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What do you charge for your live audio services?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

What do you charge for your live audio services?

Hi everyone,

I am looking to pick up local gigs in clubs and small music venues mixing live audio in the Midwest. As most of my experience is with churches and in theater, I'm unsure what to ask for my services. Should it be a per hour rate or per gig rate? What do you charge, those of you who work steadily in this field?

Thank you!
Brandon
Old 1 week ago
  #2
I always say what the "average" client is willing to pay is what you should be charging. Call a couple of people who are currently doing what you want to do and ask for their "rates". Establishing rates is one of the hardest things a person just starting out has to do. Too high and no one will hire you. To low and yes you may get a couple of gigs but in the future it will be almost impossible to raise your rates. Best of luck!
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Mike M's Avatar
Thomas hit it spot on, however

if you want to start doing "club dates" you'd better get some of those type of gigs under your belt first before you start marketing yourself.
Why?

You state that you have experience in Church and Theater sound - both of which are good, however,
1. church sound is usually done on an installed rig
2. Theater sound (many times) is also done on an installed rig (once it's in, it stays for the run of the production)
3. Club sound can be done (at times) on an installed rig but many times, club sound is done with portable rigs (run'n gun, so to speak) which is very different that on an installed rig.

I have done theater sound for musicals (I'm doing one next month) and once the lavs/area mics are dialed in and the scenes are noted (I mix by scene), it's pretty much set'n ride the faders with a few sound effects punched in.

Church systems are pretty much pre-set.

Run'n gun/one-off club gigs are a whole different animal - which took me quite a while to get used to....

A recent example with a band I played with (and I did sound)

Venue: Restaurant by day/evening, dance club by night.
Band is supposed to start playing at 10pm
Patrons are still eating dinner at 9:30pm where the band needs to set up....
manager clears the band area at 9:40
band loads in PA & instruments
at 10pm manager asks why the band isn't playing.......
rush through set up (thank God my rig is pretty much dialed in already)
band starts playing at 10:30
gig ends at 1:45am
load-out completed by 2:15am


As a musician (woodwinds) I find it way-easier to show up and play a club gig rather than tech a club gig.
When I was young I found the "tech side" of gigging to be intriguing (so I started doing sound) but soon learned that it is way more work than playing.

I strive for balance 80% performing, 20% sound tech'ing.

Oh, and by the way, any thoughts about liability insurance for club sound....?
If it's your rig, you may want to have it.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

$250-2000, depending what I’m bringing out.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
if you want to start doing "club dates" you'd better get some of those type of gigs under your belt first before you start marketing yourself.
Why?
Nice post.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brandonaudio View Post
Hi everyone,

I am looking to pick up local gigs in clubs and small music venues mixing live audio in the Midwest. As most of my experience is with churches and in theater, I'm unsure what to ask for my services. Should it be a per hour rate or per gig rate? What do you charge, those of you who work steadily in this field?

Thank you!
Brandon
Charge hourly always. Your rate is based on what you offer relative to others in the filed in your area and how badly you want to work.
The better you get the more work you will be offered and the more you can charge. If you know what you are doing and can make people sound good and solve problems well, i would suggest no less than $25hr to start. That can go up to 50-100 or more eventually if you seek out the right gigs and keep building your skill set.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
JayTee4303's Avatar
Can you ROCK?

How many inputs, how many mixes, how many subs, how many tops?

Lights?

Who's LD? Who's A1?

How long's the push, over what kinda surface, up how many stairs?

How many hands?

Can you REALLY ROCK?

Between a buck and a half, and 1200, depending mostly on the first and last q. Usually 3 to 6.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

i never charge by the hours and (the basis for) my fee has been the same for ca. 25 years now:

i don't wanna get paid less than the musical director if i'm also doing monitors from foh and no less than any other musician, the monitor tech or the lightie when mixing just foh, recording on location or working in a broadcast truck.

i'm okay if the rigger gets more for complex setups but i don't understand why the videots after all those years still make more for doing less...

i do set both a lower and upper limit (!) beyond which i find it obscene or even amoral to get paid (after all, what we're doing is nothing but moving some air!) unless i decide to work for free for a project which i like a lot and which otherwise would not get off the ground.

ymmv...
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
(after all, what we're doing is nothing but moving some air!)
Man, you'll never make it to management with that attitude. That's all they do.

In my tiny corner of the audio world I operate a similar system which does benefit some deserving projects that get a good job done at a value fee (I do relax my ethical sphincter when it comes to large companies). I have to acknowledge that nobody knows or cares but me and my friends who work in the real world think I'm a strange and vulnerable creature but I'm primarily a musician who only lives once and I've been involved with some great projects as a result.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
Man, you'll never make it to management with that attitude (...)
well, i was never much interested in 'making it into management':

all i'm trying to be is the best tech i can possibly be!

[in hierachical terms, i am an owner, i run my own companies, i participate in another, i'm the chief engineer - and yet i do freelance work (foh, mon, location recording, broadcasting, some installation, a bit of teaching): on my terms though, as described in my previous post, but mainly for the fun of doing it! that's what keeps me motivated, not the business, management or marketing bs!]
Old 6 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Sounds like a good balance.

For the record (in case it passed anyone by) my last post was intended to be a bit light, I like the way you're thinking.
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