, but you’re also paying for peace of mind.

There are magicians who charge as low as £100 for two hours of magic at a wedding but there are probably just as many magicians who charge upwards of £1,000. If you’ve never booked a magician before, this can seem like a massive chasm, especially since you have no idea what differentiates the two.

It’s (largely) not about the tricks because, a lot of the time, we are all (largely) doing the same kind of material. Sure, we may have our own little spin on magic tricks but, if I’m pushing a bottle through a table or magically vanishing your ring into my wallet, it’s (largely) the same as someone else performing it in his own way.

So, if we’re not taking account of mileage, times or tricks, what is the difference?

Beginner magicians, like a lot of start up businesses, enter the market at a low rate. They’re unknown, they have no existing customers. No one knows who they are, so they have to do something to get attention and a low price is often their technique of choice. Their diary is empty and they need to fill it.

At the other end of the scale is the £1,000 magician. This kind of magician has not only the vast experience of performing, but also of people who know him and trust his work. He’s worked hard to meet the needs of his clients and they book him again and again because they know that he will get the job done. They’re his biggest fans and if they have any magical needs, they are going to go straight to this guy.

Is a £1,000 magician ten times better than a £100 magician? Probably yes in some cases and no in others. The higher priced magician is likely to have better systems in place; contracts, deposits and insurance, to name just three. When you book him, you have the certainty of knowing that he’ll be there and that he’s not hanging on for a better gig. This paperwork is our “soundcheck”, in the band example above.

Magicians exchange our time for money and, because of this, there are only so many 2 hour shows a magician can book on any given Saturday. Both the £1,000 magician and £100 magician know this and it affects them in similar ways, though the results are different.

The £100 magician (if he’s depending on magic for an income) will attempt to cram as many gigs as possible into this day. He may do the photo period at a wedding from 1pm- 3pm, an afternoon party from 4pm-6pm and then another between 7pm-9pm. The trouble with this kind of planning is that it assumes that the first wedding will run on time.

Have you ever been to a wedding?

In the UK, it’s traditional for the bride to arrive late. Most of the time it’s not even intentional. If you’re booking a £100 magician for your special day and your wedding runs 30 minutes late, he won’t be flexible enough to hold back and wait to start. He can’t; he has another gig to get to!

The £1,000 magician won’t be rushing you down the aisle. He’s been to weddings and knows that, as a bride, what you’re paying for is peace of mind; peace of mind knowing that your guests are going to have a great time, allowing you to relax and enjoy your day. His fee includes time for overruns and delays, so you don’t have to worry. Think of it as “magic insurance”; you may not need it but, if you do, it’s there!

In my own case, I most commonly charge between £400-500 for two hours of magic. To some people this is cheap, to others, it’s expensive. I’m fine with both. It gives me the ability to offer flexibility to my clients, without me rushing all over the UK trying to cram as many gigs as I can into a day.

It reminds me of a discussion I’m presently having with my 12 year old daughter. She wants a smartphone.

All 12 year olds do.

Now, I’ve looked on the internet and you can buy a brand new smartphone for £30 or I could sign up to a deal to get a £600, top of the range iPhone.

Both make calls, send texts, check your email, stream music and allow you to upload pics of you making duck faces…

…but guess which one my daughter is pleading with me to get…

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