How Much Does A Magician or Mentalist Cost?

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You are looking to hire a magician or mentalist for your event,  and the first thing you are wondering is "how much is it going to cost?"

Let me begin by saying that I'm getting that question a lot these days, and if that is the biggest question looming in your mind, then I'm probably not the person you want to hire!

Fees for entertainment between magicians, mentalist, and other variety entertainers can be as varied and diverse as the individuals themselves.   However, most of us determine our fees based on a number of elements that are common to most events and programs.  

The following are some questions you should be prepared to answer to get the best quote for your event: 

What type of program is it?

(Private party, after dinner corporate event, charity fundraiser, etc.)

How long are you needing entertainment for?

(30 minutes, 1 hour, several hours, etc.)

Are you looking for a stage show after dinner, a walk-around performer for a VIP reception, a private show in your living room, etc.?

Where is the event taking place?

(the exact venue, city & state, etc.--the performer you are seeking may not be located in your home city)

How many people are expected to be in attendance?  (believe it or not, it takes a whole different dynamic to entertain 20 people than it does 200, even with the same show)

As a rule of thumb, I recommend to many people who inquire about fees when putting together a budget for their event entertainment to figure the approximate cost for as follows:

For stage show, platform shows, or cabaret style performances, figure AT LEAST $10-20 PER PERSON IN ATTENDANCE, plus travel and lodging expenses where applicable (U.S. Dollars).  Depending upon how far the entertainer has to travel--air fare, car rental, hotels, etc. (or simply just miles of driving), that cost alone can be considerable.  So for a corporate dinner event with 150-200 people in attendance, it is not uncommon to at least see fees of $1,500-$2,500, depending upon the length and scope of the program.

NOTE: This is merely a GUIDELINE, and is mostly applied towards small-to-mid-sized corporate events who are hiring local or regional entertainers who are full-time entertainment professionals.  Fortune 500 companies or similar events with A-list celebrities can easily pay $10,000 or more for a single appearance of a celebrity and are often booked only through an agent.    

 For walk around entertainment, $200-300 per hour is not uncommon.  Many professional performers sometimes have a bare minimum fee of $500 or more for any single event (private or corporate), while more famous and experienced professional corporate entertainers fetch fees of $5,000 or more per event.

If any of these numbers seem way out of your budget, then you are likely not in the market for hiring a top-notch, professional magician or mentalist.

When shopping the market for professional entertainment, many beginning or first-time event planners make the mistake of thinking "What??  $2,500 for an hour long show?  Who makes $2,500 an hour?"

On the surface, a performance by a professional entertainer often looks effortless and natural, but the show that you are receiving has often been shaped and honed over several years and countless hours of preparation, hard work, trial and error.  Not to mention cost of props and materials, time spent in rehearsal, plus marketing and promotional/advertising costs, booking agent or agency fees, etc.  By the time self-employment taxes, administrative and other costs are taken out, the income really isn't as tremendous or outrageous as it may seem.

When it comes to hiring professional entertainment for ANY event, it is important to remember to


The saying "you get what you pay for" is especially true in the entertainment business.  Budgeting in the necessary funds to hire top-notch entertainment will make all the difference in the success of your event.  Don't just settle for "good enough" or only hire the cheapest entertainment you can find.  Spending a few extra bucks on an outstanding entertainer typically brings no regrets and helps event planners keep their jobs.  Plus it helps keep the headache of planning such events to a minimum.
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About the Author

Curtis The Mentalist

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Curtis Waltermire is a professional entertainer, who combines hilarious cartoon-like humor and antics with mind-blowing demonstrations of exceptional mental ability. Unlike many of his peers in the mystery arts, he makes no attempt to convince anyone that what he does is REAL. His one-man, comedy mind reading show has been performed for hundreds of corporate and private audiences throughout the United States since the late 1980s. He wears many hats and often refers to himself as a "Mentalist/Grandpa/Cool Dad & Above-Average Husband." He can be found on the web at

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