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Author Topic: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits  (Read 7822 times)

Taylor Hall

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 09:22:43 am »

Steve stole my talking point, but it's the same in numerous other areas. Technology has advanced to the point that the equipment itself is now cheaper and more approachable, and the knowledge needed to make it "work" is pretty much freely available online. Anyone with a couple grand can buy a bar gig rig that will get the job done, much in the same way that any yahoo can buy a DSLR or a couple CDJs and call themselves a competent photographer or DJ.

It always comes down to having the skills to back up the equipment that separates the bottom feeders from the real pros. The problem now is that people don't want to pay for that expertise when they get the "same rig" for half the price or more. All I can say is that I'm glad I have a day job, because I couldn't see myself making a living off of this.
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Robert Weston

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2014, 09:36:22 am »

Just like being an auto mechanic - I have an in-depth knowledge of carbureted engines, headers, manifolds, and distributor timing - my skills have little value today due to computers, FI engines, and anyone being able to diagnose their own engine issues with over-the-counter OBD readers and the internet.  I was forced to changed in order to make a living.
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MIKE Lynn

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2014, 09:38:19 am »

  This stuff happens in every business and you just have to roll with it , if they dont have the budget for your rig its simple they arent your customer, some people dont care at all about quaility they only care about bottom dollar price. I wont work for pennies, but at the same time dont need to make all my money on 1 job. find the medium and figure out at what point its worth leaving the house and doing a gig. Theres a guy in my area that brings out a full PA for $400 bucks. (Local Bar Gig) 2 dual 18 subs , dual 15" 2 ways on top , rack full of amps, rack full of processing, 32Ch Mix, 5 stage wedges , all the mics / stands, full kit miced, you get the idea , and gets there 4 hours prior to start time ,4 hours gig time and then break down and load out. Seems crazy to me for 400 bucks. I couldnt do it for less than $1500. But thats what I think is reasonable. Others on here may say Im too cheep and wouldnt go out on gig like that for less than 3K. So my point is that in this case that gig isnt for me at the price they pay, but it is to the guy doing it i guess. I could do it but its not worth it to me. Actually would cost me $400 in labor to do the gig. I will agree that there are far more people out there that think they know what they are doing in this business that actually do know what they are doing.
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Brian Bingham

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2014, 10:13:55 am »

I have seen many "pros" tell "noobies" on forums about pricing of live sound services to: charge what your worth. If you're still learning go out for free or $100. They specifically said don't charge what a pro charges until you're a pro. Now I'm new to this forum so I haven't read that here but I've read posts like that on almost every live sound forum I've come across. I think some pros drove their own price down telling all the noobs they're not worth as much...

The going rate here is also about $300 which is crazy low. We take a few gigs on slow nights at this price. Mileage is always extra tho. Gas is just too expensive.


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Steve M Smith

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2014, 10:18:12 am »

Gas is just too expensive.

I read this a lot on forums - usually from Americans who have some of the cheapest fuel in the world.  Here in the UK, it's about twice the US price!


Steve.
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Brian Bingham

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2014, 10:27:15 am »

I still remember the late 90's when I could fill up my honda accord for $10. Gas floated around $1/gallon. Now it's usually somewhere around $4. I'd definitely have to re-evaluate my business if I had to pay double. There are some gigs we travel 500 miles to do. Most are under 200 miles tho.


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Steve M Smith

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2014, 10:30:11 am »

Most are under 200 miles tho.

I don't think I have ever travelled that far for work.  I do live on an island 26 miles wide though!


Steve.
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John Chiara

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2014, 10:37:59 am »

I throw another perspective out. In my area there are literally dozens of sound 'companies' but the worst offenders it seems are the legit ones. Local 11 show series I stopped bidding on as it was so underpriced it was ridiculous. The talent buyer is a good friend, they have the same company this year as last... Buyer tells company they were late for 4 shows last year and it is crucial that they are show ready by 5PM....first thing out of the company presidents mouth..."well it is a shoestring budget."
No s*^#!!! YOU LOWBALLED THE BID!!
I am convinced they just don't want someone else doing any shows. If the quality was even decent I would not complain but obviously that isn't the case. I am mixing a friends band opening the first show..I don't have high hopes for a good experience.BTW... I used to be hired by this company JUST to mix shows and I mixed 16 shows in this exact location with the sane system.
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brian maddox

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2014, 11:03:37 am »

I have seen many "pros" tell "noobies" on forums about pricing of live sound services to: charge what your worth...

And it's companion axiom, be worth what you charge [which you did allude to in the rest of your post].

 It doesn't really ultimately matter what you Think you're worth, the market will determine what you're worth.  Trust me.  If you raise your prices and go out of business you weren't worth the money, at least in the market you work in.

So, how do you raise your worth?  To answer that i give you Brian's two laws for making money.

1.  Don't do something everybody else WANTS to do.  Like hanging out with drunk chicks mixing in bars for free beer and gas money.  Nobody LIKES doing corporate talking head gigs, so guess where the money is?

2.  Make sure the person paying you isn't spending their own money.  Bar gigs are paid by bands or club owners who are paying you their own money that they got by prying money out of the bar patron's hands.  Corporate gigs are paid by the accounts payable department.  again, no surprise where the money is.

You can do a lot of things to stretch the boundaries of these laws, but very few people are lucky enough to be able to break them, especially in the sound business.
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brian maddox
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Ray Aberle

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Re: low balling a weekend worriors that have ruined profits
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2014, 12:22:43 pm »

The talent buyer is a good friend, they have the same company this year as last... Buyer tells company they were late for 4 shows last year and it is crucial that they are show ready by 5PM....first thing out of the company presidents mouth..."well it is a shoestring budget."
No s*^#!!! YOU LOWBALLED THE BID!!

I am surprised that they didn't have a clause in the contract in regards to tardiness this year, let alone that they hired them back. A good portion of our business is about customer service and reliability, and to not be where you need to be, when you are supposed to be there, reflects poorly on your company as well as the industry as a whole.

Bill made some good points- part business practices, but also differentiating yourself from others in the market. There's a company I know of (and I don't like to name names) that has been getting gigs by undercutting other established companies. "Hire our stage, and we'll throw in PA for free." Or losing money on the labor, because they want to gain new clients and hopefully keep them. Well, they're pissing people off. I rely a lot on my relationships and connections with the other companies in the Pacific Northwest, for cross-rents, referrals, etc, so I am determined to maintain good relationships with them!

Regarding business in general, sometimes you have to think outside the box, and figure out other ways to set yourself apart from the other providers in the area. *Why* are you worth a higher fee then another company? Great service? Cutting edge equipment? Bands love to work with you? Bundling things can also help as well. If you don't do lighting, maybe get a small LED kit for the bar gigs. In order to "beat the recession," and be able to put my fingers in a few more pots then I had in the past, I ended up buying new gear. I invested in ellipsoidals for doing custom gobos (and specialized lighting) at weddings. I bought a diesel generator in 2012, along with a couple hundred feet of cam feeder and 150' of cable ramps. This has allowed me to not only increase my rental income, both to my clients and to other companies, but also sell myself as a more rounded "one-stop-shop" for an event. (Although I drew the line at staging and video walls. Haha.)

-Ray
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Kelcema Audio
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