Total Eclipse Band

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How Much Should We Charge to Play a Party or Wedding?

There are many factors that you should take into account when bidding on an event gig. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are definitely some guidelines that can help you make a fair estimate and hopefully make enough money to make your efforts pay off.

The first thing you really need to do is find out how much other bands in your area are charging to play similar events. You don’t want to price yourself out of competition by charging way more than any other band in town (unless your band has something REALLY special). You want to be careful about severely undercutting other bands around because that can really destroy the market. It’s all about Economics 101.

The next thing that you should do is determine exactly how much time it takes to do a complete setup and teardown of all your equipment, including time for a sound check. You should have a set (base) price in mind that makes it worthwhile to load your PA and light gear, instruments, etc into your cars and set it all up.

The next item on the list is distance and travel. Is the event outside of your local travel area? Is it going to require an overnight stay? You will need to factor in these costs.

What type of event are you bidding on? Private parties, weddings, and corporate events all have different budget ranges. Clients who are hosting an anniversary or birthday party at their home aren’t going to be willing to pay as much as a wedding party who is throwing a bash for 200 of their closest friends and family.

If you want, you can set your price based on an hourly rate with different rates for different types of events. Be sure that you include an overtime rate in the event the party lasts longer than scheduled, or you’re asked to stick around and play more.

You can also base your bid on the number of people who will be in attendance at the party. This is a similar concept to how caterers would price an event.

Whatever methods you choose to determine your price, don’t forget to put everything in writing and work out all the details of payment in advance so that there are no issues later.

Real world example:

Total Eclipse uses a combination of these methods to determine how much to charge.

Typically, we use a base price for the setup/teardown time. Then we add a reasonable amount per band member for travel outside of a local 100-mile area radius. Finally, based on our research of the local music scene, we estimate a dollar amount per guest. For instance, where we might estimate $8 per guest for a birthday party, we could estimate $20 or more per guest for a large wedding.

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