The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Client criticizing our rate, what would you do?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
Client criticizing our rate, what would you do?

Hi

We are currently dealing with a client that wont accept our rates. It would be great to have some opinions if someone have experienced the same.

Short story:
Every year we get hired by a festival to do documentation recording for various concerts. The deal with the festival is to deliver only a stereo mix, and how we record is up to us. Since we are hired to do many concerts the festival get a great discount from us. Sometimes we do more complex multitrack recording just for our own interest in making the documentation mix as good as possible.
Sometimes artists come to us after they ve got the documentation mix from the festival, and they want the multitracks. We have a clear agreement with the festival that if someone wants the multitracks, its up to us to charge a fee that also cover the work to rename, consolidate and render out files, uploading, preparing the tracks etc. Concerts can be up to 2-3 hours so this work usually takes some time. We have a standard fee at about $330 for the delivering of the tracks which is under half price of what we usually would charge for a fully paid remote recording job. We have never had problems with this price. Many of the artists have purchased the multitracks for this price and they have done their own mix and released records, promo etc and have been very happy with what we have delivered.

case:
-This year we got an email from a group that wanted the multitracks from recording of their concert last year, because they wanted to put one of the songs on their new record. We responed as usually with what tracks we recorded, and that everything was recorded with hi end DPA, Schoeps and sennheiser mkh mics etc. We gave the price of $330 as usual which all the bands in the past have been happy with. In this particular case we also spent a whole day fixing noise in RX because one of the players bumped into the DPA clip on mic all the time.

-We got an email back and the band wanted to know how much for just uploading the tracks without post production. We thought maybe they didnt understand that it takes work to send out the files and that the festival didnt pay us for such a complex multitrack recording in the first place.

-I thought they had a low budget and after talking to my partner we agreed to give them a special price since our recording was going to be released on a record. We then replied that if they promised to credit our name on the record we could send the files for $270

-We then got a respond that were kinda rude. She said the following:
"I wanted to credit you anyways. Im just going to use one of the songs 2,5 min only on the record, so $270 seems like a very high hourly rate to just upload some files to dropbox...what do you think?"

what to do now:

-To be honest we got a little pissed off at first. I feel that criticize what our hard work is worth and what our hourly rate should be or not be, is kinda rude?

-We have worked for many years and have done some great records we are proud of and worked with established artists, major record labels, tv etc.

-In the first place, we own the multitracks when the artist has not paid anything right? And we could charge whatever we want?

How would you answer the client in this situation:

explain and try to get the $270
-write a long email explaining what records we have done, artists we have worked with etc to prove that we can deliver great, explain that we have used mics and gear worth over $15 000 for this recording. Explaining that the price is for booking a studio, doing the rendering work but also for the multitrackrecording that were really not paid for in full. Maybe explaining that this stuff isnt free and that we have already given a great discount.

charge more, the standard fee $330 + :
-write a short email taking the offer back and ask for $330 which every other band have paid in the past. Also charge extra for the files we spent a whole day to fix.

give further discount:
-We have done work for many friends of this group in the past and to keep a good relationship, just disregard their critisizm and give the files even cheaper.
But would you work cheap for someone that doesnt appreciate your time in the first place? Cheaper will mean your work has less value so bad for business right?

One of their friends is a very good client of us so we just want to be careful so this group dont go around complaining to others about our rates etc.

Last edited by musicmixer04; 4 weeks ago at 01:12 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
allstar's Avatar
 

I'd be going with your first option of explaining the costs involved. Break it down for them so it shows your fee is reasonable.

Last edited by allstar; 4 weeks ago at 12:21 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
Link her to this thread so she will have better insight into what goes on behind the scenes.Do not go cheaper you already offering a reduction- you are a professional and should be paid for the work you do , the hours you put in, the overheads of your buisiness etc etc just like any other job.If they cant affor dit thats just tough Im afraid - you wouldnt go into petrol station and start criticising the cost of the gas !!
Negotiating is fine and all that but there has to be a limit - if she has any respect for you at all she'll understand that and either accept of politely decline. If she doesn't then she's not worth having as a client.
As we say in Ireland shes probably just "chancing her arm"
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Maniac
I wouldnt go into all the detail of why you are charging what you charge immediately. I would start by sending a kind but firm letter stating the discounted offer is the best you can do but also offer them to see the breakdown if they so choose. If they still dont like that then tell em you are sorry that y'all couldnt come to terms but that the discounted offer stands if they want to take you guys up on it later.

In addition for the next festival I would make the rates known to the artist in advance of the things. That way they can make a decision hopefully before approaching you about it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 View Post
Hi

We are currently dealing with a client that wont accept our rates. It would be great to have some opinions if someone have experienced the same.

Short story:
Every year we get hired by a festival to do documentation recording for various concerts. The deal with the festival is to deliver only a stereo mix, and how we record is up to us. Since we are hired to do many concerts the festival get a great discount from us. Sometimes we do more complex multitrack recording just for our own interest in making the documentation mix as good as possible.
Sometimes artists come to us after they ve got the documentation mix from the festival, and they want the multitracks. We have a clear agreement with the festival that if someone wants the multitracks, its up to us to charge a fee that also cover the work to rename, consolidate and render out files, uploading, preparing the tracks etc. Concerts can be up to 2-3 hours so this work usually takes some time. We have a standard fee at about $330 for the delivering of the tracks which is under half price of what we usually would charge for a fully paid remote recording job. We have never had problems with this price. Many of the artists have purchased the multitracks for this price and they have done their own mix and released records, promo etc and have been very happy with what we have delivered.

case:
-This year we got an email from a group that wanted the multitracks from recording of their concert last year, because they wanted to put one of the songs on their new record. We responed as usually with what tracks we recorded, and that everything was recorded with hi end DPA, Schoeps and sennheiser mkh mics etc. We gave the price of $330 as usual which all the bands in the past have been happy with. In this particular case we also spent a whole day fixing noise in RX because one of the players bumped into the DPA clip on mic all the time.

-We got an email back and the band wanted to know how much for just uploading the tracks without post production. We thought maybe they didnt understand that it takes work to send out the files and that the festival didnt pay us for such a complex multitrack recording in the first place.

-I thought they had a low budget and after talking to my partner we agreed to give them a special price since our recording was going to be released on a record. We then replied that if they promised to credit our name on the record we could send the files for $270

-We then got a respond that were kinda rude. She said the following:
"I wanted to credit you anyways. Im just going to use one of the songs 2,5 min only on the record, so $270 seems like a very high hourly rate to just upload some files to dropbox...what do you think?"

what to do now:

-To be honest we got a little pissed off at first. I feel that criticize what our hard work is worth and what our hourly rate should be or not be, is kinda rude?

-We have worked for many years and have done some great records we are proud of and worked with established artists, major record labels, tv etc.

-In the first place, we own the multitracks when the artist has not paid anything right? And we could charge whatever we want?

How would you answer the client in this situation:

explain and try to get the $270
-write a long email explaining what records we have done, artists we have worked with etc to prove that we can deliver great, explain that we have used mics and gear worth over $15 000 for this recording. Explaining that the price is for booking a studio, doing the rendering work but also for the multitrackrecording that were really not paid for in full. Maybe explaining that this stuff isnt free and that we have already given a great discount.

charge morem the standard fee $330 + :
-write a short email taking the offer back and ask for $330 which every other band have paid in the past. Also charge extra for the files we spent a whole day to fix.

give further discount:
-We have done work for many friends of this group in the past and to keep a good relationship, just disregard their critisizm and give the files even cheaper.
But would you work cheap for someone that doesnt appreciate your time in the first place? Cheaper will mean your work has less value so bad for business right?

One of their friends is a very good client of us so we just want to be careful so this group dont go around complaining to others about our rates etc.
you seem to have good reasons on many levels to ask for what i consider to be a modest fee for your work - i would kindly decline this artist's/ensemble's request for a lower price!

unless things were clearly outlined, negotiated, agreed and confirmed by both parties PRIOR to the recording (say to use just a short snippet of a desk mix for promotial use), imo it doesn't matter whether they intend using just 10seconds out of the recording or want to use the entire tracks.

don't worry about 'loosing' (or rather not getting in this case) a client: trust your gut feelings on this topic!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Definitely option one.

Don’t bend further.

Keep the email to the point. It’s additional work even to get the recording to the point where you can upload it; they’re paying for that time, plus the expertise in recording it.

It’s up to them if they take it or leave it at that point.

I agree with the comment of “next year, make sure artists know in advance the costs for multitrack retrieval”. And put your prices up a bit there - $330 for the multi of a live show is a steal!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Option 1, but maybe simply as an invoice showing the itemized list + discount.

Some clients lack human compassion/empathy and just want bottom line and need to justify it for themselves.

Always be prepared for these sorts of clients, have policies in place and in writing, and don't be afraid to "waste" the worst clients.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 View Post
Hi

We are currently dealing with a client that wont accept our rates. It would be great to have some opinions if someone have experienced the same.
Is your $330 rate for delivery of raw tracks for the entire show, or is it your rate per song? If it's your per song rate, would delivery of raw tracks of a 3 hour (30 song) recording be $10k?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Poopypants's Avatar
 

This is when my rates go UP.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
I tell them you must pay top dollar for fresh oats. If they want the oats that have already gone through the horse then there is a discount.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Either your rates are your rates, or they are not.

Once this band tells all the other bands how low you are willing to drop, that will become you new rate, and everyone will expect it.

I don't mind doing favors for good clients, but this band is not in that league yet.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
Once this band tells all the other bands how low you are willing to drop, that will become you new rate, and everyone will expect it.
Correct. You can go down, but you can't go back up.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Guru
 

I'd be tempted to bump the price back up again but that would probably not be taken too well. And given the attitude that might be a bad thing.

Just put your foot down and be firm with the deal you cut them. Just explain that everyone else pays the higher price, you're already cutting them some slack this time, and that they can take the deal or leave it.

Some clients really aren't 'worth it'.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

The client just wants ONE (2.5 minute) track and that's where the point of contention lies, imo. From her perspective, she's paying $100 a minute for a recording, and therein lies the rub. It's not super difficult to see why she's a little miffed by the price.

But the OP's rate of $330 for raw multitrack of a concert is a good deal. If I were the OP, I would say that there is no piecemeal pricing- the rate is for the entire concert.

Also, I hope recording agreements were signed by all the artists.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Guru
 

Well yes, maybe it needs to be pointed out to the client that things aren't being sold piece meal. I mean, what would the price have been had this artist hired a location recording crew to go out and record a 2.5 minute track? Less than $330? After travel, setting up etc? Maybe. But the point is that if they had considered hiring a location crew then they'd have likely said "Oh what the heck, let's just record the whole thing".

$330 is nothing for a multitrack recording in my opinion. Getting it for $270 is peanuts.

Pay up or shut up.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
Stick to $330. Tell them you don’t charge for one song. Give them their entire set multitrack for the full set. It’s an extremely fair price considering your level of experience and gear.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Maybe piecemeal is an overlooked opportunity. Something like 1 song for $150, 2 songs for $250 and the whole show for $350 might bring in more revenue.

I'd be tempted to offer a single song rate for just this one client, for the sake of making everyone (her) happy. And then be very clear what the deal is at future festivals.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Is your $330 rate for delivery of raw tracks for the entire show, or is it your rate per song? If it's your per song rate, would delivery of raw tracks of a 3 hour (30 song) recording be $10k?
Yes its for the whole show.

Thanks for all replies. Appreciate the support

We have done multitrack live recordings for more than a decade, and we have almost never had bad experiences with clients, beside late payments etc.
This response just made us a little shocked, thats why we wanted someone elses opinions.
Yes the $330 is really cheap.
We have been hired a lot in the last years and operate with a price of $750-985 for a multitrack live recording up to 72 channels including all equipment and files sent with dropbox. People have given us feedback that this is a great deal. We have a HD native rig with 64 ch of Avid I/O Hi end preamps, even 16 ch of Avedis ++ 500 preamps, 48 ch of Radial Jensen xformer mic splitters, lots of expensive mics etc.

Im really tempted to not bother responding at all cause we have already sent them an offer. Would that be an option? Maybe it will make them think and come back again accepting the offer.
I really feel its a waste of time to put a lot of work into an email explaining why we are qualified to earn that discounted price.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 

I think it's fair to remember her perspective- she just wants one (2.5 minute) song. That's the issue here- she's not questioning the $330/per show rate.

The whole thing is a bit odd- the recordings are unsolicited by the artist and then held by you for a fee. I get it, but it's not like she's a client in the traditional sense.

And like I've said, your per show rate is really good. I'd make an exception this one time and cut her a per-song deal.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Put it this way, give a man a fish... teach a man to fish....

When they ask why you are charging so much to just upload files via drop box,
they obviously are not educated in the workings of your end of the industry. There's nothing wrong with that, if they simply asked why it costs that much, what would you say? Because it just does? Or would you break it down?

You've explained it here, seems that the amount of time you've spent explaining to us strangers how your time works you could have dealt with this potential client and been on to better things already, no offense, just seems a bit ironic.

Helping them understand will benefit both of you. They will get information that will help them in the future and you will have an easier time working with them in the future... if that ever happens. We're living in the information age and the more we all share with others who are linked to our industry, the better off we all are. There are some things you just can't google and why your rates are what they are is one of those things.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
You've explained it here, seems that the amount of time you've spent explaining to us strangers how your time works you could have dealt with this potential client and been on to better things already, no offense, just seems a bit ironic.
I totally agree.

We usually are tough in business but in this case I just dont know who Im dealing with, and I feel that they just will argue back whatever I try to explain to them.

Another factor I have not mention yet is that This woman also play in another project which one of the members are head of jazz and Classical in one of the Three major labels.

I feel like they already are dissatisfied because they dont get the the stuff for free and we just want to be careful what to put in an email.
Maybe the best thing is to give her my number so I can try to explain everything on the phone?
Thats what people did back in the days right.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 View Post
I totally agree.

We usually are tough in business but in this case I just dont know who Im dealing with, and I feel that they just will argue back whatever I try to explain to them.

Another factor I have not mention yet is that This woman also play in another project which one of the members are head of jazz and Classical in one of the Three major labels.

I feel like they already are dissatisfied because they dont get the the stuff for free and we just want to be careful what to put in an email.
Maybe the best thing is to give her my number so I can try to explain everything on the phone?
Thats what people did back in the days right.
Definitely! Much easier to get a point across in a friendly manner using tone of voice. Then, at least if she declines she can do it from a fair understanding of what she is actually asking you to do.

Oh how I wish some of the people I worked with in the past were more educated so I wouldn't have to have those types of discussions at all! Never liked the whole "You're not paying for 3 hours of my time now, you're paying for the 20 years of experience I'm bringing into those 3 hours"... but that's what it ends up being.

If she knew more about our work her original reply would have been:
"That sounds great! We know how much work goes into furnishing a request like this and we appreciate your fair rates!"

Help her out and everyone of us in the industry she whom might work with next!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 
norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 View Post
I totally agree.

We usually are tough in business but in this case I just dont know who Im dealing with, and I feel that they just will argue back whatever I try to explain to them.

Another factor I have not mention yet is that This woman also play in another project which one of the members are head of jazz and Classical in one of the Three major labels.

I feel like they already are dissatisfied because they dont get the the stuff for free and we just want to be careful what to put in an email.
Maybe the best thing is to give her my number so I can try to explain everything on the phone?
Thats what people did back in the days right.
They appear to believe that all your services have already been paid for by the festival. If they believe you are attempting to charge $270 "just for the uploading" an explanation of everything that goes into this might help.

Otherwise, its a familiar modern situation.

The artists are of high enough status to "issue an album" but believe they can't afford to spend $270 for a recording of one track.

Their entire budget for recording may be $2,000 or something
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
ccg
Gear Maniac
 

You've offered $270, so I would stick to $270.

They did get something for free -- the documentation mix you provided to the festival. Now they want multis, which they plan to use and monetize in some way, even if that means promo.

I like the idea of offering your phone number so you can discuss the issue. It might make this type of "client" feel important and that you want to meet their needs. It might also put you on a more human level. Sometimes people have a hard time remembering that what they pay you goes to a human that eats food, etc.

As a last note, I'd be tempted to offer this client a "very unique, we really don't do this for anybody, we're doing it because we really want to make YOU happy" special rate for one song. I wouldn't like it, and I might even ask that they not tell others about it. This could make them feel extra-special. If you're afraid that them being unhappy could be a problem for you beyond the loss of $100 to $200 in revenue it might be worth it...

Your prices seem very affordable though, especially for what sounds like good quality work with good gear. Sometimes "clients" are just bad seeds.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesTrain View Post
I think it's fair to remember her perspective- she just wants one (2.5 minute) song. That's the issue here- she's not questioning the $330/per show rate.

The whole thing is a bit odd- the recordings are unsolicited by the artist and then held by you for a fee. I get it, but it's not like she's a client in the traditional sense.

And like I've said, your per show rate is really good. I'd make an exception this one time and cut her a per-song deal.
Thing is - it’s still the same amount of work to upload as if you we’re doing the whole gig. So why cut a deal?

Also I’d imagine it’s not unsolicited - from what’s in the original post the artists sign up for the recording and are given the option for multis in advance.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Addict
 
bicarbone's Avatar
Instead of replying by email, have a chat over the phone. Stick to your 270$ offer and explain all the above.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Lives for gear
Quote:
Oh how I wish some of the people I worked with in the past were more educated so I wouldn't have to have those types of discussions at all! Never liked the whole "You're not paying for 3 hours of my time now, you're paying for the 20 years of experience I'm bringing into those 3 hours"... but that's what it ends up being.
spot on! exactly how I feel. I think it will be easier on the phone.

Quote:
They appear to believe that all your services have already been paid for by the festival. If they believe you are attempting to charge $270 "just for the uploading" an explanation of everything that goes into this might help.
yep might be the right place to start

Quote:
I like the idea of offering your phone number so you can discuss the issue. It might make this type of "client" feel important and that you want to meet their needs. It might also put you on a more human level. Sometimes people have a hard time remembering that what they pay you goes to a human that eats food, etc.
exactly. People probably are more careless when sending emails.

Quote:
As a last note, I'd be tempted to offer this client a "very unique, we really don't do this for anybody, we're doing it because we really want to make YOU happy" special rate for one song. I wouldn't like it, and I might even ask that they not tell others about it. This could make them feel extra-special. If you're afraid that them being unhappy could be a problem for you beyond the loss of $100 to $200 in revenue it might be worth it...
Maybe this can work on the phone if she is very hard to please with the $270 But I will first explain what we usually charge, and in a humble discrete way mention some great live albums we have been a part of, she probably will understand that we actually are serious and work with great clients.

Quote:
Your prices seem very affordable though, especially for what sounds like good quality work with good gear. Sometimes "clients" are just bad seeds.
Yes I think that too. Its just hard times and difficult to raise the price too much. We are thinking about doing video documentation work bumping up the price, start charging a fee per camera, and then have a potentially increase each year.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Also I’d imagine it’s not unsolicited - from what’s in the original post the artists sign up for the recording and are given the option for multis in advance.
Im really not sure what the Artists have agreed on with the festival, and I dont know what the festival are doing with what we deliver to them. But at least we have an agreement with the festival its ok to charge for multitracks etc.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Lives for gear
 

when price is an issue, i tend to ask clients how much they ask for their service... - and i then add rental costs for all the gear, fees for hands, transportation, editing, labeling, uploading of files etc.

but maybe you can strike a deal which includes some further work?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 View Post
explain and try to get the $270
-write a long email explaining what records we have done, artists we have worked with etc to prove that we can deliver great, explain that we have used mics and gear worth over $15 000 for this recording. Explaining that the price is for booking a studio, doing the rendering work but also for the multitrackrecording that were really not paid for in full. Maybe explaining that this stuff isnt free and that we have already given a great discount.
To me this is where you go off the rails a bit. Do you actually need to book a studio to export the tracks? And she doesn't need to know how much your gear costs or doesn't cost IMO.

I think it's really important to justify the price accurately- IMO this isn't a fee for exporting, or if it is, ~300 probably is a bit high. It's a fee for the multitracks, which is something you paid for, not the festival, and your goal is to recoup your expense there. I think that's perfectly reasonable...

Edit to say this sounds a bit more harsh then I intended. I think your fee is fair, I would just justify it with the multirack and additional work that goes with it, which is what makes this recording worthy of being on the record, as the main reason for the expense. Maybe even break it down like $75 for the exporting fees, $195 to recoup what you've invested in the multitrack- or whatever makes sense there.

Last edited by RyanC; 3 weeks ago at 04:16 PM..
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump