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Author Topic: Business Minded Questions  (Read 19576 times)

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #230 on: August 24, 2017, 05:13:59 pm »

As the one who started *that* thread, I have now read all of this one and feel like a complete amateur with way more things to consider and learn. What an amazing resource this forum is. Thanks, Nathan, and everyone else.

There is a huge amount of info here.  Huge.  Searching for what you're looking for can turn into a rabbit hole with Cheshire Cats and hookahs...

Without a doubt the PSW LAB-derived forums have more discussion of business related topics than any other forums I've seen.  The sharing of what has and hasn't worked, across so many situations, is a tremendous resource.

As a general resource there are also the LAB forum archives from the period when PSW used FUD Forums, 2004-2011.  Scan a few pages of the Classic LAB and Lounge to see how much/little things change. 8)
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/board,77.0.html

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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #231 on: September 12, 2017, 08:11:37 am »

So I have a question.

We're in both the show-biz (artistry), the production-biz (technical/logistics), and the sales-biz (making money) right?

Say a client asks for a quote for 100-200 people, 16 input band, unknown expectations.

We probably don't need 8 box hangs to cover the event.
But a mid-level (pro-sumer) 3/way box over touring class subs is probably slightly overkill for the situation, but right in-line with the best price/performance=value system.
And a mi-level 2/way box over a single sub would probably do; but isn't ideal.

Where would you start off the client for a quote? [not prices, but performance related: low, medium, high]

This came from a recent event I bided on. I sent in a reasonable quote (to me at least) of $1500 for my main system (SRX/Danley) and 4hrs mixing. My friend who's mixed there for his band (and they always bring their own system at no additional cost) said the event coordinator probably fainted when the they saw that. Additionally, he said they would be fine with K12/KW181 setup (which to me, isn't much/if any less than bigger system [$100 less seems applicable]).

My second question is, aren't we supposed to be salesmen/women?

Yes we're here to not up-sell the client where they don't need it. But aren't we also supposed to try and get their needs met as 'best' as possible, not necessarily have them rent things they don't need/want, but give them a better quality event and also increasing our revenue?
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scottstephens

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #232 on: September 12, 2017, 09:53:43 am »

Nathan,

First of all, we all hope that you, your loved ones and gear are all safe and dry.

I am contemplating that very issue with a quote right now. I have gotten as much info as I can from the people involved and that's not much because they just know they need sound and have always gotten sound. I worked with these people for about 6 years and then took another higher paying gig that was indoors and involved less crap. For the past couple of years they have used "Joe Blow" and his system of crap. NO Insurance, NO Workman's Comp and sound for $250. This year, the calendar allows me to do both. Now, I will only be using about 6 channels of audio and 2 of those are back up mics. And 2 monitors with 1 mix. So, I'm only looking at $500. There was an issue the last 2 years with the audio feed to the video people and they never had one with me. Knock on Wood. it's only an XLR mic Feed or 2.

I am leaning heavily towards an MI system with all the intangibles: I communicate, I show up early, I ask what else I can do to make their show go well and offer advice in a questioning form so no one thinks that I am taking over or whatever. I don't want to be in charge but I know what works. A Committee is in Charge, God Help Us All. My experience and knowledge should make up for the higher price and I put right on the quote that PROOF OF INSURANCE IS AVAVILABLE UPON REQUEST. I expect a little bit of "why are you charging this amount? last year we only paid..." I'm not charging less.  If they don't want to pay it, I don't need to work it.   Good Luck.

Scott

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Rob Spence

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #233 on: September 12, 2017, 03:33:58 pm »

So I have a question.

We're in both the show-biz (artistry), the production-biz (technical/logistics), and the sales-biz (making money) right?

Say a client asks for a quote for 100-200 people, 16 input band, unknown expectations.

We probably don't need 8 box hangs to cover the event.
But a mid-level (pro-sumer) 3/way box over touring class subs is probably slightly overkill for the situation, but right in-line with the best price/performance=value system.
And a mi-level 2/way box over a single sub would probably do; but isn't ideal.

Where would you start off the client for a quote? [not prices, but performance related: low, medium, high]

This came from a recent event I bided on. I sent in a reasonable quote (to me at least) of $1500 for my main system (SRX/Danley) and 4hrs mixing. My friend who's mixed there for his band (and they always bring their own system at no additional cost) said the event coordinator probably fainted when the they saw that. Additionally, he said they would be fine with K12/KW181 setup (which to me, isn't much/if any less than bigger system [$100 less seems applicable]).

My second question is, aren't we supposed to be salesmen/women?

Yes we're here to not up-sell the client where they don't need it. But aren't we also supposed to try and get their needs met as 'best' as possible, not necessarily have them rent things they don't need/want, but give them a better quality event and also increasing our revenue?

Number of people isn't a good way to spec a system. What if the 200 people are 300ft away? If half the people don't show, did you bring too much?

Sound covers areas.

 You need to know what area needs coverage and at what sort of levels.

I have seen people try and get 100+ dB over a whole field when in reality it is only needed for the first 50'. The rest is fine if the band can be heard. The people who want it louder will move toward the stage. The ones farther away often want to talk and hear each other with music in the background.

Not all gigs have the same needs. Ask good questions so you can fairly figure out the effort and therefore a good price.

Ask about budget. If you are not starting the truck for less than $1000 then a $350 gig isn't for you.


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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #234 on: September 12, 2017, 04:19:01 pm »

Nathan,

First of all, we all hope that you, your loved ones and gear are all safe and dry.

Thanks for asking, I'm in Niceville/Destin so we didn't get much more than some cold light rain and some 10-20mph wind. Prayers for everyone East/South of me though!


I am contemplating that very issue with a quote right now. I have gotten as much info as I can from the people involved and that's not much because they just know they need sound and have always gotten sound. I worked with these people for about 6 years and then took another higher paying gig that was indoors and involved less crap. For the past couple of years they have used "Joe Blow" and his system of crap. NO Insurance, NO Workman's Comp and sound for $250. This year, the calendar allows me to do both. Now, I will only be using about 6 channels of audio and 2 of those are back up mics. And 2 monitors with 1 mix. So, I'm only looking at $500. There was an issue the last 2 years with the audio feed to the video people and they never had one with me. Knock on Wood. it's only an XLR mic Feed or 2.

I am leaning heavily towards an MI system with all the intangibles: I communicate, I show up early, I ask what else I can do to make their show go well and offer advice in a questioning form so no one thinks that I am taking over or whatever. I don't want to be in charge but I know what works. A Committee is in Charge, God Help Us All. My experience and knowledge should make up for the higher price and I put right on the quote that PROOF OF INSURANCE IS AVAVILABLE UPON REQUEST. I expect a little bit of "why are you charging this amount? last year we only paid..." I'm not charging less.  If they don't want to pay it, I don't need to work it.   Good Luck.

Scott

Thanks for the thoughts, I didn't have the proof of insurance clause in my quote - that's golden - thanks man!

Good luck with your bid too!

Number of people isn't a good way to spec a system. What if the 200 people are 300ft away? If half the people don't show, did you bring too much?

Sound covers areas.

 You need to know what area needs coverage and at what sort of levels.

I have seen people try and get 100+ dB over a whole field when in reality it is only needed for the first 50'. The rest is fine if the band can be heard. The people who want it louder will move toward the stage. The ones farther away often want to talk and hear each other with music in the background.

Not all gigs have the same needs. Ask good questions so you can fairly figure out the effort and therefore a good price.

Everything you said is spot on.

FYI, I do ask for area (didn't get it [instead got # people]) so I guessed based upon pictures and a short video they sent. 50 x 100ft (w x d)

Usually I google the event and measured the distances in google maps.

I asked for how loud, she said not much; just normal band levels. So I'm guessing at 85-95 average dBA slow.

Usually, though; especially in the LAB Lounge area the client has no idea of anything other than number of people. Often, we have to make ASSumptions based upon photos, site visits, inference and deduction. Not idea, but that's why they pay us. To do the work for them.

---

That wasn't my question though. My price IS a good price, honestly for the materials and labor it is a GREAT price. IMO *shrug*

I'm simply curious if coming from a salesman's attitude: is trying to sell the client on the 'better' system even though they could 'get-by' on a lesser system. e.g. quote the nicer system that does the job first, before suggesting a crappy system a good idea.

I might have lost this one because I'm more expensive than the cheapo's and because I had a typo on the date (correct date for one event, multiple events, forgot to change the date...its an honest mistake).

Ask about budget. If you are not starting the truck for less than $1000 then a $350 gig isn't for you.


Good point, I should probably lead with that question more often.

'young and hungry' [trying not to be]

My salesman skills do need a good amount of work, but I feel that really only comes with experience/trial & error. Perhaps that is all that is lacking.
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eric lenasbunt

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #235 on: September 18, 2017, 09:46:38 pm »

Nathan, id say down here in our neck of the swamp $1500 is too much for the market for a one day deal. We do what are are talking about more like$1000, unless we are supplying lighting or staging or other things. But a 2/2 rig of SRX 835p and a single op with a low skill helper is going to be in the $1000 range. I agree the $1500 is a fair price, but that's not the market we are seeing here in Florida. Now if they want a bunch of extra wedges and wireless that's different, but like 6 mixes and a 2/2 small festival rig is more like that $1k

The trick to these events is you need to really try to feel out their expectations and desires. Honestly, we almost always end up upselling lighting these days because that's what people are desiring. So while we may do something like what you said for $1k I typically have the opportunity to add another $600-1000 in lighting to spice things up. Sadly most don't care much about SQ as long as it's not BAD. Lights however make people excited and they can SEE their money in action.
Is also say while you are wanting gigs there is something to be said for saying no. I just did it on a moving lights gig. We were trying so hard to get them into their $5k budget but at the end of the day the numbers weren't making sense. So we told them we'd love to work with them but $6500 is the best we can work out. If they want to lower their expectations and number of lights I'm sure we can do something for $5k, but for that kind of budget their expectations are just not in line. We can still work with them but it's funny, right after I said no another production company called and wanted a bunch of the movers for two weeks. $2500 rental and we don't have to leave the shop. The other gig was multi day with an LD, delivery, etc. So by turning down the low budget opportunity I had room for the better opportunity with less work more profit.


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brian maddox

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #236 on: September 18, 2017, 11:06:36 pm »


...it's funny, right after I said no another production company called and wanted a bunch of the movers for two weeks. $2500 rental and we don't have to leave the shop. The other gig was multi day with an LD, delivery, etc. So by turning down the low budget opportunity I had room for the better opportunity with less work more profit.

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Obviously it doesn't always work out quite so obviously well but...  There's a huge lesson in here regarding opportunity cost.  Selling your services for too little isn't just about the gig you get, it's also about the gig you don't because your gear is elsewhere.  Great lessons here...
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #237 on: September 18, 2017, 11:25:17 pm »

Nathan, id say down here in our neck of the swamp $1500 is too much for the market for a one day deal. We do what are are talking about more like$1000, unless we are supplying lighting or staging or other things. But a 2/2 rig of SRX 835p and a single op with a low skill helper is going to be in the $1000 range. I agree the $1500 is a fair price, but that's not the market we are seeing here in Florida. Now if they want a bunch of extra wedges and wireless that's different, but like 6 mixes and a 2/2 small festival rig is more like that $1k

The trick to these events is you need to really try to feel out their expectations and desires. Honestly, we almost always end up upselling lighting these days because that's what people are desiring. So while we may do something like what you said for $1k I typically have the opportunity to add another $600-1000 in lighting to spice things up. Sadly most don't care much about SQ as long as it's not BAD. Lights however make people excited and they can SEE their money in action.
Is also say while you are wanting gigs there is something to be said for saying no. I just did it on a moving lights gig. We were trying so hard to get them into their $5k budget but at the end of the day the numbers weren't making sense. So we told them we'd love to work with them but $6500 is the best we can work out. If they want to lower their expectations and number of lights I'm sure we can do something for $5k, but for that kind of budget their expectations are just not in line. We can still work with them but it's funny, right after I said no another production company called and wanted a bunch of the movers for two weeks. $2500 rental and we don't have to leave the shop. The other gig was multi day with an LD, delivery, etc. So by turning down the low budget opportunity I had room for the better opportunity with less work more profit.


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You sure the other company wasn't hiring the lights for the event you turned down?
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eric lenasbunt

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #238 on: September 19, 2017, 07:48:36 am »

You sure the other company wasn't hiring the lights for the event you turned down?

Yup, totally unrelated, one was a circus thing the other Oktoberfest. Honestly I have had that situation happen before where another company we work with was bidding the same thing as me and we didn't know it until they called asking for the cross rental. That doesn't upset me at all though as long as there was nothing sneaky going on. I figure they got the job anyway, I can have a nice rental and make something and not have to leave the house. Or I could get butt hurt the other guys are doing it and get no rental out of it either. I like to make money, so I choose to rent it ;)

However, that exact type of situation is what caused a fallout with my local competitor and also gave me the kick on the butt to go to the next level. That company and I cross rented back and forth quite a bit but he was losing a lot of market share to us (largely because of customer service/grumpiness issues). One day I called him for a couple of extra wedges and he asked where it was going. When I told him he replied "yeah, I'm not going to help you out anymore". Apparently I had beat him out for the show. That chaffed me however, because "helping me out" was meaning cashing about $10k in checks and not having to leave the shop. Funny enough, that client told me after the gig that we were higher priced, but my competitor had been very rude to the client's representatives in prior years.
  This situation was actually the catalyst that took us from a simple QSC rig to doing productions at a regional type production level.
   Moral of the story, play nice with others, it gets you further than trying to be a production island.


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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Business Minded Questions
« Reply #239 on: September 19, 2017, 03:44:17 pm »

Nathan, id say down here in our neck of the swamp $1500 is too much for the market for a one day deal. We do what are are talking about more like$1000, unless we are supplying lighting or staging or other things. But a 2/2 rig of SRX 835p and a single op with a low skill helper is going to be in the $1000 range. I agree the $1500 is a fair price, but that's not the market we are seeing here in Florida. Now if they want a bunch of extra wedges and wireless that's different, but like 6 mixes and a 2/2 small festival rig is more like that $1k

The trick to these events is you need to really try to feel out their expectations and desires. Honestly, we almost always end up upselling lighting these days because that's what people are desiring. So while we may do something like what you said for $1k I typically have the opportunity to add another $600-1000 in lighting to spice things up. Sadly most don't care much about SQ as long as it's not BAD. Lights however make people excited and they can SEE their money in action.

Is also say while you are wanting gigs there is something to be said for saying no. I just did it on a moving lights gig. We were trying so hard to get them into their $5k budget but at the end of the day the numbers weren't making sense. So we told them we'd love to work with them but $6500 is the best we can work out. If they want to lower their expectations and number of lights I'm sure we can do something for $5k, but for that kind of budget their expectations are just not in line. We can still work with them but it's funny, right after I said no another production company called and wanted a bunch of the movers for two weeks. $2500 rental and we don't have to leave the shop. The other gig was multi day with an LD, delivery, etc. So by turning down the low budget opportunity I had room for the better opportunity with less work more profit.


First, glad to hear you're safe and already back in the swing of things!

---

Second, good points. My pricing structure isn't really well adapted to the market yet because I'm not really sure what my market price is. I basically took Ray's pricing structure and modeled my own after it and some other threads I found about basic costs of production to end-user. I've lowered some of my rates as I felt they were a little high for the area, but I really don't have a good idea of what other providers in my area are charging and I don't have a good way of obtaining such info directly without being unethical or laughed at.

I'm glad you mentioned price though, because that helps me create a better pricing structure and hopefully help serve my company and my clients better.

I don't think I'll be able to or want to do 1k I think 1.2k inc tax might work out better.

---

Third, agreed about saying no. I haven't really had to say 'no' to anyone yet, but I'm sure there will be an occasion where it will be necessary (eg. not starting the truck for less than 1k [scaled appropriately to the event])

---

Fourth, while this discussion on money is great. That really wasn't the point of my question. It was more geared towards trying to "up-sell" the customer on things they don't really 'need' but probably 'want' and are willing to pay for the increased capability. I think you allude to this with the lighting up-selling, though I was primarily talking about speaker system.

Yup, totally unrelated, one was a circus thing the other Oktoberfest. Honestly I have had that situation happen before where another company we work with was bidding the same thing as me and we didn't know it until they called asking for the cross rental. That doesn't upset me at all though as long as there was nothing sneaky going on. I figure they got the job anyway, I can have a nice rental and make something and not have to leave the house. Or I could get butt hurt the other guys are doing it and get no rental out of it either. I like to make money, so I choose to rent it ;)

However, that exact type of situation is what caused a fallout with my local competitor and also gave me the kick on the butt to go to the next level. That company and I cross rented back and forth quite a bit but he was losing a lot of market share to us (largely because of customer service/grumpiness issues). One day I called him for a couple of extra wedges and he asked where it was going. When I told him he replied "yeah, I'm not going to help you out anymore". Apparently I had beat him out for the show. That chaffed me however, because "helping me out" was meaning cashing about $10k in checks and not having to leave the shop. Funny enough, that client told me after the gig that we were higher priced, but my competitor had been very rude to the client's representatives in prior years.

  This situation was actually the catalyst that took us from a simple QSC rig to doing productions at a regional type production level.
   Moral of the story, play nice with others, it gets you further than trying to be a production island.


That last bit is what I'm hoping will happen to me as well.

We have another shop I occasionally cross-rent from, but generally everyone has something bad to say about them (same customer service/grumpiness issues).

I don't know when it will happen, but I'm hoping clients will start to find me as I get more networking going :)
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