Is Profit a dirty word

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bogie1519, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. bogie1519


    Feb 25, 2012
    Beaumont Tex
    This thread is not about how much you make in your band. But about how much you make after all expenses are met. You can even use inflated prices. But the net amount should be truthful. I'll go first based on average. Four piece band wanting 1200 or 300 a man.sometimes more depending on the door. We always negotiate for the door. It can be the gravy. Time is money right. For Arguments sake let's say it's a local gig. So no travel expenses. So set up took 2 hours at 25 per hour so that expense cost was 200. To make it simple no meals so 0.00 expenses. Drinks are 1/2 price including the wife's so drinking expense is 30 per man at 120.00.!Tips aren't guaranteed so go with 0.00 bad night. Then tear down 25 per man so 200. Total expenses 520.00. Net pay 680.00 or 170 a man. Sounds better at 300 a man. Band expenses can be a bitch. Is that a fair assumption or am I off. It is a business for sure.
    rickwebb, Engle and Jim C like this.
  2. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Life is short, buy the bass.

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I bring my own water and food, as it is a business I need to keep my expenses under control. Blowing money at the venue is a quick way to put you in the red.
  3. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    The most I've ever made as a "pro" bass player is $25. That was approximately the cost for me to go play the gig, so my net pay was around $0.00. Every other gig I've ever played was a net loss of some varying amount.

    The concept of actually having more money at the end of the night than when I started from playing bass is completely beyond my comprehension. It's just utterly foreign to me, like being abducted by aliens or something. Much less celebrities who get rich doing it. I know it happens and it blows my mind.

    sears, EMoneySC2, Spectrum and 8 others like this.
  4. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I think it really comes down to economies of scale.
    When I was a kid, making a quick $100 a night cash was money I would never see any other way. It was also a blast to play out with a tight band.
    For many fortunate players, their day job pays much more than their band gig, but the band gives them the creativity and musical outlet that they would never have during the day.
    Most I've ever made as a semi-pro player was $650 per local gig (back in the day).
    My minimum is $100 for close by unless I really want the job for exposure.
    These days I play a once a month gig at a VFW where there is a PA and a lot of really friendly people and friends that are interested in hearing original songs. The tip jar averages about $40 a man (6 people) and it's worth it!
    I haven't had a drink in 14 years and am amazed at the bar tabs for many bands.
    Reminiscent of the pay to play gigs in NYC of the 80's-90's.

    Curious as to how much bar / church / club gigs pay across the US these days.
  5. bogie1519


    Feb 25, 2012
    Beaumont Tex
    Yes it does boil down to economics. And how much ”profit” one wants to make. The reason for the post was to find out how much it takes to make the gig worthwhile. I know everyone is a little different. Weekends vs full time. Kinda what it takes to get you out of the house. I forgot to include practice time as an expensive, but it is. The pie gets smaller.
  6. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    The first thing is, if it is taking you 8 man hours to set up and tear down for a four piece band, you have a bigger problem than making money.
  7. Dluxe

    Dluxe Guest

    Jan 9, 2011
    OldDog52, Michedelic, wmhill and 4 others like this.
  8. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    What were you doing that makes set up and tear down each take two hours??
    What venue would even stand for this?
  9. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    I'd disagree with you that drinks are a band expense. Especially the wife's!
    sludgetail, Ekulati, mcnach and 16 others like this.
  10. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    While you may feel otherwise, your own set-up labor is not an expense. Neither are the cocktails for you and your wife. These things are real; they’re just not business expenses, as in they are not to be calculated in one’s income statement or tax return.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
    Ekulati, wmhill, Tommy V and 9 others like this.
  11. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    1) wrong forum (sorry... pet bugbear of mine!)

    2) if it’s a business then maybe don’t drink 30USD per head per gig?

    Don’t get me wrong, i like a beer or 2 at gigs. But we either get drinks tokens or a rider (occasionally) - and beyond that it’s a personal cost, not a band one.
    mcnach, Tommy V, TrevorR and 10 others like this.
  12. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    It takes four people two hours to set up? That’s your first problem right there. Sounds like OP is throwing random numbers out there to convince himself that it’s time to hang it up.
    mcnach, Tommy V, andruca and 5 others like this.
  13. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88 Commercial User

    Sep 16, 2013
    Ontario Canada
    Retail store manager
    I look at it as you're pay window is the time spent from the first song to the last. Anytime spent before or after is the 'cost' of doing business which can be used to whittle down any number to zero if you're so inclined.
    This practice is a major cause of band failures as we all have different perspectives of our times worth.
    If someone ever suggested to me that their wive's drink tab was on the band it would be game over and good luck with that.
    Tommy V, ELG60, lomo and 3 others like this.
  14. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I don't subtract out gas costs and time to take a shower before going into my day job as part of determining what I really make, but it's insignificant compared to the salary. That's not the case with a $100 / person gig it I need to drive an hour to get there and pay bridge tolls and parking. Bar gigs are rarely going to make much sense from an economic standpoint. If we really wanted to make money in a bar, I'd suggest heading over to Playing in a bar is a hobby that might cover some gear expenses.
    Ekulati, Tommy V, gln1955 and 8 others like this.
  15. bogie1519


    Feb 25, 2012
    Beaumont Tex
    Makes sense I was just rounding up.
    But really starting from the trailer unload to set up completely. Including set up of the monitor mix to back of house mixing and lights. Then soundcheck using only one sound man. Time flies.
  16. bogie1519


    Feb 25, 2012
    Beaumont Tex
    Well inflation has not been kind to musicians. We were making 100 each per show back in 70’s and 80’s. With half the equipment. Vendors have not been kind. Not to mention the bands that will under cut you to drive the prices down
    alaskaleftybass, smogg and LBS-bass like this.
  17. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Two hours isn't too extreme depending on the bar. Some places have stages and those are easier to setup. Other will have to move seating to clear the spot for the band, so getting there earlier is necessary as you never know when you can start. The staff want their tips, understandably, and aren't going to force out a paying customer that isn'r finished with their drinks. If sound is provided (rare in these parts), you can setup in half an hour as long as people are bringing gig smart rigs and not a drummer with his 1989 tribute drum cage / double bass drum, not just a double pedal and double stand keys. It's O'Shanahans, not Madison Square Garden.
  18. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Playing in bars is a hobby. There are regional and major tours available to pro musicians. Go ye forth and tour with the big boys!
    lomo and Coolhandjjl like this.
  19. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
  20. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    Profit? :roflmao:

    When I add up everything I've spent on basses, amps, miscellaneous gear, five years of lessons, time spent practicing and rehearsing, and gig food and drink tabs--and the compare that to the between $00 to $200 I've received for gigs (average take home probably $60/gig) I am so far in the hole that I will never break even, let alone "profit" from playing the bass.

    But let me tell you--it's the best money I've ever lost.