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Why Are Magicians So Expensive?

Posted By: Stephen James

The most sexy part of being a magician is surely managing your finances. And one of the questions that regularly causes awkward silences when answered is "How much do you charge for an event?".

Most walk around/table magicians prices range from £300-£600 for two hours work. But why are magicians so expensive? When I flipped burgers I only did it because I was paid, if no one paid for magic I would still perform in bars for fun. But just because something is your passion does not mean it should be undervalued (or free!).

Here are six reasons why magicians are so expensive:

1) It's About Value

I have used the word "expensive" quite a few times in this blog post. But the word "expensive" is very subjective, and usually something is only expensive if your perception of it's value is that it is worth less. Most people don't realise the true value of a magician when they first book them for an event, but after the event they do. When I perform I regularly get people feeding back that the magic was one of the highlights of the event. The organisers realise the true value when they hear people cheering, clapping and laughing. Especially when they get multiple guests walk up to them saying how great the magic was. A good magician is not as expensive as you think when weighed against value.

2) Unseen Work Time

When a magician charges you £X for two hours it means they are spending those two hours performing, but they are actually working way more than those two hours for your event. For most gigs I will spend 1-4 hours travelling and 1-2 hours getting everything ready for the gig. There is also admin time liaising with the client, processing payments etc. The "true" hourly rate is actually less than it seems at face value.

3) Gig Costs

When a magician attends your gig there are lots of costs associated with just attending. These can include trains, hotels, petrol/mileage, food, dry cleaning etc. All of these costs add up and bring down the actual profit the magician keeps.

4) Practice Time & Equipment

Part of the illusion of being a magician is giving the impression that you just walked into the venue and because you are magic are able to do just do these amazing things in a casual off-the-cuff way. This is just an illusion, a lot of effort goes into what the magician makes look casual. There are years of practice and thousands of pounds spent on books, DVDs and equipment which got the magician to a high standard for your event. I also usually have £500+ of equipment with me at performances as well, including things I can only use once (props I set fire to for example) and have to restock for each gig. All this practice time, investment in learning resources and investment in equipment are reflected in the price that you pay.

5) General Business/Marketing Costs

The magician also has to cover the costs associated with running and marketing their business. The list is extensive but includes; public liability insurance, brochures, flyers, business cards, marketing software, suits, logo design, web design, web hosting, domain registration, photographer fees, videographer fees, online advertising, print advertising, wedding fair booking costs, wedding fair displays/backdrop.... I could go on, but you get the idea. There are a lot of costs.

6) Tax

Every magician has to pay a 20%-40% tax on profits after their tax free allowance has been used up. And this does not even include National Insurance contributions.

Off course when I get to a gig it is all worth it, I love what I do! The reason I do this instead of an office job is the joy of seeing your guests reactions when they get blown away by seeing magic performed. I form a connection with the people I perform to and we have an amazing time together. Giving people this great experience is what drives my passion, and I will bring this passion to your event. All you have to do is show me the money!

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