Yes, the goal of the business. Getting paid.
I was told once that there are three parts of the gig: 1) Finding the gig. 2) Working the gig. 3) Getting paid for the gig.
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. Since that’s always an option, it 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. Prior to this one, I’d 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.