Advice please - 4th section band - what should we charge

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Ruth Lumb, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. Ruth Lumb

    Ruth Lumb Member


    I have recently been appointed as Secretary for a 4th Section band in Huddersfield.

    I believe in the past we have always undercharged for band concerts/gigs. Please can anyone advise me on what sort of charge we should be asking for?

    Any guidance would be appreciated.


  2. still learnin

    still learnin Member

    Most bands don't like to publicise what they charge for a job because of the risk of other bands in the area under cutting them and stealing their gigs.
  3. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    What can't local bands get together and set a minimum charge that they would levy for say a marching job. To avoid accusations of price fixing each band would be allowed to vary that minimum upwards but not go below it. Or is that just asking too much.

    In my area I have found out that my own band has been seriously undercharging for our services when I see what other bands are getting paid. There's going to be a few gala organisers getting an unpleasant shock next year. :)
  4. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    I suspect it comes down to 'market forces'.

    In other words, charge as much as you can whilst still being paid for/getting the job.

    How much is that, in your area?

    Sorry, .... :(
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2010
  5. euphojim

    euphojim Member

    I agree 100%. If you cannot find what similar bands are charging in the area, I would suggest you increase your fees gradually until you reach a level where you feel you are beginning to lose jobs because you are too expensive. Even if you can find what others charge I would caution against a big one-off hike in fees beacuse you will risk losing a lot of goodwill that has been built up with events organisers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2010
  6. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    We did this, but be warned you may price yourselves out of council bandstands, If they could get a band for £5 they would. For charity concerts we offer the option of paying the band half of the ticket takings. If someone wants a free concert, then it has to be on a Thursday night, the same as our rehearsal night, then we don't have to pay extra conductor expenses and shouldn't have to get deps in.
  7. Euphanasia

    Euphanasia Member

    Originally posted by Bungle:
    "We did this, but be warned you may price yourselves out of council bandstands, If they could get a band for £5 they would.

    City of London are saying that if you are thinking of applying for their bandstand jobs next year, "......competitive rates will be one criteria used to select bands for 2011. This is necessary to help towards the costs of our continuing provision of the concerts, at no charge to the public"

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  8. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    We have been very lucky in the Kirklees area (Huddersfield for who don't know our area) Council park jobs have been set at £300 for the last few years, and they are shared out equally amongst the bands that want them. Although talking to Roz who organises things the band series is in series doubt with the cuts coming next year.
  9. Ruth Lumb

    Ruth Lumb Member

    Thanks everyone for your replies so far. It has been helpful, I think we will gradually start to increase our prices and see what happens.
  10. davethehorny

    davethehorny Member


    The question is do you want to be out every weekend for £50 or would you rather do less performances but charge more for them.

    Bands local to me will go to the opening of an envelope for £100. However there is a fine balance to how many jobs you can expect your players to do.

    We try not to be out more than once a weekend in the summer and no more than three times a month if possible. We do however charge a reasonable price based upon us turning up with a FULL band and not a band made up of deps (one of two maybe).

    You have to think about your potential audience - are they there to hear quality or just background music?

    Many times my players tell me, if we are going out for £100, then they would rather put £5 into band funds and have a day at home rather than play at a fete or in a field.

    You also have to temper that argument with the good PR generated by doing concerts for charities (free of charge) and performing the odd local job to make sure local people know who you are.

    In summary - there is no set amount. If you don't really fancy a job charge more for it. That way if you get it, then it is worth it and if you don't no harm done. Think about your local profile and remember all charity jobs are good PR.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2010
  11. I think most band struggle with this particularly lower sections. Councils in general will try and do it for nothing if they can, and certainly with cuts they be will less willing to pay. I think financially things for a lot of bands is going to be even harder - more groups collecting, less grants around, people more choosy who they give any spare cash to. Certainly bands will have to be more competitive in their pricing for their services, defintely offer good value for money, be prepared to haggle to get a price that suits both parties.
  12. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Thats a really good point - and the membership of my current band decided several years ago to pay a higher rate of subs in order to do less 'bread and butter' jobs.
    We still do a good quota of 'PR' gigs - low paid/expenses only charity concerts, remembrance day etc, but we pay for the privelege of not having to be out every weekend through the summer to earn peanuts.
  13. 007ish

    007ish Member

    What do you pay as a "higher rate of subs"?

    Some band members seem to complain about both number of jobs done and the amount to be paid in subs:confused:. Personally I think the quality of the job is what is important, even if it is an unpaid PR job.

    Competing against the amusement ride or local DJ at the annual fete does nothing for PR or morale, even if it does put a little money in the bank. Why do some bands people think that the public should subsidise what is essentially our hobby, do we offer to pay for their next round of golf:confused:
  14. still learnin

    still learnin Member

    I agree with the sentiments expressed in most of your post (I hate sitting in a field providing background music whilst somebody keeps shouting into a mic) but I don't really understand the comparison with golf, maybe it's just the choice of analogy.

    Some bands have a fairly low level of membership and rely on the income from jobs to cover the cost of rehearsal rooms, new music, instruments, uniforms, etc. etc. As a consequence when an event organiser invites them to sit in a field and play they charge for it. The organiser pays in the hope that the band will draw in the crowds :rolleyes: and that in turn the crowd will feel entertained (all theory I know). So they are paying the band to provide entertainment. How does that compare with your golfing example? Sorry to be pedantic. :)
  15. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    It makes sense more often than you would think!

    Many's the time I have played a job, and with car costs of a good number of the members (fuel & depreciation) PLUS the common rip off of car parking costs (5 quid per car to park for a band job for a council that gets that parking income!) it has become MADNESS and is simply buying money at a poor exchange rate. With Deps, it can be even worse!

    Far better to have a day doing a free performance for a LOCAL charitable purpose, putting the money it would have cost to get to a job to play into the kitty and just enjoy it, rather than the self-flagellation of trekking to do a job that is not financially viable.
  16. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    £25 a month.
    There was a subs poll on here a couple of years ago and we came out at the high end. Some people balk a little at it, but to put it in perspective its only the same as a curry night, a couple of rounds in the pub, a round of golf, 4 packets of fags..... I think thats more than a fair trade off to avoid a few cr*ppy fetes!
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member


    We have members who balk at £60 a year... £25 a month would certainly make me think twice about joining a band.

    I suppose we are lucky enough to have our own band hall that generates significant rental income, though.
  18. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Just stumbled across this old thread and thought I'd throw my tuppence worth in...

    Is my band is the only one that has published rates on the website? I see no benefit in not ever being transparent about prices. If another band wants to find out what you charge it's easy enough to call for a price for a fictitional event.

    Our tariff below. I'm sure they are low even for a 4th section, rural band. They are set so that they give the right balance between number of jobs and creating enough income to ensure we can comfortably survive. However, we exist for the community and members so pricing ourselves out of community jobs would be directly against our aim.

    In addition we hold one or 2 self-promoted concerts each year which yield about 4 times our charge-out rate.

    We have no professionals to pay and the need for paid deputies is rare.

    Subs are £1 a week and we always have enough funds to purchase all the music we need, instruments as required etc.

    We advertise these prices 'as a guide' and caveat that they could be adjusted for mileage or special music purchases etc. I can't ever remember applying adjustments though.

    [TD="width: 169"]Event Type[/TD]
    [TD="width: 78"]Fee[/TD]
    [TD="width: 431"]Notes[/TD]
    [TD]Church or Religious Service.
    Ceremonial event.
    [TD]These events typically last approximately 1 hour. The band's contribution would normally be playing the hymns, playing voluntaries for 10-15 minutes prior to the service and performance of 1 or 2 solo items if required.
    [TD]Charity / Community Garden Fete.
    Incidental Music.

    [TD]The band will play suitable music from its current repertoire for up to 1.5 hours, split into sessions not exceeding 1 hour.
    [TD]Charity / Community Concert.
    [TD]The band will perform a staged concert with compere, up to 2 x 45 minutes.
    [TD]Private, non-charity, non-community function.
    [TD]The band will play suitable music from its current repertoire for up to 1.5 hours, split into sessions not exceeding 1 hour.
  19. Space Cowboy

    Space Cowboy Member

    This is one of the things that I never get about banding. It's our hobby, hobbies cost money try joining your local golf club etc for next to nothing and expecting them to provide your equipment.

    Everything my kids do; scouting, karate, football, amateur dramatics, choir, horse riding all cost at least £3 per session some considerably more.

    The closest comparison I can see is my daughters horse riding. She goes to a horse-riding club. I don't have a horse so she uses theirs which probably cost them a couple of grand. She needs equipment which, shock horror I have to buy. To help keep her costs down she spends considerable non-riding time as a volunteer there mucking out etc.
    It still costs me quite a lot.

    Banders seem to expect - to go to band, have their instruments provided, uniform etc provided, running costs of band room, conductors etc Yes we do some concerts to contribute to the running costs. We want our hobby for free.

    £25 per month seems reasonable to me for what we get out of it.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  20. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Urm... because there is pleasure / benefit in it for them too?

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