What do you tell potential clients when they say "Too M

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by DLoeffler, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. DLoeffler

    DLoeffler Pianissimo User

    Jul 16, 2005
    Columbia, South Carolina
    I am curious as to the variety of answers people give when potential clients balk at a price you give for a wedding ceremony, private party, recital requests, etc... because it is too expensive.

    I ask this because I have heard some very great and polite comebacks and others are rather snotty. The snotty ones usually don't result in a callback and that is okay if you really don't want the gig anyway.

    But here goes:

    - You can always get a $25 trumpet player from the high school
    - Yes, I play trumpet because I love it and I don't work for free. Are you an accountant because you love it? Do you work for free too because you love it so much?
    - I can't start my car - brush my teeth - get out of bed - open my case - for that kind of money
    - Unlike a lawyer that charges $400/hour to practice law, I won't be practicing music at your wedding. I will be performing music. If you want to pay someone to practice at your wedding, call a lawyer.
    - I know what I have to pay professionals in order for your guests to have a good time at your party with the music you want. If you would rather an amatuer band, I really can't help you out.

    I actually experienced this last one many years ago when I lived in Washington DC. The church was all decorated up, downtown in Georgetown, and the brides maids were on the alter. The organist turns to me and says, "Don't play". I was rather shocked, but followed her instructions. After several tense minutes, the father of the bride came up to the organist and asked, "Is there a problem". The organist said, "Yes there is. You stiffed me and the the last two trumpet players on the last two daughters that got married here. You owe me and those trumpet players for those ceremonies and you still owe me and this trumpet player for this one." The father's eyes got very big and he quickly whipped out his checkbook and wrote several checks. I later asked the organist why she did that druing the ceremony. She informed me that she has been chasing that guy to get paid for over 4 years and he continually ignored her. At the time, I thought this was a rather drastic way to handle the situation. A couple weeks after the wedding, I then learned that this father of the bride didn't pay anyone and that the incident in the church was a big hit at the reception.

    So, any other comments regarding how you handle clients no matter how funny, scary, ridiculous, etc... should prove fun, interesting and eye opening for some of the younger players.

    To quote Greg Wing, "The music business is not about music. It is about people." And people are what/who you deal with to get the gig, play the gig, and then hopefully, get called back again.
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    That was a great story!

    Any single girls out there listen up! If you can spend over $1000 on a dress, hundreds on your flowers and your hair, I think you can afford to pay for quality musicians!

  3. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    When I'm told that our price is too high I say, "Thank you very much for calling, if there something I can do for you in the future be sure to give me a call."

    90% of them call back within a few days when they realize that our price is very fair.
  4. DLoeffler

    DLoeffler Pianissimo User

    Jul 16, 2005
    Columbia, South Carolina

    I have used yours ALOT over the years. Acutally more than usual in recent times. Maybe because of gas prices?
  5. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    There was an annual party in Detroit every year at one of the city landmarks.They emphasized swing music and always hired our band. Two years ago they decided that we cost too much money. They told us they could get one of the local college's jazz lab band to do the gig for less than half of what we charged. We told them we hoped they had a real nice party.

    Two days after the party they booked us for last year (At a substanstial raise in pay, I might add)

    They have to know that they get what they pay for.

  6. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    The trick to selling is to identify and address objections. In this situation it is usually price, sometimes break times, but it it almost always related to $$.
    I ask them how much they have budgeted for music. I then try to find a band or soloist to meet their budget. I also mention that I can't guarantee that these people won't screw up the gig. I then ask how many events like this occur in his lifetime. I recommend he higher the best he can find, me.
  7. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Interesting thread..

    I really like this approach - very professional and dignified. If they don't come back you didn't really want that gig! In the meantime you haven't gotten all worked up with negative energy!

    As to the organist refuisng to play - BRAVO! I'm surprised she waited until the last daughter!

    I am now running into scenarios where college brass students are willing to work for half the bread that the pros are, so they get the gigs. These are good players, and half the bread seems pretty good when you're in college. The problem is what are they going to do when they GRADUATE and are trying to raise a family and pay the bills? Granted it's a free and competitive market place, but it strikes me as though they are shooting themselves in their own feet. I do miss the work, but I have simply started looking in other places for it. Oh well, they'll probably move to a different community. I hope for their sake they don't live near a really good music school! ;-)

    Just rambling!

  8. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Also, these college kids will be remembered by the pros when they get out of school and try to make it freelancing, directly competing with us pros.

    When you undercut somebody, it may come back to haunt you, especially in smaller towns.
  9. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I agree and I disagree, maybe because my life has come full circle.

    I remember when I was in school and I got called for a job I didn't say "I charge XXX dollars." I took what ever they paid, or I turned the job down.

    As time went on I was one of the more expensive guys in this area, mainly because I didn't need or really want wedding work.

    After my illnesses in the past couple years I actually considered not making a comeback. When I did I started playing with a different attitude. I now play better than at any time in my life, but I can't play nearly as long. After about 90-minutes I'm well cooked! I used to play 4 -hour jobs and pray that they would hire us for extra hours.

    I now have a set price for weddings, but I only have about 5 organists that I will agree to play with at a wedding. I charge double if there is a rehearsal involved, but I give a $25 discount if they hire my wife as the organist. She is one of the best in the area so they are actually getting a great deal when they hire both of us.

    So if they don't like my price, that does not hurt my feelings, but with the discount we give we are usually about the same as the young folks, and cheaper than a lot of the older guys. My wife also sings, so if you hire her you get an organist and vocalist in one person. Her sister is also a great musician, plays keyboards, flute and sings. Her brother plays and is and sang for over 20-years with the New York City Opera Company and is now head of the musical theater at our local university.

    We all charge what we charge, take it or leave it. We are fair, but not cheap. The main thing they know is that hiring us is a guarantee that they will get a professional musical addition to the wedding. We add to the prayful nature of the service. We understand the music rules in every church in the area, and we have played with every Priest/Pastor so we have a working relationship with all of them.
  10. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    That's a great point -- mainly because I'm one of those guys. I must say, though, that there aren't really an pro players in my area. It's a college town but the trumpet teacher commutes in only two days a week to teach; so, what you're left with for trumpet players are band directors and college students. In many cases, my gigs have come from calls to my trumpet teacher or other professors, or from the local band directors. As a college "kid", I don't have the leverage to be choosey or to negotiate a rate. Also, many of these church gigs don't have the budget -- if the pay is higher, fewer people get hired. Instead of two trumpets, a horn, and tbone, you're down to two trumpets. Also, we're usually not the first call people. In a smaller town like mine, nobody's going to get $200 for one or two Sunday morning services, or much more than $300 for a Thur-Fri-Sat run of a musical (plus several rehearsals). That's what the market offers because that's all the market here can afford. I don't know how it is in a place like Chicago or a bigger city than mine; but, that's just the way I look at things.

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