November 7, 2016

What Can You Expect To Pay for a Magician or Mentalist to Perform A Show?

Surfing the internet, trying to find the right magician or mentalist to entertain for your corporate or private event can be a bit of a headache.  If you're wondering "How much do magicians charge?", it can be as varied and diverse as the individual mentalists or magicians themselves.   However, most of these entertainers determine their fees for a show based on a number of elements that are common to most events and programs.  The following is an excellent guideline for helping you determine if you can afford to hire a magician or mentalist for your next event.

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Cost of Corporate Stage Mentalism or Magic Shows

To estimate approximately how much does a magician cost or mentalist for a stage mentalism or magic show for corporate event entertainment, figure anywhere from $10 to $20 PER PERSON OR GUEST IN ATTENDANCE.  Most shows last anywhere from 45-75 minutes--with a typical length of 60 minutes--but can often be shortened or extended as needed.  This fee range is a good estimate of the performance fees alone, and may or may not include travel, lodging, or other related expenses.  This also does not likely include any agent or agency fees.  Professional agency fees can add as much as 20 percent more to the overall cost of booking a professional magician or mentalist for an event.

Depending upon how far the mentalist or magician 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 or more, depending upon the length and scope of the program.

NOTE: This is merely a GUIDELINE, based on my over 35 years of experience in this industry and market, and is mostly applied towards small-to-mid-sized corporate events who are hiring mentalists or magicians who are full-time entertainment professionals.  Mentalists or magicians who are A-list celebrities can easily cost $10,000 or more for a single appearance, and are often booked only through a booking or talent agent.    

Cost of a Walk-Around or Strolling Magician or Mentalist

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For an idea of how much magicians charge (or mentalists) for performing walk-around or strolling magic entertainment, $200-300 per hour is not uncommon.

Even though most charge hourly fees for walk-around, strolling or close-up magic performances, partial hours are sometimes rounded up and charged to the next full hour, at the individual performer’s discretion.  Most entertainers do not allow partial billing either, such as half-hour only engagements.  Many professional magicians or mentalists sometimes have a bare minimum fee of $500 or more for any single event (private or corporate) regardless of length, so don't be surprised if that seems to go against their stated hourly rate.

Keep in mind is that this type of entertainment is typically best for larger groups (100 or more people), and that hiring a magician or mentalist to walk-around entertaining 12 people at a private party for 3 hours is something that you are not likely to find.

How Much Are Children's Birthday Party Magicians?


If you're wondering how much does a magician cost for a birthday party, fees or prices can run anywhere from $100-$500 or more for a single children's birthday party magic show.

For school assembly programs, Boy Scout Blue and Gold Banquets, or other event that is predominantly for kids or young adults such as Library Summer Reading Programs, it is always best to hire a magician or other variety performer that specializes in this type of entertainment.  But don't expect them to be cheap; the good ones usually aren't!

You can typically expect to pay less for a children's birthday party magic show than for a show for an event like a Blue and Gold Banquet or a library children's summer reading program.  Why?  For one thing, birthday party entertainment is funded by hard-working parents or guardians, often on limited budgets.

Libraries, schools, scouting troupes, etc., are funded much differently, and take considerably more effort and preparation on the part of the performer.  Like any other type of business, it's what the market dictates.  So don't be surprised if the same magician who is charging $200 for a 30-minute children's birthday party will charge many more times that fee for a 30-minute school assembly or library summer reading program.

While Closely Related, There Is A Big Difference Between a Mentalist and a Magician

Mentalists (also known as “mind readers” or “psychological illusionists”) tend to specialize in mentalism shows and presentations that are primarily for mature, adult audiences.   Their sense of humor is often dry and intellectual, and their demonstrations usually involve tricks of the mind, feats of amazing memory, incredible ability with numbers, drawings, body language readings, etc.  Shows by most mentalists usually provide little visual stimulation and are more cerebral in nature, which typically makes it less enjoyable for children but more enjoyable for intelligent adults.  Some people tend to regard mentalism as “magic for grown-ups” or “thinking people,” while others see it as a display of genuine psychic ability.  From an event planning standpoint, mentalists are very easy to fit into any program as they require little to no set up, props, or other things that take up space.  Their demonstrations are highly-interactive, constantly involving their audiences and leaving them with a feeling that they’ve witnessed something amazing and personal in nature.  For more detailed information about what a mentalist does, click here.

Magicians, on the other hand, tend to provide a wider and broader range of performance options, and their performances are usually highly visual in nature.  From close-up, sleight-of-hand magic for bars, restaurants, and other venues, to large stage shows for theaters, convention centers, and even corporate events such as trade shows, awards banquets, and more, magicians have a vast number of specialities and disciplines.  In a general sense, most magic shows are characterized by their shiny boxes, flashy costumes, music, colorful props, beautiful dancers or assistants, decks of playing cards, balloons, confetti, silk scarves, and such like.  In recent years, while the face of magic and magicians seems to have changed considerably, this description still fits mostly performers who specialize in children’s magic entertainment.  Magicians, with their magic and illusion shows, are perfect when you have an event that you want your guests to “sit-back-and-watch.”