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How much to rent a PA system in your town?


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My band has been approached to play a couple of events for my work, the company picnic and holiday party. I originally quoted them a price of $100 an hour, plus PA rental costs, since we do not have a PA robust enough to play an outside venue and ballroom. Then last night, my mother-in-law asks how much we would charge to play an event for her work (I gave her the same fee structure).

 

So is this a good rate? What would you charge for a private event? How much might the PA rental cost? It has been a few years since I have had to rent one, and thought, I might breakdown the cost of a decent sized PA into 3 or 4 chunks and use that as the "rental fee" to pay it off.

 

Any help is appreciated.

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My band has been approached to play a couple of events for my work, the company picnic and holiday party. I originally quoted them a price of $100 an hour, plus PA rental costs, since we do not have a PA robust enough to play an outside venue and ballroom. Then last night, my mother-in-law asks how much we would charge to play an event for her work (I gave her the same fee structure).


So is this a good rate? What would you charge for a private event? How much might the PA rental cost? It has been a few years since I have had to rent one, and thought, I might breakdown the cost of a decent sized PA into 3 or 4 chunks and use that as the "rental fee" to pay it off.


Any help is appreciated.

 

 

I rent small PA systems, but it depends on what you need..

 

A typical small system consisting of a powered mixer/amp two 12" speakers, stands, four mics, cables and mic stands would normally go for $250 for a weekend. Moving up to 15" mains, monitors, etc. gets closer to $400 with the powered mixer.

 

So I don't know what you mean when you say "decent sized".. That could mean anything.

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This is from a small local music store, their medium system.

 

----------

System B: Self Serve

 

2 CABS (15 WITH HORN) $125.00

 

2 CABS (18 SUBS) POWERED 200 WATTS EACH

 

POWER MIXING CONSOLE

12 CHANNELS WITH EFFECTS

2 X 400 WATTS

 

3 MONITORS (15 WITH HORN)

 

8 MICROPHONES

 

8 MICROPHONE STANDS

 

ALL NECESSARY CABLES

 

(KICK DRUM MIC AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST)

 

ADDITIONAL MIC, STAND, CABLE $5.00

MONITOR WITH CABLE $10.00

CASSETTE 3 CD PLAYER WITH CABLE $20.00

-----------

 

From the pic, they appear to be all Yorkville brand. Pretty good deal, but then again, this is Youngstown Ohio area.

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I would probably charge about $350-400 to do sound for a small show outdoors. That would include about 9000 watts FOH, along with 6) 18" sub scoops, and the same number of dual 12" 3-way top cabs, four monitors and power, and a basic 2-tree lighting system.

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I would probably charge about $350-400 to do sound for a small show outdoors. That would include about 9000 watts FOH, along with 6) 18" sub scoops, and the same number of dual 12" 3-way top cabs, four monitors and power, and a basic 2-tree lighting system.

 

Are you crazy? Move to my area... I'll charge what you should be charging and happily pay you the $400. Seriously, double your rates and/or take half the gear. :)

 

Jeff

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I would probably charge about $350-400 to do sound for a small show outdoors. That would include about 9000 watts FOH, along with 6) 18" sub scoops, and the same number of dual 12" 3-way top cabs, four monitors and power, and a basic 2-tree lighting system.

 

 

Wow... that is pretty damn cheap for all that gear! Does that include setup and delivery fees? I wish you lived by me...

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Are you crazy? Move to my area... I'll charge what you should be charging and happily pay you the $400. Seriously, double your rates and/or take half the gear.
:)

Jeff

I very seldom have a night off from gigging so I do these things rarely, otherwise I'd probably charge a bit more. But when the band is only getting $800-1000, its kinda hard to take over half of it.

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I very seldom have a night off from gigging so I do these things rarely, otherwise I'd probably charge a bit more. But when the band is only getting $800-1000, its kinda hard to take over half of it.

 

 

Still...for the amount of equipment you are providing, that is really cheap.

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I would probably charge about $350-400 to do sound for a small show outdoors. That would include about 9000 watts FOH, along with 6) 18" sub scoops, and the same number of dual 12" 3-way top cabs, four monitors and power, and a basic 2-tree lighting system.

 

 

Wow... that is pretty damn cheap for a 9000 watt sound system with all that gear! Does that include setup and delivery fees? I wish you lived by me...

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You guys are killing me. Sound pays next to nothing around here (so it is a labor of love.) I am competitive with the other few guys here that also do club sound and we all provide nearly the same amount of gear and expertise....

 

We rent:

A&H GL2200 - 432

3 DRPA (1-FOH, 2-mon)

TC electronics, dbx and aphex processors (8 channels of gating, 6 of compression, 2 of compellors, and 31 bands on every output)

Radial J-48 DI's

10000 watts FOH (QSC)

2000 watts mon (QSC)

2 JBL SR4733X tops

2 EAW FR129z front fills

4 Yorkie LS808 subs

4 EV FM1202ER monitors (4 mixes)

1 Yorkie Pulse sub (drum mon)

All Shure B series, Audix OM series, ATM series mics (25 to choose from)

150' snake

Martin Freekie lighting console

Elation Stage Setter 16 channel conole (consoles midi linked...)

Martin MX-4 scanners (2)

Chauvet Omega Color Changers (6)

6 par 56

10 par 38

4 par 36

Back truss

Front truss

One sound engineer

One lighting engineer

 

We charge $200 a night indoors and local. We charge $300 night outdoors since we also tarp everything (including backline) and bring EZ-ups for both FOH and amp rack world....

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I guess the people doing sound in their market area make it what it is. If everyones willing to do production for next to nothing, i guess thats what everyone is going to get. Its easy to lower your price, but to bring it back up is another story. Once you get clients used to paying next to nothing, your going to have a hard time asking for much more even if it is worth it.

It only takes one person to lower the prices, probably will take everyone to bring it back up.

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GREAT TOPIC!

 

HEY! I, along other members, founded a company called ANV, Acta Non Verba, we do production for small and medium venius, including sound, lighting, proyection, promotion and produccion....

 

 

here in Puerto Rico, musicians are underappreciated i guess, bars are a bit difficult with the pay, thats if they even consider to pay you......so i started gathering Money to buy a PA, musicians are not payed but the guys making sounds gets paid.....

 

 

so right now the band makes no money, but the sound does!

 

 

 

 

 

we have 2 deals

 

 

deal one (simple PA)

2 x 15"

1 x yorkville nx monitor

12 channel mixer (no effects)

32 band eq

power amp

mics (2 x sm58, 2 x sm57, 2 x pg81, 1 shure drum kit)

 

Price: 175 or 150 (without the monitor)

 

 

deal 2 (complete PA)

note: we only do these when we play

all the equipment of deal one, but with a lot of extras

 

a second yorkville monitor

2 x par 45 lights

2 x par 65 lights

1 x smoke machine

1 x strobe

1 x 2000 ansi lumen proyector

DVD player or Computer

 

price:also 150 (cheap as {censored}!)

 

i would charge 300 easy for everything...but people dont undestand the difference between a show with attitude, and a boring show.....

 

it sucks that someone can rent a proyector for the same price as my whole pa......hernia without the pay

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I guess the people doing sound in their market area make it what it is. If everyones willing to do production for next to nothing, i guess thats what everyone is going to get. Its easy to lower your price, but to bring it back up is another story. Once you get clients used to paying next to nothing, your going to have a hard time asking for much more even if it is worth it.

It only takes one person to lower the prices, probably will take everyone to bring it back up.

 

 

its sad!

 

underapreciaton provided by the letter I from the word "Ignorance"

 

all want more than they pay

most charge more than they give

alone i drive against the current

to raise up my vineyard

with the confidence that someday

we can be just in price and service.....balanced equation:)

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You guys are killing me. Sound pays next to nothing around here (so it is a labor of love.) I am competitive with the other few guys here that also do club sound and we all provide nearly the same amount of gear and expertise....


We rent:

A&H GL2200 - 432

3 DRPA (1-FOH, 2-mon)

TC electronics, dbx and aphex processors (8 channels of gating, 6 of compression, 2 of compellors, and 31 bands on every output)

Radial J-48 DI's

10000 watts FOH (QSC)

2000 watts mon (QSC)

2 JBL SR4733X tops

2 EAW FR129z front fills

4 Yorkie LS808 subs

4 EV FM1202ER monitors (4 mixes)

1 Yorkie Pulse sub (drum mon)

All Shure B series, Audix OM series, ATM series mics (25 to choose from)

150' snake

Martin Freekie lighting console

Elation Stage Setter 16 channel conole (consoles midi linked...)

Martin MX-4 scanners (2)

Chauvet Omega Color Changers (6)

6 par 56

10 par 38

4 par 36

Back truss

Front truss

One sound engineer

One lighting engineer


We charge $200 a night indoors and local. We charge $300 night outdoors since we also tarp everything (including backline) and bring EZ-ups for both FOH and amp rack world....

 

 

thats also cheap...whats wrong!? how about your back?

 

anyone have any pain in the back?? no body pays for herniated disks....:confused:

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You guys are killing me. Sound pays next to nothing around here (so it is a labor of love.) I am competitive with the other few guys here that also do club sound and we all provide nearly the same amount of gear and expertise....


We rent:

A&H GL2200 - 432

3 DRPA (1-FOH, 2-mon)

TC electronics, dbx and aphex processors (8 channels of gating, 6 of compression, 2 of compellors, and 31 bands on every output)

Radial J-48 DI's

10000 watts FOH (QSC)

2000 watts mon (QSC)

2 JBL SR4733X tops

2 EAW FR129z front fills

4 Yorkie LS808 subs

4 EV FM1202ER monitors (4 mixes)

1 Yorkie Pulse sub (drum mon)

All Shure B series, Audix OM series, ATM series mics (25 to choose from)

150' snake

Martin Freekie lighting console

Elation Stage Setter 16 channel conole (consoles midi linked...)

Martin MX-4 scanners (2)

Chauvet Omega Color Changers (6)

6 par 56

10 par 38

4 par 36

Back truss

Front truss

One sound engineer

One lighting engineer


We charge $200 a night indoors and local. We charge $300 night outdoors since we also tarp everything (including backline) and bring EZ-ups for both FOH and amp rack world....

 

 

Do you actually break even? I wouldn't consider running that rig, let alone owning and transporting it, for that price.

 

There may be a reason you and your competition are paid so poorly....you're all afraid to raise your rates.:D

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The IRS says I make a profit, but it is minimal. I have a BS in accounting so I understand how business SHOULD work. My company is surviving and growing although still small. I pay myself the same rate I pay helpers.

 

In 20 months we have gone from unknown startup to popular. We had to build a reputation. My work schedule is growing faster than most competitors. We are now building the 2nd system and have it mostly assembled. We started with a $7K investment in gear and now have over a $50K investment (we spent more money on infrastructure/support than primary equipment.) Less than 25% of investment remains owing after 20 months. If a small company can pay down debt, increase business revenue, pay the bills and remain open, you are doing OK in your first few years. Most small businesses fail. We have 60 gigs lined up between now and end of year so we will make it through another year of paying off debt and moderate investment in growth.

 

It is about keeping expenses down. Gear is pampered. The city zoning allows the business to operate from home. We buy nothing I can't justify on paper. We buy used as much as possible. We use helpers more motivated by learning than by cash. We don't accept opportunites to fail. We partner with other companies when it works for both of us. We work for talent that actually has some (why build a relationship with people that won't be around long.) We have flat rate deals with our regulars (we will bring more than it's $worth to the local big clubs, but at the small ones that don't allow more than one light tree and only need PA on a stick, they pay the same rates...the good shows at the bigger clubs get me more exposure and work so I don't mind bringing more...it is part of my investment in growth.) I have everything idiot proofed for load in/out. Every cable that can have a multipin does, etc. I look for ways to find ROI and time is an investment. I take no gambles with gigs/talent/people and do few favors. I barter when I can. I learn from mistakes. I watch my income statements and balance sheets. We grow as we can at this point. We invest what we take in above the montly outflow of $. By the time we deploy the second system, it will be paid for.

 

Success is not always achieved in leaps and bounds....sometimes it is the methodical plodding of a turtle. It also helps to invest sweat equity in anything that means something to you. It makes it more worthwhile in the end. (and I am not quitting the day gig until the revenue from sound excedes the revenue from that gig. I am not stupid, but I do have perseverance.)

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The short answer is that when we had $7K in gear, the bands had better PA's than we did, so they did their own sound. The guys with $100K+ investments didn't mess with this sized work. You have to start somewhere. We picked an entry point that most club providers were willing to work for and started there.

 

The longer answer is that if no body has ever heard your work, why pay you more than the other known guys that will work for that. We have to establish that we produce results superior to the competition. (Thats the phase we are in for the rest of this year before we go up on price.)

 

At the club level I have a lot of competitors. At the next level up there are very few local competitors but they are a LARGE step up in gear quality and quantity. My business plan is to prove our worth, increase our inventory and size, and be the in-between niche company for the better club gigs and low end bigger shows.

 

We have already proved our worth, are increasing the inventory each month, and worth of mouth is getting out. Gross revenue is up, debt ratio is improving, and things look good long term. Now I just have to finish this growth phase so we have enough gear in house to bid the larger shows. I enjoy club work and will NEVER abandon it totally. I don't like corporate work at all. I have to build my own market after I build our name.

 

Why do I make $200 on $50K? I ain't smart.....but I like providing sound!!

 

As Mark often points out, you have to have a business plan. I have a plan, but it's just not a good one. ;-)

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So in 20 months you managed to pay off $37500 in debt making $200 a night? So if you paid you and your help nothing and had no costs you would have had to do 187 shows just to achieve this. If there is 0% interest on the debt of course. So if you paid yourself and your help much of anything you probably would have to have done in the 300show range to make this happen? Is that about accurate? Thats alllottt of work in my opinion.

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Thats not far off the mark. I had to look it up just then to make sure. In 21 months we have done about 150 shows. That included some 3 day weekend festivals (where we actually got around $2K each,) and some city government work both of which paid a fair bit more (partnered with a few people.) We also snagged a few nationals where we were support to larger shows (Misfits, Exile, etc...) that paid better. My helper gets minimum wage often (and better for the better paid shows.) I pocket minimum wage at the end of the day, even if the help makes more than I do that day. I did invest $10K a few months ago for lighting/truss/stands and other support items that I did forget to include before. I paid off about $27K in gear.

 

Further you expense all gear in year acquired for purchase price, and as a sole proprietor, the first years big loss was actually an offset to my regular income so that I got what amounted to a refund of part of the purchase price of the gear (until I sell it some time down the road...) which amounted to my entire pay from the company for the year after gear payments. (The loss made me drop a tax bracket on my normal income too!!! :thu: )

 

Additionally, I bought it with cheap interest debt and moved it to a credit offer for 3.9% on balance transfers so interest was cheap after the first few months (and even interest is in fact a writeoff of purchase price if you expense in the first year.)

 

In summary, you were not really far off the mark.

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