Street performers!

How much do you make ( roughly per hour) on a good day or bad day?

I think I wanna get into this for a bit of ca$h

depends on where you are, and how good a performer you are.

Just wondering best and worst case scenario…

I know enough material to keep things new to people walking by, and I know lots of Eli hops , boingy boing, entertaining the kids and seed money helps…

I would say worst case scenario, you make absolutely nothing. It really depends on where you are, and who’s watching. More people = more money, more young children with parents could also help bring in money.

I was at the movie theater the other day, watching the Smurfs. My family was the only one in the whole theater, so I threw the whole time. The guy doing the film gave me a couple bucks, said it was more entertaining than the movie . I guess that’s semi street performance.

Put a sign up next to your collection bin that reads “Need money for yoyo lessons”. See if that helps.

I went to a professional baseball game last night and there was a guy near the exit that was doing bucket drumming and he seemed to be making some really good tips. I threw a buck in and probably 5 other people that were walking by. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made at least a 100 bucks.

But yes, find a mall, a stadium, popular night life area, the more people the better and the more people who are out spending money the better. A sign is a must, you have to let them know that you want money, and also the reason wouldn’t be bad. Maybe make a DVD on simple tricks and how to do them that you can sell as well. Maybe pick up some cheap yoyos and sell them for like 15 bucks on a table. Make sure you have some sort of music playing too like a boom box.

Also finally check to see what rules and requirements are for doing such so you are not posting from the jail! :slight_smile:

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Worst case senerio: you are terrible and you have to pay them to watch you

I yoyoed for one hour today and made four bucks. I was outside the hard rock cafe in Seattle I got kicked out of pikes market for not haveing a vendors license.

Street performing is really tricky. It’s hard to make any real money by performing alone.

I’d recommend what others have said - make a sign with a message that’ll make someone smile (to the public it’s obvious you don’t really need yoyo classes).

I found the best way to make money was to have a box full of yoyos with a small sign that said “Get Yo Here”. People feel much better getting something out of the deal, even if it’s a cheap gimmicky yoyo.

Maybe hit up YYJ, Duncan or YYF and see what they can offer you - just remember, it’s got to be fairly cheap.

I paid my rent like this for two years and lived like a bohemian king, ‘working’ 2 days a week, drinking wine and playing yoyo (not at the same time though!).

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Use a large sign and I boom box. I usually make between $4 and $15 in an hour but it’s all about location and what time of day you’re there, try to put yourself in area’s with high walk through where people are taking out their wallets (going to eat a meal or going to shop).

Many things to think about before starting something like this, and none of them are what to expect per hour…

Street performing/busking is ILLEGAL in many places (please think about this before setting up.)

What I mean to say is, that most pedestrian malls/malls/boardwalks all have rules and regulations on busking within their area.

It is VERY hard to draw people in, loud music will obviously help, but A LOT of places have rules on level of sound and power can be an issue.

Another problem with yoyoing is that for the mostpart, you have to be concentrating on the yoyo, and not pandering with passers by, trying to grab their attention. Another problem with yoyoing is that its hard to “wind up” a trick.

When a magician pulls a stunt, they spend a long time mucking about, building hype and pretending to prepare. The trick is a 1min trick, but its hard to do 100 magic tricks. They try and spend as little time as possible showing the crowd the “PUNCHLINE”, the bit you want them to pay for having seen it. It’s hard to hype up a trick unless you have a whole-show planned. They basically get to walk past and see your show, in the 25 second combo you do. Some people will stop, other even talk to you, but to get them to actually throwdown is pretty tricky. If you are a kid(cute kids get smiles) you will probably go better still.

Not trying to break your enthusiasm, plenty of people have just “put out a hat” played yoyo and gotten money, but if you are after a moneymaker, this probably aint it.


Definitely check for the regulations of the town before starting. It might be too late for this summer depending on where you live but we have a town close to me that organizes the street performances on selected nights and pays them so no living out of the hat but it is only for the summer. It’s used as an attraction to bring people into their shopping and dining area.

I’d agree with Skip - unless you are a genuine performer (think John Higby, Rei Iwakura) it’s hard to make money performing. That’s why I used to sell yoyos when I busked, just standing and doing tricks usually didn’t make people want to give me money.

Still, if you hit the right spot you could make some cash - you don’t have anything to lose, just go for it!! (After checking if it’s legal)

Would it be better if I did something less known like 4a?

Flashy. VERY flashy. If you haven’t seen John Higby’s street performance then you need to. He’s one of the few that can actually make good money doing it. I saw him in Ft. Worth, Tx and it was so much fun. Had a crowd around him of around 50 or more people.

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I’d avoid 4A in a crowded area.

Bear in mind - as soon as people start staring, chances are you will start making mistakes. 4A is risky, if you make a mistake you’re going to be doing a lot of Runaway Dog tricks. And you really don’t want to get something wrong where you could possibly hit someone on the head (unless you’re someone like Higby who can control a crowd).

If you’re just standing around doing tricks, you want SUPER FLASH with no risk.

The other thing I would recommend is creating a really good demo dvd and mp4 and send to your local talent agencies, entertainment companies, and production companies. Also join your local chamber and see if you can get apart of July 4th, Christmas, and other events put on by the city. A good Demo DVD is very important though.

I own NVision Productions and we help out with lighting at the world’s in Orlando every year and I’m hiring two Yoyo guys to do be street performers at two homecoming dances. For one of them, I’m even flying a sponsored performer in all expenses paid plus a couple of hundred dollars for a show. So there is certainly money to be made doing this. However it is all about marketing yourself and getting out there. Now is a great time to take it to the next level even if you are not great, but still can put on a good and solid show.

I’m not sure if you are interested in just trying to make a dollar here or there are make a few hundred and make this a good solid side project money maker (Doubt too many make this a full time gig) but for a part time gig making a few extra hundred dollars is certainly possible. But again, it really depends. I don’t think you have mentioned where you live yet. If you are out in the middle of no where, it will be a lot lot harder than if you are in Vegas, Orlando, LA and so forth. But can still be done successfully if you really want to pursue it.

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I’m planning on doing a perfomenss at 2 airports today, hope it goes well for me, lol. :-\

Best advice in this thread is this:

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