How much do you charge?
However, I recently spent five days straight playing on the streets of Fredericksburg, Virginia. My wife and kids were visiting grandma and I had time to myself. So of course I figured out a way to get battery power to a small amp and my guitar pedal board! After those five days I finally feel confident I have an answer to how much I charge to perform.
While I played on the streets people tipped me a lot. I came to know how much people are willing to freely give me based on my talent and their perception of my value. What I do now when I’m asked how much I charge is use the highest total amount I was tipped on a single night while street performing and add about 25% to that – and that is how much I charge an hour to perform. Because my rationale is, if someone isn’t willing to pay me that amount, I know I can earn close to that AND meet more people on the streets than I usually can at their restaurant or bar. I know that at least on the streets I can make a certain amount AND have a lot of fun. There’s not always a guarantee that a venue will have a crowd or if there is a crowd, that they will be fun. Also, you’re almost always guaranteed a lot more exposure playing on the streets where people are constantly passing by as opposed to playing in a bar or restaurant that has a limited audience capacity. I can’t count the number of amazing people I have met on the streets who have let me sing just for them, jumped in and sang with me, rapped with me, played my guitar, or let me make up songs for them and their kids.
So what is the #1 thing I learned from street performing? I learned how much I am worth. Knowing that has given me tremendous confidence and negotiating power.