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Do You Want To Get Paid For All Of This?
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This article is provided by The Art Of The Soundcheck.

The check.

Yes, the goal of the business. Getting paid.

I was told once that there are three parts of the gig: 1) Getting the gig. 2) Working the gig. 3) Collecting the check.

It’s like three legs on a stool. All three need to be there or you have a problem. If you are a volunteer at a church, this is irrelevant, at least until you transition into the paid side. Might be good to know all of this in advance.

I used to have a venue that I did a lot of shows for. They got me for a good price and they gave me shows when the place was rented out. Good relationship.

A small time beauty pageant rented the building. They were given my number and we worked out the details. Never had any problem working like that there.

I was there early. I went above and beyond. I assisted their video crew to make sure everything went well. I handled the lighting for them. I helped carry their gear out when we packed up. Normal service level for every client.

When I went to collect the check, it was written out for half of what we agreed on. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. We never took a deposit, I needed the full amount.

“Where’s your contract?”

That’s what she said.

She actually took off and left her husband to run interference when she left. That almost ended in a fistfight. I was furious. Half. Seriously. Half.

Two things happened after that. 1) That venue never let her work a show there again. 2) I completely changed how I work.

Unless it was a client I had good experiences with, everyone paid a deposit to hire me. Whether it was installing a system or running a show. Anywhere from 10-50 percent of the estimated cost. They had to put some skin in the game or I wasn’t blocking my schedule for them.

I created contracts and made sure there was a paper trail to each gig. Even the guys who used me regularly had to have a contract or paper trail.

I played dumb a lot. The regulars would call and try to get a verbal agreement. I would tell them to email me the details and I would confirm as soon as I got back. I never gave them a yes or no on the phone.

I told them how I was likely to forget the details. I was working on another project and couldn’t make notes or work it out with them right then: “Email me the dates and details. I will call you when I get time to go over them.”

Sometimes, they got frustrated. Eventually, they knew the routine. Whenever there was a conflict, after that, I just pulled out the contract or email and reminded them of what we agreed to do. Saved me a lot of headaches and time.

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