How Much Does a Stripper Or Exotic Dancer Make on a Bad Night?

As I was taking off the rhinestones and stilettos after a slow shift one night last week, I overheard one of my co-workers moaning “This stinks, I ONLY made $200 after tip out.” I glance up at Miss PrimaDonna and roll my eyes: she never shows up til 10pm, usually doesn’t start working the floor until 11-ish and is actually expecting to cover the $90 house fee plus the mandatory minimum tip-out to the DJ, house mom, and security staff about 4 hours on a Wednesday in slow season!
Of course it is theoretically possible to make $1200 in 4 hours at the club. Many business-oriented entertainers schedule appointments with their regular customers to start at 10 and last until close. However, not every night can be like that. There are some nights when you don’t have any previous customers scheduled and you can only work with the foot traffic through the door. Just like any business, there are slow nights.
Nevertheless, I had to break down the simple math for my financially challenged friend. First, even at a measly $200 per 4 hour shift, that is $50 per hour: a wage that she is unlikely to receive when applying for a mainstream job in the corporate world without a college degree or experience. Second, suppose this dancer only made $200 per shift all the time. If she worked 5 days a week like most mainstream jobs, her take home pay is $1000 per week.
In the stripper world, we shake our heads and think “Wow, what a crappy week!” However, that is equivalent to $50,000 per year with two weeks vacation. Furthermore, her earnings are completely CASH without income taxes withheld! A single person in the 28% tax bracket would have to earn $70,000 a year to have $50,000 after taxes.
What types of jobs pay roughly $70K a year? Teachers with a master’s degree and 15 years of experience in some states. However, it takes a long time to get that high on the pay scale and a college degree. Senior Accountants that have completed degree program and extensive licensing requirements.
This also requires a college degree and passing algebra. Engineers: Civil, Aerospace, Mechanical. Again requires college degree, passing algebra… and calculus. Entry level attorneys make $70k a year after passing the law school. Sales Representatives that exceeded their sales quota and received commission. This may or may not require a college degree, but it does require more than a 4 hours shift.
After weighing all the options…I guess it wasn’t that bad of a night after all.

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