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Cost to hire sound/lights/tech?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by scootron, Mar 12, 2009.


  1. scootron

    scootron Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    My band has been together since October, and after playing some small gigs we are now getting offers to play festivals and country club dances, where the pay is $1000 and up.

    We have a meeting set with the local country club to work out the details for a big dance in June, associated with a golf tournament. There will be about 300 people there. (At the dance, not at the meeting.)

    We have our own PA system and lights....a good mixer, nice mains, monitors, a good sub, plenty of power to run them, and decent stage lighting. All of it is new and good quality...QSC, Community, etc.

    All this is background for the following question. How should we factor in the value of using our own sound and lights (and our own sound man) when calculating our price for the gig?

    Obviously, the options are to require them to provide the sound/light, provide it ourselves, or we could hire it done by a third party. (It is a lot of work to set up and run.)

    I think it would help to have some idea what is the going rate to hire a sound system plus lights and a tech for the evening.

    So, what kind of money do people usually spend or charge for this service?

    To be more specific, I'm talking about a QSC 1850 with 2 15" mains, an ART SLA-2 with 12" monitors, a QSC 1450 with an 18" sub, a Mackie CFX20 mixer, 100' snake, and 2 light stands with a total of 8 cans that chase, etc., and all the stands, cables, and trimmings that go with them. We also use a Sennheiser in ear for the lead singer.

    I'm assuming everyone will agree that a band that supplies its own gear like this is worth more than one which doesn't, but how much? Obviously not more than it would cost the venue to hire someone else to provide the sound.

    So, any help out there?
     
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Where I live, that'd run $200-300 (and up, depending), but typically with slightly more basic lights and a bit more upscale PA than you're using.
     
  3. $100.00 with YOUR gear, $300.00 for theirs.
     
  4. scootron

    scootron Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    $100 seems pretty cheap to haul all that stuff out there, set it up, mix the show, break it down, and haul it all home. With my bad back, I usually wind up having to hire a couple of kids to help me with the heavy lifting, which of course would eat into that hundred.

    Makes me think the $5K plus investment in gear may have been pretty dumb.
     
  5. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    Are you playing indoors or out? My band would charge around $1500-1800 if we are supplying the PA. We bring anywhere from $12-25,000.00 PA though. If we hire a sound company/with soundman that usually costs us between $350-500.00 depending on PA size. If you are playing outdoors and need any volume I think you will need alot more PA than you own.
     
  6. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    Here
    A good soundman alone , no gear , will cost you 200 and up.
     
  7. AndyLES

    AndyLES

    Aug 25, 2008
    New York
    It depends on the gig.

    If you guys are providing the gear, $100 for some kid fresh out of Full Sail, $150 for a guy with a couple of years under his belt and who's desperate in this economy, and $200+ for a veteran pro.
     
  8. scootron

    scootron Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    It's inside, a pretty small room with good acoustics. I've played there before, and our setup should work nicely for what they want....a dance band which will have a good sound yet still allow for conversation.

    Our sound man is not professional, but knows our rig inside and out and knows our repertoire very well, so as to know when each player will take a ride, etc.

    As for the pricing issue, I guess the easiest way to put the question, or at least the way in which I would understand the answer best, is how much difference in the price if we provide sound versus if they provide sound. $100? $200? $300? If taking our own stuff is only worth $100 bucks extra, I'm not sure we can justify hiring extra help and the extra work and wear and tear on our equipment, especially since something always seems to get dinged on every gig.

    I appreciate everyone's thoughtful responses. I guess I am a little surprised, though, at the general opinion that our sound reinforcement is seemingly so inadequate. I've played about numerous gigs using this (with the current and a previous band), including several outdoor events, and people raved about the sound. Of course, we do not push it. By that I mean that we like people to be able to hear us but still be able to hold a conversation, and we've found that people like that.

    I know we could use better quality mains, but power wise, I felt that we were okay. Is it QSC that people don't like, or just feel we don't have enough speakers? We bridge these amps to mono, which gives us tons of power, and we have never come close to using all of what we have, even on windy days.

    I'd appreciate your honesty here. What do we need to do to make this set up as good as it needs to be? (I think the only things we use that I didn't mention earlier are a compressor and a Furman power source/conditioner. All our cabling is 14 guage with good connectors.) Fire away.
     
  9. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    What kind of sub? That is the weak point I can see since you only have one. When we play a room that holds 300 people we use 4. We have some outside work this summer and will be using a 5400 watt powered system consisting of 4 jbl prx535s and 4 QSC hpr151 subs. Remember that outside you will generally need more rig for the gig.
     
  10. scootron

    scootron Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas

    The sub is a Community MVP II 18S.

    Yeah, we know we are too light for real outdoor work. We only have about 2500 watts max. We've been fine for town square stuff, but we know that we would have to hire someone for a show of any size.
     
  11. jtrow

    jtrow

    Mar 1, 2009
    Mid America
    If you are going to be doing more of these country clubs, festivals, and outdoor gigs it might be a good idea to upgrade your PA system so that it's reasonable for the gig. The bigger gigs you could hire out, but for regular bigger gigs it would be nice just to have your own stuff.:)
     
  12. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    From my perspective: a different mixer and substantial dedicated outboard EQ. At least 2-3 monitor mixes too, if you're ever going to try to provide sound for other groups much.
     
  13. drjojo42

    drjojo42

    Mar 1, 2006
    bowie md
    i agree with the above posters that a sound guy that just walks in will charge at least 100-200 just to mix.sounds like you guys want to play at the next level from your 500 a night bar gigs.that said your equipment still says bar band.for the higher paying jobs i would hire a sound company.with what you are bringing in gear i would ask for 250-350.with a sound company 500 and up.but you will have pro sound and lights.and look like pros.good luck
     

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