Personally, I hate negotiating prices with dancers. If a dancer says her price for a dance is something other than the standard price for that club—and every club has a standard rate for its dances—I usually decide right then and there if I’m willing to pay her price. If a club has a standard rate of $250 for 30 minutes, but the dancer I’m interested in says, “I charge $300,” I’ll either say okay or no thanks.
It’s not that I’d feel like a cheapskate if I said, “How about $250?” so much as I’m worried that I’ll get less of a dance if she says okay. I don’t want a dancer’s cut-rate version of her private show. I want her to do everything she can to try and tempt me to get another dance. And if I’m arguing about a $50 price difference, she might assume I’m bargaining because I’m short on funds (which may or may not be true), and she may not try all that hard to make me happy.
So my general approach to Vegas strip club negotiations is to try to ward off negotiations in the first place. If I were in a situation where I was going to have to negotiate because there is no standard club price for what I’m asking for, I’d still try to ward off negotiations as much as possible using the principles below.
Strip Club Negotiations Rule #1: Know the house rates.
At TVO, I list the house rates for VIP and private show dances, including the required bar tabs, for every strip club in Vegas. (See “Las Vegas Strip Club VIP Room Value Guide”.) If you don’t know the house’s standard rates before you go into a club, you will be at a great disadvantage when talking price with a dancer, the guy at the door, and everyone else. You won’t even know if a dancer or club employee is quoting you the standard price.
The house rate at a Vegas strip club is not like a price in a store. Because dancers are independent contractors and not employees of the clubs, the clubs can’t force dancers to charge the house rate. But most dancers at a club will charge the house rate. If there is a situation or club where many dancers charge a different rate, it is noted on the TVO VIP Value Guide.
If you’ve forgotten the prices listed on TVO and you don’t have your phone to check the house rates, or you think the rates may have changed, ask a host or manager the standard club prices before you start talking to dancers. Be sure to ask about the required bar tabs or bottle fees for the different VIP offerings. For one thing:
Many Vegas Strip Club Dancers May Not Actually Know the House Price
Vegas strip clubs are unlike strip clubs in most other cities because many of our dancers don’t live here. They drive in or fly in for weekends and special events.
Many of them also dance at different clubs on different trips, and every club’s rates are different. So a lot of dancers don’t know the standard rates themselves, and this is especially true when it comes to required VIP bar tabs.
Because of this, we have more dancers here who misquote prices out of ignorance than you’ll find in other cities. The best way to guard against being misquoted out of the dancer’s ignorance is to follow:
Strip Club Negotiations Rule #2: Never ask the dancer how much a dance is. Tell her.
The way I ask a dancer for a VIP show is by saying something like, “Is the house rate still $250 for thirty minutes?”
You’d be surprised how many dancers will say, “Oh. I’m not sure. I just flew in from Sacramento (or wherever).”
If she answers, “I charge $300 but I’m worth it,” at least you know what you’re dealing with and you have a decision to make. Which leads us to:
Strip Club Negotiations Rule #3: Never make an overt attempt to get a dancer to perform for a lower price than she quotes.
The reasoning here is described at the beginning of this article. If you’re a good haggler, you might be able to bargain down the price of a 30- or 60-minute show by $50 or more. But you’re buying a service, not a product. For the discounted price, the dancer might put less into her performance.
If instead you agree (or pretend to agree) to a reasonable price, the dancer is more likely to view you as a guy with money who’s worth trying to impress. Say something like, “That sounds like a deal since you’re the best looking girl in the club. But come see me later. I’m going to watch the stage show for a while.”
This answer will often get her to drop her price immediately because she may be afraid of losing you to another dancer. You also sound like a guy who’s not put off by the money, and she might figure that if she can get you into the VIP, she’ll get the extra $50 as a tip after the dance. (And she might!) You might even go for another dance.
See also my discussion of how to handle strip club employees who try to overcharge you.
Which brings us to:
Rule #4: Find a way to tell the dancer that you might be worth more than one dance.
Let’s say a dancer quotes a price higher than the house rate, but she’s so hot you’ll hate yourself later if you don’t go for it. Say something like, “Well, that’s more than I usually pay in Vegas clubs, but you’re the best looking girl I’ve seen all week and I just had a great day at the blackjack tables, so let’s do it.”
This informs her that you’re a Vegas strip club regular who gets VIP dances often enough to know the rates around town. Further, you could be sitting on a wallet stuffed with god knows how much money. This girl is going to try hard to be the dancer you look for next time you come to this club.
What you don’t want to be is the guy from Poughkeepsie with money in your wallet that everyone in Vegas has only one shot at getting. Vegas is a town of hustlers. The entire purpose of the city is to get every last possible dollar out of you before you go home in case you never come back again.
That doesn’t mean that Vegas isn’t a lot of fun. It just means that if you start whining about a discount, you just blew it. Regardless of your financial position, you’ll have the most fun with a dancer if you present yourself as a confident guy with plenty of mad money looking for someone to have fun with.
Rule #4, incidentally, is not just for dancers who quote prices higher than the house rate. This is a tactic you should use with all dancers. I’ve had dancers offer me better than the house rate just to make sure they got to my money before someone else.
Rule #5: Never act like a rube (especially in Vegas).
Never say something like, “I’ve never done this before,” or “This is my first time for a private show.” If a dancer asks you where you’re from (and they all will), and you have to say you’re from Iowa, at least add something along the lines of, “But I’m here on business often.”
Again, you’ll get farther with a dancer if you act like you’re a guy who goes to Vegas strip clubs regularly and buys VIP dances a lot. All dancers are looking for regular customers, repeat customers. They’re not just trying to sell you one dance.
Strip Club Negotiations Rule #6: Don’t negotiate for VIP dances when you’re drunk.
Some dancers take advantage of guys who are too inebriated to make wise decisions. Dancers will definitely have the upper hand when it comes to negotiations if you’re soused.
Beer goggles will not only make a dancer look irresistible, they’ll make the money in your wallet look like nothing compared to the importance of getting the girl of your dreams into your lap.
Rule #7: Beware of dancers who urge you to use the club ATM.
This is especially true if you violate Rules #5 and #6. Some dancers see customers who use credit cards as guys with a virtually unlimited pool of money at their disposal. You should never use a credit or debit card in a strip club. Go to the club with cash, and only with the cash you can afford to spend.
Strip clubs typically charge 15 – 20% for card transactions. To get $1000 in cash, you’ll be charged $150-$200. Dancers view guys who use credit cards in the clubs as either drunk or ignorant.
Plus, even though the vast majority of strip club dancers and personnel are honest, the famous strip club rip-off stories in Vegas and elsewhere always happen to customers who pay with credit cards instead of cash, or who empty their bank accounts using their ATM cards. Leave your plastic in your hotel safe.
Strip Club Negotiations Rule #8: You may be able to negotiate with a manager on the VIP bar tab/bottle fee.
While you should not try to openly bargain a dancer down to a cut-rate price on a VIP dance, it may be worth a try to get a manager to lower the price on the VIP bar tab. Bottle fees in strip clubs are not reality based. A $250 bottle fee might get you a bottle that you could purchase for $30 in a discount liquor store.
Now, the club survives partly on the money from your VIP bar tab, so you can’t just say, “I’ve already had enough to drink tonight, so can you just keep the bottle and not charge me?” That won’t fly.
But because the bottles cost the club so much less than they charge their customers, you can often get the bar tab reduced significantly by talking to the right person–sometimes the VIP room host, sometimes a club manager–especially at the club’s slower times.
Strip Club Negotiations Rule #9: An outlandish price quote either means NO or the dancers at the club have gone temporarily crazy.
A commenter at TVO recently posted that a dancer had asked him for $1000 for a one-hour private-room dance at a club where the standard club price is half that.
Now if you use the advice above, this shouldn’t happen. If this did happen to me, I’d be polite (you can’t blame a girl for trying), but I’d probably find another dancer. If I really liked this particular dancer, and the price seemed particularly ambitious, then I’d go ahead and make a counter-offer lower than I expected to actually pay. Guys, we have to adapt to the times.
I wouldn’t haggle more than that, though. If I couldn’t reach a deal with this dancer, and I couldn’t find another dancer in that club, I’d take my cell phone out of my pocket and call 1.702.371.2181 for the free club limo at Little Darlings (club review / club website) and go get a one hour nude private show in a bedroom with a door you can close for $400. Or I’d call 1.702.366.1633 for the free club limo at Deja Vu Showgirls (club review / club website) and go get a one-hour private show in a bedroom with a door you can close for $500 (includes a $100 bottle).
A thousand dollars will get you a two-hour full-service outcall to your hotel suite from the hottest independent escorts in Las Vegas.
Occasionally a dance price quote this outrageous may mean the dancer simply doesn’t want to give you a VIP dance, and there’s little you can do about it. There could be a number of reasons for this. She may think you have B.O, or bad breath, or something else about you is turning her off in some major way. Do you have dirt under your fingernails? You may look exactly like her ex-husband. Maybe some guy who smiled just like you acted really creepy to her once and she thinks you’re scary. See also: “Strip Club Etiquette”
Or she may just think you’re dumb enough (or drunk enough) to pay $1000 and she always tries to hustle drunks and rubes for whatever she can get out of them.
Not all dancers are ethical. Again, this is Vegas. It’s a carny town.
Or maybe a dancer at the club got $1000 from some guy last week, word got around, and now all the dancers think they’ll get that forever if only they just ask. My advice is not to reinforce unrealistic expectations.
Either look for another dancer, or go brush your teeth.
See also: “The Vegas Strip Club Hustle Factor”