Once again, Bob Abdou/Mr. Puppet has sent us this great little article for ventriloquists. Bob has a wealth of knowledge in this arena since he’s a full time working ventriloquist. He has some great advice for all of you.
The Ventriloquist convention in Ft. Mitchell is soon upon us with many workshops. One of the annual lectures is a question/answer round table discussion with working professionals. Every year there seems to be a newbie asking the same question: “How much should I charge for a show?”.
In all my 18 years going to the convention I never heard a secure answer because of the broad scope of professionals on the discussion panel. Could a ventriloquist in New York City charge the same as a ventriloquist living in Jackson Mississippi? Can a cruise ship performing ventriloquist give an answer to a newbie starting out performing birthday parties? There always seemed to be too many variables and different levels to actually answer the question “How much should I charge?” …until now. In this blog story I would like to assist those performers who want to go to the next level and charge for their services.
To assist you in knowing what to charge, let me give some examples to help base your costs on your shows. I buy toys on eBay and there have been some rare toys that are on eBay that I must have for my collection. I know the value and try to go over a bit more so I am not outbid. I bid $800 dollars on a valuable toy that I know is worth $700 dollars but at the end of the auction the bid went well over $4000 dollars. Now that is outrageous and kudos’ to the buyer but overall the toy is only worth $700 dollars and I know one day I will get this toy at the right price. The example here is: don’t charge more than you are worth.
Another example: There was another rare toy on eBay that I needed for my collection. The auction had a ‘buy it now’ button for $50 dollars. I have seen this toy go as much as $400 dollars and is very rare, so when I saw it at such a low price I bought it immediately, my heart was beating really fast because I could not believe that someone would sell this rare toy for such a great low price, I was very happy. The example here is: Be worth more than you charge,
Question for you: Besides putting on a great show, looking professional, arriving on time, making the audience laugh, making the client happy, do you know what your real goal is at every show? Your goal after every show is be so good that folks in the audience will hire you again and again and again, repeat business is essential to every performer. Did it ever occur to you why so many performers are always booked with shows? The answer is because they are booking shows after each show!
Different sections of the world have different lifestyles when it comes to performing and how much they are willing to pay.
The economy and demand also play a factor in who gets hired. So here is what I say to those asking about how much to charge for a show. This is my opinion because of what I have experienced personally. If I have to ask how much I should charge, I am not ready to charge at all. The client is the one that makes that call. If you find yourself doing free shows and leaving with a tip each time, that is your clue that you need to start asking for money. If you are performing free show after free show and leaving with no tip or not even a ‘thank you’ from the client, then you are not ready to charge for shows. We all must pay our dues in performing and keep on progressing. Eventually you might not be making Jeff Dunham money now but with each buck you make, you are on the road to becoming a full time working ventriloquist that is creating a reputation as someone that folks want to hire and pay for.
Best to you all.
by Bob Abdou/Mr.Puppet
Thanks Bob, for sharing this great insightful information.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2011 by Dan Willinger
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