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GAGaudio   

Mmmmmm...

Popcorn....

Munch..munch..munch....

Hahhhaha... Yea as I read more of these comments like most message boards on here people get sidetracked.... ha and all I can do is read and be amused.. and eat popcorn

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I am currently charging a base labor of $500/10 with a basic kit of $250/day in LA. Lots of the productions that contact me seem to think that is an outrageous sum, but I explain to them that it is an average. Fortunately the good jobs offer more right off the bat and end up being the ones that I enjoy the most as well. I think this should be a standard base rate. Thoughts?

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vonblake   

I am currently charging a base labor of $500/10 with a basic kit of $250/day in LA. Lots of the productions that contact me seem to think that is an outrageous sum, but I explain to them that it is an average. Fortunately the good jobs offer more right off the bat and end up being the ones that I enjoy the most as well. I think this should be a standard base rate. Thoughts?

This is exactly what I have on my rate card as well here in DC. I find that real productions expect to pay in this range.  Of course I will negotiate depending on the project. I get calls from a lot of out of town productions doing small shoots for major clients and they expect to pay between $600-750 including gear. I won't go out with gear for less than $600 and then only with a small package.

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Gentleman,

 IN L.A.,  If you go to rent from a usual suspect, one of a few.. a 633 or like recorder,  bag and harness, 4 radios, lavs, boom poles, shockmounts, Softies or Zeppelins,  Furries, cables, Headphones, boom mics (at least 2), Headsets and transmitter for Director and script or others... on and on... It's a hell of a lot more than $250...  So why are YOU charging $250?  You have set a bar...

 

  I can't imagine charging $250...  Why not simply give it up for free as an advertising incentive. Roasting your compadres in the process...

 

$250 is too low, in L.A.,  for any REAL package... and I'm not talking Zooms and Audio Technica mics with lower end radios...  

 Maybe in a remote part of the U.S., but L.A.... really.... $250?   My opinion is... WAY too low. 

 

 A boom into camera with a 302... and tiny bag and strap...maybe...

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vonblake   

Rental houses charge more because they don't know who is using it and what kind of wear and tear those people will cause. Since I own my own gear I know how long it will last and I can offer it along with my services at a better rate and as a complete package.  Of course I charge more for extra wireless, booms, stereo wireless hop, etc.

I expect all my major gear will last 5 years or more (much more). $250 a day is about $5k a month or $60k a year for a basic package. What does a basic package cost to buy? Maybe a third of that and we are not rebuying all our gear every year. As someone who also works as a producer, I can do the math and figure out that paying a sound mixer a lot more than $250 a day for a basic package is ridiculous. If we charge more than that, real production companies will figure out fast that it is cheaper to buy the gear and just pay someone labor. I hope that doesn't happen because I make good money off of my basic kit rental! 

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So again, if its a mixer and boom pole 250 makes sense.... You answered your own question.... If you tack on all the extras...and charge for them you seem in line... If you do not... And give all the radios and like up without charging... 250 is too little...

Jack,

To quote a very famous person that I understand is in the know...

" It depends". But... I charge for what is used...

KC...

I have personally never run across a company that wants to deal with the purchase ...maintenance/servicing,storage,check in and check out and insurance of buying a package for 20 people to use... Any time I heard of that, they hate it... The gear floats around in various states of dissarray and organization... and when something is broke or funky....they have nobody to blame... ( but the guy operating it still looks the fool). It's a loose loose situation...

And, I do not believe Rental houses price their rental gear the way you discribe... Just saying...

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I think that a basic kit that a person brings with them is reasonable at $250. I am of course trying to keep rates respectable and competitive and not undercut the others. I think this is on par with what other people are charging in LA currently. I think more transparency is a good thing and puts the info out there so the others know what to charge and that undercutting is not going to do them or the industry well in the long run. If I think I can charge more I will. 

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Jack,

To quote a very famous person that I understand is in the know...

" It depends". But... I charge for what is used...

As well as i do. But regarding a "basic" kit rate I think $250 is fair as long as you are not all in for that price.

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I think its best to ask what you will be doing, then spit out a price taking into account what is used.... To even bring up 250 has already got the salivary glands in full swing... Once you spit that out...the additions are harder to swallow for those with already flowing glands..

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vonblake   

I think its best to ask what you will be doing, then spit out a price taking into account what is used.... To even bring up 250 has already got the salivary glands in full swing... Once you spit that out...the additions are harder to swallow for those with already flowing glands..

I think the rate card makes it easier because it is all laid out on paper.  They know what they are getting and they know what costs extra. 

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vonblake   

 

 

And, I do not believe Rental houses price their rental gear the way you discribe... Just saying...

 

You're right, they don't price it higher just because of risk.  They also price it higher because they need to pay someone to rent it out, fill out the forms, check it back in, make sure it still works, etc. They also don't expect to use it everyday like I do so they have to charge more for the days it is sitting on the shelf.   

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I agree on the rate card approach..It spells out everything in detail and makes the costs seem non negotiable. Jose Frias shared his rate card in this forum a few days ago and I think it is a good representation of what fair rental rates are. I dont offer the price until I get info about the job during which time I am usually told how simple it will be etc..then I say that "the basic kit will be fine then and will cost $250/day" but add that I have anything else that they may need available for rent as needed. I think it is a fair and open approach.

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vonblake   

We're NOT trying to re-buy our packages every year, we DON'T work everyday, so it's imperative you charge as much as you can, in able to sustain your business.  I think it's wrong, a Producer who gains sound person skills, only to turn around and when working as the Producer, pay less because you now feel you have an inside look at their world.  

Just to be clear, I am not a producer with sound skills, I am a sound guy who has produced projects.  I have worked in sound for 20 years.  I don't pay less as a producer,  I actually pay more when I can because I respect the skill.  There are economics at play here and you can't ignore them. If you would rather work fewer days and charge more, I can understand that, but don't act like I am undercutting the market with my rates.  I enjoy my work and so I try to charge a reasonable rate so I can be working most days. This has made me more money and has built me more contacts so I have steady work. It is easier to plan and budget when you are not just trying to get the big jobs, but rather cutting a wider swath in the market. All I can do is offer my advice.  If it is not for you, then take what is valuable and leave the rest.  The good news is that no one will accuse us of collusion!  

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Just to be clear, I am not a producer with sound skills, I am a sound guy who has produced projects.  I have worked in sound for 20 years.  I don't pay less as a producer,  I actually pay more when I can because I respect the skill.  There are economics at play here and you can't ignore them. If you would rather work fewer days and charge more, I can understand that, but don't act like I am undercutting the market with my rates.  I enjoy my work and so I try to charge a reasonable rate so I can be working most days. This has made me more money and has built me more contacts so I have steady work. It is easier to plan and budget when you are not just trying to get the big jobs, but rather cutting a wider swath in the market. All I can do is offer my advice.  If it is not for you, then take what is valuable and leave the rest.  The good news is that no one will accuse us of collusion!

I think some call that bottom feeding. LOL

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You're right, they don't price it higher just because of risk. They also price it higher because they need to pay someone to rent it out, fill out the forms, check it back in, make sure it still works, etc. They also don't expect to use it everyday like I do so they have to charge more for the days it is sitting on the shelf.

You seem to have a distaste for rental houses, while forgetting you are a (small) one yourself? I doubt they have lower expectations for their gear than you do.

I have to do all of the work you described myself, but just cause I'm doing it instead of an employee doesn't make it free. I spend a significant amount of unbillable time running my business, and that time must be calculated into my business plan (rates) so my overhead is covered.

Your basic rate is in line with a lot of simple jobs that I do, and seems reasonable.

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vonblake   

That's a bad impression on a Rental House, you must not have ever developed a close relationship with one.  Once you develop a relationship with one, then they just might start to give you a break, from the usual rate.  That must be your Producer hat you're wearing.

 

How is that a bad impression on the rental house?  Isn't that just the economics of the rental business? All I am trying to say is that renting from a rental house is a different business from renting my kit that comes with my services.  

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Having put this rate thing out there I will say that for a mixer such as myself who doesn't yet have a large well established client base, many producers you are hearing from these days think that $300 all in is the going rate in LA. I have turned down two just today and a television feature last week that was offering $250/day on a 6/12 schedule. When I asked what the budget for equipment and a boom op was just out of curiosity, they told me that they expect that price to include a mixer/recorder, boom, 2 lavs and Comteks and that they had not used a boom op in years. And these people produce a dozen shows a year that end up all over cable. Things are in a sad state in this town I fear.

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Having put this rate thing out there I will say that for a mixer such as myself who doesn't yet have a large well established client base, many producers you are hearing from these days think that $300 all in is the going rate in LA. I have turned down two just today and a television feature last week that was offering $250/day on a 6/12 schedule. When I asked what the budget for equipment and a boom op was just out of curiosity, they told me that they expect that price to include a mixer/recorder, boom, 2 lavs and Comteks and that they had not used a boom op in years. And these people produce a dozen shows a year that end up all over cable. Things are in a sad state in this town I fear.

They are in this state because people have deviated from the "mean line of equip. rates"  That's why you start at a mean line using the usual suspects, combined with those in the field to establish a "norm".   Meaning, If an L.A rental house charges $70 for a 411, trans and rec.,   It seems fair that we should too... if everyone thought that way, then the mean line would hold true... UNLESS people directly undercut those rates... which is what happens.... 

 

  If you say to a producer, my rate for gear is based on our industry norms, go see at LSC or at TREW or any of the other fine rental houses... ask what the daily price is... Then, they see the "norm and will get the big picture.

 

  What has happened is, the producers have used this all over the place, $250 situation to create a NEW norm, one created by those setting those arbitrary rates.. rates based on "wanting to work more days because you "Like It"  and enjoying leaving your home 20 times a month instead of leaving it 10 times, making the same money and helping your brothers and sisters in the field survive financially. Number of days only an example!!!

 

  I don't know about you,  but I have a family, homes, vehicles, work vehicles, bills..etc...  I would rather make a living and spend some time with my family .... and keep our rates fair for all... 

 

  If the rental houses charge a price for a piece of gear, and we charge a similar and fair price, then that is a fair price....  Prices less than those are in fact undercutting... singly or combined..

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How is that a bad impression on the rental house?  Isn't that just the economics of the rental business? All I am trying to say is that renting from a rental house is a different business from renting my kit that comes with my services.  

They own their gear...you own your gear.

They charge for their gear...you charge for the gear

They maintain the gear...you maintain the gear..

They clean the gear...you clean the gear... 

Their gear is transported...your gear is transported

You insure your gear..(maybe)... They insure their gear

You buy your gear...they buy their gear..

They rent it at a fair price.... and you should too...

You know where your gear has been... Theirs... probably through 100 hands... 

And you discount yours?

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They are in this state because people have deviated from the "mean line of equip. rates"  That's why you start at a mean line using the usual suspects, combined with those in the field to establish a "norm".   Meaning, If an L.A rental house charges $70 for a 411, trans and rec.,   It seems fair that we should too... if everyone thought that way, then the mean line would hold true... UNLESS people directly undercut those rates... which is what happens.... 

 

  If you say to a producer, my rate for gear is based on our industry norms, go see at LSC or at TREW or any of the other fine rental houses... ask what the daily price is... Then, they see the "norm and will get the big picture.

 

  What has happened is, the producers have used this all over the place, $250 situation to create a NEW norm, one created by those setting those arbitrary rates.. rates based on "wanting to work more days because you "Like It"  and enjoying leaving your home 20 times a month instead of leaving it 10 times, making the same money and helping your brothers and sisters in the field survive financially. 

 

  I don't know about you,  but I have a family, homes, vehicles, work vehicles, bills..etc...  I would rather make a living and spend some time with my family .... and keep our rates fair for all... 

 

  If the rental houses charge a price for a piece of gear, and we charge a similar and fair price, then that is a fair price....  Prices less than those are in fact undercutting... singly or combined..

I couldn't agree more. However the vast majority of jobs that I have been referred to or found advertised have all echoed that they expect to pay no more. And when I have countered the offer they without fail have said "no thanks we will keep looking". And in the end I know they found their guy. The fact that boom ops are out of the question is as great a concern. I am not interested in booming for 12 hours with a thirty pound sack around my neck attempting to monitor four wires while recording. It looks as ridicules as it feels.

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I couldn't agree more. However the vast majority of jobs that I have been referred to or found advertised have all echoed that they expect to pay no more. And when I have countered the offer they without fail have said "no thanks we will keep looking". And in the end I know they found their guy. The fact that boom ops are out of the question is as great a concern. I am not interested in booming for 12 hours with a thirty pound sack around my neck attempting to monitor four wires while recording. It looks as ridicules as it feels.

As a VERY famous man once said  " They have unrealistic expectations"  There is nothing you can do about that...

If everyone   ( all the sound persons) just  "got it"...  stuck to some sort of "guns" We would all live in a life filled with bliss...  well, almost... But... those dogs keep eating the other dogs... within our own pack...  It will never be perfect, but I do think collectively we could all make the situation better... 

A bee hive would never survive in our current working model.. It would die... and so may ours...

 

Put the bag with four wireless, transmitters and all the crap around their neck, then ask them to boom something theatrical... standing on a six step... while maintaining the radio mounts and batteries.. Absolute bulls**t.. 

 

 Why do they keep asking... because people do it.. pretty simple really..

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