Show Me The Money

Dealing with money questions can be uncomfortable, particularly when you are just starting to book gigs.  You want the gig, you want to be valued, but you don’t want to appear greedy, demanding or unprofessional.  And you are not that familiar with the landscape and the players.

We’ve all been there.  It will get easier and you’ll have a much clearer idea about specifics the more gigs you play.  And as you develop relationships with people at the clubs, you know exactly where you stand most of the time.

Of course, when you have a booking agency, they will handle negotiating the money and specifics.  They have the relationships that can get you a better deal, and better gigs. That’s why you give them 10%.

But until then……

Here are some questions to ask:

These should be asked on the front end when you are BOOKING the gig.  Write everything down and confirm.  You might get a contract at a larger venue, but it might just be a confirmation email.  Make sure you put what you understand the answers to be and send to them for clarification.

  • Are you able to charge a cover?
  • If so, what percentage do you get paid?
  • Are you responsible for any fees? Is there a production fee for sound? If so, does it come out of what you get paid?
  • If you are the opening act, how is the money handled i.e. split?
  • Do you get paid if there is no cover?
  • When are you paid and by who? Cash or EFT?

Always ask about the door.  Who is collecting the money?  Do they have an employee that does it or do you need to provide you own person.  Does this person, (if not yours) give you the money at the end of the night or do they give to someone else who will pay you?

NOTE: The band should always carry some petty cash, especially if you have merch to sell.  

Always Ask About Backline Gear

You should make it a matter of habit to ask if there is backline available. Backline is usually a drum kit, amps, monitors, mikes and mike stands etc. Larger clubs have this to simplify changing out so many bands, and to decrease production time.  And it is already set up to work with their sound system, and their engineers.
Every club is different, so ASK exactly what is available – then write it down!!!

  • Make sure to check the expected downbeat times for each band on the bill ahead of time.
  • Are you allowed to hang a sign?
  • Does the band eat free? 
  • Is there typically a guest list for the show? 

If you really want to get more gigs and do it the right way from the get go, check out Better Bands 101 under resources.  We take you through every step of gigging,  You’ll be better in no time!