You get what you pay for

A customer asked a magician friend of mine how much it would cost to perform at his upcoming event.

My friend gave him a proposal: $3000

The customer responded: That’s seems really high.

My friend asked: What do you think is a reasonable price for this job?

The customer answered: $1000 maximum

My friend responded: Ok, then I invite you to do it yourself.

The customer answered: I don’t know how to.

My friend responded: Alright, then how about for $1000 I’ll teach you how to. So besides saving you $2000, you’ll learn valuable skills that will benefit you in the future.

The customer answered: Sounds good! Let’s do it!

My friend responded: Great! To get started, you are going to need some props. You will need a Linking Rings, Cups and Balls, a Zombie Ball, Bewildering Blocks, a Cardiographic, Jumbo Playing Cards, two doves and a rabbit… plus a costume, table and headset radio mic.

The customer answered: But I don’t have any of those and I can’t justify buying all of these for one show.

My friend responded: Ok. Well then for an additional $500 I can rent my gear to you to use for this project.

The customer answered: Okay. That’s fair.

My friend responded: Great! We will start rehearsals on Monday.

The customer answered: I work Monday through Friday. I’m only available on the weekends.

My friend responded: If you want to learn from me then you will need to work when I am free. I perform in the evenings and on weekends. This show will take 3 weeks to learn so you will need to take 3 weeks off work.

The customer answered: That means I’m going to have to sacrifice my pay for 3 weeks or use my vacation time!

My friend responded: That’s true. Remember, when you do a job yourself you need to account for unproductive factors.

The customer answered: What do you mean by that?

My friend responded: Doing a job completely from start to finish includes time spent to plan the show, pick up materials, travel time, petrol, set up time, clean up, and maintain your doves and rabbits amongst other things. That’s all in addition to the actual show itself.

The customer answered: You know, I’m realizing that a lot more goes in to a show than what a customer sees in the finished performance. Your proposal of $3000 is very reasonable. I would like you to do the show.


When you pay for a show, especially a customised show, you pay not only for the material and the work to be completed. You also pay for:

  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Custom Skills
  • Professional Training
  • Specialised Props
  • Time to plan
  • Time to prepare
  • Professionalism
  • Work Ethic
  • Excellence
  • Discipline
  • Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Taxes
  • Licenses
  • Sacrifices
  • Liabilities
  • Insurance

If you request a quote for a show to be performed, please don’t disrespect a service provider by trying to get them to lower their prices.

If their quote exceeds your budget, there’s nothing wrong with getting other quotes.

Just remember… you get what you pay for.

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