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Thread: The Bottom Line

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default The Bottom Line

    How much is reasonable to charge for a laser show?

    Should it be per show minute? Or by the amount of preparation time it takes? Should it include travel and subsistence, and raw materials (eg smoke fluid), or should that all be rolled up into the price?

  2. #2
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    You should charge:

    a) what it costs you, plus time, and kit 'hire' accounting for...
    b) what the person has to spend.

    So, add up all your transport, consumables, sub-hire, etc costs, add on what you think your hourly rate is worth, add on whatever tax you may have to pay if you're declaring this as income. Kit hire rates tend to be worked out on a percentage of the total cost, pro audio and lighting hire firms operate somewhere in the 2%-4% region.

    At this point, you may find the promoter has a heart attack.

    If you have to cut costs, reduce/remove the kit hire costs. But (imho) you should never discount your time - this only serves to devalue what you or anyone in the sound and lighting and event production industry is worth, and doesn't make for a good or sustainable future

  3. #3
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    As you've no doubt seen, I work for a local Floyd tribute band. I get about £100 for a gig - which I realize is pretty small beer if for no other reason than my investment in kit is about £4000. There are 2 reasons I charge so little:

    1. This is a hobby; just as well, I'd be bust if I had to make a living out of it. My other payoff is that I get to play with my toys to my favourite music :-)

    2. As you highlighted, there's no point charging what they can't afford. I fell out with a previous band for this very reason (also: they were cocks ).

    My issue now is that the band are now cueing up a big list of gigs this year, some of which are definitely not in local venues (Devon, Newcastle, Sheffield). I may have to take 1 or 2 days off work to make these happen. They will probably involve an overnight stay (maybe even 2). So this is transitioning from a hobby into something slightly more serious, and I am now thinking of charging full cost... whatever that is. I don't want to piss them off by charging £££; on the other hand I don't want to be a mug. So it's kinda hard to find an appropriate price point.

    So what do you guys charge?

  4. #4
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    Default

    So what do you guys charge?
    I think you'll find you may not get many answers to that one as its commercial.

    As I said, lots of people will have an hourly rate, others use a day rate as per a sound or lighting tech on freelance rates. Day rates can run from £100 - £200 or more, but the days can be very long for that. I charge significantly less than my day job hourly rate, but probably have more responsibility on my shoulders doing the lights/lasers

    Don't forget to factor in your monthly costs such as PLI and PAT testing, mine runs about £30 a month, and its easy to forget these sorts of ongoing essentials.

    I would hope that anyone 'working' be it as a hobbyist, or as a sole income/part time job has these essentials in place - if you are going out 'on tour' theres a good chance you be asked for these by venues anyway.

  5. #5
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    Default just another opinion

    1. calculate your cost of equipment (in money terms including service, calibration, "licence" and maintenance costs) versus the expected service life in hours. This way you will work out an ammortization cost per hour, so you could have an estimate of your cost per hour of show. This can also be perceived as the devaluation of your kit over time of usage (4000gbp for a projector that will last for 10000 hours of usage, so 0,4 quid per hour. of course you can raise this a bit to include repairs etc )

    2. figure out how much your manhour of programming the show costs. then, if you spent 10 hours preparing a show which will be displayed for 5 gigs, spread this cost evenly across all 5 gigs. If it is an one-off show, all programming time/cost should be added onto that gig

    3. figure out how much your manhour of projecting costs. Include time for set-up and checking / rehearsals

    4. calculate all materials you will need, buy, rent etc and figure out their cost. again, if it is a tour, spread this evenly across all gigs in that tour

    5. calculate all transportation, accomodation, food etc costs

    6. if you have to take time off work, add an ammount to compensate for the income loss from your normal work (in case you take leave of absence without pay)

    up to this point you have not earned a signle quid yet

    7. add a nice ammount to all the above costs, so this will be what you really earn from the tour-gig etc


    as a general overview, there is no single best of the best costing model. a safe way to go by, is to divide the costed project into steps / phases and determine which is the limiting factor in each phase. limiting factors (or scarce resources) can be machine hours, manhours, warehouse space, raw materials etc. Every time, the scarce resource determines how each cost should be broken down and valued

    hope this helps
    "its called character briggs..."

  6. #6
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    I charge more if I dont like the music and less if its a lesbian fetish night.

  7. #7
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    Yep, need to factor in the grief tax. Equally, if it's an event I'd quite liked to have gone to anyway then I'll be more flexible

  8. #8
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    I charge per hour, but with a minimum. You also have to consider your charge as an insurance premium underwritten by you; what if your galvos or a module goes pop?
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  9. #9
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    Default

    Thanks forth great responses guys I've been thinking about those questions to.

  10. #10
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    just remember if you charge to much you can come down in price, if you charge to little you cant increase it
    Eat Sleep Lase Repeat

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