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Author Topic: Time to raise prices?  (Read 2682 times)

Scott Olewiler

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2014, 07:52:28 am »

+1 on logo on the polo shirt

if you dont have a local embbroiderer $20 from vistaprint and it arrives in your mail 10 days later.

$25 if you want colored shirt. Just ordered 3 more this week. Vistaprint may be the greatest thing to happen to the home based business since the internet.  Between Vistaprint and the internet I have succesfully launched a very in demand Blues band and then the sound co. without ever cold calling anyone.  You couldn't do that 20 years ago.

Unfortunately I'm so busy in multiple projects I'm turning down as much work as I'm taking. So far this week, had to  turn down 2 band gigs and received 5 inquiries for sound jobs. Everyone wants us on the same freakin' days we're already booked. Not that I'm complaining. It's great to be wanted.
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Richard Turner

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2014, 09:33:19 pm »

I've yet to pay full fare on vistaprint, best coupon yet was $100 off $200 invoice plus some of it was buy this get free ship on full order, was around week 2 dec IIRC.

the standard business cards are just fair quality but great for a new business where your handing out 50 cards a day
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Dave Neale

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Time to raise prices?
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2014, 12:29:47 pm »

Scott, found your pricing on your web site. You should certainly bump your rates up.  At some point you are going to need to absorb the cost of repairs, whether from wear and tear or client "accidents" it's going to happen. Also I can't imagine you have much spare gear in inventory at that pricing so that's something to consider as well.

Your rates are about half of what I was getting 5-10 years ago, before I gave up from frustration at continuous newbies with cut rate prices and MI gear and found some places to park the b rigs as installs and went mostly" white glove".

I'm also making an assumption that you still have your day job...
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 12:38:39 pm by Dave Neale »
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2014, 07:14:05 am »

I just wanted to follow up on this thread. Since I started this thread I've actually raised my prices 3 times. I'm still not where I want to be yet and I'm still getting more calls than I care to take.  Going to hold prices for awhile and see if the calls continue to come in. Part of me still feels I need to prove myself a little more first.

 One thing I have done is added fees for travel time and "wait" times.  I did a show last week that was 2 hrs away and there was a 3.5 hr window between load in and performance time, due to wedding ceremony on the same grounds scheduling. We actually were set up and had sound check down in an hour even though band had allowed a 1 hr load in and 1.5 hr for sound check.

The band came out and told us after sound check they would have easily paid another $100( they were quoted a price under my old pricing). They also said at the end of the night that I was definitely one of the top 5 sound guys they've ever worked with. This is a fulltime traveling band so that meant a lot. They ended up giving us a $50 tip which I split with my helper. Since I'm trying to treat this like a business I've taken the approach that the help gets paid first whenever possible at least until I can give him a decent hourly rate so at the lower prices I've been going out on I've been splitting 60-40 with my helper( he gets the 40).

At the end of the day(after tip) he got $140 and I got $200 for a 12 hr day. I also spent $50 in gas and tolls (out of my pocket) so I ended up with only $150. That really hit home. If another company asked me to come work a 12 hr day for them for that I would have told them to pound sand. I actually had a call from a local label offering me a "full time" position doing FOH their shows for $100 a show and they wanted me to use my gear. I told the guy I wouldn't back out of my driveway for that but reality is I wasn't that far away from that money on this job.

From now on I'm going to make sure I get paid for all my time and will continue to raise my prices until I feel I've reached the limit my market can bear or move up into a higher paying market. I really appreciate all the comments and info on this thread about pidgeonholing myself into lower prices etc. A lot of you have contacted me privately and shared what you're charging so I could get a sense of fair market value. That really proved I was (and still am) underpriced and need to get my prices up as soon as possible. Since I'm already 100% legal with the state, can collect sales tax, etc. the sky should be the limit right?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 07:17:02 am by Scott Olewiler »
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2014, 11:02:02 am »

I just wanted to follow up on this thread. Since I started this thread I've actually raised my prices 3 times. I'm still not where I want to be yet and I'm still getting more calls than I care to take.  Going to hold prices for awhile and see if the calls continue to come in. Part of me still feels I need to prove myself a little more first.

Using the rules of economics, if you're getting more calls than you can handle, raise your prices NOW.  You're leaving money on the table that you can never get back if you're undercharging for your services.
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Brian Jojade

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2014, 11:38:43 am »

Using the rules of economics, if you're getting more calls than you can handle, raise your prices NOW.  You're leaving money on the table that you can never get back if you're undercharging for your services.

Preach it, Brother!
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2014, 11:39:09 am »

One thing I have done is added fees for travel time and "wait" times.  I did a show last week that was 2 hrs away and there was a 3.5 hr window between load in and performance time, due to wedding ceremony on the same grounds scheduling. We actually were set up and had sound check down in an hour even though band had allowed a 1 hr load in and 1.5 hr for sound check.

I'm less inclined to have fees for travel *time,* just *distance* -- outside of, say, 25 miles from Seattle or Portland, I'm billing mileage. If you want me to go to the San Juans, or Eastern Washington, I do expect that to be covered. Same deal with ferries/tolls- those are line items on the invoice because those are expenses you have incurred in order to provide the service. Most clients understand about those sorts of things. It's like when you order pizza- yeah, you could go pick it up yourself, but when they're paying someone to bring it to you, you reimburse them for that expense through their delivery charge.

Wait time/etc- at the level of your prices, yeah, an upcharge for chilling onsite is reasonable. I do that when I DJ weddings-- "Stand by" time, if you want me to setup at a certain time way before your ceremony, then that means I have to be there, onsite, often a long way from home, and I expect to be paid for the time I am required to be onsite.

The band came out and told us after sound check they would have easily paid another $100( they were quoted a price under my old pricing). They also said at the end of the night that I was definitely one of the top 5 sound guys they've ever worked with. This is a fulltime traveling band so that meant a lot. They ended up giving us a $50 tip which I split with my helper. Since I'm trying to treat this like a business I've taken the approach that the help gets paid first whenever possible at least until I can give him a decent hourly rate so at the lower prices I've been going out on I've been splitting 60-40 with my helper( he gets the 40).

At the end of the day(after tip) he got $140 and I got $200 for a 12 hr day. I also spent $50 in gas and tolls (out of my pocket) so I ended up with only $150. That really hit home. If another company asked me to come work a 12 hr day for them for that I would have told them to pound sand. I actually had a call from a local label offering me a "full time" position doing FOH their shows for $100 a show and they wanted me to use my gear. I told the guy I wouldn't back out of my driveway for that but reality is I wasn't that far away from that money on this job.

I get the feeling that that was "end of story" pay, and that you weren't getting anything more then the $200 to cover.... gear, both purchase, maintenance and depreciation; vehicle wear; advertising; office expense; insurance; taxes -- everything that comes from running a business.

Something to consider: set up your gear and crew as separate lines on the invoice. (and other expenses, mileage, tolls, etc, also line-itemed.) This accomplishes several things: it allows the client to see where the expense is coming from, which makes it easier to justify, say, a $200 tech charge. "You gotta pay for someone to be there!" Also, in an instance where you are discounting the gear (for a friend, charity, whatever) you can show that discounted, but still list a full crew charge. How I run things is that crew charges are inviolable-- I don't discount them, and they reflect what my guys get paid. The gear charge is what goes into my pocket, and what I choose to do with that charge is up to me.

The hard part you are in now is that a steady stream of short ($20 here, $30 there) price increases is going to bug a client that prefers to have stability in prices. If you're "always raising prices," you have to demonstrate what these new prices are getting beyond what they were getting before. It's been said that it's hard to raise prices once you get a rep for being affordable (for lack of a better term; I didn't really want to say "cheap" lol) -- so perhaps consider setting prices that are where you want to be in, say, 2 years, and give discounts to your current clients to get them back to where they're used to for now.

So, your current Big System charge is $450. Let's break that down, and actually dictate that $250 is your pay, $200 is your assistant's pay. Those two numbers (A1 and A2) are now your system floor. Any event, that is tech'd, with two people is always at least that amount. CODB. Now take your gear, figure 2-5% of it's retail value, and there's the Gear Rental line item. So your new, big-system rate is-- what, a grand or so, including those tech fees? Discount that gear rental (say it's $550) by 70% for your good clients, maybe a New Client Discount for someone who just calls you up by 30% - current clients are now paying $605, and a new client will pay $835. The New Client is going to understand that they get the New Client Discount only when they're a New Client, and will be understanding when the quote for their second event is a grand.

Basically, a) Always show what exactly someone is paying for- the more detail the better, b) keep the gear and the crew separate, so you can show/discount those as appropriate, and c) it is always better to charge a larger amount, and discount from that, so the client knows they're getting a deal, and that this discount won't always be there.

With your smaller rigs, same deal with delivery/setup/removal: that's a separate line item on your invoice. That's a service, it needs to be charged for. If someone came to your office and wanted to rent that small rig, you're charging the same for the *gear rental* as you are when it's delivered, it's just that the client who has it delivered is paying for that extra service, and they will understand a delivery charge. Someone is performing a service! (I also have a 2.5% of gear "consumables charge" for delivered rigs, since I use a good amount of gaff tape when taping cables down!)

Just some thoughts-- breakfast time now!

-Ray
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Rob Spence

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2014, 12:08:43 pm »

I have a spreadsheet to price work.

It is set up in several sections, gear, labor, transport, fees&taxes.

The gear section has my gear for 3 price points, Daily production at 3%, multi day production at 2% & rental at 5%.  Cross rent to other sound guys is at a production rate.
The rate is calculated at a percent of replacement cost x days x units. I use the multi day rate when I can leave the rig setup overnight (a little less wear & tear).
Gear is in 4 sections, sound, lights, power & cross rent.
I don't itemize cost of things like cables and stands except for dry rental.
Most of the time I don't charge for the power distribution unless it is asked for for other uses.

Labor has 3 sections, planning & design, load in/out, operation. Each section has lines for A1, A2, & crew. Load in also has a line for A1 as crew. Each line has an hourly rate. I fill in the number of hours for each line.

Transport has mileage, fuel surcharge if needed, tolls etc.

At the bottom the sections are summed such that I can apply a discount to the rental of my gear but it isn't applied to gear I had to cross rent. In the end, I can just take the summary lines for the proposal and invoice.

This makes costing much more consistent and fair.

If I want to do a favor, I can discount the gear as much as I want and I can choose to work cheaply but crew gets paid and the client can see that.

Anyway, perhaps this is useful to y'all?


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Eric Simna

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2014, 12:39:24 am »

I have a spreadsheet to price work.

It seems like you've done some serious Excel work on this.  Would you be willing to share?  This has me intrigued and I'm always looking for ways to improve.  Especially in documentation.
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claude cascioli

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Re: Time to raise prices?
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2014, 09:10:13 am »

i aggree with you. the problem is if you raise there someone else who going come in cheaper. i do this and it works.if i want a client i do the frist event at no charge i dont even discuss price till after i do the job. and 9 out of 10 times i have gotten the account. i have done this about 15 times and its paid i even got one customer to pay me 4 times what he was paying after i showed him the huge diffrence between 4 speakers on sticks(for an audence of a 1000) and a 4 box turbosound tms 4 rig with 5000 watts of power .the only problem was the lack of power available we poped the breaker 3 times during the show. the following week we arrived to have a brand new 100 amp panel installed by the towns electician. the rest of the shows went flawless
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