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Author Topic: Need to price house pa rentals  (Read 3783 times)

Steve-White

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2021, 09:37:25 PM »

This is part of running a successful business.  Just like in life, if you live paycheck to paycheck, any disruption can spiral into chaos.  The actual dollar amounts aren't set in stone. Some people want more income than others, and that's O.K.  Now, clearly, this level of disruption is very hard to plan for, but disruptions of a few months can easily happen.  If you don't think about anything beyond next week, it's not going to end well.....................When you have people that drastically undercut what it actually costs to put the show together, it becomes an impossible business to run.

There aren't many businesses that have that sort of competition to deal with. (photography might be the closest one, but even that, the inexperienced charge through the roof because they can!)

No sarcasm on this one - try landscape maintenance - entry level pro is $50K and on up from there - not counting truck.  How do I know?  Been there, done that.  Competition?  I don't need to say anything.  There's a new group of startups every spring.  First thing I learned was only take year round accounts.  Next thing, work in an area of town on any given day as the mowers only make money when they are mowing, not driving around town from jobsite to jobsite.

It's always been that way and will always be that way for both audio and landscaping.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2021, 11:50:21 PM »

My major point was more that as an industry, we have to future-proof ourselves. What a weekend warrior does is not our problem, it's how the rest of the industry can protect themselves. A basketball player didn't getting a stipend on their contract because they didn't dribble a ball for 1 year, they got to get back in the game before 90% of us did and make stupid money doing it. I am a professional, you are professional, we are mostly all professionals... We got boned hard. 20 years of playing nice, learning, culturing, and providing a NEEDED PROFESSIONAL SERVICE has left those who make that industry turn holding the check. How do we change that?

I propose that it is not lowering the bar, but smashing through the ceiling. They say that you need to have 6 months of income saved and in the bank in case of an " emergency ", we are easily going 18 months. Does any company in our industry have an 18-month reserve account that will cover all overhead and labor costs with ZERO INCOME or other forms of help? I would bet my house the answer is NO. The loans, bailouts, and other options are probably the only things that saved most places from caving, short of dropping overhead to nearly ZERO. The only way to acquire those levels of security is to be able to have a profit margin that supports it.

As an industry, we have raced to the bottom. Rock and roll gigs have been paying the least they have in a while prior to the pandemic. Most of the people that were in the industry have moved on. The company I currently work for is hiring ALL-NEW staff. You can't imagine how stoked they were when I accepted the job offer. It is a sad state of affairs when most of the staff you once had would make more money on unemployment than they did when they were lumping sandbags... That has to change. It can no longer be chump change pay for jobs that actually require some amount of knowledge.

Finding a guy that knows lighting, video, power distro, audio, decor, staffing, logistics, sales, AR/AP, and is personable is like finding a leprechaun with a pot of gold. Finding a person who is half decent at two or more of those tasks is valuable and should be able to make more than $30k. Let's be real, if you can run a genie, know power, and can distribute it to audio and lighting, as well as know the difference between DMX 5 pin and XLR, you know more than the average punter at most remedial jobs and should be making a living wage. We cannot undersell ourselves anymore. There is about to be an entirely new labor force doing this stuff. If we don't nurture them and cultivate a sustainable Pandemic proof business model, Idiocracy ( the movie ) will prove to be the Nostradamus of all things to come. It really does seem like we are heading towards a monotown, post-apocalyptic/pre-industrial age world. At the rate we are going, Taco Bell will be the only one left standing after the fast-food wars...

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Mark Scrivener

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2021, 01:34:20 PM »

Luke, I hear you and agree. But where is the money going to come from? Unless you are doing corporate gigs or high end weddings, most of your customers are in similar marginal businesses. I agree people in this business deserve to be fairly compensated for their time and their significant financial investment....but who is going to pay? Choose your clients wisely. Their is no money to be made selling to the poor.

Luke Geis

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #43 on: May 04, 2021, 03:01:17 PM »

My understanding is that many corporate companies have come ahead in the downturn by reducing the overhead of having to have office space. Moving over to Zoom everything and having employees work from home has lifted a fair burden off of many companies. My wife works as a life insurance agent selling that as well as retirement investment options. The company she is working for pre-pandemic was kicking butt, however, since going to Zoom and having a majority of work from home staff, the company is doing better than ever!

Weddings are not where the major money is made; at least for most of us. It is a good source of income, but it is a far cry from ANY corporate gig. The market is pretty untapped. I was doing a lot of pharmaceutical meetings prior to the pandemic. I'm a little guy, and it PAID... Corporations will have to pivot in order to keep company morale up. There is already talk of Zoom space syndrome ( being segregated in front of your computer screen all day every day for work ), there is going to be a glut of corporate spending on retreats, sales meetings, and launches. I feel they will be bigger than ever as they do what they can to make the outing of their employees and associates as amazing as it can be. They will have to in order to keep the staff happy and the ball moving.

We have also learned that there is a market for live streaming of bands. I myself have not tapped into it, but this will probably be a new form of concert attendance. Now imagine " Virtual " concerts where there is a group of people who watch a concert on a large videowall with a high-end PA system?!?! This is likely to be a reality in the near future. And since on the topic of Zoom and streaming. The technology and production market will eventually shift into providing more of that type of service in a way that improves the overall service. Imagine audio/video production companies with Gigabit data streaming services and ultra-high-end apps that allow you as an attendee to have 4k level video/audio quality and the ability to turn your current Zoom experience into something akin to watching a Blu-ray movie on your 4k 65" tv! There are many avenues that are left for our industry. We haven't even tapped into the possibility of a green screen and video wall backgrounds for such types of meetings.

People want to be in groups. We are social animals. The live events WILL come back, and people will be willing to pay whatever it takes to attend because they now know what segregation feels like. Companies that maintain a work-at-home workforce will have to spend on company events to keep that workforce happy. New avenues will be pursued and refined as our industry pushes new and evolving technologies. I'm too small to evoke that change, but I dream big and can see the potential that we have. We just have to make it known that we are important, we are worthy and we are valuable.
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Ed Taylor

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2021, 04:58:19 PM »

Luke, I hear you and agree. But where is the money going to come from? Unless you are doing corporate gigs or high end weddings, most of your customers are in similar marginal businesses. I agree people in this business deserve to be fairly compensated for their time and their significant financial investment....but who is going to pay? Choose your clients wisely. Their is no money to be made selling to the poor.
This thread has been great..and I hope I've not offended...I do appreciate every aspect and insight.
I have friends that I've known and worked with for 20 years now. some of these production folks are big.. I mean, NASCAR big, and it was a crank to see my backline gear on stages across the country broadcast on NBC even before Fox1 picked it up, etc.
While backline had to be top notch, at the end of the day, it was still backline. Yeah if the artist required DW collectors kit, they weren't going to hire some cheap guy to bring a cheap Tama model to those stages. I recognize Audio/broadcast is another whole level...and that was an investment that I never had an appetite for. In fact , we've even had some seriously funded weddings with American Idol, Ruben, Taylor, etc  in the early days that I simply passed on quoting the audio, even though my rig could easily handle the venue.. I still provided backline, but I wasn't going to risk my reputation on some of these folks who have "a name" coming in and blaming my audio for how crappy they actually are. So, what might have been a $2k stage for the event turned into a $5k-$8k stage just to meet artist rider specs and the  clients had the bucks to spend.
I think those clients are still out there.
But that next step down is my market, has been all along.
Weddings with no-name or tribute acts...they'll step onto my stage with as good a rig as they own back home. My actual clients, pre-covid, were offering various sound companies these gigs for bids below $2k for audio...lighting and backline was in addition and so my total stage $ for the day was a decent rate.
it was common to get a courtyard wedding or some small concert venue.. (2) SIS with simple analog mix for $550 and if they needed say a keyboard rental..that was another $200..so again, worth running a van out for a couple hours.
With covid last year, I was getting calls for possible streaming mix, but even more interesting was that they wanted to hold service outdoors. Typical ask was less than 16 channels, maybe 4 wedges, and enough sound to cover a lawn area.
Even as cheap as $1200 with a discount below that if they would commit to 4 sundays... all 3 of the churches that asked me, wound up pulling a couple small powered speakers, small mixer, maybe 2 wedges from whereever they could find it for free and just made due...they admitted it was a pitiful setup, but they just couldn't get funding approval during the panic time...could I have walked it in at say $500?..maybe..my sundays were worth more than that...so instead of hauling gear out early sunday morning, setup, mix, tear down, etc  for a lousy $500, I just took a HOW gig where you walk in an hour before service, flip the switch, put fresh batteries in the mics and sit back at the desk with your coffee.. $300.
again, I'm not making a living off of this..never planned to. My pro shop is sold, and those days (and pro level money) are gone. I've seen how the big boys do audio, and I appreciate all that goes into it. so much so, that I've known from the start that I have no desire to play in their league.
I truly hope the world reboots here for you guys quickly..cause I want to get back to taking the leftovers that aren't worth your time.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #45 on: May 04, 2021, 09:53:29 PM »

I wouldn't even call it not worth our time or below us. Business is business and you can't lose dollars to get a gig. Earlier I mentioned never shorting the labor. What you do with your equipment is all up to you, but the operator/labor has to draw a line in the sand and say I am worth this much.

It reminds me of the old joke/story about Ford's production line in the '20s or '30s. There was a particular part that kept breaking and or was impossible for several mechanics to fix on one of the machines. The downtime was killing Ford's production output. So he finally broke down and hired the guy that originally designed the thing to fix it. The guy comes in with nothing more than a hammer and gives the machine a few taps and it starts working again! Ford was excited and said send me the bill. He got the bill and it was EXPENSIVE. Ford was not happy about the expense and so he told the mechanic to give him an explanation on why it is so expensive seeing as how he only used a hammer. The mechanic resent the bill and it said hitting the machine with a hammer is $1, knowing where to hit the machine with the hammer is $999.... Ford excepted that explanation and gladly paid the man.

I am worth X, and my equipment was bought solely for the purpose of creating ROI. I have my insurances, a vehicle specifically for moving my equipment, and years upon years of time invested in the craft. I and I alone must be able to negotiate, demand, command, accept, and place where the bottom line for my business is. If I am sitting on my butt on a Saturday I am not making money, but I get to enjoy a work-life balance at that time because I am not working on a Saturday. If I accept a job at well below my normal minimum I am doing so at the cost of my work-life balance. Even worse is that I am setting the premise that I can be bought for less. This means IF I get a callback, getting my normal rate will be that much harder. It is not that ANY job is not worth it or below us/me, it is that we have to stick to our guns on what our time, energy, and equipment is worth.

In 167 years of business, Louis Vuitton has NEVER ONCE had a sale. All their stuff is for sale, but never on sale. Hermes is the same in that regard. People will pay ridiculous prices for wearable items that are not only seasonal in design but have a lifetime. If you use it, you will lose it. What's different about your events A/V production? If you want the best, you pay for it. LV and Hermes don't negotiate prices, and all they sell is luxury goods. We sell a flawless event, high production value, make dreams come true, and provide a service that in many ways can last a lifetime if desired. If the cost of leather goes up, LV and Hermes increase their prices. If they have to pay their artisans more money to produce the products, they increase their prices. For us, it is no different. If insurance goes up ( and it has for the live event industry ), we have to charge more to cover that cost. So on and so on. Now we are at a point where we have to future proof the industry from being the first target to shut down in order to shuttle pandemics....

It isn't gilping end clients, or even negating them because they aren't worth our time. It is simply that as a business you cannot go down, you must go up. The first production company that offers class A-level production for entry-level budgets will be the busiest company in the nation. They will be so busy they couldn't possibly fill the demand on them, and the absolute second that they are shut down due to a pandemic or industrial accident, they will be bankrupt. What's worse is that no one will have made any money and all that time sink and sunk cost will be for NOTHING other than helping someone else get a class-A service for cheap. You could say that doing so would be like selling a brand new LV bag for less than it costs to make it.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2021, 05:51:13 PM »

Luke, I hear you and agree. But where is the money going to come from? Unless you are doing corporate gigs or high end weddings, most of your customers are in similar marginal businesses. I agree people in this business deserve to be fairly compensated for their time and their significant financial investment....but who is going to pay? Choose your clients wisely. Their is no money to be made selling to the poor.

My counter point to this is - if clients want a production - they know or need to know what it costs.  I may want to have Metallica play in my backyard for my birthday - but rather than gripe about how I can't afford it - I know what it costs, and either choose something that fits my pocketbook, or I raise the funds. 

The more we do gigs for cheap because clients "can't afford the big leagues" - the more we're contributing to the problem. 

I want to buy a new Toyota Tundra pickup for $2k.  Is the problem with Toyota, or my out of whack expectations? 
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Matthias McCready

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #47 on: May 06, 2021, 11:49:06 PM »


I want to buy a new Toyota Tundra pickup for $2k.  Is the problem with Toyota, or my out of whack expectations?

In this case I think it has to do with your lack of black market connections.  ;D ;D ;D
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2021, 10:23:08 PM »

In this case I think it has to do with your lack of black market connections.  ;D ;D ;D

I want a $2K Toyota HiLux. They're out there overseas, but so many have been shredded by A10s and Hellfires it's tough to find a good one.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Need to price house pa rentals
« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2021, 10:23:08 PM »


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