Many young women find themselves drawn to exotic dancing, lured by tales of the outlandish stripper salary that falls into your lap the moment you agree to take off your clothes onstage. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that the truth isn’t as simple as all that, but this is still an extremely lucrative industry that can very well connect outgoing, attractive women with the kind of income they’d be hard-pressed to command in a more “normal” job.
ATTENTION: There’s a lot of curiosity out there about just how much money strippers are typically making, these days, so I’m about to reveal the REAL numbers pole dancers are bringing in.
To be frank, a stripper who knows what she’s doing can make crazy, ridiculous money, and towards the end of this post, I’ll be informing you of the best way to do that. But first, let’s talk about the realities of the exotic dancing industry. What’s it like? How do you get into it? And of course, just how much do strippers earn?
How Strippers Earn Money at Clubs
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Stripper pay depends on the strip club. Period, end of story. Obviously you’ll need to schmooze with the guests and be a girl for whom they want to make it rain, but no amount of effort in that arena will matter if you’re working a cheap, seedy shack of a titty bar that even the most sex-addicted, baked Camlord wouldn’t dare step foot in.
So your first task before seeking a job as a stripper is to make a list of all your nearby clubs, then lightly research them to learn which ones appeal to the upscale crowd, and which ones are just crappy dives. Don’t be afraid to consider places that would require a substantial daily schlep if you worked there; getting a spot at a good club is worth the gas. Dancing in a sleaze hole, meanwhile, isn’t worth it even if you could teleport to work every day.
Stripping isn’t exactly an “apply online” kind of job; once you’ve got your list of clubs, you’ll need to drive out to each one and ask for a job in person. Rearrange your schedule so that you can do this on a weekday, in the afternoon. They won’t be busy, and chances are high that the manager will be willing to let you audition right then and there, so you won’t have to come back another day. Dress sexy in an outfit you can take off seductively, and just cover up with a coat when you’re outside and before you dance.
All new strippers will need to audition at clubs they wish to dance at. Rehearsing some basic moves ahead of time is wise, and should boost the chances you’ll get approved to boogie on the pole.
Yes, you will have to dance for the manager, and yep, you will have to get naked. That’s just how it works, they need to see if all the right parts jiggle in all the right ways on stage.
More: How To Become a Stripper
Don’t worry, I can categorically promise you that even if you’re turned down, the manager isn’t going to retreat to his office after you leave and furiously whack it over the free show. He watches naked girls many times a day, every day; he’s seen it plenty and he’s pretty much numb to it. It’s basically like being a gynecologist.
When you finally do succeed (and you may have to visit a few clubs), you won’t get a “job” in the traditional sense; you’ll get a spot. As in, a spot on the schedule. Strippers aren’t legally employees, but “independent contractors” who are permitted to use the club’s facilities to perform for paying customers.
Exotic dancers are not actually strip club employees. They work on an “independent contractor” basis, using the club as a venue for their performances.
And that’s why the spot you get is extremely important: Because it goes a long way toward determining your income as a stripper. There’s technically no such thing as a stripper salary, and stripper pay comes from interaction with guests. That’s tips, lap dances, and VIP room visits, mostly. Anything that reduces your interaction with guests reduces your take-home.
More: Becoming a Male Stripper
And remember what I said about how busy the club isn’t in the middle of a weekday? You want to be scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights ideally, or any day after 5 PM as a second choice. It’s okay if you don’t get this right away, but prove yourself as someone who brings money into the club so you’ll be awarded those golden spots as soon as possible.
Stripper Pay and “Tipping Out”
Once you start working, you’ll need to get good and comfy with the idea of “tipping out”. This basically means giving cash to the actual employees at the club. The idea here is that because the stripper salary is typically so much higher than the earnings of just about anyone else in the building, and because the stripper wouldn’t be able to do her job and earn that money without those people, it’s only fair for her to share a portion of her income with them.
Tipping out is a reality at the vast majority of strip clubs. While it may seem unfair to dancers at first blush, it can make sense when you consider the advantages.
Under this theory, just about everyone gets a little cut: You’ll slip some cash to the DJ who queues up your dancing songs, the cashier who makes change for guests so they can slip $1’s and $5’s into your G-string, and even the bouncer who guards the VIP room while you’re doing whatever you choose to do with your customers in there (lively chats about Game of Thrones are common, I hear).
For that matter, the VIP host gets tipped out, too (when you use the VIP room), as does the bartender, the club manager, and more. You don’t have to give these people much and you don’t have to pay them every day, but they’re going to expect a few bucks every now and then. Having a bad night is generally no excuse.
Whether you agree with the reasoning behind tipping out is, of course, up to you. You can hail it as a great breakthrough for justice in the workplace. You can secretly wish flesh-eating bacteria death upon every white-toothed smiling person who wiggles a couple fingers as they dip into your stripper salary. But what you can’t realistically do is protest the system by refusing to go along with it.
If the club employees don’t get anything from you for long enough, they’re going to notice that you don’t have their back – and then they’re not going to have yours. You may think you’re alright with that arrangement, but consider what it would be like to work with a DJ who won’t play the songs to which you’ve designed your dance routines, or a bartender who doesn’t serve you watered-down or alcohol-free versions of the drinks your customers buy you (and expect you to swallow). It’s unsustainable; trust me — you don’t wanna go there.
The good news is, it’s worth it. You do have to put in the work, but when you’re at the right club, have good spots on the schedule, and get support from the employees, you can earn a very nice stripper salary. $1,000 to $2,000 on just one good weekend night is very realistic, and beyond that is not unheard of. This is a very lucrative line of work for those who know what they’re doing.
An established stripper, working at a reputable strip club, can make thousands of dollars on a good night. It’s all about picking the right club, and getting those golden spots.
If I’m honest, though, I would have to recommend webcam modeling over stripping for most girls. It’s essentially the same kind of work as stripping at a club, but so much easier and less stressful. On a cam site, no dude will ever touch you, there’s no one to tip out, and your “VIP room” visits are just one-on-one private video feeds. You also don’t have to worry about ending up in traction after hurting yourself doing complicated dance stunts on a stripper pole; it’s all much more subdued online.
Best of all, the same kind of stripper-level pay is there in full force. You can make just as much (or more) money on a cam site as you could on your best nights at a strip club. The incomes that many cam girls are currently pulling down would make your jaw hit the floor, believe me. I cover that extensively in my cam girl earnings article here.