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Gig Compensation Rule of Thumb??

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by gard0300, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. gard0300

    gard0300 Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    Is there a Rule of Thumb regarding compensation for playing a typical bar gig? For an example, if a bar gross sales are $5000.00 that night. Also assuming the bar sales would not have been otherwise. Do you assume a "fair" compensation would 15-20% of gross? Just curious.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    What's fair is whatever you can negotiate before the gig.

    Doubt any business owners will do it after.
  3. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Actually, the annals of TB are full of stories where a bar manager "renegotiated" the deal after the fact, i.e. stiffed the band based on a "bad night".
  4. gard0300

    gard0300 Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    I get all that. But I guess I'm looking at a mathematical equation to just use as a tool, when negotiating. I've been booking gigs for years, I get all the other stuff.
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm not really understanding the question. Are you saying that you are going to ask bar managers for 15% of the total take for the night? I have never heard of such a thing. Or did I misunderstand? I'm not putting you down at all. I'm honestly not following what you are saying. Can you lay it out in a little more detail? Thanks.
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    There's no standard; but in the right kind of venue, you can ask for X% above $Y, with $Y being the bar take that the venue would expect on a decent night with an average band. Typically, this would be structured as a bonus, in addition to some base figure (that is, a guarantee, or the door).

    This assumes musician-friendly and honest venue management. It also assumes that your band has serious and reliable draw.
  8. gard0300

    gard0300 Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio

    Oh no I don't plan on asking for a take up front. I have plenty of friends in the bar business. So I generally have a good grasp on what a bar's take if for the night. Plus or minus a little , but generally when I take a shot. I'm pretty close to being correct. I'm also in sales. I know there is a cost of doing business as well a cost to get the business. Just wondering if there were any marketing bass players out there that could share some marketing fundamentals as it pertains to gigs.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    And it assumes that rainbow-striped unicorns will be guarding the door counting the number of paid covers and watching the cash registers all night keeping a running count of the night's take. :D

    Seriously, I have had lots of bar owner/managers give us a bonus because we killed. But I have never even heard of a negotiation that involved "If we draw X, and the bar takes in Y, then we get a pre-determined bonus of Z." In fact, what the bar takes in is generally considered none of our business. But, hey, if you can pull it off, go for it.
  10. You read about some bands doing that off the bar's computerised till system.
  11. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    I think $100 per hour is reasonable. My originals band typically gets $100 for a one-hour set.

    In my cover band days, we typically got $400 to play from 10-2, so the pay was about the same.

    I've never had compensation based on sales.
  12. gard0300

    gard0300 Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    I'm sorry I think this thread isn't representing what my OP was trying to convey. I'm not looking to use this in asking for compensation.
    There are many tangibles that go into any negotiation. This was merely an exercise in thought really. Just trying to understand different aspects of being in this business. The better I understand my employer and my fans the better manager I will be.
  13. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I've played for a percentage of the bar but I can't remember if it was for 10%, 15%, or 20%.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Cool. And, again, I hope I didn't offend you. I was genuinely trying to wrap my head around where you were going with this.
  15. We played last night for a flat $150 plus 5% of the bar till (not food) from 11 to close. Of course there is no accounting clause or anything, it's just an honor system. We rocked and kept everyone here drinking until 1:45, so I think we should end up getting about $250, maybe a bit more. That's total, not per man. Bars just don't pay up here like they seem to other places.

    In the end we'll see what we're making and decide if it's worth going on or not.
  16. gard0300

    gard0300 Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    We played for a small bar that I have a good relationship with. I have told them we'd work with them since we play there quite often. Maybe 6 times a year. We've been paid anything from 350 to 700.00 at this particular bar. I felt we had a decent night. A couple of bartenders said it was their best night in months. I know they cleared about 3500.00 in bar sales. So I was a little disappointed when they paid us 400.00. But that's fine. I just was thinking they probably profited about 2500-2700.00 that night. So for entertainment purposes I was figuring out percentages. I was hoping for 500.00 minimum. But like I said I'm fine with it, just thinking out loud.
  17. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    We've been in that same spot, smaller place, giving them a small break on the guarantee with the stipulation that if we bring a windfall we expect whatever the base was agreed upon, usually $350 or $400, plus a bonus.

    One "lady" who we had this agreement with shafted us one night, like you describe. BL re-explained to her the terms. It happened again and we simply raised her up to our regular minimum, $450.

    She wasn't happy and stopped calling us for a while which was fine with us. She quit using some bands that made the same demand, but apparently wanted us to resume playing there. After a couple months she buckled and agreed to the minimum which ended our "deal." We seldom play there now and I hear the place is for sale.

    Other places we have the same deal with are honest and give us great bonuses on good nights, well above our min. So bottom line, I have never heard of a deal like you suggest either; I would just tell them you expect a decent bonus on good nights relative to the crowd you bring, and if they stiff you just pull out.

    Good luck.
  18. 100 dollars per man
  19. soaf


    Jul 27, 2013
    Something to keep in mind... If I were a bar owner I'd rather have a lousy band that packs them in than a terrific band with no following. This rule carries forward with the celebs as well... a band like Bon Jovi can charge more than Styx because they can sell more seats.
  20. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    We play at a dive bar sometimes and the owner gives us 3 free drinks and a burger per member plus 10% of the bar at the end of the night.