I have often wondered if the amount of money a male stripper makes is enough for the time and expense involved.
Most of the male strippers I have known have had day jobs and stripping is something they do on the side. Their income comes from three main sources: base pay, lap dances and tips. On average, male strippers make less than female strippers. Is the work and time they have to put into a stripping career worth the amount of money they actually make? Let's find out.
How do male strippers make their money?
Most male strippers make their money from three sources: base pay, tips and lap dances. The base pay can vary in different markets. It can also vary if you have a large following who will go to the bar, pay the cover and buy drinks.
Base Pay At Bars And Clubs
According to Gunner Scout, Mr. Gay United States 2019 and the owner of the Ohio All-Star Stripper Of The Year competition for male strippers, a base pay of $50 is a normal base pay for a male stripper performing at a local bar or club in the city where they live when no travel is involved.
If the male stripper has to travel to reach the destination venue, the base pay will go up depending on the distance to the venue.
Some bars and clubs do not offer a base pay. The male strippers work for tips only. At first this might sound like a bad deal, but it depends on the location.
A popular club with a loyal customer base could bring in lots of money on a given night. The customers know this is a male strip club and are usually coming to the club for that reason. They are ready to tip and have fun. Tips alone could mean a good night for male strippers.
There are still other clubs that you have to pay the house a base fee in order to work there. This is the case at some all-nude clubs and some clubs located in resort areas. The male strippers are basically paying for the opportunity to perform at the club. These are popular clubs and will be busy with customers who tip well.
Base Pay At Private Parties
The price paid for a male stripper for a private party depends on the location. From what I've been able to search online, the average cost is $150-$250 for a 30 minute performance. This may or may not include the performer stripping to fully nude.
How much of that does the male stripper get to keep? That depends on whether he is working for himself or working for an agency. An agency will get their cut.
The amount of $150-$250 may sound like a lot for a 30 minute performance but someone will be paying taxes on it. There is the cost of travel to and from the location. And any related personal expenses the male stripper may incur for the performance.
If several of these 30 minutes private party performances are scheduled in one night, the cash that goes to the performer could be significant.
Some private parties will also have guests who tip, but some do not.
There are no guarantees on how much a male stripper can make in tips. There are many variables that will determine the amount of tips given by the customers.
According to Bryce Eden Adonis, owner and performer with Men Of Eden based in Connecticut, "Depends where one works. NYC typical bad night is $200, I've made up to $1800. $ I'd say average for NYC $300-$400. In Springfield, MA - Average is probably $80-$250. And Connecticut slightly more at $150-$350."
The tipping culture of the location will dictate the amount to a certain degree. Are the customers familiar with tipping? Have they ever attended a bar, club or private party where tipping is going on? Do the rest of the group members feel tipping is an acceptable social response and interaction with the performer?
Tipping is a learned behavior. Unless someone has seen it or experienced it, they will not be sure how to approach the male stripper.
Ryan Estep, owner and performer with Men Of Skin based in Kansas City, had to create an environment for tipping. He explained to me that when he first started go go dancing in Kansas City he had to work on training the customer about how go go and strip clubs work, and the reasons why they existed. They had not yet grasped the concept of tipping.
I obviously have no problem tipping a male stripper and have a lot of fun doing it. But, I have taken friends with me who are afraid or embarrassed to tip the stripper. After a couple of cocktails, they are usually stuffing dollar bills without any problem.
I have another friend who does not want to go with me to a male stripper event, but wants to hear all about it at a later date. She says that she lives vicariously through me. At the same time, I have a friend who wants to go with me every time.
As a general rule, gay men tend to tip more than women. And the more mature gay men tend to tip more than the younger gay men. It may be the fact that older gay men usually have more money.
Different Male Stripper Types Are Tipped Differently
Bryce Eden Adonis also brought up another point of interest when it comes to tipping behavior of customers. He said, "I mean if you really want to break it down, it depends on a lot of different things. I always say white muscled guys tend to make the most in tips, and it scales down from there. Athletic like me will appeal to slightly less clientel and twinks appeal to even less, and twinks make the least in comparison."
A twink refers to a guy that has a slim or skinny body and is usually in his twenties.
The male stripper body type that I enjoy the most is slim, but muscular. I call them wiry-muscular. They are slim but have muscle definition. And I usually like all ethnicities as long as they have this body type.
While I am tipping a male stripper at a club, I am also asking questions. I'm curious and it's a part of my job as the Male Stripper Guru.
On one visit to Swinging Richard's in Atlanta, GA, I enjoyed a private lap dance with a young black male stripper named Jeremiah. He was one of my favorites of the night.
I asked him about how well he did money-wise at Swinging Richard's. He said that black dancers were less popular and it depended on the customers. Some nights were great and some were not so great.
I think it can be concluded that women tend to like muscular male strippers. I make this conclusion based on the body type of dancers hired by the major male review shows such as Chippendales.
One thing all their dancers seem to have in common is a well-built, muscular physique. These high dollar Vegas style shows were created to make a profit. They are going to hire the dancers with the body type they feel will be most popular with their female audiences.
The Lap Dance
It has been my experience that a lap dance in the public area will cost on average around $10 per song. On average most customers will pay for two songs or more. This amount is kept by the male stripper.
A lap dance in the more private area such as a VIP Lounge or designated private lap dance area will often have two costs involved. The first is a fee paid to the club for entry into the private lap dance area. The amount varies but the amounts I have paid range from $10-$20. This fee is paid once for the night and you can enter into the private lap dance area as many times as you want after that.
The second cost involved in a private lap dance is the charge by the male stripper. I have never paid more than $20 per song. But I have been to a few clubs where a set amount is charged for a 3 song private lap dance. I have paid $75 for one of these. The male stripper keeps this amount.
A male stripper can make a lot of money in a night if he is giving private lap dances. And I'm sure many of them are able to do this.
I can remember on one visit to Swinging Richard's in Atlanta there was a particular male stripper that I wanted to take to the VIP Lounge for a lap dance. I saw him once in the beginning of the night and never saw him again. I didn't ask but I am quite sure that he was invited to the VIP Lounge and was kept busy for the night.
While writing this blog, I was reminded once again that the way to be a financially successful male stripper is to build a following. When you have a strong fan base, they will follow you to the various venues and parties. They will want to hire you for events and parties. And they will want to tip you.
It therefore seems extremely important to me that the male stripper will want to take the time to build relationships with their followers through social media, and through visiting with them at the event or party when possible.
Ryan Estep, Men Of Skin, also told me that "In the midwest money is tighter here and this community is very fickle so you have to impress them to open the wallet." Building relationships with customers goes hand-in-hand with staying fresh and new in your look and performance.
Being a male stripper is like most other occupations, if you're willing to put in the time and work hard, you can make it a success. It's all up to you.
A related blog of mine that you might find valuable is "How Can A Male Stripper Increase Their Fan Base?"