How does a performer know what to charge their clients? This is one of the questions that the GigMasters staff gets time and time again from both performers and clients.
New GigMasters members sometimes find it difficult to determine what to bid for their services. If they bid too high the client might be scared away but they also don’t want to sell themselves short by bidding too low. There are many factors that should be considered when deciding on a bid rate and we have compiled a few of the more important ones below. The following information may also be helpful for any client who is confused after receiving multiple performer quotes that range from the very high to the very low.
The number of performers is a major factor. Obviously a solo musician would charge less than a six piece band. When a band leader or manager considers what to bid, they must know what they need to satisfy each of their performers. The rate should be reasonable and affordable for the client but should also be substantial enough to ensure that the performers are paid fairly for their services. If there is a booking agent or manager involved they’re probably also expecting to be compensated – so this should be factored in as well.
Going the Distance
Travel cost is also a biggie (and one that clients sometimes overlook). It seems obvious that a performer will charge less for a gig down the street than one 500 miles away. If it’s a large band, they may have to take multiple vehicles and/or bring a roadie or even a road crew (all that equipment doesn’t load itself).
Another factor to consider is the length of performance. The longer they play, the more you pay. Many artists have a base price for a standard length of time and add an additional overtime fee for anything longer (this is something clients will want to have in writing in their performance contract).
Also, it helps for a performer to know exactly when they are expected to arrive at a performance. For a wedding a client may need a performer to arrive very early so they can set up and then get out of the way. Even if it the time between set up and performance is down time – performers may need to factor this into their quote.
It is essential both for clients and performers to know exactly what equipment will be provided by the venue and what the performers should bring. All it takes is a missing amp or PA to put a serious strain on the performance, so this should be discussed ahead of time. Performers should never assume that a venue will have mic stands, pianos, direct boxes or any other essential equipment. Just like the boy scouts, you want to always be prepared! Here are some more tips on what you need to know ahead of time.
Performers also need to be aware of the going rates for their type of performers in their region of the country. As in any business, if a bid is too high it may price a performer out of the gig – while bidding too low may appear unprofessional. Performers, if your bid is significantly higher than the competition's, it’s your job to justify what makes you worth the extra money.
Note to performers…don’t be afraid to sell your talents to the client via a polite follow-up phone call or email. Clients generally don’t mind paying a little extra if they know they will get a better performance and an overall more professional experience. Just make sure that you can deliver on what you promise. It is up to you to talk the talk and walk the walk – let your client know why you are special and then go above and beyond their expectations to prove it.