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Author Topic: Breaking into corporate  (Read 731 times)

Ed Lohr

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Breaking into corporate
« on: April 25, 2014, 08:30:44 am »

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for some advice/tips/wisdom from the sound pro's.

A little history...

For the past 25+ years I've been in the sound reinforcement biz either working for myself or working for other providers mostly doing bars, night clubs, festivals and such. A few years back I sold all of my equipment and hooked up with a national sound company and got to do some touring and arena shows for a little while. That was cool and all but it wasn't paying the bills so I bailed out and got a day job. Today, I still have the day job and have been working weekends in the bars and clubs again with a new sound system that I put together. I've been running it pretty regularly for the past 6 years.

The question...

The day job has been good to me for the past 14 years or more but since I got back into the sound biz, sound is all I can think about. Plus work at the day job is slowing down and I feel like any day now I may be laid off. What I'd like to do is ditch the day gig and do sound full time again. The problem is, I can't survive on the just the weekend work. I need to fill in with something during the week. I was thinking that some "corporate" work would be good but I'm not sure where to start. How can I get a foot in the door? I'm talking about conferences, lectures, speeches and things like that. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: Breaking into corporate
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2014, 09:28:15 am »

Consider that most hotels and conference centers have an AV tech on staff and sell this as part of the room. 

Govt meetings and judge  always working and do updates from time to time with local approved installer. 

Theater's  ??  Installed and AV on staff. 

Movie theater ???   

We are working against many options.  Mobile event that is possibly outside because services are available as part of room rental. 

Outside and tent is based on weather and location, source of power and cost. 

It will be a balancing act  between  day and one off band jobs. 
  If you win a local concert in the park every weekend will you loose you one off band jobs??  Still balance. 
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Richard Turner

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Re: Breaking into corporate
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2014, 10:44:12 am »

Al I can speak to is locally the 2 large hotels are part of a chain and all conference services are bid on for 1-3 year contracts regionally in groups of 10 or so hotels and when they sell the conference space and rooms AV is another line of the contract sold directly by the hotel/convention center.

If a person having an event wants to use their local provider they end up having to pay a buy out fee

This is how it ends up being a charge of $500 (arbitrary number) for a headset microphone 2 powered speakers and a recording device for a small meeting room for a couple hours. The hotel has the commitment for a conference based on cheap rooms or meals then reams their customers on the back end with inflated fees for AV and set design etc.

Now there are likely many local independently run halls or meeting spaces in your area , parks and recreation department of your municipality, shopping malls, grand openings etc etc. the trade is there if you can find it but most likely someone has the gig already or its been bid so competitively yo may or may not cover fuel to get you there and back to do the job.

How big is the church market in your area. Do any of them larger ones actually pay for production or are they working on a free labour business plan.


Don't laugh but look at the math of being a mobile DJ/uplighting service, you can set yourself up in that game nicely for about 20k including licensed music tuxedo and scrim for everything but thats still a weekend gig.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Breaking into corporate
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2014, 11:50:05 am »

Al I can speak to is locally the 2 large hotels are part of a chain and all conference services are bid on for 1-3 year contracts regionally in groups of 10 or so hotels and when they sell the conference space and rooms AV is another line of the contract sold directly by the hotel/convention center.

If a person having an event wants to use their local provider they end up having to pay a buy out fee

This is how it ends up being a charge of $500 (arbitrary number) for a headset microphone 2 powered speakers and a recording device for a small meeting room for a couple hours. The hotel has the commitment for a conference based on cheap rooms or meals then reams their customers on the back end with inflated fees for AV and set design etc.

Now there are likely many local independently run halls or meeting spaces in your area , parks and recreation department of your municipality, shopping malls, grand openings etc etc. the trade is there if you can find it but most likely someone has the gig already or its been bid so competitively yo may or may not cover fuel to get you there and back to do the job.

How big is the church market in your area. Do any of them larger ones actually pay for production or are they working on a free labour business plan.


Don't laugh but look at the math of being a mobile DJ/uplighting service, you can set yourself up in that game nicely for about 20k including licensed music tuxedo and scrim for everything but thats still a weekend gig.

The contracted AV company has to pay the hotel 50% (or more) of the AV fees as a "commission."  The $400 projector and $250 screen rental grosses $325 to the AV shop, who then has to pay for labor, depreciation, repairs &  maintenance, etc. as well as earn a profit for the home office.  When a customer complains about either the amount of the fee or complains about the quality of work, the hotel will unilaterally discount the fee (no chance for the AV firm to defend, refute, or reach an agreement), but the discount comes out of the AV shop's take.  The hotel ALWAYS gets their full commission.  ALWAYS.
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Richard Turner

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Re: Breaking into corporate
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2014, 03:02:37 pm »

Yup, Had that conversation one afternoon about 4 years ago with the regional manager of a national provider on what was the last gig on a contract they had with a major hotel . I was mix guy for a duo that did the corporate entertainment circuit at the time.

They were in at 40% kickback with a minimum discount rate, They lost the bid to another national AV provider who did a deal at 55% and other conditions attached.
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Mike Pyle

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Re: Breaking into corporate
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2014, 03:34:17 pm »

I have an actual quote here from the A/V rep at the Hyatt in Burlingame, CA. The quote is for the use of FOUR 20a Edison receptacles during a 3 day event. No distro or other equipment involved, just the cost to plug into their wall outlets. Grand total is $3379.80.
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Mike Pyle  Audiopyle Sound  707-315-6204
Dealer For: Yorkville, EV, QSC, RCF, FBT, SLS, Renkus Heinz, Danley Sound Labs, Tannoy, Lab Gruppen, Powersoft, VTC, EAW, Allen & Heath, Ashly, APB, Denon, Rane, Audix, One Systems, OnPoint Audio, Beyerdynamic, Presonus, K&M, Ultimate, Global Truss, Road Ready, SKB, Gator, Radial Engineering, Turbosound, dB Technologies, American DJ, Odyssey, ProCo, Rapco, CBI, Elation, Mipro, Chauvet, Blizzard, Shure, Whirlwind, BenQ, Yamaha, Line 6, more...

Richard Turner

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Re: Breaking into corporate
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2014, 05:04:12 pm »

I have an actual quote here from the A/V rep at the Hyatt in Burlingame, CA. The quote is for the use of FOUR 20a Edison receptacles during a 3 day event. No distro or other equipment involved, just the cost to plug into their wall outlets. Grand total is $3379.80.

$70.40/hr based on room usage 8am-midnight 48 hours, I'd guess you were buying out 1 tech plus 2 stage hands to get into the room with your equipment.
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Mike Pyle

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Re: Breaking into corporate
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2014, 05:43:39 pm »

$70.40/hr based on room usage 8am-midnight 48 hours, I'd guess you were buying out 1 tech plus 2 stage hands to get into the room with your equipment.

Fortunately I've worked with this event a few years. I always have a provision in my contract that the event covers the power needs, and the first year the hotel tried to stick them with power cost they negotiated a 240v 30a power drop to be included in the master agreement. A/V dude was determined to charge me for trading that out for a few edisons which would have suited my present needs better. When I started dragging out my trunk full of SO to run power from the distro they relented and gave me the edisons.
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Mike Pyle  Audiopyle Sound  707-315-6204
Dealer For: Yorkville, EV, QSC, RCF, FBT, SLS, Renkus Heinz, Danley Sound Labs, Tannoy, Lab Gruppen, Powersoft, VTC, EAW, Allen & Heath, Ashly, APB, Denon, Rane, Audix, One Systems, OnPoint Audio, Beyerdynamic, Presonus, K&M, Ultimate, Global Truss, Road Ready, SKB, Gator, Radial Engineering, Turbosound, dB Technologies, American DJ, Odyssey, ProCo, Rapco, CBI, Elation, Mipro, Chauvet, Blizzard, Shure, Whirlwind, BenQ, Yamaha, Line 6, more...
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