Acquiring a client by a band member vs booking manager

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by nemo, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Hi, we have come to a tacky issue with our band.

    We are a four member cover band and we have the booking/road manager. We've got him maybe two years ago, the band exists about a year longer. We have an agreement that for gigs with our "old" contacts he is getting 10% for "road managing" (pre-arranging the details of a gig with client/venue and being present at the gig and taking care of a smooth course of action). If he acquires a new client AND does "road managing", he is getting 20%.
    Now there has been an issue couple of times that some band members brought a client, mostly some friend of them, whom they convinced to book us for their corporate or private event. The "road managing" part was then passed to the booking manager and he did this part.

    In such cases we were having a dispute, because the manager argued that he should get all his 20%, because this is not band's "old" contact, as we didn't play for that guy in the past, and we are arguing that he didn't do the "client acquistion" part, so he should get just his 10% for road managing.

    What is your take on it?
  2. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    He's getting 10% for old clients? As in clients you had before he existed? That doesn't seem right. You could manage those on your own if you wanted to.
  3. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    I agree with this. It may not be an "old contact" but someone other than the booking manager did the legwork of booking the gig. All he has to do is "road manage" your gig so that it flows well.

    I do see his point, that you all agreed he would make 10% on "old contacts" and that this is not technically an old contact.

    If I may propose a compromise perhaps you can settle this issue once and for all. If I may first clear up on bit of info... when you guys bring in a new contact does your booking agent do all of the work as far as booking the gig? Making the phone calls, coordinating a date between the venue and the band, getting contracts signed, etc? Or does he only make sure the show goes smoothly, the way a stage manager would, at the point of the gig?

    If he does all of the work as far as setting up the show and you guys are basically just giving him a contact number I think he is right in wanting the 20%.
    However, if you guys set up the show and he only ensures it goes smoothly I can understand him only receiving 10%
    Maybe you can settle on 15%, since its not techinically an "old contact", but he didnt acquire the new client. Although Id ensure the next time you guys deal with that particular client you let your booking manager handle the details and give him the 20%.
  4. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Sure it does. He's acting as the point of contact for the band and pulling stage manager duties. He could even be setting up the details and booking the gigs, but he's only getting 10% since the client was preexisting. Sure, they could do it themselves, but it seems to me the point of having a booking agent is to avoid having to.
  5. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    This is pretty common actually, and my group has a similar setup with management (regional and personal contact clause sort of thing)

    I think the thing moving forward is to get it part of your agreement with the manager that this *can* happen from time to time, but that you are still respecting your business relationship by giving that reduced 10% fee for the contractual stuff.
  6. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    There's a significant difference in the amount of time and effort that goes into finding new clients, venues, etc... vs. maintaining relationships with currently established ones. The prior can take hours of work and effort to accomplish. This is worthy of an extra cut (assuming if the juice is worth the squeeze on what you can get out of the gig). The latter, however, usually takes no more than a few minutes of effort to send an email or make a phone call.

    Personally, I would gladly pay someone to establish new relationships with my band because that does take time and effort, but, as someone who's done the booking thing for several years now, I can tell you that it takes no real effort to maintain a currently established relationship. Hell, half the time the venue, band, or what-have-you will contact you first, thus meaning the amount of real work you're doing is close to zero.

    I guess it depends on how you want to define your relationship. Personally, having someone email a previously established client just to say, "Hey, is xyz date open?" is not worth 10% off the total cut. I'd gladly do that work myself because, again, it's not something hard to do in the slightest. To me, that's not the point of having a booking agent. The point is to have them bring in new clients. And if the agent did zero work to setup a gig then they don't deserve a single red cent.
  7. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Yes, he does all these activities for ironing out the details of the gig. Apart from actually acquiring the client in these disputable cases, as the client was brought in by a band member and was willing to book us already.
    Exactly. It may take a couple of phone calls and e-mails, but this is the work we are willing to have someone to do. We are talking about cover band gigs - corporate and private events, it takes much more work to set up all the details with client than just arranging a club date if we were an original band.

    Basically, he is doing two kinds of work
    A - client acquisition - promoting by e-mails, phone calls, networking, getting the client to seal the deal, negotiating the price
    B - road managing - setting up the gig details, e-mailing the band with time schedule and all necessary info, booking the van rent (optionally), collecting the money at the gig/on account, stage managing, networking at the venue for potential new clients.

    Both parts require efforts and should be rewarded.
    Question is, how to handle a situation when A has already been done by the band member.
    His point often is that he should take care of A and B entirely, so if we have just an indication of a potential gig, we should pass it all to him so he can do the A properly, squeeze the maximum possible money out of the client, etc.
  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    And squeeze the maximum money out of you guys, too.

    If you're cool with it then it's all good. Personally, however, I'd rather spend the extra 5 minutes myself and make an extra $50+ for the band at the end of the night.
  9. JakeF


    Apr 3, 2012
    Just say no. Just say that if he wants 20% he can earn it instead of trying to argue on some technicality, just reply with "not going to happen" and if he persists ask him how 0% sounds?

    If you have openings in your schedule that can be booked let him know and tell him to book them, you can ask him why those dates aren't booked yet.

    If he argues you can offer him help by having one of your members who has scored these quality gigs teach him how they did it and then he can get the gigs with full rate.

    Just so you can look REALLY nice, offer him 25% IF he can book gigs ABOVE your highest by a certain amount :).
  10. Good luck. Your manger is being greedy. Time to renegotiate.
  11. Greedy? For sure.

    The band AGREED to pay the manager 10% to manage "old clients", and 20% to manage "new clients".

    They then bring "new clients" and offer him 10%, contrary to the agreement they made.

    It's obvious there is a miscommunication between the band and the manager regarding intent and that needs resolving. But in the meantime, the band are currently being equally greedy, which anyone on would agree with.

  12. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    That's pretty simply spelled out. I'm assuming you spelled this out with him, in writing of some form, before he started?

    I kind of agree with his point. Why would other band members seek gigs when you are paying someone to do that for you? Unless you don't have enough gigs, in which case the guy isn't doing the job anyway?
  13. GlennW

    GlennW Inactive

    Sep 6, 2006
    Your contract is the culprit.

    There should be no gray areas as in the situation you describe.
  14. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    This is what Im seeing as well. There is a discrepency in the terms "new client" and "old client". The words that should be used here are "client acquired by manager" and "client acquired by band".
  15. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    I dont know, Ive done both and neither take a significant amount of time. Ive acquired clients and made new relationships with venues with as little as an email or phone call and a gig booked.

    Absolutely. Rebookings take little to no effort once a relationship is established, however Im assuming here that the manager is doing more than just rebooking the band. Theyre acting as stage manager, handling the details while at the gig, making sure the band has what they need, collecting the bands pay, and also building upon the established relationship with the clients. Again, this is my assumption, but if Im paying a booking manager a cut thats what theyd be doing, and it'd be worth 10% for me not to have to because I dont really care much for dealing with people.

    If thats all they were doing, then I definitely agree. Though the OP refers to this person in the first post as the "booking/road manager" which led me to my previous assumption that theyre doing more than just booking.
  16. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    This. Original agreement did not cover this situation, so it's pretty much a free for all. You left holes in the agreement. I would try to compromise, give him 15%, but renegotiate your agreement to include situations such as these for future reference.
  17. GlennW

    GlennW Inactive

    Sep 6, 2006
    If I had to play Judge Judy I'd side with the manager since it's a new contact, even though it's a new contact the manager didn't generate. I'd guess the manager knew that, and kept his mouth shut.

    15% seems reasonable, but that's the kind of stuff that needs to be spelled out in advance.
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If the contract is unclear on this type of situation, revise the contract. He's not going to quit over it and if he sues you, the resolution will be decided by a trier of fact (judge, arbitrator, etc.). If the contract supports his position, you're stuck. Hopefully the contract has an expiration clause so you can renegotiate it when it expires.
  19. Biggbass

    Biggbass Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I would negotiate at 15% across the board commission for him in exchange for him handling ALL of the band business and collecting and processing all money. It's worth it to take that off your plate. No matter who originates the contact he should be the business end of the deal.
  20. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Well, we don't have a written contract yet. It is probably a time to make one and spell out all the duties we expect from him and specify these particular cases.
    You are right that "old contacts" vs "our contacts" was a grey area.

    Thank you all for various views on the issue, good food for thought. I have sent a link to this thread to other band members so I am sure we will consider your opinions. We must decide if for future we will pass all contacts to him no matter if the potential new client is our friend, or if we will be handling some of our new acquisitions by ourselves. I personally incline to the former, but this should be a collective decision.