How Much Should I Charge?

"How much should I charge for my shows?"

It's one of the most frequently asked questions by ventriloquists and one of the most difficult to answer. I asked for reader response on this subject and several of you have responded. I have set up a "Themed Page" with those answers.
I would welcome additional comments, thoughts, and suggestions on this subject.


  1. Anonymous8/31/2010

    Dear Clinton, and fellow ventrickolists,
    [Sic.I know ]
    I found all of the comments to be quite on the mark! In my own case, I realize that I am probably not going to be a National, or World Class performer, but I do get paid on occasion and a lot of my work is for free as well.

    If someone asks me, how much I charge, I tell them that I get $100 for about 30 to 45 minutes if the show is going to be in a 50 mile radius. If further, then I will have to be compensated for travel, etc.

    For some places, one may not want to charge, or might feel it best be somewhat lenient. For organizations that are service oriented like the Lions Clubs, Boy Scouts, and the like, I knock off $25.00. Often enough after a show, I find that they have added to the pot, which is nice.

    Many places have entertainment budgets and a person in charge of getting this entertainment. Simply ask them if they have such a budget and if it would cover your asking fee. If not, you can offer a modification, or simply say no. It is of course nice to be charitable, but definitely not all the time.

    I have been giving free shows to the "Central Virginia Area Agency on the Aging" [CVAAA] for over 20 years. This was one of my first venues and I began by giving shows once every three or four months. I always did a Halloween and Saint Patrick's Day show. I sang, played guitar, and this is where I introduced my ventriloquial work. You might adopt a pet project also, and you will be appreciated by the audience.

    These special venues will allow you to try out new bits and get honest feed back from a friendly crowd. I have even done readings with a puppet or two with new material, as one would do with a Play. This very often gives you lots of opportunity to add lib, and have fun. I would often tell the old timers that the show I was preparing was for a very persnickety 4th grade class, and those children were a tough audience, so I wanted to test the stuff out on someone more forgiving. Even that would get a laugh and since all these folks were parents, and grand parents, they paid attention. In some cases this will allow you to try such unrelated subjects out, and I was often truly preparing for a school visit in the near future. If you are ever stuck for a bit, try this out. It can be a lot of fun for both you and the audience.

    In closing, I do this because I love to entertain. I am a Ham, and enjoy seeing peoples eyes light up when they see a figure, a puppy puppet, or duck talk to them. I always have some figures in my car and I bring them into restaurants and my trips to the YMCA for a swim, and if there are any little children present, I try a soft approach with an animal puppet. Most often, I get positive responses. And, on occasion, people ask me for a card.

    I hope these comments help those looking for guidance and tips in this great entertainment medium.

    God Bless All! Joe Radle aka Capt.Joe </:o)

  2. Hey,,, how come Tom gets a photo on the answer page?? now I"m jealous!!

  3. Anonymous8/31/2010

    I'm constantly looking at other puppet acts and checking their fees ( anonymously )
    Then I add an extra $50 ontop of that. I find if you charge a little more than the compitition they tend to go for you. It must give the illusion you are a better act. Ofcourse you still have to be entertaining or they won't hire you next time!

  4. Anonymous9/01/2010

    I'm surprised how low those fees are. I would never do a show for less than $250 regardless of time, venue and distance.