What makes one function band more expensive than another? – Part 2
You will remember reading the first part of this interesting post by Brad Lazarus of LM2 Entertainment. We hope you enjoy the second half below…
So far I’ve covered a couple of what could be described as intangible reasons why comparable bands are maybe priced differently. The tangible reasons can be a little easier to quantify:
- Fully professional musicians – Great professional musicians cost more than mediocre ones and even more than semi pro or amateur ones. A band made up of all professional musicians will have a much greater cost base which is reflected in the fee charged to the client. Moreover band leaders demanding the best of their band as a unit will need to keep attracting first-class professional musicians by paying them consistently at that level.
- Continuous improvement and development of show and repertoire – A great professional function band has to earn their ‘great’. Remaining static in terms of their repertoire and show is therefore not an option. Like any product in a competitive market place professional function bands need to continually find new ways to differentiate themselves and better their offering. In many cases new musical arrangements come at a cost. If the bandleader takes on the job himself, then time spent working on new arrangements is time not spent earning elsewhere. As the modern day musician must develop multiple revenue streams to make a living, time really is money. Moreover new arrangements and the development of any band require rehearsals. Again the time factor is at play here and influences the bands fee.
- Unseen costs – By unseen costs I’m referring to maintenance of PA and lighting gear, upkeep of vehicles, vehicle road tax, public liability insurance, PAT testing and time to deal with administration. A professional function band is a mini business. One that is run that way will have overheads.
- Reliability – For me reliability is not just about turning up when you said you were going to! It’s having systems in place that make you more efficient and easy to deal with. This covers an efficient contracting process, communication pre and on event day, a procedure for taking responsibility should an unforeseen situation arise etc. A reliable band will offer an enhanced client experience and thereby increase their reputation and hence fee.
- An extensive musician’s network – Professional function bands in general do not rely on one static line up. The reasons for this are wider than the scope of this post. Great function bands rely on ‘deps’ to fill in for other more regular members. A band who works week in week out will have ‘deps’ that have played with the band multiple times before so quality of performance is guaranteed. A band leader without a network of deps greatly increases the risk to the client should a band member be taken ill on the day of a booking. There is huge value in this network which is reflected in the price.
- Ability to see the band before booking – Wanting to see the band live before booking and have the ability to ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ what they are paying for has become the norm rather than the exception in the sales process. A band with a regular ‘showcase’ gig for prospective clients to go and see them is a huge value add. 9 times out of 10 a bride will come back from a showcase for a band we manage and book the next day at the price quoted.
- Be sure as to what’s included in the quote – We always like to quote an all in fee for our bands and ultimately absorb the costs of travel and accommodation if needed. Many bands own their own PA and basic stage and dance floor lighting. If they don’t own their own system they’ll be incorporating the cost to hire it into the fee.
Hopefully I’ve given you some things to think about when you’re next advising your client or looking at band options to present to them. Use the above points to formulate questions to ask the band leader or representative. The value you place on the band in each of these areas only you can decide. We often get distressed brides calling us 2 weeks before the wedding with stories of the band breaking up or that the guitar player didn’t realise he was on holiday for the wedding day and the band can’t now play at the event. On discovering that the bride had booked a 7 piece band for £500 it becomes very apparent why issues have occurred. Much of the value of a band is wrapped up in the peace of mind they give you that all is going to go well on the event date itself, so what price peace of mind?