How much does a mascot cost?
The price of a mascot can vary greatly for a number of reasons. So, the real question here should be: “What SHOULD a mascot costume cost?”.
What you ultimately end up investing in your mascot costume will largely depend upon:
- Why you want a mascot in the first place.
- What conditions it will be used in.
- How long you need it to last.
- How your mascot fits into your branding strategy.
- How complex is your character to make?
- Do you actually need a custom mascot? (The answer here is “YES!”)
Clearly, if you are looking for a "street character" that is only meant to stand on the corner and wave at people, and you have little regard for your reputation, $1,000 - $2,000 would probably do the trick.
If on the other hand, your mascot is going to be a high-profile representative of your brand, you owe it to your organization to budget and invest accordingly in a professionally made mascot costume.
A successful and marketable mascot character needs to be supported by a properly made mascot costume. With this in mind, a typical investment for a full costume, head to toe should be in the $4,500 - $6,500 range. There’s no need to pay more than this, but paying anything less is just asking for trouble. (Also read: Why Should you Invest in a CUSTOM Mascot?)
What Should you expect from a custom-made mascot?
The “sweet spot” price for a mascot should be in the range of $4,500 to $6,500.This is a fair price for a mascot costume that will perform the way you need it to represent your brand properly and generate revenue for you.
At this price, you should expect the mascot company to provide you with:
- A colour drawing of a unique character designed exclusively for you.
- A guarantee that the costume will be a reasonable representation of the agreed upon final drawing.
- The right to use the character and the image for no additional cost.
The costume itself should be:
- Custom designed to fit your needs; single or multiple performers, weather conditions, high activity, etc.
- Performer friendly with a good field of vision, lightweight and comfortable. Above all else, safe to wear at all times.
- Durable, made from high quality long lasting materials that are resistant to water and weather, lasting several years with proper care.
- Washable from head to toe with a minimal amount of maintenance.
- Accurate and believable as a character. It hides the performer and allows for outfit/jersey/clothing changes.
- Marketable, allowing you to generate revenue through sponsorship, merchandising, and appearance fees.
Why should you invest in a CUSTOM mascot vs a cheap costume found on the internet?
Costumes can be ordered on the Internet with the click of a button for as low as $300. But, these costumes tend to fall far short in terms of functionality, quality and durability and can't seriously be considered as a mascot. With a cheap costume it's more about what you DON’T get than what you do.
Firstly, it will likely be made of extremely low quality materials, which makes it:
- NOT durable. You will likely need to replace it in 18 months.
- NOT washable. You have to pay for dry cleaning, which is hard on fabrics and will shorten its lifespan even further.
- NOT performer friendly. It will be heavy and hot and not easy to move around in.
- NOT safe for the performer or fans because it may be made hard materials or have sharp edges, wires, metal etc.
- NOT believable. It likely won’t be an accurate depiction of the character you were expecting it to be.
Furthermore, a cheap costume will likely be mass-produced. This means it is:
- NOT custom made, and therefore it is…
- NOT exclusive to your organization, which in turn means it is…
- NOT a marketable entity. You can’t prevent or control copies of the same costume entering your own market. (If you can get it cheap, so can someone else!) Nor will you be able to generate revenue from your own character. (See “How can we generate revenue with our mascot?”)
In other words, just because you can spend a little less, doesn’t mean you should! Going cheap may cost you more than you bargained for. It is far worth it in the long run to invest properly in a unique, custom mascot from a reputable company…like THE Mascot Company!
How can your mascot generate revenue?
By definition an "investment" is something that will generate a return over time. A custom mascot costume is truly an investment in your brand and should perpetually generate revenue for your organization. Paying $5,000 or more for a mascot costume may seem steep initially. But it is truly an investment that will pay dividends that far surpass the initial cost.
What is your R.O.M.I.?
(Return On Mascot Investment)
If a mascot is designed properly, and customized to your specific brand, the possibilities for revenue generation are endless. They include:
- Promotional events
- Appearance fees
Simply put, your annual R.O.M.I. (Return On Mascot Investment) should at the very least cover the cost of operating your mascot program. At best it should become a revenue centre for your organization.
Consider this example:
Coleman High School had a budget of $2,500 for a new mascot costume. Upon doing some research, the discovered their budget wasn't quite enough to get a quality custom product that would represent them properly. They knew it was in their best interest to invest just a bit more to get a far superior mascot. So, rather than settle on an inferior costume, they got creative!
Before they even unveiled it to the public, the student body approached a local car dealership and showed them a conceptual drawing of their new mascot. The school asked the dealership for $2,500 per year for the next 3 years for an exclusive sponsorship agreement. The sponsor would receive:
- Logo placement on the mascot's clothing (school jerseys and shorts)
- Sponsor mentions in all student led school publications
- Sponsored P.A. announcements at all home games
- Signage at all home venues at the school (gymnasium, field, etc.)
- Access to the mascot for any special event hosted by the dealership
To no one's surprise. The dealership jumped at the deal. For a mere $2,500 a year, they saw the opportunity to :
- Give back to the community by supporting a local high school
- Market directly to the parents of the students
- Create great goodwill with their future customers (the students)
- Generate great PR
The school was not only able to pay for a fantastic mascot, they doubled their R.O.M.I. within 3 years. They used the funds from the sponsorship to purchase merchandise of their character (plush dolls, bobbleheads, key chains, etc). They sold those at a profit which they in turn used to set up a scholarship to help low income students go to college.
How's that for ROMI?
Generating revenue from your mascot is not only possible, it is vital to the success of your organization. It all starts by investing properly in a quality, professionally made, custom mascot.
Call us for more ideas!
Do you need a fan or a cooling vest?
Very often, we are asked if we can install a fan or provide a cooling vest in the costumes we build. While we would do so if our customer absolutely insisted upon it, we very often talk them out of it. Here's why...
The very nature of mascot costumes makes them hot. A highly active performance in a fur suit will do that. The best thing we can do to minimize the heat is to provide discrete ventilation and to make the costume as lightweight as possible.
Installing a fan causes more problems than it solves. Firstly, you are introducing wires and batteries to power it, which may negate the ability to wash the costume. Secondly, in order to be effective, a fan must suck hot air out of the head. If it didn't, it would simply blow hot air back on to the performer. Also, in order to vent air out properly, we would need to put a very obvious hole in the top of your character's head. This detracts from the illusion of your character as a "living thing".
A cooling vest will work...briefly. Usually the cooling packs in a vest warm to body temperature within 10-15 minutes. Once they are no longer useful, the performer is stuck carrying them around for the balance of her appearance. They become 5 - 7 lbs of dead weight, which makes the performer work harder...and get even hotter!
Cooling vests and fans seem like a good idea, but really they are a waste of money and can do more harm than good. While no mascot costume can be entirely "cool", a well made, lightweight custom mascot should be cooler than the rest. Invest in a proper costume, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water to beat the heat!