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Author Topic: Need to price house pa rentals  (Read 3003 times)

Kevin_Tisdall

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2021, 09:47:37 am »


Tim is right, there is no sport, the bottom feeders are going to crawl back out form underneath the rocks and life may return to some degree of normal.  I doubt I can bring that segment of the market upward.


We have all sorts of weird stuff here including a guy that has 100k Vue rig, is a dealer (on some level) but basically does shows for gas money.  He is a bit older than me and had hooked up with some bands he really likes and that is his little world.  He is a nice guy, what are you going to do? 


I started off with a couple of Chevy stretch Venture vans and with air shocks and better springs it was amazing what we got away with.  While everyone else was just understanding Presonus we showed up with a pile of QSC and the first x32's in town and had a ourselves a little little novelty.  It didn't take my business sense and the folks here polking at me to realize that I may be netting cash but I was burning through consumables, fixing the vehicles in my spare time and still working my day job.  I have been here 8 years and now have a real business plan.  We even still rent "club kits" to local techs, they have found it's easier that taking care of their own rigs, back up to the doc, load up, and off they go. 


On the other hand we do a lot of gigs we never thought we would want to, corporate, weddings, political, marathons, over the next two weeks we are doing a 5 city comedy tour at AAA ball parks.  It all pays the bills and then every so often we get a music gig with an artist that is simply beyond a pleasure to work with and way beyond what we would have ever run into doing the club scene.  I only mention this because you can crawl out and the rewards are multifold, just like the paper towels.


I expected this shit storm.  Scold away.  I am so far below what you would even take as a job today it's not even worth discussion, so I won't.

I'm here because I respect all of you, I have enough experience to know what it takes to run a real business (I cant) AND when I can, like right now, I try to throw work to real companies.  So we can bitch about me or we can get on with trying to figure what I need and what it will cost for a real company to provide.



--Kevin
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Mark Scrivener

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2021, 01:21:02 pm »

While I totally understand the concerns with "bottom feeders" spoiling the market, I have a slightly different take.....these "customers" aren't really in the market.

I sometimes do sound for bands I play with, and I know for 100% certain that those gigs either would not happen or would use what ever crappy thing they could come up with to get by. I invested in quality gear not to subsidize these folks, but to uphold my reputation as a professional musician when I choose to play those gigs. I also ask them to pay a fair cost and make sure they understand what a sound company would charge.

My main business is private guitar instruction, and I see the same dynamic there. I encounter "customers" who think $20/hr is reasonable for private guitar instruction. My rate is over $100/hr. I'm a professional musician, decades of training and experience, carry insurance, legit business, and I do this full time, not as a hobby. I also live in an expensive part of the country (try buying a house in the bay area for under $1M), and I don't have an employer handing me medical insurance or contributing to my 401K. There are lots of people who are never going to pay anywhere near what I charge, and that's fine......those people simply are not part of my potential market.

Over the years I've had conversations with many of those people, trying to explain the difference between some kid living at home teaching guitar for beer money vs a professional instructor. The bottom line is those people simply do not value professional instruction. The same thing happens in live sound - many people simply do not value professional sound and think they just need a "speaker", a "microphone", and that that 20+ year old pice of crap thing that uncle Lester has in his attic will do just fine. Some of those people can be educated, but many will never get it.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 01:28:01 pm by Mark Scrivener »
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2021, 01:46:45 pm »

Realistic budget for a venue that size, outdoors would be in the neighborhood of $2000-2500 for standard sound production.  That would be FOH and monitors.  If back end is needed, additional charges would apply.  It doesn't matter if you are doing this full time, or as a hobby. The price should be pretty close to the same.  As a hobby at that price, you'd never make a decent profit, but you might be able to make a break even hobby out of it.

Now, if you think the price is too high and they won't pay for it, I'm currently working on putting together a very similar system locally, and about the same size.  An interesting line item in their budget I am aware of is 50 tables and chairs that can seat 400 people.  The cost to set up those tables at 4PM and come take them down at 10 PM is $2000.  Yep, all they need to do is bring 50 tables, set them up, then take them down.  WAY easier than setting up delicate electronics and whatnot.

ALWAYS - even if you are doing this for a hobby - charge an appropriate price for what you are providing.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2021, 02:02:27 pm »


I expected this shit storm.  Scold away.  I am so far below what you would even take as a job today it's not even worth discussion, so I won't.

I'm here because I respect all of you, I have enough experience to know what it takes to run a real business (I cant) AND when I can, like right now, I try to throw work to real companies.  So we can bitch about me or we can get on with trying to figure what I need and what it will cost for a real company to provide.



--Kevin
For my shop if a client doesn't have a budget of a certain amount we don't even quote on the gig.  Sometimes we'll refer them to folks like you if we like their cause or use case.

The kind of operator Scott mentions - a mostly-hobby operation with a very large capital equipment investment - is the kind of shop we really, really don't care much for.
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"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

Scott Bolt

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2021, 05:38:15 pm »

I am kind of surprised at the reactions here honestly.  I consider this forum the most level-headed on the net and have grown to expect more.

To the OP.

Yes, to do it right, these guys have it covered of what it would take.  If your venue doesn't have the money to do it right, I would suggest that you rent 2 to 4 more subs and let the DSR's open up.  They have a 90 degree spread so there is going to be uneven coverage out in the audience; however, I have done something like the venue you are talking about with just a pair of DSR112's over a double 18" per side and got a respectable level out to around 150 feet.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded.

Those DSR112's will easily go much louder than the rcf 905 as-ii will keep up with.  Once you free up the tops by use of a more powerful bottom, you should be able to just about double your usable SPL.

Anyway, that would be my "poor man's" solution for you ;)
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Luke Geis

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2021, 09:07:23 pm »

I had another post ready earlier before the i-net decided to shut down for a moment..... Needless to say, I lost my progress in the refresh...

The long and short of it was that I was once like you, taking gigs for beer money. When I first started I was more interested in getting my teeth cut, I didn't realize it could be a career. I was in a band, owned equipment, and really only wanted to acquire net-zero for my upfront expenses. Within a year I was making more money doing sound on the weekends than I was at my day job! I was still WAY UNDERVALUED. I quit my day job and went full stead into live audio. It took about 5 years to crawl out of the bottom and actually acquire real rates and see true profit margins that would sustain my business model. That was 15 years ago!!!!!! Since then I have modeled my business to accumulate about 50% of my income from freelancing ( running other people's really expensive PA's ) and cherry-picking my own clients to run my own equipment with. I always make more money when I run my own gigs and equipment, but I DO NOT want a warehouse, employee's and the requirement to continually drive business. This allowed me to do two really cool things. It allowed me to acquire a 6 figure income working only three weeks a month and allowed me the ability to afford and utilize equipment that was a step above most any other competing company in my area. The latter allowed me to acquire gigs I probably shouldn't at a price that was NOT CHEAP in any market I was going to play in. So how was I able to work for my competition and maintain a non-competitive business model? I didn't acquire ANY client that didn't come looking for me ( my client came to me directly ) and I never advertised that I had a business while on any gig. I was very close to coming up with a slogan that said " you may as well hire me because I am going to be there anyway "..... And it was pretty true. Obviously, that wouldn't help my freelance income...

So what is the point? My point is that for you it is for fun, and for most of us it's fun as well. It is just that for many of us, it is more than just a fun job, it is a way of making a living. The best place for those that do not want to make a business out of it, yet still do it for fun, is to do sound for bar bands. The moment you start doing gigs where you need to consider bringing a PA that actually has to do real work, manage power, consider safety for a mass of people and where you can actually make or break a day for the end client, you should probably pass it up. Bar bands are easy, have little if any liability to worry about and your ability to maintain a gig is solely on your performance and character, not so much your equipment or lack thereof. NONE of us are clamoring to find bar bands to work for. The ones that can demand a price will afford a guy who is also worth their price. I do sound for a couple of wedding bands. Not big money in it, but it pays WAY more than a bar band will cough up. If an ankle bitter snags a wedding band from me, I will be mildly upset, but won't be too surprised. I always seem to get a callback...

If you have to consider hiring a real sound company you are likely in over your head. Now I don't get as butt hurt about it as others do because if an ankle bitter is getting the gig and not a real sound company, it is probably something I don't want to bother with; in most instances... I do like doing some pro-bono or deep discount events for certain types of events and clients. However, when the bottom of what I can even give away is so low that even me doing the event for nothing but labor is passed up for someone who is doing it cheaper gets kind of bothersome.

One rule I have come to learn is NEVER giving away the labor costs. What is your time worth? I will do stuff for $350 per day, but I better like you and it better be a really good cause. All my equipment is already paid for, so as long as I can make the labor to replace me on a gig, I am OK with that, but that is VERY far and few between. NEVER give the labor away. If you agree to do a gig and you break your leg the day before the event, who is going to replace you? You MUST pay someone else to cover you, so ALWAYS be sure you can. If you value yourself at $200 per day, that's fine, but the next guy in line may value themselves higher. My current day Rate is $550 per day, just to show up. The cheapest I will even consider paying another person to help me is $350. I don't want anyone who is worth less than that doing anything for me. I will pay you whatever you ask if I know you are worth it. NEVER GIVE THE LABOR COST AWAY.

Hopefully, you can see that you are really only hurting yourself with your current business model. While it does hurt others' feelings, what you do only affects us in that it lowers the bar. The hardest part about talking to a client is when they don't even bat an eye when the florist says it will be $10k, but when you tell them it is going to be $2k for a basic PA and they nearly laugh. A good photographer is rolling in about $1k per hour, when I want $550 per day just to show up, you better not even think about mentioning another cheaper guy.... I will tell you to go use them in a split second. I won't even try and bargain. I have heard the saying NEVER AGAIN from a returning potential client many times; when the client learns, they learn hard why you don't get the cheapest guy you can find. Not saying you are that guy, but there is a reason that there is sticker shock when you get the quote. It's mostly because I ain't exactly cheap ( many others aren't either ) and wireless mic's that work cost $$$$$.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 09:34:18 pm by Luke Geis »
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Kevin_Tisdall

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2021, 11:03:20 pm »

I am kind of surprised at the reactions here honestly.  I consider this forum the most level-headed on the net and have grown to expect more.

To the OP.

Yes, to do it right, these guys have it covered of what it would take.  If your venue doesn't have the money to do it right, I would suggest that you rent 2 to 4 more subs and let the DSR's open up.  They have a 90 degree spread so there is going to be uneven coverage out in the audience; however, I have done something like the venue you are talking about with just a pair of DSR112's over a double 18" per side and got a respectable level out to around 150 feet.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded.

Those DSR112's will easily go much louder than the rcf 905 as-ii will keep up with.  Once you free up the tops by use of a more powerful bottom, you should be able to just about double your usable SPL.

Anyway, that would be my "poor man's" solution for you ;)

Thanks Scott.  Much appreciated.  Folks he have gotten sidelined into a discussion that has almost nothing to do with me, actually.

Iím a 65 yo professional it guy that makes plenty of money working a day job.  I have 8 rcf nx12-Sam wedges, a pair of dsr112ís and the pair of rcf 905 as-ii subs.  Behringer x32 rack with and s32 snake.  A mic case full of decent mics and diís. Stands for speakers and mics.   All this fits into a 8x10 space in my garage at home.  It does a great job in a small bar or eagles hall.  I work maybe 2-3x a month, maybe.  If I donít work I donít care.  If I do work, this all fits in my Toyota pickup (with cap) and I lift and move it myself. 

Every single job I get is from some band that usually sets up their harbinger speakers and a few mismatched mics and tries to get a gig done for little money.  None of them would hire anyone charging 350 for labor alone, let alone more for gear.  They hire me because they can afford me and I do a good job in horrible spaces. 

So enough about my business model.  I donít have one.  Iím not expanding.  Hopefully Iíll retire at some point.  What most here (not all) have missed is that Iím trying to just simply hire enough house speakers to get the arts center series off the ground.   At the moment Iím going to let them know it would be 2-3000 to bring in the full setup to do it right, and see what they say.  I doubt they will go for that. If they go for it Iíll be back to get serious bids and will let someone else handle it.  Again, I couldnít care less about whether I do this series or not.  Itís already a giant hassle and I havenít even loaded the truck.

óKevin
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Mike Monte

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2021, 08:49:27 am »

I work with a local arts center (Milford ct) that is hoping to run a summer outdoor concert series.  The schedule isnít firm but Iím guessing 6-10 shows. 

Audience anywhere from 200-500 expected. Most of the content will be folk/bluegrass/solo artist/r&b.  No metal or edm or loud rock.

I have essentially a monitor rig (X32 rack and rcf monitors) and need to bolt on a bigger front end than I own.  Looking to price having someone deliver (at least) and possibly set up the house speakers and drop me either a L/R/sub feed or a LR set into a  speaker processor.  Then take it away at the end of the gig.

I have no idea of budget or possible cost of this. Ground stack is fine.  Thereís no fly points and I doubt we can afford to bring in speaker hoists.  There are 2-3 possible 20 amp circuits to use for pa (all of the pa).

Stage is about 30 ft wide.  Audience area about 50x150 in very round numbers.  Doesnít
Have to be rock volume loud but would like to have a system that isnít tapped out in an outdoors setting with an average volume r&b band at reasonable listening volume.

Any input is helpful.  Sorry i donít have exact budget and db output at x feet kinds of requirements. 

óKevin

I am a part-time small potatoes/local/one-man-operation.
For the most part I feel that posting on this particular forum is way above my head as many contributors are full time or very busy part timers.
Your OP kind of sounds like how I kicked-up from the bar band scene to other more worthwhile gigs.

There were two particular events that taught me alot and got me noticed on the local festival circuit, one of which was this:

As a musician I had been performing in the concert band for a local town's annual 4th of July fireworks event. The event was held on the beach, the band was mic'd-up and there were approximately 6-7 thousand attendees.
In 2005 (or so) I was contacted by the concert band's manager (who knew that I provided PA's) to tech the that particular year's fireworks event.  (The previous year the band manager did not perform and was in the audience - he was not impressed with the mix "all I heard was trumpets and drums...the band sounded awful...").

When asked, I said most definitely I can do it and was given the contact info for the Fireworks Committee.
I knew that this was way over my head so I contacted a local sound provider (who does similar events in surrounding towns) and asked if he would do the gig with me - with which he agreed.  btw: This town's fireworks are always a day or two before/after the fourth so I had my pick of providers.

He told me what I would need to cover the area (power requirements, gear, etc.) plus proper insurance for a one-off. I told him what I would need to properly mic the band, etc. and I asked him what I should charge for the gig.

The gig went well (btw: I mixed the band using the conductor's score), I learned alot and now I am the go-to for this event every year.  The committee trusts me and the rate has gone up over the years - no questions asked
and
I have been subcontracted by this provider to cover shows on occasion.

All of the above being said: Since you have the "Art center's ear", I suggest that you contact a local provider to work with you.  Come up with a fair market price and learn a lot (as I did).

There is a lot more than FOH speakers; appropriate power drops, etc.

One thing that you don't want to do is drop the bottom out of your local market.
If your price ends up being too high and the venue decides to hire-in a DJ (that brings his stellar Harbinger/Behringer rig,  rat-nested orange power extension cords all around, etc) to tech a concert you will get called for the next one (plus you'll be "treated to a show" as you watch the DJ butcher the gig).






 
 
 
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Ed Taylor

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2021, 10:34:32 am »

Thanks Scott.  Much appreciated.  Folks he have gotten sidelined into a discussion that has almost nothing to do with me, actually.

Iím a 65 yo professional it guy that makes plenty of money working a day job.  I have 8 rcf nx12-Sam wedges, a pair of dsr112ís and the pair of rcf 905 as-ii subs.  Behringer x32 rack with and s32 snake.  A mic case full of decent mics and diís. Stands for speakers and mics.   All this fits into a 8x10 space in my garage at home.  It does a great job in a small bar or eagles hall.  I work maybe 2-3x a month, maybe.  If I donít work I donít care.  If I do work, this all fits in my Toyota pickup (with cap) and I lift and move it myself. 

Every single job I get is from some band that usually sets up their harbinger speakers and a few mismatched mics and tries to get a gig done for little money.  None of them would hire anyone charging 350 for labor alone, let alone more for gear.  They hire me because they can afford me and I do a good job in horrible spaces. 

So enough about my business model.  I donít have one.  Iím not expanding.  Hopefully Iíll retire at some point.  What most here (not all) have missed is that Iím trying to just simply hire enough house speakers to get the arts center series off the ground.   At the moment Iím going to let them know it would be 2-3000 to bring in the full setup to do it right, and see what they say.  I doubt they will go for that. If they go for it Iíll be back to get serious bids and will let someone else handle it.  Again, I couldnít care less about whether I do this series or not.  Itís already a giant hassle and I havenít even loaded the truck.

óKevin

Kevin, as I started reading your post, I had to scroll up to make sure it wasn't an older post I had made and forgotten.  You are my age, my career status, etc.
PA was always part of my own band offering since back in the late 80s. We were almost always a self contained band.
When I fired up my pro backline biz in 2003, I had to all but stop playing myself and my PA got shuffled to the back of the warehouse. In backline world, however, it's very common for a keyboard player to want a mackie 1202 mix and a pair of powered speakers..so my inventory included multiples of these. Along the way, PA started to happen as a side-job.  Much of the work would come as a request for backline for a private level event, not national, and the client would ask if I knew someone to cover the PA as well, as they couldn't afford the pro level, nor needed it.
I found that my rig fit a nice niche but I was always careful not to get crossed up with the pro production houses, as they were some of my major clients..always calling on me for backline gear. I drew a hard line for my PA..if the client truly needed pro level to any degree, I sent them on to one of my favorite production guys..they in turn would send small stuff to me.
These days, they tell me they will take any and all jobs...so I've pushed some stuff to them that I normally would take. that is/was their entire livelihood.. I've got my day job.
Now, this aside, to the point of the OP.
1) Small town USA is trying desperately to reopen but on very very small levels. they are fine with local entertainers bringing whatever audio they have as long as there is no additional cost.
2) Events are far to small for guys to make a living from.
I am not a bottom feeder, but I am willing to work with my local community as we all rebuild. so while I might in 2019 have charged $1800- $2500 for a couple of these venues, if they tell me they need me at $800, I will be there with a huge conversation in advance about expectations going forward.
Several local bands that used to hire me to do better audio, are pulling mismatch whatever they have together and they are playing very low paying gigs, just to be out there..so no work from them, when it used to be a lot of stages.
with very few exceptions last year, my gear stayed locked in the trailer and I sent what I could to my big boys.
This year I'm actively working with two small town merchant groups and a third club client that will give me as many dates as they can, but funds are tight. I get it, most of these merchants were all but out of business and are trying to stand back up.
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Kevin_Tisdall

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2021, 01:01:31 pm »

So I guess at this point let me ask a couple more questions:

1) How much power does it take to run a full pro system for 500 outside?  2-20a circuits? 4-20a?  more?   

2) can anyone let me know what "real" providers aside from Altel Sound (who I am already talking to)  do work and are reasonably local to Milford CT?


--Kevin

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
¬ę Reply #19 on: April 29, 2021, 01:01:31 pm ¬Ľ


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