Interested in hiring a keynote speaker for your next conference or seminar?

Curious about their costs, fees, and how much they should be paid?

If you are looking to find a keynote speaker for your upcoming event, you might be wondering “How much do you pay a keynote speaker?” as their fee structure can range anywhere from free to $100k.

In this article you will discover a simple outline of the standard keynote speaker fees so you understand how much they are paid and all the costs associated with booking them.


The amount a professional speaker is paid can vary for a multitude of reasons which include:

  1. The years of experience they have
  2. The size of your audience
  3. How much you are charging
  4. If they are seen as a celebrity
  5. How popular or in-demand they are
  6. The type of event you are producing
  7. Travel expenses and other ancillary costs
  8. Whether they are an established authority in their industry
  9. If you decide to work through a speakers bureau or agency

Each of these items can have a major impact on the price quote you get when negotiating with them.

Below you will find the standard speaking fees and costs associated with the different types of keynote speakers:

Standard speaker fees

1. Free -Beginner

If you have a small event and are not looking to make a big splash, then you might want to find someone who is just starting out.

It’s common for some individuals to offer to talk for free at the beginning of their careers.

The benefits of this are twofold:

A. The Speaker gets to acquire real experience with public speaking and network with possible event organizers who might hire the speaker for a future event;

B. You, as the organizer of the event, get to save money by not having to pay for the speaker.

This setup is very common to happen with a local speaker.

Of course the downside of going this route include:

  • They are not very experienced
  • He or she might not be very reliable since you are not paying them

2. $500 – $1,500 –Intermediate

If you’re running a small event or conference, hiring someone at this price range is a good number to go for.

Again, expect the speaker here to be at the beginning of their career, but who has a bit more experience in their field.

Also, because you are paying them some monies, they are going to be much more reliable and they are more willing to invest time in working with you on the presentation.

3. $1,500 – $5,000 –Established

Speakers at this price range might be already professional speakers. However, they might not have accomplished many things in their field yet or have spoken at just a handful of events.

At this level, they are already able to attract many attendees and add considerable value to the event.

5. $5,000 – $10,000 – Advanced

This where the range for true professional speakers begin. At this point, they have already spoken at many events and accomplished many things in their industry.

It’s also at this level that the speaker starts speaking in other countries.

6. $10,000 – $25,000 – Authority

These are expert speakers that have a lot of experience and accomplishments to share with the audience.

For example, a very well-known author is often invited to speak at large conferences for this price range.

If they are established experts in business, marketing, innovation, or inspiration, you will definitely pay a premium for them.

Professional & celebrity speakers

7. $25,000 – $50,000 – Intermediate Celebrity

This price range is usually practiced with well-known and celebrity speakers who have a large baggage of experience and accomplishments.

Either that or the Speaker has experienced a real life-changing event that will add loads of value to the attendees. A good example could be a well-known Harvard Professor.

8. $50,000 – $100,000 – High Level Celebrity

This is the typical range paid to celebrity speakers at very large events. Organizers of these events might invest this amount on a celebrity Speaker if they know the ticket sales will be more than enough to cover the Speaker’s fee and all other expenses related to the event.

9. $100,000 + – Top Tier Celebrity

This one is typical for Politicians and very influential figures. Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are some examples of speakers at this price range.

See also: 11 Qualities of a good keynote speaker

Travel expenses

Bear in mind that if you’re looking to hire a speaker who is not local you might need to pay an extra flat fee to cover expenses with tickets and accommodation, aside from the speaker’s fee to talk at your event.

Also, some speakers charge more for their standard fee because of the time they have to spend traveling.

Here is an example of one professional speakers fees based upon the region they would be traveling to. This particular speaker lived in the western part of the US:

  • Local: $10,000 to $20,000
  • US East: $25,000 – $30,000
  • Europe: $30,000 – $35,000
  • Asia: $35,000 – $40,000

As you can see, the further he would have to fly the more he is going to charge.

So not only are you paying for for the actual airfare and accommodations, but you are also paying more for the “time and hassle” of traveling.

This is why some event planners opt to find someone local as it can drastically save you money and cut down on expenses.


When it comes to hiring the perfect keynote speaker for your event, it’s important to remember that your budget should highly be predicated on what the overall objective of your event is.

If you are selling high priced tickets for a conference where industry leaders are traveling from around the world to experience, then yes, you are going to have to pay a pretty penny for the top keynote speakers.

However, if your event is something that is related to gathering your own staff or supporting your community, then there is no need to go all out. You should be able to find someone highly qualified within your immediate area or a quick plane flight away.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the prices practiced when hiring a keynote speaker.

Keep those figures in mind and you will be better able to choose the right speaker for your event as well as negotiate fees and payment conditions.