By M. Erik Matlock • August 27, 2013 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. Read the rest of this post 1 2 About M. Erik M. Erik Matlock Senior Editor, ProSoundWeb Erik worked in a wide range of roles in pro audio for more than 20 years in a dynamic career that encompasses system design and engineering in the live, install and recording markets. He also spent several years as a production staff member and team leader for the largest non-denominational church in central Georgia, and served as an author for several leading industry publications before joining the PSW team. http://erikmatlock.com Comments Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Tagged with: Audio Basics Business Careers Education Engineer M Erik Matlock Personnel Tech Technician · all topics Subscribe to Live Sound International Subscribe to Live Sound International magazine. Stay up-to-date, get the latest pro audio news, products and resources each month with Live Sound.