Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

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Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby djwak59 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:31 pm

Hi everybody,

I may be hired for a benefit dinner/dance for a fellow employee who has been diagnosed with cancer.

I've never done one of these before and would like some pointers. I've been told it'll probably be 4 hours, but might be 6. It's in November, and on a Sunday. I don't have anything going in November, it's usually a slow month for me.

What's the atmosphere at these things ? I suppose they're all different, but, USUALLY, how do these things go ? Dancing, or more drinking, or both ?

Also.....how do you charge for these events ? I suppose you wouldn't charge top dollar, or would you ? ? If not, what's a fair price to ask ? ? Some of these guys who'll be there know me from a Christmas party I used to do for their company.

Any help welcome.
Thanks.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby Dave Miller » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:21 pm

Sorry to not give you a detailed answer, but the truth is, it depends.

What type of event are the organizers looking for? Sometimes it's run like a wedding without the formals. Sometimes it's more like a night club. And sometimes it's like a retirement party with an empty dancefloor. Ask the client.

Price? That's up to you too. How close are you to the fellow employee? How close are you to the organizer?

Whatever price you come up with, put your full price on the contract, then discount it down to the price you want. Note: This discount amount is NOT a tax deduction.

Last, if you decide to do it for free, charge $1, and do the contract. In most cases, your insurance doesn't cover events unless there is a contract, and contracts for less than $1 are generally not valid.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby CJ Greiner » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:28 pm

Yep, Dave covered just about everything.
Doing something for a fellow employee, or close friends, or family... almost always implies a pretty steep discount. If you don't want to work for little or nothing, you can politely decline, saying you'd rather attend as a guest, and recommend another DJ company that will do a nice job. You can simply ask what their budget is, and see if they're close. Negotiation is okay, but remember that they're thinking that every dollar they don't spend on entertainment is another dollar that goes to help the cancer survivor.

As for dancing? Drinking? Both? You bet! While there may be a few sad/motivational speeches encouraging folks to donate money... the rest of the time you can have lots of fun. People come to these events because they're hopeful for their fellow employee, and want to have fun while raising the money. Giveaways, 50/50 raffles, silent auctions, t-shirts and other ways of raising money are common at these events.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby djwak59 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:21 pm

Thanks Dave and C.J.

Yeah....I wasn't planning to charge top dollar at all. Most of the cash should go to the patient/family. I've played the hall before, and it's a little bit a of a drive, so I'd at least like to charge for travel time, and luggin' my stuff out. I already told the organizers I would'nt charge full price, but I also didn't tell them a price, because I wasn't to sure as what it should "reasonably" be.
I still don't know if the event is 4 or 6 hrs. yet. Do either of you have a "ball park" figure for 4 or 6 hrs. ?
I would like to get the job for the exposure, and I also know the guy as a fellow employee. I just don't want to undersell myself too short.
Anyone else have any experience with these shows ?
See ya.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby CJ Greiner » Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:54 pm

Hard to say what your discount rate is, without knowing your normal party rate.

But... if you're normally @ $150/hour, the 6-hour party would normally be $900... you could give 1/2 off and still get $450. No matter what you decide, you should definitely cover all of your expenses at the very least.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby djwak59 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:31 pm

Hi C.J.
I just talked with one of the organizers this afternoon, and I have to call the lead guy tomorrow. It appears they want me to "donate" my service for the benefit, "like everyone else" is.
AND check this out.....I"ll be playing BETWEEN band breaks for a Tom Petty tribute band ! ! So....for 4 hours at the event, I may actually play only 1.5 hrs. total. And I've got a feeling, the Tom Petty guy is gonna want to MC most of it.
Well...kind of a bummer, but, nothing's really set in stone yet.
They DID tell me I'd be playing mostly newer music. As long as the ladies want to dance to something other than classic rock from a tribute band, I should look good.

I know the cancer patient through work, but I don't work directly with the guy. And I also know some of his other co-workers. So, I don't mind being asked to "donate" my services. BUT, I think you're right and I should at LEAST ask for travel expense. I'm also going to request that they include my company name on ALL their ads, so I'm NOT "just" a D.J.. I'm also planning on a visible tip jar on my table.

What do you think ?
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby CJ Greiner » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:23 am

I agree with everything but the tip jar. I'm not sure they'll give you everything you ask for, but travel expense & promotion are definitely reasonable requests.
The Tip jar won't work, because people going to a benefit generally expect every penny to go toward the benefit - if the promotion of your services goes well, and you get a gig or two from it, then that's your "tip".

If you just play music at the event, then it's not very likely that you'll get any referrals... but if you put on a stellar performance, and also find a way to get your card/flyer/promo materials into people's hands via giveaways and games, then you're more likely to get a few paying gigs from it.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby Dave Miller » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:50 am

I was trying to find the right words for my own "No tip jar" reply.

CJ's was perfect.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby djwak59 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:54 pm

Yeah...you guys are right, tip jar probably not that great of an idea on my part.

I talked with the "lead" guy the other day, and talking about the band situation was kinda touchy. I kind of presented my case as, if you sign us both, we really only have 1.5 to 2 hrs. each to play, and one of us is gonna be doing more talking if we're doing announcements or the raffles. So if that's the case, the band has a P.A. system and mics, and a front man, so do you really need a D.J. too ? I also played up that I could play all kinds of music, not just classic rock, bar band stuff. Yeah I know....the band can "maybe" play other genres too, but , being billed as a Tom Petty tribute band.....I don't think you'll be hearing any Katy Perry, or Lady GaGa. So. I really pushed for a more dance/club atmosphere. He also made it sound like the band members, and the band leader didn't know anything about playing until just recently. After a while, he did say that maybe having a D.J. would be the way to go, but, right now, they don't have anyone signed for anything ( me included ), they have a few more meetings to decide things and they're still getting some people to donate prizes.

He asked me if I wanted anything for playing. Keeping in mind the previous posts, I explained that I live in the next state over, so I figured gas and travel time, along with load in and load out, and IF I get the FULL 4 hrs., I asked for $150.00. That's about 1/3rd what I might charge for a "quickie" event. He didn't shoot me down, or haggle me over it, so I'll wait and see what happens. I'd be open to negotiate, but I'm pretty comfortable with that figure.

What do you guys think ? To high, or not high enough ?
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby Dave Miller » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:27 am

djwak59 wrote:I explained that I live in the next state over...
Considering that Dyer, IN is on the state line, that's kinda meaningless.

How many miles is it?

But no matter how far, $150 is certainly reasonable.

---

Personally, if you're working during a band's breaks, I would steer clear of overlapping genres. I wouldn't play classic rock at all. I might not even play current rock. A tribute band sounds like they do a lot of bar gigs. As such, they may not have the expertise, or even the desire, to be the M.C.

Bottom line, work with the band. Let them call the shots, but work with them, not against them.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby djwak59 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:45 pm

Hi Dave,
I'm over the state line, but it's the WHERE I'm going that adds the mileage. I would be playing a hall about 46-50 miles from my house, about 90 to 100 mi. round trip. But hey...out of state still IS out of state !
As far as the band goes. No one really has decided if we're both gonna be there, and I have worked with bands only 1-2 times in my DJ career. So yeah, I would make sure I play "the good stuff" that hopefully the ladies would want !
I'm glad you're in agreement with the amount I gave them. I KNOW it's a benefit and the show's NOT about me, but I thought that figure was reasonable too.
Any other replies welcome.
Thanks.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby Dave Miller » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:07 pm

Don't think I was challenging you on the mileage thing.

Certainly, since they are 45-50 miles from the state line, THEY knew what "next state over" means. I was asking because the only info I have is your hometown, which is on the stateline. From my perspective, it could have been 2 miles. Then again, it could have been 100 miles!
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby djwak59 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:47 am

Hey Dave....it's cool, I didn't take anything by the comment.

I'll keep you guys up on what happens as I know more. Thanks for all the insight.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby djwak59 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:50 pm

Thanks again for all the insight with this thread but....as far as I now know, I was bumped from the benefit by the band.

I kinda thought from the beginning of this whole thing that the band would prevail. I had heard that one of the people organizing the event, knows the singer in the band, so, there's an "in" already. I don't know....people seem to gravitate toward "live" music ( rather than a "dead" DJ ? ? LOL ) at a majority of these events. Well, maybe next time.

See ya.
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby dokai » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:58 pm

It's all about what they can get for FREE. Even though your $150 fee was more than reasonable, I bet the band agreed to do it for free because of the relationship between the singer and the organizer. People like that just don't "get it": not many people are interested in hearing a Tom Petty tribute band all night, but a lot MORE people (which means more MONEY) would be willing to come if a DJ was there. *shrugs*
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Re: Possibly doing a benefit, need some info.

Postby djwak59 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:14 am

Thanks dokai, good point.
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