Rates for Sound guys, for rental companies how much do you get?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by griggsterr, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. griggsterr

    griggsterr Member

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    I do some sound on weekends for bands. I feel like I get paid pretty good.
    But I'm curious on what others around the country get. I am in the midwest.
    I charge a minimum of $100 to just run a mixer, no gear. and it goes up from there.
     
  2. speakerjones

    speakerjones Member

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    I would maybe mix a friend's band for $100. Or if they're good, maybe for drinks. Professionally though, I won't get out of bed for much less than $350. That's about the going day rate for a A1 around here, maybe more if they have a good reputation. If I'm doing something through my company, with a small system and a tech, you're looking at $1000 minimum. Probably seems like a lot, but we're in proximity to 2 major markets. For that money you get an insured, experienced contractor who's guaranteed to show up on time, looking neat, and not be a complete asshole. As you can guess, we don't work in the bars too much.
     
  3. griggsterr

    griggsterr Member

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    I do some corporate AV work myself and always get more money for less work. as you can imagine I love it. Right now for me it's bars. Yeah I kind of figured in the $300-500 day rate for work in a large-ish production house. for bar bands and my rig my min is $250.
     
  4. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    I dunno if youse sound guys ever thought of it, but I actually used to work with a sound guy to keep one of his rigs - and my band - busy.... he had all the connections so he made the bookings, we played the gigs and kept one of his rigs busy.

    EDIT: Price...$250 or half the nite in 1986
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  5. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Member

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    We pay $250-$350, but $350 and up is pretty common for a full night. More for bigger sound/lights or just hire a separate lighting guy.
     
  6. speakerjones

    speakerjones Member

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    Not a bad idea, I guess, if you don't mind dealing with clubs. Over the years, I've parked several systems at bars/clubs. It almost always ends up the same way - with a sheriff accompanying us to pick up our equipment for non payment. As a matter of fact, I have a system at a nightclub/restaurant in NJ right now. He's probably 3 months behind on payments.
     
  7. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    I'm $350 - $500 for bars depending on the customer, and travel.

    32 channel mixer
    Subs & tops
    Up to 5 monitors, individual monitor mixes
    Up to 5 mics
    Mic everything
    Ipad mixing
    One RGBAW LED light on top of each FOH stack to light the band.

    I can record the gig for $40/set, which includes an 8GB USB drive per set (a 45 minute set generally fits on 8gb)

    I load and set up everything beforehand myself
    We soundcheck and do the gig
    I strike and load out myself after.

    Lights are $300 - $400 extra

    With a similar line of reasoning, I've made deals with the different venues to be their "house sound" I don't park my rig beyond overnight, and I load out the next day. It's worked out pretty good. They keep me pretty busy.
     
  8. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    House Sound gigs are sweet... and I know the pitfalls. The advantage with the Sound Company-Booking Agent arrangement is we are both in and out of there clean. If there is an issue we are a united front... and we both saw our individual fortunes rise because of the arrangement. The not so great part is that the sound guy would of had us working 7 nights a week if he could have... and we were fairly bound to him as to our own booking arrangements; not so bad considering we really were not at the level to command anymore than 500-600 a nite so we did not miss any upside economically. If we would have had our own sound rig we could have kept more money and doubled our headaches.
     
  9. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    I have 3 guys that I use depending on gig size and availability. 2 of the 3 I would consider top shelf engineers. My PA, we load in/out. I usually pay them $100-$150 depending on the gig. On gigs that we get paid fat on, I cut 'em in for an even split. They all love working for me.
     
  10. griggsterr

    griggsterr Member

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    Just to be clear on my deal too my $250 is for returning regular customers. 32 ch digital board, tops and 18 subs, for the once in a while guys I get $300. as you know I'm making way more than the guys in the bands. I don't provide lighting, The bands I have been working with have a little of their own or I know a couple of light guys that will start out at $100 a show, $150 for anything decent though. I do some corporate things and I charge a min $175 and $100 an hour after that. and usually take a 6 channel mixer and 2 tops, and have some background music available. While we are on it, I just usually use spotify for break music, I have a premium subscription. What I like about it is I can have something in any musical Genre right on my phone, Is it audiophile quality no, but for break music at bars or for warm up music at a corporate event, it works great. I do carry an Ipod if I can't seem to get a decent cell phone connection.
     
  11. griggsterr

    griggsterr Member

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    IF I have to start doing double 18 subs or more per side, and double the tops then we are looking at $500 usually
     
  12. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    Hasn't the advent of powered speakers changed the landscape a bit for bands and hiring out sound?

    It used to be a huge PITA to lug all of those passive speakers, power amps, etc around but hasn't the simplification of of the gear changed things?

    The key to any small business is to do as much as you can yourself and keep as much of the dough as you can.

    Hard to make any money when you are paying half your gig dough to someone for sound.
     
  13. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    in my case, the band would not and could not come to any agreement on taking over sound duties. It was either 50% of something or 100% of nothing. As far as gear becoming more compact and possibly less expensive... that might make up for the almost zero increase in sound company charges at the club-bar level
     
  14. kevin hart

    kevin hart Supporting Member

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    From my experience the $100 just to mix FOH is pretty much the going rate in my area.

    A seven piece band I play in rents sound/lights and the guy we work with charges $400. He ups the price accordingly if travel of more than an hour each way is involved.
     
  15. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    If its not bar work I charge more. Prom is $2,000, this hockey gig is $1,000. Providing lights & sound depending on the venue ranges from $700 - $1,000. $1,200 for sound only outside (on a covered stage, power provided) etc.
     
  16. sbrett

    sbrett Member

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    For lights and sound--$150/hr plus an extra fee depending on how far I have to travel. Just lights or just sound, $70/hr. Four hour minimum.

    Just running a house PA or someone else's PA, $100-$150.

    Private events run a little higher.
     
  17. nater9

    nater9 Member

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    Dang, you guys must be running some massive systems on big stages/events? At the amateur level of things (weekend warriors) (private parties, clubs etc.,) I have no idea how a band could pay a soundguy $250 - $350? That's almost the whole band take. Or is the venue paying you guys these fees?

    Reason I'm chiming in (and probably have no idea what I'm talking about) is because my friend plays bass in a few projects, has his own gas piping company and also has invested in a decent (I think) PA system. He's got the Behringer (sp?) 32 digital board, 2 powered subs, 2 mains, and 4 monitors, all JBL (700/800 series?). Anyways, it's more than enough for the typical club/private gig. He doesn't run his sound business as a real "business" yet, he just kind of does it for fun for like $50-$100 a show. I always pay him $100. I was curious how this compared to others... He also let's me plug in my USB stick and take home a recording of the whole show... Am I getting a good deal here? Or should he be charging more?
     
  18. sbrett

    sbrett Member

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    If he just does it for fun then I'm guessing he's fine with $50-$100 per show. If I'm doing sound or lights for a friend's band then I might cut them a deal as well.

    However, I'm trying to get a reputable sound business started. I can't do that for $50-$100 a show for the full setup. Too much overhead.
     
  19. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    I listed what I bring. The sound aspect is probably similar. I just upgraded from a StudioLive 24.4.2 to the RM32AI. The SC18AI surface controller will be next ($4,000 total) I'm legit, business license, I claim income, deduct expenses, depreciate gear at tax time etc. Receipts are involved, and it's just another expense for the club.

    I am generally paid by the venue itself. That way they don't have to invest in the $25,000 in gear I bring each time. (Or the $15,000 I have invested in lights) They like what I do, they know what to expect. If a band sounds "bad" they know its not me and realize garbage in = garbage out. In the 4 years I've been in business we've come across maybe 4 bands in total that have really truly sucked.

    It's a lot of gear to be moving for $350, I much prefer the $500 gigs, except they are in the next town. So it's $400 with $100 for travel. It's a good little scene we've got going on here. I say if you can, maybe double up the pay, or give the guy a hand.

    Load in, setup and teardown load out are all done by myself, alone. The nice thing about being legit is that I am able to constantly update my rig, stay on top of new things. Everything works, I'm not chasing down a bad cord during the gig to find out why monitor 3 isn't working. If I look bad it makes you look bad. If you sound bad it makes me look bad.


    I much prefer looking good

    ;)

    Basic setup:
    [​IMG]


    Second venue ran by the same management:


    Third local venue, sound & lights


    Venue in next town, sound only


    Outside gig, sound only.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  20. MLG Audio

    MLG Audio Member

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    I'm still just a small time sound business. Mostly doing weekend bar gigs. I'm in the process of raising my baseline price from 150 to 200. The system consists of two 18's two 12's for FOH, up to 4 or 5 monitors with independent mixes, all the stands mics cables, a 16 channel digital board, and enough lighting to make the band visible (no pink floyd show yet). 150 was my rate when first starting out, but now that I've upgraded all my gear to high quality stuff I'm trying to get more out of it. I work with mostly the same 5-6 bands who all really appreciate what I do and have been known to fight over me for dates. If I'm doing something corporate, or something outdoors that requires more PA, the rate goes up from there.

    It really is quite difficult to get what you're worth when you're being paid by the band. Part of it is they don't have sound in mind when booking the gig, so they don't factor that into the asking price from the bar. I've had bands act so offended when I tell them what my price is for a night of sound. They scold me for stealing money from the bands. Then there's a few bands who have no problem paying me half of their take since they literally have to do nothing in terms of production. They show up and it's plug in and play.

    All in all I do plan on making a career out of this, it just sucks being at the bar gig level at the beginning. Currently I still work a part time job basically as insurance for once in a while week that I don't get booked, but hopefully in a few years it will all be sound.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015

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