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Author Topic: amateur's ruining the market  (Read 14240 times)

Kim Guibord

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amateur's ruining the market
« on: February 13, 2011, 06:07:22 pm »

I have been in production for well over 18 years now, have learned alot, and expect to always learn something new, I feel my pricing is fair, use really good gear, and my customer service is also very good, We now have a couple of new sound Companys that provide full sound & lighting @ "giving it away" rates which makes it tough for us guy's that do this for our living & and have a good history.
Just had a previous Client tell me " why would I pay your price when I get it for almost half from this other guy, I did not reply to him, but my thought is this other guy prices soooo low because of his inexperience, I was at one of his shows, 3 double 18" and 2 tops per side, absolutely no low end, I mean like if the amps were off and alot of mid/hi feedback for the majority of the bands first set... I just tell people now...you get what you pay for.
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Kim

Dick Rees

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2011, 09:02:09 pm »

Please forgive me for this, but I wonder ....... if the deciding factor for these clients is low cost, then it would seem that at one time you were the lowest cost option.  That is no longer the case and the club/band market continues its downward spiral.  Have you considered seeking other applications for your gear and experience?  Bands have not been a particularly lucrative market for a while now.
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RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 09:31:29 pm »

How about pros ruining the market.  Like the one that comes down here for winter from a cold state and under cuts all the big boys by about 50%????  Gets him work for half the year and ruins the market for our local high end professional providers for the entire year!

Some promoters only care about price and you can't do anything about that.  Some care about relationships and trust, you can control that.

Raise your prices a little higher and when you are asked why your prices are even higher explain that you never want to be the cheapest because the cheapest will alway be worth what they are paid!
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Ryan Jenkins
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brian maddox

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 11:28:24 pm »

RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS wrote on Sun, 13 February 2011 21:31

How about pros ruining the market.  Like the one that comes down here for winter from a cold state and under cuts all the big boys by about 50%????  Gets him work for half the year and ruins the market for our local high end professional providers for the entire year!

Some promoters only care about price and you can't do anything about that.  Some care about relationships and trust, you can control that.

Raise your prices a little higher and when you are asked why your prices are even higher explain that you never want to be the cheapest because the cheapest will alway be worth what they are paid!


there is an interesting thing that happens when you price your services.  when you price then low, you attract people for whom price is the selling point.  when you price high [some would call it reasonable] you attract people for whom quality is paramount.  this second group will rarely turn into a 'i need it cheaper' customer.  the first will remain that way for as long your relationship lasts.

fwiw, this issue is not new, or different, or 'worse than ever'.  there may be regional fluctuations, but people have been low-balling entertainment gigs for decades, mostly because they're 'cool' and fun to do.  if this is happening in your region, the solution is simple.  stop going after all the entertainment gigs.  if the thought of doing a teleconference, or a dinner, or a corporate event [or God forbid, wearing a tie] makes you want to break out in hives, then guess what...  you are one of those people who are doing this because it's 'cool' and fun to do.  and that's fine.  but don't expect to ever be able to extricate yourself from the feedback loop of price focused clients.

my dos centavos

brian
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Mark Gensman

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2011, 02:57:45 am »

This is called the "drawbridge" syndrome.

"I'm here so raise the drawbridge and don't allow anyone else"..

Did most of you start off by charging top dollar? Did you care at all about established sound contractors when you decided to start doing it or did you work for very little to get known and established?

It's called business.

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Mike Christy

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2011, 12:27:45 pm »

As a reference point I "started out" charging the going rate, but they were small gigs that Rainbow and Clegg and Audioeast and Moonlight probably would not bother with.

I got repeat biz because of quality, and service, not rates.

With the help of this site I found a simple formula, a percentage of the cost of the gear required to do the job properly, an hourly rate for labor/engineering, and then cross-renting or transportation costs. Its all in a spread sheet.

That formula is my standard and is in line for part time providers, but I do not believe I am under cutting anyone, and do not want to take biz away from anyone, there is plenty of work around, and Im too busy as it is do every gig.

A good point is a recent quote, where I found out after the fact much more about the gig. I had to redo the quote, and explained to the customer why it went up, by 33%. I stood fast by the new numbers, and the client finally understood my reasonaing, and evenually came around and accepted it.

Anyone is a complete fool to do this work as a hobby or to undercut. There is too much work and time involved, for little return, especially at the lower levels.

Mike

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Guy Johnson

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 08:57:32 am »

Yes, I've had hobbyists / rich kids / astute business-men under-bid me, and if you lose the job, then it's just tough.

However, if the client goes on about how they love the care you put in, and your sound-quality, and then drop you, it can grate. But then they may have overwhelming financial reasons.

However, if the client goes on about how they love the care you put in, and the sound-quality, and then drop you, it can grate. AND ... if you are doing it cheap as a bit of a favour (as it's interesting work, not usually on a Friday or Saturday) —  and they STILL drop you ... then you're into the realm of personality, politics or the client just fancies a change, which is fair enough.

So keep soldiering on, keep up the good work, price not-too-cheap, and take on any other work there may be, from wiring to mowing grass to bar-work. Actually, bar-work or waiting (on table!) is essential training for an engineer: Being polite, doing a good job under stress, and dealing with loads of different people.
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Guy Johnson

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 08:57:32 am »

oops, was double post here. Always a first time!
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Darius James

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2011, 10:24:33 am »

My area has a particular bad situation with free-be jobs. People who organize events in the area believe sound and light is something that is 100% donation based. After months of looking at it through objective eyes I have found the source. I know I am going to sound like a monster for saying it but here are my findings. Relay for life is to blame for our down spiral in live sound work, the bands are getting in line to do the jobs for free. Now the soccer mom who plans these events also think they are promoters since they did this and run the local festivals. They find the same bands who do it for free or so cheap they cannot be real artists. Now in their head they once again feel the sound and lights should be free since it is also a benefit for their community. Now we are left with a ton of fairs and festivals in the local area with sound companies fighting over the free work with promises of we will pay you next year, or just for advertisement.
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Dick Rees

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 12:46:11 pm »

Darius James wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 09:24

My area has a particular bad situation with free-be jobs. People who organize events in the area believe sound and light is something that is 100% donation based. After months of looking at it through objective eyes I have found the source. I know I am going to sound like a monster for saying it but here are my findings. Relay for life is to blame for our down spiral in live sound work....  


You are quite wrong.  It's not Relay for Life, it's this woman:

index.php/fa/34952/0/
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Darius James

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 12:50:13 pm »

Yeah good intentions pay my bills too.
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jeff harrell

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 07:47:29 pm »

i was an armature until i came unwound ! Shocked
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Silas Pradetto

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2011, 08:23:42 pm »

Darius James wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 12:50

Yeah good intentions pay my bills too.


I never could figure out how we could save the Haitians or whatever, but the Soundman declares bankruptcy and loses his house...

Even non-profits pay their employees and officers; "non-profit" doesn't mean free, it means that the company isn't set up to make corporate profit at the end of the year. There is still money involved!
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Mike_Monte

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Reply to Darius' comment
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2011, 10:48:33 pm »

Amongst my other sound gigs, I provide the sound/lighting production for three yearly "non profit" events in my community.  My personal tech services are invoiced as "free" but there is a fee for my gear rental.

When the "non-profit" calls just tell them that you'll tech the event for free (an important word) as long as the gear (that you spec) is provided (rented/installed, etc.).  You give "your rider" to the promoter and steer him/her to whom to rent from and the promoter will call you back in sticker shock....

Tell the promoter that he can rent the gear from you...for a negotiated price (even 5% less than the local rental house).
The gig is yours.
Mike M

 

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Scott Smith

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2011, 07:28:13 pm »

Kim Guibord wrote on Sun, 13 February 2011 18:07

..Just had a previous Client tell me " why would I pay your price when I get it for almost half from this other guy, I did not reply to him...

...I just tell people now...you get what you pay for.

You contradicted yourself.  Sorry to say... the "hungry" will work cheaper.. whether amateur or pro... free enterprise is the American way!  Sell yourself, or sit by and watch someone else do it.  If you charge more.. explain why.  Competition will always be out there.  Regardless, some customers have to work on tight budgets... lowest bidder is nothing new!
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Kim Guibord

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2011, 08:05:48 pm »

Again you get what you pay for.
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Kim

David A. Parker

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 12:21:01 am »

Kim Guibord wrote on Mon, 21 February 2011 19:05

Again you get what you pay for.

We are in a service oriented business. The customer is always right. Evidently what they are getting is good enough for them. It is not for us to decide what is good enough. I'd like to have prime rib every day, it certainly would be better than the hamburger I usually eat, but my budget wont tolerate prime rib every day.

When times get tough the flexible are the winners. I'm working for less money now than I was getting 15 years ago. But I'm working.
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Marty McCann

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2011, 04:24:03 pm »

In the Free Enterprise System, failure is permitted.

Nobody is too big to fail, unless the government says so.
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Dick Rees

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Re: amateurs ruining the market
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2011, 04:40:07 pm »

I've waited until now to correct the thread title, omitting the apostrophe.  "Amateur's" is a singular possessive and would logically lead to the conclusion that if it's only one "amateur" who is the problem it should be a fairly simple solution:  get rid of him.
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RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS

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Re: Reply to Darius' comment
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2011, 09:43:37 am »

Mike Monte wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 20:48

Amongst my other sound gigs, I provide the sound/lighting production for three yearly "non profit" events in my community.  My personal tech services are invoiced as "free" but there is a fee for my gear rental.

When the "non-profit" calls just tell them that you'll tech the event for free (an important word) as long as the gear (that you spec) is provided (rented/installed, etc.).  You give "your rider" to the promoter and steer him/her to whom to rent from and the promoter will call you back in sticker shock....

Tell the promoter that he can rent the gear from you...for a negotiated price (even 5% less than the local rental house).
The gig is yours.
Mike M

 




I don't know how the laws in your state are but I would do it differently here.  You never give away what you do for a living.  Charge for your labor and donate/discount the rental portion to a non-profit that you want to support.  We have to charge tax on rentals but not on labor.  If you charge for labor but discount the rental you are saving the client even more money while maintaining your bottom line.
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Ryan Jenkins
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Dave Dermont

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Re: Reply to Darius' comment
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2011, 09:26:09 pm »

RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS wrote on Wed, 23 February 2011 09:43

Mike Monte wrote on Tue, 15 February 2011 20:48

Amongst my other sound gigs, I provide the sound/lighting production for three yearly "non profit" events in my community.  My personal tech services are invoiced as "free" but there is a fee for my gear rental.

When the "non-profit" calls just tell them that you'll tech the event for free (an important word) as long as the gear (that you spec) is provided (rented/installed, etc.).  You give "your rider" to the promoter and steer him/her to whom to rent from and the promoter will call you back in sticker shock....

Tell the promoter that he can rent the gear from you...for a negotiated price (even 5% less than the local rental house).
The gig is yours.
Mike M

 




I don't know how the laws in your state are but I would do it differently here.  You never give away what you do for a living.  Charge for your labor and donate/discount the rental portion to a non-profit that you want to support.  We have to charge tax on rentals but not on labor.  If you charge for labor but discount the rental you are saving the client even more money while maintaining your bottom line.


This is how a company I work with regularly handles their many requests for donations. He donates equipment rentals to causes he chooses to donate to, and bills out the labor at regular rates.
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Dave Dermont

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2011, 09:40:49 pm »

Price competition is a part of doing business. Sometimes the clients who base their decisions based solely on price are not the best clients to have.

Nobody wants to pay more than they have to for anything. I your clients are jumping ship and not returning, you have a gap between your price and the perceived value of your service.

Perception is indeed reality.

Or...

He who lives by the basement band shall die by the basement band.
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Ron E. Dee

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Re: amateur's ruining the market
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2011, 10:52:50 am »

If anyone is trying to survive on product alone, then start your bankrupcy paperwork now.

"Great" service is the key!

A good friend and myself started a musical instrument repair & "service" operation for some extra cash. We don't compete w/ GC or any online merch dealers...we can't!

We tell NEW potential "merch" buying customers to find their own best deal on a product.... and then we tell them whether they got screwed or not. Most retailers have a good return policy, but lousy customer services.

It works out pretty good actually. We usually end up being a consultant, setting up their "deal", and selling them accessories! Eventually we earn trust, and sales on more expensive stuff that we have.

When I...and most likely YOU look for an auto mechanic, we don't look for the cheapest. RIGHT? We look for "the" guy that we can trust, and get us a decent deal. And a lifetime relationship! I remember going into panic mode when my GREAT mechanic retired a few years back!

Lets face it...we look for someone to trust, and build a relationship with on major things we don't know or understand! It frees us to think about other things in our lives! Human nature.

There is a way to work the system "if" you keep your head and wits about you!  

Keep in mind that SERVICE is now king....and not necessarily "low price" in the current marketplace!
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