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What is a reasonable fee?

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YoungSanta

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I have been playing sants for about three years. most of the time it has been for nurisng homes and family gatherings, and ofcourse some volunteer stuff.

but as more and more people find out that i play santa i get busier and busier, so i was wondering what i reasobale fee would be to charge for my performances. i dont want to over charge but i also dont what to under sell myself and the profession as a whole. any thoughts would be helpful.

thanks guys

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Kris Claus

Posted

This question gets asked often. If you are a good Santa (on the inside), with a good suit, $125 for upto an hour is acceptable. Ask a dozen Santa's that question and you might get a dozen different answers.

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I agree with Kris. I charge $80 for the first 30 minutes (to cover prep time) and $40 per additional 30 minutes. That means my first hour is $120 and subsequent hours are $80. I charge a premium for dates closer to Christmas to balance demand. Not that I'm an expert, but that's what I do,

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Santa Johnny Boy

Posted

See what they charge for clowns & magicians in your area and price yourself similar. Also, see what it costs to rent a quallity Santa Suit at your local costume shop. Then you can say, "For what it costs to rent a suit, you could have the real thing!"

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Kris Claus

Posted

To further comment on Shanta and Johnny Boy, yes - don't undersell yourself.

I say this often enough, that when people hire a professional entertainer there is a certain "perceived value" people get when they pay more. If you charge $75 an hour, then you get $75 dollar clients. If you charge $120 an hour, then you get more business at $120 an hour. Not just more money, your demand actually increases at higher wages. "Perceived value".

It's strange, some people won't look at you for $75 because you are "cheap". Yet, change not a stitch of Santa's suit and charge $120 - BINGO! You are hot property. In richer neighborhoods you could probably charge $150, and $200+ as we get closer to Christmas.

As Shanta stated there is prep time to consider. So a 30 minute gig may become an hour to you to dress and undress. Prep time is still your professional time and thus still chargable. Plus the overhead of gas, tolls, possible meals on the road, dry cleaning, etc.

It's great you are getting word of mouth references, but if you want to be a pro - then get some business cards. Good luck.

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THanks for the advice guys. i have made homemade business cards. Hopefully the word gets out even more. we will see. My wife says that this time of year my job is Santa and that i moonlight as a shoe salesman.

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Kris Claus

Posted

On last thing, if you don't have real Santa boots - better get some. Don't embarass yourself having people pay you for a Santa they could have bought off a Walmart shelf.

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I fortunatly work at a shoe store. so last year i bought new boots. but are there real "santa boots" out there?

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I fortunatly work at a shoe store. so last year i bought new boots. but are there real "santa boots" out there?

Oh yeah! Right up to and including real custom made jobbies from cutting the sole leather to buckling the second boots buckle. There a couple of more economically sensible ways to do it though. One is to buy a pair of engineer, otherwise known as biker, boots and replace the silver buckles with gold ones and install faux fur up top. Another is to buy a pair of costume boots from a Santa Costume website. Bear in mind though, these are costume boots. They are not meant to be used except breifly and occasionally. I think that the best are at Planet Santa, because their boots really are polyurethane, not polyvinyl, and they are no more costly than the other Santa Costume Boots.

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I thought about taking the ones i have and getting decorative buckles on them...well see. the wife wnats me to make some money this year before i put more money into the suit. a couple things that are onmy wish list is a new seperate mustache and a king like robe to go over my exsiting suit.

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Santa Marty

Posted

I thought about taking the ones i have and getting decorative buckles on them...well see. the wife wnats me to make some money this year before i put more money into the suit. a couple things that are onmy wish list is a new seperate mustache and a king like robe to go over my exsiting suit.

I have a beard set with a separate stash and have been getting a lot of great comments on the look. I use several stashes each year.

Recently I purchased some boots on line, which when arrive I was pleased beyond my expectations. All they need is some parade polish and they are ready to go. Personally I do not care for the fur topped boots, ( I was raised on a ranch.... ) it just seems way to un natural, but hey that's just me.

As to the original blog question on "What is a reasonable free?" I am sure there are different ranges in different regions, sometimes a reasonable fee is free and depends on the event. Commercial events in my area are approximately $125/hr. Parade appearances are considerably higher but to spite the rate, parades are so much fun I would do them for free..... I hope the parade promoters are not reading this blog! :)

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