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How much should I make?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by reachjkh, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. reachjkh


    Nov 21, 2002
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Ok, here's a tough situation for me. I may need to get a second job, and I'm investigating playing for pay. I've heard that bass players are relatively hard to come by around Kansas City (this individual certainly seemed pretty excited that I was a bass player) and I am thinking about hiring out to a variety band to do some shows at casinos/clubs/whatever pays. At least I'd be doing something I like, and building my skills and reputation on my instrument.

    Since I've never done this before, I'm wondering if $50, $100, $150 is appropriate pay for approx 4-5 hour set? I would be required to know 4 different sets of music and would be under contract with this individual. Also, if I'm a hired gun, how is practice handled? Assuming I won't get paid for practices, how many should I be available for considering 3-4 gigs a week are anticipated? The band leader was talking 4 practices a week, and that's just not worth it to me... of course they sounded a little "fuzzy" when we talked(I think I called to early) so I'm assuming that's not what they actually do. I'd think once the initial "get up to speed" time is over, one good practice a week should do it.

    I know talking money is a little hard sometimes in this setting, but I'd like to not learn the hard way when it comes to this. If anyone can give some good guidelines I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks for any help with this dilemma.
  2. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Couple things here.

    First, there are absolutely NO rules about pay in this line of bidness. It's 100% "take-it-or-leave-it".

    So, what you make is going to depend on what the venue is paying the band -- no way a bandleader's gonna pay you $100 if the whole band's only getting $250. But a bandleader is also under no obligation to tell you what the venue is paying him, so you just have to decide if you're willing to work for what's being offered.

    Most bandleaders, therefore, won't ask you YOUR price -- they'll simply tell you what they're willing to pay you, and you have three choices: negotiate for more, accept the offer, or walk. That having been said, what you're worth also depends on what you can deliver. If you can read music, that drastically reduces rehearsal requirements, and that's worth actual money.

    As far as practices, you need to nail that down before you start. If a bandleader says 4 practices a week for the long haul, then he has probably been doing that for some years and does not expect to change it. If he says he'll decrease to one or two a week once you know the stuff, then take him at his word, then hold him to it -- when you know the stuff. Chances are he doesn't want to rehearse any more than he has to, so the quicker you get your act together, the happier everyone's going to be.

    Good luck, and let us know how this turns out.
  3. reachjkh


    Nov 21, 2002
    Lee's Summit, MO
    sure 'nuff. I expect the casinos pay fairly well. At least I certainly hope so.:)
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Just curious, is there a musician's union in KC? Out here in LA, if you're under contract that means you're getting union scale. I would check that out with at least one or two of the venues where the band plays. Chances are if it's a casino or something like that they're probably paying scale plus.
  5. reachjkh


    Nov 21, 2002
    Lee's Summit, MO
    There is a union I'm sure, but I don't know if it has any strength. I am looking into it though.
  6. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    I agree...ask the band leader what he "requires" and see if you can live with it. You may be better off doing and acoustic guit#@,bass thing going as far as ROTI (Return on time investment). If I were you, I wouldn't show up for under $100 a gig if rehersals are involved. My rate anyway...

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