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Dividing a difficult fuel bill - Please Help!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by theshadow2001, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    My band is unusual in that it drives 3 vans to gigs which is crazy but thats the way things have to be, for now anyways. I'm the only member who doesn't/can't drive.

    2 of the vans were bought around the time we bought our large PA. The 3rd is driven by our drummer who joined around the same time already owning a van and basically he takes 1/4 cut of the pay(theres four in the band) and does his own thing and so doesn't enter into the equation.

    1 van is a small car/van type van. The other is your standard workman run of the mill size van. They are the only vehicles owned by the band members and replaced regular cars they both owned(which they both miss having) They were an essential purchase in order for the band to grow equipmentwise and financially.

    The smaller van takes my rig(which could be changed for something else) and some of its drivers stuff. With the larger obviously carryin the bulk of the gear.

    The driver of the larger van works in my town and rents a house here but isn't from here.This means I do most driving with him but that isn't always the case(which can make fuel bill a bit more complex). This also means that alot of times over the past year I've stayed in his parents house in his home town after certain gigs or in the driver of the smaller van's house who lives in a town nearby. I live 1 1/2 hours from both places. With me usually ariving home the day after a gig if I stay there. I've not been able to return home after gigs due to other scenarios as well because I'm not driving. But this is something I have to accept and will because I'm not driving.

    Should the person who's driving get extra money(on top of a share of the fuel bill) because they are driving and I'm not(A journey that has to be made regardless if I was in the band or not)

    Should the fact that one of them is carting my gear around make a difference? Which could be remedied by putting something else in it.

    Should money be given to both drivers since they are both carrying gear regardless of which one Im traveling with. (This I think is the most important question)

    Should they be compensated with extra money because they scarificed their cars (which they do miss) so the band could grow by buying vans.

    What about maintenance? Since they own the van is it their responsiblity or should I put something towards that as well. Since its being used for the band

    Last weekend for example I ended up having the equivalent of the fuel bill for both vans (plus possibly a tad more) taken from my wage for the entire weekend of gigging(bit by bit over the course of the weekend). This is very much unfair in my opinion and would be equivalent to maybe a bit more than I would make in a single gig as it stands now.

    At the end of the day what we do is a serious business and not just out to have fun with large amounts of money at stake. I would like as much input as I can get before I confront the band members this weekend when they are both together.

    I apologise for writing such a huge post but its a complex situation

    (Kael thanks for replying but I posted twice by mistake and had to delete the one with your response)
  2. DrewBud


    Jun 8, 2005
    What I would do is before any single person get's "paid" from the gig pay out the gas costs from the total. You could also find what the IRS allows for tac deductions for a personal vehicle used for business and pay out each owner of the vans that amount per mile to cover the "wear and tear" just from the miles driven for the gigs and not their personal use.

    Since you don't drive it's more of a personal thing between you and the person driving you how you work that out...maybe you buy him his meals to make up for it.
  3. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    I still say that you shouldn't pay more than half the costs for the vehicle you are riding in. I think that I would be a little leery of paying all costs out of band money before splitting it. Just my $.02.
  4. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Since I don't live in the US theres no IRS so things don't work that way here.
  5. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    I agree with taking the actual mileage to and from the gig as a deduction from the band's wages prior to anyone getting paid. It's an expense, just like if you hired a soundman or paid for radio advertising.

    Personally, I think you're being taken advantage of.
  6. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Amen. There really shouldn't be any "cudos for driving" cut, especially since you're the only one not driving.

    My band is sort of in your situation, albeit on a smaller level. Our drummer hauls his kit, along with whatever else we can get in his truck. I haul everything else in my van, and the bassist rides with me. The first bit out of the profit is gas expenses. Then comes specific gig expenses like rental equipment and the like... After that, we divide whatever is left 4 ways - I get a double share because I own the entire PA - up to about $50. Of course, if we use house PA, I don't worry about that extra cut.

    Gas should never come out of a "cut". A "cut" should only be of profit - that is, AFTER expenses. Throw down the gauntlet and demand a fair way to deal with the situation.

    EDIT: I have done it by dividing down to smaller cuts and deciding how many cuts each person gets - 1 cut for every necessary vehicle owner for gas, 1 cut for each player, 1 cut for he who owns the sound equipment, 1 cut for the guy who owns the lights... It got really complicated and we'd end up with one guy getting 3 or 4 cuts while someone else might only get 1. That led to each and every band member driving a car to the show... just to even it all up. Pain in the butt. I'd advise working mileage into your pay negotiations for future gigs. That way, it doesn't affect your cut per gig.
  7. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    The way it works right now is that everyone who drives takes a 1/4 cut and pays there own fuel bill(with me paying extra to two drivers..Im pretty sure). I think everyone is happy with that and I would be too if I drove. People might do alot of non band related driving between gigs sometimes loads sometimes none.

    One of them tried to give me some B/S about the huge responsibility of driving me. I just nodded my head and agreed I wasn't ready to confront him then. I talked to the member whos not invloved in this and he agreed I was being ripped off. He reckons if someone travels with someone else the van is given enough juice to do the weekends work and then person being driven pays half and thats it.

    The main complications arrive from:

    One person carrying mostly my rig.

    I can't always drive with same person for the time we're gigging. Although Im going to try best I can to remedy this.

    Two of them are carrying gear and probably think they both deserve money from me because I carry none
  8. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    The driver's should be reimbursed for their milage BEFORE ANYONE gets paid. The reference to the IRS, while it doesn't apply in this case, is a good one. The IRS reimbursement level is set so that it covers both GAS and MAINTENANCE on the personal vehicle as it is used for business affairs. You could apply the same concept: set a reimbursement rate per mile for each of the drivers, then pay them out of the total pot before the individual members get paid. This makes it a cost to the total band rather than individual members.

    As far as their beloved cars, remind them that if they didn't own those vans, then you would have to hire a van for every gig.
  9. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Thanks n cognito. These are both good suggestions (I do like the argument about hiring the vans).

    As for the fuel bill I was thinking...The guy Im starting out driving with fills his van with enough fuel to do the series of drives for the gigs ahead and I pay half. That means I will have my hands wiped clean of all fuel costs. If I switch to a different van and that driver wants money for fuel. He can take what ever money he needs from the person who I originally paid half the fuel bill for and not from me, since i would have already paid my dues when it comes to fuel. Of course I would still try and stick to driving with same person for all the gigs of that week as far as it is possible. What do you guys think?
  10. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    the band needs a "warchest". what i mean is lets say your band makes a thousand dollars for a gig. are you guys pounds or euros, i'm sorry i really dont know. thats 250 per person. each of you needs to take 50 and put it in a common account to be used for gas or pa cables or whatever. that way if expenses arise you know where to get the money. since you dont drive the only person who you need to pay is the person driving you. if the person lives close to you pay half. if someone doesnt pay 3/4.
    what my old cover band did was everyone was responsible for their own stuff and gas. we would take 50 per person from gigs and stick it in a band account that i was the only one who had access to. if we needed a mic or a piece of pa gear repaired it came out of there. if the guitarist wanted money for a tuner or whatever he could borrow agianst it but it would be repaid the very next gig. no exceptions. try that
  11. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Man, this is too complicated. Sounds like you guys need to start thinking like a band and less like a bunch of individuals. Throw some numbers at us. That might help us to see the situation.

    Here's how I see it - those two vehicles would have to go to each gig regardless of what's happening. That is, after all, why they bought them. I bought a minivan so that I could haul my own equipment plus whatever I need to any gig. I've discovered that I can get the entire band short of a drummer and a drum kit in my van. Does that mean that the band owes me something? No. Just my gas.

    Now, if the other guys are driving you to practices, that will complicate the process... but if they're doing other non-band driving, you should not be held responsible for that.

    So just pay the gas or the mileage, whichever you guys decide, before anyone gets a cut of their pay. And then everyone gets an equal share.

    Some hypothetical numbers - 4 piece band gets $1000 for the gig. 120 miles from home - 240 miles round trip. 2 vans - each gets about 15 mpg. 240/15=16. 16 gallons @ $2.50 a gallon = $40 per van. So take $80 off the top. Assuming no other expenses, you've now got 4 shares of $920. $230 a man. Now the two drivers get $270 total, and those who don't drive get $230. That's fair by me. Actually, I usually round up to make sure I cover gas for whoever has to drive.

    Speak up, brother! Don't let them take advantage of you! They need you!
  12. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    The only thing I get driven to is gigs. Thats it. The guy that does most of the driving with me lives in his rented house litterally 2 minutes drive from my house if even that. He picks me up and off we go to the gig.

    When you say you can get all the band apart from a drummer in a band and dont expect anything but gas, do you mean that you are just carrying their equipment and expect gas for that or do you mean you carry every member except the drummer and expect gas for doing that.

    I believe our singer expects gas for carrying my equipment regardless of if Im in his van or not. This I think is an unfair request since it costs him nothing to haul my gear around and he's is making the same drive regardless if he has my gear or no gear or other pieces of gear. He doesn't have to make any special extra journey for my gear since its left in the van whilst we're not gigging.

    I believe what I suggested earlier(post #9) is both the fairest way to do things and will tie in to a similiar fashion to the way things work right now.

    I believe there tends to be gross over estimation on the amount diesel costs, which is partly why things are the way they are. However if Im present whilst the diesel is actually being purchased I can keep an eye on/suggest whats being put into the van and then pay half of whats actally being used. I pay for it there and then at the start of the gigs in the filling station as it is being payed for and that will do till the end of the sereis of gigs. This way theres no guessing how much was put in how much was used no way that I can B/S'ed into whats being spent. It will be harder to pull any wool over my eyes if Im paying on the spot.

    And yes the situation is way too complicated at the moment. Thats why a single van will eventually be bought, but for now this is the way things lie. At the end of the day most of this whole mess is my own fault, being afraid to say no and of conflict and putting trust in people that was obvisouly misplaced I think there's a lesson that I have learned that I hope others reading this can take away with them and avoid whats happened to me.
  13. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV


    I'm not going to attempt to reread this and figure out how, what or who you're paying.

    Fuel money should be given back as REIMBURSEMENT.

    Drivers should be given X amount per mile out of the money earned by the band.

    You may run into a situation where your band doesn't make enough money to reimburse the drivers......BEING IN A BAND ISN'T FREE. If a person fails to understand that you have to put a lot forth to being in a band....I don't stick around them long.

    It costs money to be in a band. Singers tend to have the hardest time understanding this, IME.

    Does your band require 3 vans?

    It sounds like right now you need to carry an abacus around with you to shows....bet thats fun
  14. My band never gets any proper money (£50 between us) so we say £15 each and the 2 drivers keept the extra fiver between 'em towards petrol - ok, I'm only giving them £1.50-ish but its something...
  15. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    I mean, I get equipment and people in my vehicle, and I cover my gas because I drove to the gig. There have been times where we've packed badly in past bands and couldn't get one band member into one of two vehicles. We didn't have time to unpack and repack, so I paid that guy gas money to drive just himself to the gig - no equipment, just him.

    Basically, whoever HAS to drive to a gig gets gas money. If you're just driving because you feel like driving, then that's your own deal and you get no money from me. And we always talk about that ahead of time.

    This is true. And there's no reason why you personally should be expected to pay his gas. The band should cover that, not you. After all, it's a business expense, and should be covered by the business. And you're right. The singer WOULD have to drive himself regardless, and so it's not like he's making an extra trip just for you. For that matter, the same applies to the guy you're riding with... he'd have to haul gear regardless of whether you're in the car, so there's no reason for that money to come out of your pocket.

    Dude. Seriously. Math is not going to be your friend here.

    Here's how you make everyone happy. Figure out each vehicle's "worst case scenario" gas mileage (do Europeans call this "kilometerage"? lol). For example, my van usually gets between 17 and 21 miles per gallon. My drummer's truck gets about the same. We round DOWN to 15, just to cover town driving, etc... that also eliminates the need to figure out wear and tear on the vehicles. Now figure out how far you've driven, and round UP to the nearest 10 or 50, however you feel inclined. Now take that, divide by miles per gallon (or k per l), multiply times how much gas costs, and round THAT up to the nearest 5 or 10. TAKE THIS MONEY OFF OF THE TOP THAT THE BAND GETS. This is an expense of the band, not of the individuals.

    Since you're rounding everything in the favor of the drivers, they will be happy. I'm willing to bet that you'll be losing less money on this deal, so you'll be happy. Anyone uninvolved in this arrangement but still in the band will be making less, but this is about treating the situation properly and not letting yourself be taken advantage of. There is no reason for you to pay half the gas of two vehicles. Period. Nor should you have to keep an eagle's eye on your bandmates to ensure that they're not cheating you. Bad situation all around, friend.
  16. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Ok thanks everyone for replying its good to here more input. I'll be speeking to the guys tomorrow so I'll post and let you know how it goes

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