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How to price out of town gigs.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by troy mcclure, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. My cover band was just offered a 10 day gig about 400 miles away after the organizer of an event saw us at Daytona Bike Week.
    I have yet to get back to him on a price. I figure we will lose our day time job pay, we need travel money, a place to stay, food. We will also lose 2 weekends worth of already lined up gigs.

    I don't really think there is a number under $2000 a guy that makes sense and was thinking more like $2500 each. I seriously doubt the guy will go for it but I was going to offer him 2 3 hr sets a day for $10,000 if FOH is provided. (There are multiple locations).

    Anyone have any ideas?
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Please do not take offense to this. I have never heard your band but I was in a similar situation about 12 years ago. Most organizers do not care how far you are driving, whether or not you have a day job or how much it will cost you to get hotel rooms. You will be lucky to get half of what you are looking for. For $10,000 to $20,000 they could get an older famous classic rock band for one night and probably end up drawing more people than having a relatively unknown band for 10 nights. Let us know how you make out. I'd be interested in hearing how it goes.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I think you're both right. You have to look out for yourselves and take care of whatever you need to take care of. I agree that many promoters don't care about that. That's fine. You still have to look out for yourselves so everything mentioned as far as what you'll be giving up to be out of pocket for that entire time has to be considered.

    You have to get there and get back. You'll need to eat. You'll need a place to stay. This is all on top of your regular gig pay and expenses. If they want to comp you for any of this cool, if not... I don't think the $2,000 to $2,500/person is unreasonable if that works for the bandmembers. If the answer's "no" or they come back with a lowball, unless you're really bored I'd pass. Sometimes a gig is simply not worth doing. Also, how will you get out of your current commitments?

    Funnyy thing about promoters... they'll ask for money that most bands wouldn't dream of. You can't get it if you don't ask.

    I've done a similar gig and charged more but it wasn't as local. And for regular out of town gigs (a couple of hours away... nowhere near 400 miles away) the groups I work with would likely pay at least $400/night plus accomodations.
  4. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    What kind of jobs do you guys have that you can take off a whole week?
  5. TRyan5289


    Jul 18, 2012
    Davenport, Iowa
    A week isn't that much, I'm looking at four weeks a year soon.

    Now the question is, who will give me more paid time off than this?;)
  6. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    travel costs X 2
    accommodations X 1.5
    food X 2
    plus cost per show
    total = ____________?

    20% retainer
    written contract w/rider requirements
    you provide stage plots & they provide PA

    well you asked :D
  7. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    What type of event is it?
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    If you're playing one set a day for 10 days and assuming standard pay for a three-hour set is $500, that's $5,000 as a base rate, and then you're right - you're going to have to pay for lodging and gas and all on top of that. Hotels alone will probably run you $500 a night to put everybody up, depending on where you stay and how many people are in your band.

    Let's see, assuming you're a 4-piece:
    $5000 base pay, just for playing;
    $5000 for a ten-day hotel stay
    $1600 for food ($40/day per member x 10 days)
    $500? for gas (no idea, depends on how you carpool)

    That gets you over $12,000 right there, and without calculating in the value of giving your vacation time to this.

    If they're willing to pay in that ballpark, go for it, but if not, as has been said - sometimes a gig just isn't worth it.
  9. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    The difference between what you are thinking and what the venue organizer is thinking is that you are computing in your cost for lost day jobs..for an even organizer like this, he/she is under the impression that they are dealing with a pro band for which music IS their day job.

    Neither of you are wrong, you just have different perspectives.

    My band gets offered a few times a year gigs similar to this; meaning we could factor in a lost gig (if the travel is on a Friday) and lost days at work. All I can tell you is that everytime we've asked for slightly more than our normal pay, plus travel, room , and meals, we've always gotten the gig. Everytime we've asked for the former PLUS compensation for lost gigs and other work days off, we have never gotten the gig. YMMV of course, but in the end it depends upon how much you want to play the gig vs howmuch THEY want you to play the gig.
  10. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    Boy in my band road days I would have loved to assume we were going to stay in that fine of digs, even factoring in 1980's prices. It was always two guys per room at a place that cost south of (sometimes WAY south of) $100 a night.

    Today I travel a bit with my family (2 adults and two small children) and get away in clean, safe, comfortable places, one room always less than $150 night.
  11. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    The part thats tripping me up on this is that you'd be cancelling two weekends of gigs you've already booked. To me that's a bad idea, especially if any of those bookings are with repeat clients (or clients with the potential to give you recurring business). Even if you come out ahead financially on this mini-tour vs. your booked gigs (which I think is highly unlikely once all your costs have come out), bailing on that many existing commitments doesnt feel right to me.

    Just my .02.

    If you do go ahead with it I think you need to look at is as more of a paid vacation vs a big moneymaker.
  12. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    The fact that you are already booked should tell the promoter everything he needs to know. I'd stay in touch with him for future opportunities, but do not cancel gigs already booked. Bad juju.

    If you were available for this new gig, you would have to bake in lodging and per diem costs, even if you didn't tell him what you were doing. And a signed contract would be a must. The price would have to be the price. Period.

    The only time I would take short money to play out of town would be in pursuit of adventure, but 400 miles is a long haul to lose money. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do that. You don't have to back up the truck to the bank, but the economics have to make sense.
  13. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Question - is this 10 day thing a "house gig" (1 gig a day for 10 days in the same place), or is it 10 one-nighters at different venues?

    If its a house gig your gas costs could be a lot less than if it's all 1-nighters and you will not spend nearly as much time booking hotels, etc. You will (probably) have one setup and teardown vs. 10. And sometimes with house gigs you can get food and lodging comp'd or at least at a much reduced rate. All of that needs to be factored in.
  14. Sage advice.
    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  15. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    The Beatles got $10, 000.00 for their back to back Sunday Night American debut on the Ed Sullivan show February 9th and the 16th , 1964.

    Just a little history lesson.

  16. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I would build the quote on a per nightly fee ( calculated on a realistic local nightly fee) plus travel, daily food allowance, and lodging expenses.
  17. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    I don't know...IMO the one of the reasons I would consider discussing re-scheduling (and I tend to think of it that way rather than "cancellation") with a bar would be if I had established relationship with them. I agree if we are talking about the next couple weeks, but if we are talking about gigs on the books three or more weeks away, I would have no problem at all asking the venues if there was a possibility of switching dates with another band already booked there, even offering to do the phone calls to the other bands myself. In fact, I've done this myself, or been in bands that have done this, many times. Again, assuming you have a good relationship already and assuming we are talking about decent advance notification, I just don't see the big deal.

    And I'm talking bars here; for some other types of gigs (wedding being a prime example) I would not even bother making the call-you play the gig.
  18. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Kind of surprised you could remember that far back.:confused: You started a thread in the live sound forum that you never went back to. Maybe it is just your short term memory that is failing.:)
  19. FWIW: If this means cancelling pre-made bookings (commitments/contracts) - IMHO, that is bad business!!! Just saying.

  20. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Back in those days $10,000 was a hefty annual salary in the U.S. These days that's below the poverty line.

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