How much do female strip dancers make

Here's How Much Strippers Actually Make

  • The amount of money a stripper makes on any given night is unpredictable and influenced by factors ranging from the weather and the economy to a dancer's mood and costume.
  • One dancer who was working on New Year's Eve received $500 for talking to a man about neuroscience for 20 minutes.
  • Another dancer said it's possible for strippers to lose money in a night if they can't cover their tip out and house fee.

The number one thing that dancers like about stripping is the money. Most women expressed that, at least in the beginning, to be given rolls of cash for making conversation, drinking freely, and giving the occasional private dance was very exciting.

For many dancers, like Laura, who is 19 years old, money made from stripping also allowed them much needed financial security, and the means to provide some luxuries for their children. Laura said:

I have a little boy and I’m married. It's helped our life a lot because financially speaking — I moved out when I was 16, had my little boy at 15. Financially, I was making $7.25-an-hour and things were hard. Whereas now, in two weeks I'm doing a big haunted house for all the kids in the neighborhood. I've put thousands of dollars into it just for the kids, and we're still okay. So we’re able to relax a little more. Things aren’t as stressful outside of here. Birthday parties, Christmas, wanting to just go to the zoo, or do something — that's a possibility now, and it's really not that hard for me to achieve because our work is so flexible and we can work as much as we want. So I can just work an extra night and these things are possible.

Some of the women I interviewed also shared stories of men who gave them a large sum of money without expecting any sexual favors in exchange.

These experiences are important to dancers not only because it is gratifying to receive a gift of money but also because they reaffirm the woman's belief in the generosity of some clients. Dana's story is typical of these lucrative encounters with clients:


I had a really good customer come in, a younger guy, and I totally didn't trust him either. He always wanted to go out, and I thought he was married. I still wonder to this day if he was married. But he came in, and on my birthday last year he brought in seven or eight hundred dollars: here you go, no strings attached, no anything. I thought that was really neat. Most of them are just like that, people just being nice. An older guy — he was a car dealer — he came in around Christmas time, and I sat with him for a little bit, and he asked me what I bought for my daughter. And I said I hadn’t bought her anything yet. I wasn't able to. And he said, "You need to get that baby something, here," and he slaps two hundred dollars on the table. "Tell her this is from me." And I had just met the guy. So it’s just people who do nice things out of the blue, out the ordinary. I know it’s money things, but it's just the thought that went behind it giving you the money.

Some dancers have encountered customers who come to strip clubs not expecting dances in return for their money. via Before The Door Pictures

Recently single, and working on New Year's Eve, April was feeling a little blue until she danced for a generous customer:

I was single and I was kind of depressed. He comes in and we go up to the VIP room. We’re up there twenty minutes, and he has to leave because he’s having a New Year’s Eve party, and he gives me $500. So that was pretty cool. That doesn’t happen as much as people think—20 minutes of work—$500. And I didn’t do anything. I was a neurology major at the time, and we were talking about the structure of the brain while I was dancing for him, and it was really weird. It was actually the least sexual dance I’d ever done. We were sitting there talking about serotonin levels and dopamine levels and neurons and the limbic system, the temporal lobe, the parietal lobe, all this stuff. I’m sitting here dancing for him, and he just gives me $500 and leaves.

Like Dana, April appreciated that this customer recognized her as a person and, in her case, as an intelligent woman, in addition to giving her a large gift of cash.

The desire for money, the need for money, and the impact of money on dancers' lives cannot be overestimated. But, as April’s reflections indicate, the meaning of money for dancers goes beyond its purchasing power. It may signify, as it did for Dana, that a customer appreciates and can empathize with her struggles.

At the same time, the amount of money a woman makes on any given night is unpredictable, and influenced by uncontrollable factors like the weather, the economy, the time of the month, and the number of other performers working, as well as elements under a dancer’s control, like her mood and costume.

Beverly, who is 24 years old, has made as much as $500 and as little as $3 in a shift. Beverly also described nail-bitingly stressful days when she made no money at all for four hours and then, at the very end of the night (1:30 a.m.) collected $250 from last-minute table dances.

Stacy, who is 32 years old, wonders how girls working day shifts even survive. She said, "I’ve seen day shifts where we've had one guy come in here and buy one dance." It’s particularly distressing for a dancer to leave work owing money if she does not earn enough to cover tip-out and her house fee.

Jenny Cheng/INSIDER

STRIPPED is an INSIDER series featuring adapted excerpts from the book "Stripped: More Stories from Exotic Dancers" by Bernadette Barton. Bernadette Barton is an author and Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Morehead State University. To read more from "Stripped: More Stories from Exotic Dancers" you can purchase the book here.

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How Much Do Strippers Make (What It Really Looks Like)

Climbing The Ladder

By Sayoni Nyakoon | Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Why become a stripper? An easy answer is: Money.

You see, when I turned 18, I became financially stable. I had earned acceptance into City Year, packed my belongings, and moved to Denver. I worked 60 hours a week, and saved most of what I earned. At age 19, I started my undergrad at the University of Colorado, and found it difficult to balance working even just twelve hours a week and maintain decent grades. Then, I turned 20, and was offered an unpaid internship with the Colorado Department of Education. I realized that if I accepted the offer, I would risk my financial security and independence. Later that summer, I became a stripper.

To put all the clichés and myths to rest, to let you hear it from the horse’s mouth — or the stripper’s tax return — let’s throw numbers around about what a stripper salary looks like.

I would earn $76,800 dollars a year — before taxes — if I worked for six hours a day, four days out of the week, and averaged $400 each night.

The truth about stripping is an average of $400 per night is an acceptable number for many exotic dancers. Not good, not bad — acceptable. A four day per week, six-hour shift is the standard: acceptable, if draining. There are some exotic dancers who would never return to a club if they could not make at least $500 per four-hour shift. There are also some exotic dancers who would beg for an opportunity to make $300 per eight-hour shift.

Strippers take pride in how much money can you earn from stripping. A large sum of money can turn what many would consider an immoral and degrading profession into a practical one. The almighty dollar breaks down stigma and taboo —  for some unfortunate souls, it defines their self-worth. Hence, why a dancer would quit after one bad (i.e., <$400.00) night. Yes, an exotic dancer would expect to make more money in Manhattan — where a studio apartment often costs $2,000, if not much more — than in Denver, where you can find a one-bedroom in a high-rise for $900. But when you live in a city like Denver, and you threaten to quit over a few low nights, you have to ask yourself, exactly what are you trying to prove? And to whom?

The same questioned applies to what exotic dancers/strippers/ecdysiasts choose to call themselves. The word “stripper” is considered dirty, titillating, or uncouth. While I prefer to call a spade a spade, I have met strippers who are genuinely offended to be placed in the same category as the low-paid, classless, and deeply stupid characters that parade around in pasties on television screens, who need saving in big-budget movies. I am not a stripper, they protest, I am an entertainer. An Exotic Dancer.

And yet…Go-Go dancers are technically exotic dancers, but they DO NOT strip (ask them). And I must admit — not all strippers dance. So what’s a…person who dances and takes off her clothes to do? Besides admitting that the words basically mean the same thing, and it is just connotations that vary. However, while I personally could not give a single fuck about someone who finds my profession uncouth simply based on its name, I would hate to unintentionally titillate someone as an alternative. And I pride myself on being straightforward. Therefore, I refer to myself and others in my profession as ecdysiasts, i.e., striptease artists. You can thank Gypsy Rose Lee for getting H. L. Mencken to come up with the term. Gypsy Rose Lee considered herself a “high class stripper,” and while I can write and say and act like I don’t care about what people think of my profession, I like having a term for what I do that winks at my intelligence.

Exotic dancing does not require any sort of formal education. Most clubs allow you to dance once you reach 18. The flexibility given to ecdysiasts is one I have never encountered in another industry. Generally, you can work as little or as much as you want — as long as you are a good ecdysiast and always, always, always make the club money. You see, ecdysiasts are independent contractors. They pay “rent” to dance in a club, fees to use [private/VIP/champagne] rooms, and “tips” for the DJ, dressing room manager (house mom), bouncers, hair professional, makeup professional, hosts, and (occasionally) the bus boys.

How much does it cost to make a fantasy come to life? Again, this varies by state, city, borough, and neighborhood. Some clubs require an ankle-length gown ($100.00), and others don’t mind cheap lingerie (~$50.00). Heels that are at least four inches high and hair that reaches your shoulders (at least) are cheap in comparison. The ecdysiast herself gets to decide how much to spend on makeup, accessories, and everything else that makes her prepared to confidently tell a stranger, “The private room is 500 dollars per half hour.

When you’re an ecdysiast, you walk into work saying a prayer. Either you leave the club a few hours later with $2,000, or you stay the entire night and leave with less money than you entered. This is true whether you do or don’t include the cost of upkeep an ecdysiast must spend to maintain herself and the illusion she sells. It is entirely possible to work an entire week and come out in the negative.

In my three and a half years as an ecdysiast — not necessarily brief, when you consider most ecdysiasts quit after five years — I’ve seldom returned home in the negative. On the contrary, I’ve been able to firmly cement my own financial security, financially assist friends and relatives, and go on vacations. Lots and lots of vacations.

I don’t write this piece to glorify or demonize stripping as a profession. However, there is plenty of misinformation regarding sex work, and I intend to clear the air. Exotic dancing is a side hustle that some turn into a career. It is a way to make money.

Sayoni is a Kentucky born, Philadelphia raised, Colorado educated, wannabe novelist and MFA candidate living in New York City. She is especially fond of Japanese food.

Image via Pexels

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90,000 Stripper wages in America. Salary and tips


There are a lot of clubs in the USA where strippers dance. This is not the highest paid profession in the state, but some girls earn very well. It should be understood that the country has a very well established tax collection system. This process has been worked out almost to the ideal, so not a single stripper in an interview admits how much she actually receives. Information about the official salary, of course, is available, but information about tips, which can form a significant proportion of the funds received for a shift, is rather vague.

How to become a stripper

There are no specialized educational institutions where you can get a profession of a stripper in the USA. Pretty young girls aged 18-25 have a high chance of getting a place as a stripper in one of the country's clubs. Naturally, any employer evaluates a candidate according to the following criteria:

  • external data (figure, beauty, etc.), which must be at the level;
  • ability to dance and move beautifully;
  • knowledge of elementary acrobatic numbers is an additional plus;
  • sociability and emancipation in communication.

The ability to attract not only by appearance, but also by other advantages is only welcome. However, one must understand that respectable striptease clubs are not a brothel, therefore, it is impossible to cross the line of decency when applying for a job. By the way, you can find a place for a stripper by an ad on specialized sites, but there are practically no worthy vacancies. It is much more efficient to search through friends or on your own - just by visiting strip clubs and offering your services.

The average salary of a stripper

The range of the official average salary of a stripper in the US is quite large. It is 20-40 dollars per hour (43,000-68,000 per year). The median level is $50,000 per year. However, some girls with experience working in elite strip clubs can receive up to $100 an hour, and their annual earnings are comparable to those of representatives of prestigious professions. Tips should be mentioned separately, as sometimes they make up the bulk of the money earned.

An experienced stripper who worked in Atlanta reported that she was paid $34-$50 per shift (6 hours). However, sometimes I had to work 2 shifts in a row. In this case, the hourly rate doubled. In this club, the main income of the girls was tips - at least $ 400 per shift. There were days/nights when the stripper went home with $1,500 in her pocket. At the same time, the rules of the institution provided that 10% of the tip amount had to be paid to the club's cash desk.

Average earnings of strippers in expensive states and cities

In fact, the difference in earnings of strippers in cheap and expensive states may not be significant, since to a greater extent it depends on the place of work, traffic in the club and the experience of the girls. However, there is a difference. Below is information about the average salary range in some expensive cities and states in the country (October 2021).

Official salary without tips


In these and other expensive US cities, experienced girls can earn much more. In particular, dancing at closed parties and other events.

Average earnings of strippers in low-cost states and cities

Traditionally, the southern states of the country are considered less wealthy. Accordingly, in them, representatives of any profession, including strippers, earn a little less, but the difference with expensive states is not critical. $20-$32 $41,700 -
$61,700 $50,560

Naturally, even in relatively inexpensive states, there are strippers who earn much more, but none of them really make much more because of their high incomes taxes prescribed by the laws of the state.

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The manager of a strip club spoke about professional difficulties, salaries, strange clients and strippers. Rubric "What infuriates me" |

The manager of the strip club thinks that such work is a real test of strength


We continue the rubric “What makes me angry”, in which representatives of various professions pour out their hearts. Our new heroine represents one of the most popular specialties - a manager. But she manages not a restaurant or an office, but a strip club.

On the rights of anonymity, we publish her monologue - without remarks and cuts.

Almost everyone is hired as a stripper. The selection of managers is much more stringent. I had the feeling that I was getting a job in the FSB. Phone interviews, Skype interviews, face-to-face interviews, internships, lots of testing, despite the fact that I have ten years of experience in managerial positions: in nightclubs, and daytime, and drinking, and dance, and simple clubs. It seemed that nothing would surprise me anymore, that I would be easy and comfortable anywhere. I was wrong.

The catering structure is usually built like this: there is a director, a manager, a bar manager (senior bartender) and a manager. That is, you are completely relieved of responsibility for the bar, kitchen and host part (meeting guests. - Note ed. ). There is no such thing in a strip club. The manager must be able to absolutely everything. Know where everything is, how everything works, where the water shuts off, how the meters turn on, how to work as a cashier and a DJ. My job responsibilities are opening/closing shifts, scheduling work for dancers and waitresses, keeping the whole room clean.

I am also responsible for general cleaning and corporate events, for compiling applications for products and filling out documentation. And also for the inventory of property that managers give out to girls in installments. These are shoes, underwear, jewelry.

Your second manager becomes close to you, like a husband, like a wife, like a brother. You are in touch 24/7, you call each other at night, you always answer each other, you are like Siamese twins. You don't connect with anyone the way you do with him. Because the club works seven days a week, and you always have to know what's going on in it. New work standards are constantly being introduced, someone is blacklisted, someone is fired, new girls come, they are given property.

In addition to the above, the manager's responsibilities include the recruitment of dancers, waitresses, bartenders, DJs and others. I have to train and train them, provide adaptation for new dancers. If the girls go on your shift for the first time, then you put them on, dress them, prepare them for everything and let them out into the big world.

Everything in the hall is your responsibility. During the shift, it may seem that you are not doing anything, but everything in the club is built in such a way that no matter who is at fault, you will be the one to blame.

My biggest responsibility is my princesses. My ladies. My queens. I work with a director who can flirt with them, sort of encouraging their sexuality. I never liked it. Maybe it's because I'm a woman myself.

The fact is that there are 30-40 beautiful ladies in the team, and of course they should listen to you. But 30 out of 40 are narcissistic queens who are not going to listen to you, or even contact you in any way. Especially if you just came, and they definitely know everything better than you.

But I really like people. Each girl has her own problems, her own questions, and I am sincerely interested in them. I want them to succeed. When they leave the club, I should be upset: I don’t have enough dancers on my shift now, but I’m happy for them. Especially when they go away and get on with their lives.

There are those who come just to earn some money, those who hit the jackpot and leave, but there are others. Girls who work for a long time, who are not going anywhere, although they may be over 30. Despite their age, most often inside they are children who need support and help. They are often from other cities, and you become a mother duck for them, who follows them, calls them, helps them, wipes their tears and bandages their fingers when they cut themselves. It's all part of your job. But if you don’t know how to do this and are not inclined to sympathy, then it will probably be especially difficult with girls.

Why do they go to striptease? For grandmothers. This is 99% of the cases. At any competent interview, future dancers are explained how much they will earn. Who doesn't want money in this world? The main motivation is money. Definitely. There is also such a subtlety as self-affirmation. Girls need to prove that they are beautiful. It seems to me that this may be due to the psychological trauma of childhood, with dislike, and the girls are trying to achieve love for themselves like this, looking for recognition for themselves. Next is connections. You can meet rich people, go on vacation, get a car, live at someone's expense, and so on. For girls who are 18-20 years old, this is sometimes the height of dreams.

My company is really against the provision of sexual services, because there is an article for it. But if you didn't follow through and somewhere in a dark corner your princess performed such a service, you are responsible for it. Criminally responsible. Of course, the company will fight for you in court, and it is unlikely that you will have a term, but still it is quite possible to sit down with such a job. The law works this way.

Girls are fired on the spot for this. I can't deny: there are clubs that provide sex services. Everyone knows about it. But this is more about Moscow or St. Petersburg. When you have 12 million people and there is a stream of regular visitors, you can do something quietly somewhere. But in smaller cities it doesn’t work like that, they will definitely find out about it quickly and quickly cover it up.

But, of course, not everything is so decorous and noble. There are buyouts: this is when a girl pays a club a fine for leaving her shift in the middle of the night. Leaving a shift is an absolutely legal activity. Even if she leaves with her guest to the nearest hotel. Once the dancer pays the fine, she is in no way an employee of the club, and what she does next is her own business. She is her own mistress, she decides for herself how to manage this or that situation, a man, a woman, money - anything. My responsibility ends here. All I do is just take a ticket for her quitting her shift. The girl does the rest herself, by personal agreement with the guest and purely at her own request.

This area pays more. Everyone. My company has such a policy: it sets salaries for all positions an order of magnitude higher than the average for the region.

Money is what makes you stay here. Salaries are always paid on time. No questions, no talking. This is captivating, as the catering and entertainment industry is extremely unstable, especially in terms of salaries. In other places, they can tell you that you didn’t fulfill the plan, or you are behind on interest, or you don’t have enough hours, or fines, and as a result, out of the promised 50 thousand, you get 10, sit and cry. This company doesn't have that. This is great.

It's also cool that there is no salary cap. You, just doing your job, making sure that the service group sells well, and the girls dance, you can get a really good salary. If you fulfill the plan, then four times more than the average salary in the region.

You bring your nerves in a bag, leave them at this job and go about your business.

Their behavior, especially when alcohol is added to it, becomes completely uncontrollable. You can have one lady per shift be in a state of extreme intoxication - or maybe six or seven. Or ten. And they will all misbehave. Your task, firstly, is to prevent this, but if something went wrong, then cope with it. Since the girls are well aware that the institution as a whole rests on them and on their services, they cannot be intimidated by sanctions. They know that they will almost never suffer a really strong punishment.

The atmosphere in a strip club is fundamentally different from any other place. In an ordinary bar, a man comes, drinks and cannot afford much. If he tries to spank the waitress, the manager will come and explain that this is not allowed.

It is hard for female managers to work. We are not taken seriously, because the guest is surrounded by the same ladies. They are all naked, dancing for him and sitting on his lap, and then another nice girl comes and starts telling him that he is wrong about something.

The manager of a strip club constantly has to explain to the guests that she doesn't need to offer dances. It is difficult to simply prove to a person that you have other duties, that you are performing a different function here. If in an ordinary establishment you can seize the location of a guest with your smile, then here his location was stolen long ago by ladies who buried his face in their beautiful breasts. Your smile will not help you in any way, it remains only to export on professional qualities. Plus, the very atmosphere of the club encourages people to do illegal things. They are more open to chaos. They create game, and you are responsible for it. It's hard.

I would divide the club guests into groups. There are couples in search of new sensations. There are wealthy men who are looking for a lady with whom they will leave for the night. There are foreigners who are brought in just to show them the club as a tourist spot on the map. Russian girls are really very beautiful, but in the club they still know how to do this, that and that. There are bachelor parties - as a result of the stereotype that you need to go to a strip club, and a stripper must dance on the groom. This is a thrill and cool, otherwise the bachelor party failed. There is also a middle segment: ordinary presentable men with a good amount of money.

There are also men (especially in the below average segment) who can afford a bottle of beer, dance and nothing else. But it is precisely such people who are very much stuffing their own price, require communication and sit in the club for eight hours.

My relatives don't know where I work. The husband knows, he is absolutely calm. He's in the catering industry. My friends, in very small numbers, also know. The rest are not. My parents are very conservative people. This is the case when you know less - you sleep better.

With this work, I have a different look at the girls who work in the clubs. I realized how hard it is - both mentally and physically. Whoever says that striptease is easy money, in fact it is not easy at all. Striptease is legs pounded into blood and calluses on the hands from pylons, knees broken on the stage, these are legs and stomachs scratched on belts and buttons, these are broken nails.

All men are different. Someone, for a joke, can pull on the hair or slap on the skin without calculating the force. The girls have bruises and torn hair after some guests. You are constantly forced to lose weight, your skin is irritated from heavy makeup. You do not sleep at night, and during the day you often also study.

I also became more comfortable with the topic of sex in general. It was always not very comfortable for me to talk about it in large companies, to listen to vulgar things - too. After this work, absolutely everything is comfortable. I can speak on any topic, discuss anything.

It's hard to say if it's worth it. This is a purely personal question. Such work breaks you down a lot, makes you reconsider many things, learn quickly and cooperate. Agree. Many people came to us from outside, and they all quickly left. They couldn't handle the onslaught of crazy drunk women, waiters, a bunch of standards that had to be upheld. Working in a strip club is a test of strength.

For me it's worth it. The good news is that your work really pays off. We all work for money, we are not altruists, and therefore, if your mental and physical condition allows you to work at night, according to a completely crazy schedule, then yes, try it. But of all my experience, this one is the hardest.

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