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Author Topic: How to stop losing stuff  (Read 3156 times)

Wes Garland

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How to stop losing stuff
« on: August 31, 2018, 08:05:20 am »

Any tips for SMALL operators to stop losing stuff?

I mostly work solo, and leave my van mostly-loaded most of the time.  Gear at home either goes into the walk-out basement or the garage.  When I load up for a show, I walk around both locations and look at everything, decide what I need to take, and throw it in the van.  Then I look in the van for absolutely critical pieces and go.  Never forgotten anything important.  I hide six spare cheap tripod boom stands, two heavy non-crank speaker stands, etc, in a box in the van that I never plan to use as insurance policies.

The way home seems to be some kind of an issue.  Extension cords.  25' IEC cords.  Mic cables.  Mic stands.

I don't know where the hell these are all going, but I have fewer now than I did 2 months ago.  Anything big enough has my label on it, identifying it as mine.  Cables are marked with white tape at male end and my initials.

When I pack out, I walk around the venue with a flashlight and look everywhere I've been, and do a dummy check once the van door is closed.  Probably part of it is a combination of exhaustion, darkness, and poor eyesight.  Three weeks ago I left my $30 "sound guy" lawn chair in a park 30 miles from home.  I drove back 3 hours later when I realized it was missing.  I hope the person using it is enjoying it.

This is making me crazy and making it hard to turn a profit.

Any tips?

Also, do the logos fall off real Beta 58s, or has somebody switched one of mine out for a fake?  It seems real otherwise.  I guess I can crack it open and check the serial number.

Wes
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Taylor Hall

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2018, 08:51:41 am »

Unfortunately, even the most obvious of markings on cables and other lightweight gear won't prevent people from grabbing them "accidentally". I argued with a PSAV goon for 15 minutes after a show that they stole a bunch of our cables and they refused to admit it until I pointed out that none of them had their asset tags and only had our tape markers and tie-offs. I had fun rummaging through their inventory for the next half hour hunting them down...

My best suggestion would be to make a checklist down to the very last cable and utilize it during striking. It won't keep people from walking off with your stuff, but it will at least let you know if you got everything or not.
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Jay Marr

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2018, 09:19:31 am »

I'm SUPER anal about my gear, so take anything I do with a grain of salt:

Load in/out at my house:
- checklist to ensure I have everything when loading up for a gig
- all my gear is in one specific spot (shelves I built in my garage) and everything goes back in the exact same spot, every time. (if I'm missing something when I get home, I notice immediately)
- when I load my truck, everything goes in the same spot, every time.  (I do have multiple rigs, and each rig has a specific way it is packed).  This way I quickly recognize I'm missing something.
- I have a tool bag that never leaves my truck (and never goes into a gig unless I have an issue) that has extra essential items (mics, cables, adapters, first aid, trash bags for rain covers, etc.)

Breakdown/Load Out at a gig:
- NOBODY unplugs any cables from the PA except for me.  That's a rule. 
- If nobody unplugs any of my cables from the PA/Patchbay, then they can't roll it up and take it.  If I am unplugging each cable, I am coiling it and putting it away. 
- If I get to a channel and the cable is not plugged in/missing....somebody took it.  It does happen and I know immediately and get that cable back.
- Since my truck is packed the same way every gig, loading my gear in will always let me see if I'm missing any pieces (I always do a stupid check at the end of loading out as well).

(knock on wood) this system has worked pretty well for the past 15 years.  I think I'm down 2 mic cables and one extension cord in that timeframe.  I'm 44 and I still have the majority of mic cables I was using in college.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2018, 09:27:57 am »

Any tips for SMALL operators to stop losing stuff?

I mostly work solo, and leave my van mostly-loaded most of the time.  Gear at home either goes into the walk-out basement or the garage.  When I load up for a show, I walk around both locations and look at everything, decide what I need to take, and throw it in the van.  Then I look in the van for absolutely critical pieces and go.  Never forgotten anything important.  I hide six spare cheap tripod boom stands, two heavy non-crank speaker stands, etc, in a box in the van that I never plan to use as insurance policies.

The way home seems to be some kind of an issue.  Extension cords.  25' IEC cords.  Mic cables.  Mic stands.

I don't know where the hell these are all going, but I have fewer now than I did 2 months ago.  Anything big enough has my label on it, identifying it as mine.  Cables are marked with white tape at male end and my initials.

When I pack out, I walk around the venue with a flashlight and look everywhere I've been, and do a dummy check once the van door is closed.  Probably part of it is a combination of exhaustion, darkness, and poor eyesight.  Three weeks ago I left my $30 "sound guy" lawn chair in a park 30 miles from home.  I drove back 3 hours later when I realized it was missing.  I hope the person using it is enjoying it.

This is making me crazy and making it hard to turn a profit.

Any tips?

Also, do the logos fall off real Beta 58s, or has somebody switched one of mine out for a fake?  It seems real otherwise.  I guess I can crack it open and check the serial number.

Wes


We find ourselves having to be more careful these days as we get more tired after the show and have been known to leave things behind.
A couple of things I have found that have helped me the most ( other than color coding cables etc) :  I use an inventory checklist to make sure I never forget to take anything. I make sure to check every line - every item and load accordingly.  I take a copy of that same checklist with me to the show and I check each item as it is loaded.
It takes a few minutes but it can save some money.
But the biggest help for us is to try to always pack the same way. We can tell at a glance if anything is missing IF we take the same gear and pack it the same way. So we try to do that. We have found that when we change things around too much, that is when stuff either gets forgotten from home (hasn't happened in a while) or it get left behind at the show.


I typed this before I read Jay's post - similar methods.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 09:32:13 am by Debbie Dunkley »
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Steve Litscher

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2018, 10:04:12 am »

Also, do the logos fall off real Beta 58s, or has somebody switched one of mine out for a fake?  It seems real otherwise.  I guess I can crack it open and check the serial number.

Wes

Shure had a QA issue with the adhesive used on their B58s for a short period of time.

We purchased eight B58s from a very large authorized reseller here in the Madison, WI area, and most of them fell off within a few weeks of purchase. I contacted Shure and they confirmed the problem. It happened late last year if my memory serves correctly.

I would contact Shure - they'll likely send you new badges and will instruct you to adhere them with some type of super glue or 2-part epoxy.

Jay Marr

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2018, 10:13:18 am »


A couple of things I have found that have helped me the most ( other than color coding cables etc)

Great point, and I forgot about that.
I also put yellow tape around the end of each of my cables.  I've found it to be the best color for 'standing out' in a pile.
If I see a pile of cables, it's really easy to spot my yellow tape and know that one of mine is in there.
#DrummersSteal  (not stereotyping...that's just in my band)
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2018, 10:16:29 am »

Great point, and I forgot about that.
I also put yellow tape around the end of each of my cables.  I've found it to be the best color for 'standing out' in a pile.
If I see a pile of cables, it's really easy to spot my yellow tape and know that one of mine is in there.
#DrummersSteal  (not stereotyping...that's just in my band)

You copied my color too Jay  ;)
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Ken Braziel

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2018, 10:32:01 am »

I'm SUPER anal about my gear, so take anything I do with a grain of salt:
<snip>
(knock on wood) this system has worked pretty well for the past 15 years.  I think I'm down 2 mic cables and one extension cord in that timeframe.  I'm 44 and I still have the majority of mic cables I was using in college.

That's a great system, mine is similar but I got some good ideas from your list for improving my process.

Last winter I took an idea from David G's setup and labelled all of my XLR male-ends with my company's abbreviation and the length of the cables, funny result is that I've realized that I've actually GAINED some XLR's at my main gig this season - some bands are so used to carrying their own that they use them without thinking about it, and my A2 coils up so fast at the end of the shows he apparently doesn't notice non-standard cables.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2018, 11:39:20 am »

I've realized that I've actually GAINED some XLR's at my main gig this season - some bands are so used to carrying their own that they use them without thinking about it, and my A2 coils up so fast at the end of the shows he apparently doesn't notice non-standard cables.

This would bother me a bit more than losing cables.  I don't want to gain equipment that way!

All of my cables are labeled with heat-shrink and a custom label with my name on them, color coded for length.

In order to keep track of inventory, EVERYTHING goes into road cases before going into the truck. Yes, I have a road case for fans and chairs. Each road case gets printed with an inventory checklist before leaving the shop, so it's easy to count what's supposed to be in each case.    Once the cases are loaded and closed, they get put back in the truck.

The other thing that helps prevent losing stuff is to have less small stuff to lose.  If you have to deploy 1000 little bits and pieces for a show, it's much more difficult than if you can pre-assemble things into modules. 

Eg, if you have a lighting tree with 4 pars on it, you can leave the pars on the bar with cables attached and case the whole thing.  Now instead of 20 bits (cables, lights clamps etc) to track, you have 1.

Yeah, it may not pack as compact that way, but load out can be faster and you don't have as many pieces to count.
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Brian Jojade

Debbie Dunkley

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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2018, 11:42:45 am »



The other thing that helps prevent losing stuff is to have less small stuff to lose.  If you have to deploy 1000 little bits and pieces for a show, it's much more difficult than if you can pre-assemble things into modules. 

Eg, if you have a lighting tree with 4 pars on it, you can leave the pars on the bar with cables attached and case the whole thing.  Now instead of 20 bits (cables, lights clamps etc) to track, you have 1.

Yeah, it may not pack as compact that way, but load out can be faster and you don't have as many pieces to count.

This too!..... I pack small items into larger cases on wheels so I don't have to worry about the smaller bits and pieces going missing.
My pars all stay attached to the bars too.
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Re: How to stop losing stuff
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2018, 11:42:45 am »


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