What price do you charge?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by anonymous, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    If I run sound for a band. And I bring speaker monitors, mixing board, and ALL the cords and stands and mic's. Plus I record the performance, (16 or 24 track) AND mix it down for CD format the following day.
    What would you charge? I have been thinking about it, but I'm not sure what to ask for starting out. $$$? I have run live sound in the past (maybe 15 times or so), but not with all this great quality gear. In the past I made $100 easy, just running sound. But this should be way, way better than anything else I've done in the past.
    FYI---I have all Shure & Audix mic's
    I also have 4 channels of API and 2 channels of Great River, the last pre I have is a Mindprint (single channel, single tube) pre-amp.
    So my main hold back is not having about 8 to 10 more pre's.
    I do have a Avalon U5 DI box for bass, and a Radail DI box for keyboards. So I have about 9 or 10 channels of quality pre-amps.
    I was gonna start out doing it for next to nothing, but my setup time is like an hour at least, plus driving time. And if I start doing 2 or 3 bands a week, I'll be up ALL night long till about 2am everynight and still have to go to my day job. So I figure, I need to get paid.
    Plus making this money will go directly to my new gear list.
    What's anyone else's charge? suggestions?
    Thanks guys!
  2. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    I applaud you on your zeal. Just be careful out there with those expensive pre's in a live situation. You don' want one damaged or stolen. If it were me..I'd save those for the studio, and just get good levels to your Hard Disk Recorder after the mic-pre (insert out) and give 'em a mix later, but that's your business not mine.

    Anyway...what does the market charge where your at for comparable services? For Live sound reinforcement? For Live recording? Find that out..find out what the competition charges vs. what they provide and their experience. Then find a price that makes you enticing for other's based upon that and your experience. Nothing beats word of mouth and experience to appear confident when interviewing & getting gigs. Good Luck!

    P.S. I would really try to make it the business model to mix on another fresh day..once that's the model people will expect it..you'll do an much better job...and a better job means better word of mouth
  3. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    I think I'd start out asking for a percentage. Maybe between 10-25% depending on the size of the band. That way if the crowd is weak the band still gets pizza money - on a good night maybe you'll earn your keep.

    I also agree that doing a live show and then mixing a recording is a TALL order, and probably not a good idea. I'd put another day in there - you'll get better results.
  4. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    No way was I gonna try to record and mix in the same night. Like I said "the following day".
    And thanks for the great replies as always
  5. soundfarm

    soundfarm Guest

    I agree with the percentage idea starting out. Definately better to keep your pricing structure simple starting out until you get a real feel for what your costs are in terms of time and labor. Audio engineering is definately a labor of love (and one the wife loves to hate sometimes!! :D ) . Later on, I did move to a different approach that seemed to work out very well. I used a fixed sliding price matrix. This was based on the size of the band, number of tracks used, and length of the performance. It was also based on the amount of gear I had to supply. I also used a standard contract with the pricing matrix so everything was in writing and everyone was on the same page. This helped my clients feel that they were "in control" of their sound budget and that clients with smaller sound reinfocement requirements weren't "over paying" for my services.

    Just my two cents, hope it's useful
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Great idea :!: :D
    Anyone else?
  7. Just1Ghost

    Just1Ghost Guest

    soundfarm, is there a chance of getting a copy of the pricing matrix you've come up with, in order to help out those of us who are unfortunate enough to be financially inept?!? ;) :lol:

  8. soundfarm

    soundfarm Guest

    Sorry for the late reply, ghost! Been very busy lately. I will need to dig in my archive documents (I don't do much live sound anymore). As soon as I find it, I'll post a link to my FTP server to download it.
  9. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    NEVER, I REPEAT, NEVER DEAL IN PERCENTAGES. It sounds good on paper but at the end of the night odds are you are gonna be holding a lot less then you sought after and expected. The problem with percentages is that you leave the fate of your earnings in the hands of too many variables. What if weather is bad and no one comes? What if the venue stiffs the band (been there, seen that)? Suppose the band you are supplying sound for skimps on the amount of money they REALLY took in...too many things can happen. Better to have a fixed negotiated price to enter a gig with. Gives everyone piece of mind. You shouldn't have to worry about how well a band promoted a gig - that's their job. It shouldn't effect your pay. Either way they are getting a good sound man and your services. If no one comes it ain't your fault. Contracts are the best way to go. Pricing matrices are good too. Starting out I'd say go with a fixed formula rate.


    1. Transportation costs (how far away is the gig? how much is gas to get there?)

    2. Equipment and Setup (how complicated a setup is this? how large a venue? is this going to be recorded as well? Will you need a stage hand?) The more complications, the more the price goes up.

    3. Hourly rate (what is your time worth? also, how long is the gig and how long will you be needed?) The longer the gig and the more hours the less per hour you should charge. This should keep you from making a small amount of money and encourage the band to sound check and allow enough time to iron out any complications.

    This is how I work and to much success.
  10. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    I agree 100%. One of my clients does concert sound on the side. He has an awesome setup for a small PA and really knows what he is doing. He agreed (never again) to do a weekend of Blue Grass Festival for a precentage. After working 24 hours of the 48 hour weekend he went to get paid his percentage and the promoter handed him 50 dollars. The bands each got $200 the promoter took out the expenses and his cut and what was left was 50 bucks. Not at all what my friend had in mind since the gig was 50 (100 miles round trip) miles from his house and he had just worked 24 hours, spent money for gasing up his truck and had a friend helping him and paid for the food and drink for both of them during the festival. He lost money on the weekend and could have made more working in his studio on projects.

    Concert sound is part of the cost of doing business for a band. If you are doing this for FUN then you can charge what ever you are thinking about charging including a percentage of the take but if you are in this for MONEY then you should charge a fee based on your setup, your experience and what others are charging in your location. If you want to shave a few dollars off that for a friend it is up to you but I would stay FAR AWAY from perentages.


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