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Author Topic: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed  (Read 1776 times)

John Halliburton

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2020, 07:11:33 am »

A business(and it is, don't kid yourself) that size regardless of the immediate population has money to hire a pro who is qualified(and really needs one with that many venues and what I suspect are top shelf systems), and to pay them a salary with benefits commensurate.

I've seen too many situations where the "working for the glory of" is leveraged into what amounts to sub standard wages.

Best regards,



Bob Faulkner

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2020, 07:15:55 am »

Not knowing where you are, take a look at this article on how much welfare recipients earn (per hour).  You may want to rethink your 25K potential lower-end offering:


Casey Sharp

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2020, 08:29:57 am »

Thank you all so much for your well thought out suggestions and opinions. This is very helpful to me. I will be taking notes of everyone's responses.

I think there may be some things I should clear up.

1 - I said 25k on the low end. I'm not necessarily prepared for or "excited" about that pay. I'm just new to the area and am not sure what would be considered fair or average around here.

2 - To the best of my knowledge, I would be using my own vehicle for commuting, although I haven't actually spoke with anyone yet so I don't know for sure.

3 - 3 of the campuses are all within about 30 or 40 minutes of each other. The 4th is probably 2 hours away or so.

Thanks again for all the input. Hugely helpful to me.

And please, keep it coming. I'd love to hear from as many of you as possible.

Tim McCulloch

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2020, 10:31:37 am »

My salary requirement would start at $90k plus a full benefits package (approx 35% of wages).  More for high COLA areas, *maybe* a little less for others, but what I see in your description is a 60+ hour/week job in which you would never be able to take off any "comp time".  Nope, I've played that game and "never again" is my motto.

"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Jason Glass

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2020, 11:23:11 am »

If you take that job for $25K/year, you're out of your mind.  At 40-hour work weeks, that's $12.00/hour.  You can make as much income by flipping burgers or washing cars without the responsibility and intense pressure of an engineering management position.  It's more likely that they'll be 60 hours with no OT pay, for $8.00/hr.  Or worse.  Driving your vehicle around to the various campuses isn't a trivial drain on your profit margin, either.

Low end because you're "new" does not mean accepting near-poverty level wages and enabling this institution to unfairly exploit you.

And don't forget to ask if any tithing is expected.  Some churches expect you to give a significant portion right back to them, after you've paid taxes on it, of course.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 12:55:29 pm by Jason Glass »

Caleb Dueck

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2020, 12:12:04 pm »

I'm with others here in thinking this sounds like a $60k-$80k position

Agreed, maybe $50-60k since not the TD.

If single rather than a family - I'd consider lower. 

Cost of living is the wild card - paying $750/mo rent in an apartment is very different than $3,500/mo mortgage/taxes. 

Number of hours - 30/week vs 80/week makes a huge difference.

How high do they set the production level bar?  Pushing faders only or high enough quality to stream live video and not wince?
Experience is something you get right after you need it.

Brian Jojade

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2020, 01:08:52 pm »

20,000 in attendance each week.  If they paid you $52K per year, that would be an entire shiny nickel from each in attendance for your labor.  Just keep that in perspective.
Brian Jojade

Dave Pluke

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2020, 03:29:48 pm »

Understand I'm towing a fine line here, so mods do what you have to do.

I have had *some* houses of worship a) expect me to work for less, considering the greater cause and b) tithe said earnings.  If you are in the same situation, do add 20% - simply to cover taxes and tithe.

Some Houses of Worship understand the importance of retaining a real professional and some have other priorities.  I hope yours is the former.

Logged analog man in a digital world [tm]

Flying direct to nearly everywhere out of ATL

Matthias McCready

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2020, 03:31:46 pm »

Hi Everyone,

I'm currently in the process of finding a new job. A large church has contacted me back and I'm expecting to be asked in for an interview, although I don't know that for sure.

Thanks for all your help!

As other have said it depends on you.

What are you worth?

Personally I don't change my contract rate be it a small church, a mega church, or working a corporate gig. If a place cannot afford me, I would rather be at home spending time with my wife.

Yes, you would be tying yourself down, and in some respect there is place for making slightly less but having a stable consistent pay check. That is a trade off you have to decide you are game for.

The bottom line is that you have to put food on the table and keep the lights on, personally I wouldn't take much of a hit for that tradeoff.

What the job is worth REALLY depends. What are your responsibilities?

-Managing talent? (coaching mic technique, saying no to unreasonable requests, managing expectations, providing options etc)
-Leading, managing, and developing the audio department or volunteers? (mix training, performance reviews, surprise campus visits)
-Establishing mix guidelines
-Managing Broadcast audio technology?
-Mix down after rehearsal?
-Rehearsal and mix down for multiple campuses? (if you have volunteer operators)
-Editing audio for videos? (Bumper, Sermon content etc)
-Managing technology and systems?
-Providing audio for alternative facility functions (weddings, funerals, other meetings etc)

Some of those listed roles are jobs in themselves, or some of them could double your hours. Make sure you know what the other expectations are.

Specifically in a multi-campus setup what are your audio related tasks?

-Will you be responsible for wireless management at all campuses? (fixing problems, diagnosing mic/capsule issues, frequency coordination/backup, chasing drop outs etc)
-Will you be going around to campuses and fixing system problems? (Finicky routing, broken patching, broken amp/blown drivers)
-Fixing Cables?
-Cable organizing/inventory management (even if at a process and system level).

Also it is worth thinking how things look overall:

Where I work now we have 9 campuses and we have 13 audio engineers on staff, in addition to numerous contractors. This is the number it takes to do things correctly and adequately, aiming for a high bar of excellence. One of the audio engineers main job is to take care of the consoles, IEM systems, wireless management, and other audio systems.
Another takes care of the live broadcast mixes. There are lot of different positions going on:

So with this position is there more on your plate than you can handle with excellence? Some churches are looking to hire 1 person when they should be looking at 4, while they may be adding an extra $30k for the extra work, is that a worthwhile trade off?

Also what is the environment like?

Fulldisclosure I recently turned down a very lucrative position as the head audio engineer for church, as I did not feel comfortable with the way the team operated and I do not consider myself to be mature enough to develop and manage a team of the calibre which that particular ministry deserved.

Those are the things I would be thinking about.

drew gandy

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2020, 08:48:57 pm »

I'm going to read into this in a more differenter direction I think. 

The fact that a church would be looking to hire someone as 'green' as you are for this type of role gives me pause.  [Some folks are very capable and accomplished at 7 years in the industry but overall, I think 7 years experience and a 2 year college degree doesn't sound like the level of experience necessary for this kind of role.] 
I suspect that either:
A) Whoever has determined budgets for technical roles priced this one very low many years ago, perhaps when they started to get big, and unfortunately set a precedent in the church about what these kinds of positions should cost the church. 
B) There are issues within the establishment.  Either the church itself has some leadership issues, or the technical team or some other part of it is not working well and it's not a comfortable environment.

Once the first person in this position left (who probably worked their butt off), it's not unlikely that the position has been a revolving door because of either of these scenarios. 

A role in a church can be really great or really bad.  And in more recent years, I've been hearing more of the bad stories.  I would do my homework about why the position is currently open and try to find other people that have worked there in recent years to get a feel for what the environment is like.  In some ways a technical role at a mega church can be a dead-end job.  Or it can be really nice, especially for someone who wants to "settle down".   And sometimes there are even ways to use that experience as a stepping off into other things in the industry. 

Lastly I would suggest that this kind of job is one that can easily be misunderstood by the management as well as the congregation.  Particularly if you're good at putting good systems into place, you might make the job look easy.  At the same time, there might be a few people involved that make the job way harder than it needs to be.  And as things change in the church, you will no doubt find yourself working day and night at some point to make things happen. 
Remember, you can talk yourself into (or out of) anything.  That's how the human brain works...

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Re: What Salary to Expect/Ask For - Wisdom Needed
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2020, 08:48:57 pm »

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