It’s fair to say that the majority of bookings for private parties and weddings will last 2 hours, in fact I would estimate that at least 80% of the events I entertain at are for this length. So much so that I considered making this the only standard package I would offer (and some magicians do just that).
Even though two hours is the most popular length for booking a magician for (we’ll look into why in moment), not all clients require this length. Occasionally their time is limited to 1.5 hours, and if a client has to pay you for 2 hours they are likely to shop around for someone who can offer the shorter package. Likewise, some events can have over 100 guests and if the event starts early in the day there can be a period of 3 hours to fill in the afternoon.
most will choose the 2 hours package (and you can use clever pricing strategies
to guide the clients to this package by making it the best value) they will
appreciate the fact they are given the option to pick an alternative package.
package options also ensures you define start and end times. Though you should
allow flexibility to start early and finish late, it does assist with your
planning – especially if you have two or more events in a day and need to allow
for travel. Saying you will be there for the “afternoon” or the
“evening” can be a little too subjective, and some clients will try
and squeeze every possible minute out of you.
On that note it is wise to ensure your packages define a single period. On more than one occasion I’ve had clients say they want to book my two hour package, then request the first between 4 and 5pm, then the second hour between 7 and 8pm, allowing the guests time to eat. Of course this takes 4 hours – but some bookers see this as just two because that’s how long you’ll be performing for!
if there is a 10 minute break for a speech then make this up in the flexibility
you have allowed for – just be clear when explaining your packages so you
aren’t taken for a ride.
are a couple of reasons why two hours is the most popular time for events:
- Most parties and weddings will have 60-80 guests.
Two hours gives enough time to get round to everyone at least once, ensuring no
one misses out,
- With 60-80 guests you can perform an hour or mix
& mingle followed by an hour round the tables. (Tight, but perfectly
- Unless it’s a small group less than two hours
doesn’t give enough time to really make an impact on guests,
- Over two hours can get a little boring for those
guests who only want to see a couple of tricks,
- If there is an afternoon wedding ceremony the
afternoon reception normally takes place between 2pm and 4pm, during this
period the bride and groom will depart for photograph,
- Meals and speeches often finish at 6pm, and evening
entertainment doesn’t start until 8pm with the first dance. There is nothing
else for guests to do in this period.
you have the time available, it’s local (hence low travel costs and time
taken), and it is relatively last minute (so you are unlikely to get another
enquiry for that time) it is generally not worth offering a one hour package.
If you do then you’ll find you either disappoint the client by not making a
suitable impact, or voluntarily staying longer. In that case you should have
offered them a longer package.
Also, remember you need to take into account travel time. You may wish to add on extra if you have to travel far. And generally, the further you must travel the more additional time you will want to allow for unforeseen delays and traffic congestion. That’s not to say you should charge extra for it, but you do need to take it into account.
travelling for three hours, doing a three hour booking and travelling three
hours home again worth it; when you could travel an hour, do a two hour
booking, travel an hour to another two hour booking and travel an hour home?
You’re out the house for nine hours for the first one, and out for just seven
hours for the second option. Not just that, but you’ll have earned more income
doing two bookings, incurred less travel expenses and exposed yourself to twice
as many people who may want to book you for their event!
all this into account I recommend offering three packages; 1.5 hours, 2 hours
and 3 hours. You may wish to call them Bronze, Silver and Gold, or something
else to differentiate them.