My prices start at $500 for weekend evenings and $300 for all other times — and then go up from there.
Charging any less is an act of charity.
1.) I work 60+ hours per week, 3,120+ hours per year. The time I spend in front of an audience is only a small fraction of the work I do.
2.) Most of my working hours are non-billable. I am only paid for what I do in front of an audience.
3.) My billable hours are very limited, because at least 99% of live entertainment requests are for...
• Saturday evening
• Sunday evening, or
• a holiday. (Morning and weekday shows are relatively rare.)
4.) There are only 104 Saturday and Sunday evenings in a year.
5.) Every time I say "yes" to a prime time booking, I am automatically saying "no" to any other offer that comes my way for that precious time-slot — no matter how lucrative the other offer may be.
6.) $500 multiplied by 104 prime time slots per year equals only $52,000 before taxes, expenses, and benefits.
7.) Subtract 40% for expenses — and my yearly take-home pay (assuming a very busy 104 shows per year at a rock-bottom $500 per show) would only come out to $31,200 per year.
The fee I quoted you is not based upon greed. It is based upon basic business math. Professional live entertainment is expensive because it has to be.
To suggest that a professional entertainer should work for less than $500 is to suggest that professional entertainers should not exist — because any less than $31,200 is certainly not a professional's wage.
If you meet any entertainer who accepts less than my minimum for any reason other than charity, then I guarantee you — strictly by the laws of economic necessity — that you are dealing with an amateur.