I work as an audio engineer and I freelance in
my spare time. I don’t charge much for my work (if anything), since I enjoy it.
I did a show for a small charity function that asked me to set up and bring
gear. I did ask them to pay for the gear, since their show was bigger than what
I had the readily available equipment for. However, when it came to budgeting
the conversation went like this.
Me: So how big of a show
Client: About 700 people.
Me: Ok, so with the equipment
we’ll need, as well as the fuel to have me haul it all here in my truck, you’ll
be looking at about $5000.
Client: That’s too much.
Me: Yes, well you are
looking to fill a sizeable room, and with the lights that you’ve asked for, it won’t
Client: Well I know a guy
who has some speakers who can do it for $500.
Me: I understand it may
seem like a lot, but you have to understand that there is no way I can get the
equipment you’ve asked for less. If I reduce the size of the rig, I can maybe
get it as low as $2000, but you’re taking a hit to the quality of the show…
Client: Fine, we’ll pay your
The day of the show rolled around, I did set
up and sound check, the band was all ready to go. About 20 minutes before the
show, the head coordinator showed up with my receipts in her hand and screamed
Client: This is ridiculous!
And what is this $150 for fuel?
Me: As I said, I needed
to haul a lot of equipment a fair distance, and to multiple stops, plus taking
it all back tomorrow…
Client: We’re not paying
Me: I’m sorry you feel
that way. If that’s the case, I will pack up and leave.
Client: What? You can’t leave!
We have everyone here! We’ve paid the bands, and they’re all set up!
Me: Then please write
the check and let me do my job.
Client: Fine! But I will
make sure every single person here knows how much of a cheapskate you are! I
will ruin your career! You’ll never work here again!
She stormed off and tried to pretend like any
hiccup was my fault. The show went over great and the band even thanked me.
This charity is now being investigated for failing to declare expenses as she
tore up their copies of the receipts and threw them out. I’ve done two gigs for
the bands that played since.