Size Matters: A Long Hard Look at Service Fees

A few things in life are givens.  Burlap shirts are itchy.  There is something nostalgic in the smell of warm pavement after a summer rain.  Cracker Barrel has the best turnip greens around.  Blue is the nicest smelling color.  And roasted pumpkin seeds are the best holiday snack.  Those are not up for debate.

Add to that the  other fact that having a smaller cost at checkout is better than having a larger cost.  Now, we know some people believe bigger is better.  And in many cases it is.  For instance, if you are trying to catch a giant man-eating shark, you probably do need a bigger boat.  When you are watching your favorite football team, a bigger TV is basically a requirement.  Have you ever had a friend invite you over to watch the game and brag about how small their TV is?  Who would rather have a smaller piece of pie?  What dude from Louisiana wants smaller tires on their truck? If you want your 4th of July display to get “blowed up real big,” you need bigger fireworks.  And of course in the bedroom, we know bigger is definitely better when you share a bed with a person who snores.  A Texas king bed is definitely the way to go when you share the room with a raging snorer.

In spite of these obvious instances where bigger is better, what goober would brag about the higher price they are going to pay for an item?  Well, you’d be surprised how often we get told, “I see tickets on “googlesearchticketsite” for X dollars and you guys are charging X+ dollars.  I’ll just buy there.”  However, what very few people seem to take into account that most of the sites that dominate the paid search listings charge enormous service fees.  Some sites even charge a big fee just to email you the tickets you purchase.  Even the largest secondary ticket marketplace charges really high fees and delivery charges at checkout.  Many of the top advertised links are for sites that advertise a low price to suck you in, make you click through a bunch of needless pages to hook you into the process, and then club you over the head at checkout with 30% in extra charges.    We’ve joked that we might actually be better off if in some cases if we listed a $100 ticket for $1 and add a $99 service fee, because it seems like that is how people shop for tickets.

Can we agree that is silly?  When shopping, buyers need to take into account the final price at checkout.  Even on the marketplaces that advertise as having no service fees, its not like they are choosing not to make a profit on the sale.  They have simply bundled their markup into the list price.  With very few exceptions, our pricing is pretty straightforward.  You can almost always expect a 15% or lower markup on our tickets (for some tickets it drops to 10%).  We email them to you for free, ship via FedEx for reasonable rates in line with our cost, and you can always reach out to us to pick up your tickets at our Carmel, IN office for no charge.  We don’t offer a gigantic coupon code every week like some of these other guys because our margin doesn’t support it.  Its easy to offer 15 or 20% off when you are marking it up 35% on the front end.

The point of the story is this:  you really should be buying your event tickets from Fanfare.  We aren’t always the cheapest.  There are plenty of scenarios where we would not even be competitive on pricing.  However, we do have one of the consistently lowest markups on the market.  We think that in this case, you will agree with us that size does matter, and its good to be small.  Use all that extra money you save on the experience itself (or to buy the greens at Cracker Barrel).  Ticket purchasing should be fun.  Let us help!


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