Using price points to tell if your performer is a hack, a professional or is seriously overcharging you.
You know Goldilocks and the three bears, right?
This performer overcharges.
Well let’s say Goldilocks was an event planner in charge of hiring live entertainment for companies corporate events. She scrolled the internet and came across someone who seemed to be a great fit. She looked at their price and WHAT!? $10,000 for one person to play music for an hour? What? I mean, she’d understand if this was Ed Sheeran, but this is just some random musician on the internet. How are they this expensive? Heart surgeons don’t make this much. No one’s life is at risk at this event..except hers if she spends ten grand on music and doesn’t walk in with Nick Jonas or a six piece dance band. Hmmm…..”what the heck,” she said and hired them. They were professional, courteous, well dressed and had a nice looking contract and did everything very well. The guests enjoyed the music and the performer sounded great. The event was a success and everyone walked away happy. That was until corporate realized how much money was spent on the solo entertainer. She vowed to be more weary of the budget for next time, as this entertainer was way too expensive.
This performer undercharges.
A few weeks went by and another event was approaching. She went looking through the deep recesses of Google, Bing, Yahoo…so many options but alas! She found one! Everything looked great! A decent website, videos, audio, hmmm…..wait…WHAT!? $150 for a 2 hour set!? What a steal! Mission accomplished! She found an artist who seemed every bit as good as the first but for not even 2% of the price of the first! BAM. She hired them on the spot and everything was great, or so she thought…..
The day of the show, the entertainer called 30 minutes before show time letting her know they would be late. When they showed up, they were wearing flip flops, khakis, a white T-shirt and a heavily worn blazer that didn’t match. They played a few popular songs, but were reading the lyrics off of an iPad and forgot the words and stopped in the middle of the song. Ten different attendees complained the volume was too loud and she realized that this was a terrible mistake. She had hired an amateur who was able to lowball because they didn’t have a business model in place. Argh. After a stressful and awkward rest of the the event, she vowed to get it perfect next time, as this performer was just way to cheap.
This performer was just right.
A third event was approaching soon. This was a huge one, an event to celebrate the milestones of some of the companies top producing employees. She wanted this one to be a perfect balance of well used budget. She scoured and scoured and after going through dozens and maybe even hundred of different options, she found someone. Their website looked professional, they had videos, sound clips, client testimonials, even an FAQ page. They were the exact sound she was looking for and could play upbeat popular music or lay back and just be ambient background music. “Alright, alright, don’t get your hopes up, remember last time” she thought. She sent a detailed message through their online form and waited for a quote. A few hours later, she got a quote. BOOYA!! “Send the contracts, let’s do this”. Soft acoustic guitar enveloped the background as the company celebrated their achievements. After everyone had caught up, they introduced some vocals and played some classics and top 40’s. Harriet and Tom from HR actually got up and danced. Tom never dances….but pretty much everyone knew he always liked Harriet. Oh the things you do for love. Needless to say, the event was a hit. Everyone loved the music and how it complimented the events of the evening. She was thanked over and over again for doing such a good job and everyone lived happily ever after.
So in conclusion, if a solo performer who doesn’t seem to have a big reputation is charging tens of thousands of dollars, they are probably overcharging you. If they charging a couple hundred, you shouldn’t take them seriously as they clearly don’t have a sustainable business model. Always make sure to go a performers website, watch their videos, listen to their music, see how many shows and how many years they have been a performer, read their testimonials and inspect their set list to see if they will be a good fit. If everything checks out, send them your budget for the event. What should you realistically expect to pay? No less than $350 and no more than $700 (unless they have some specialty "show" that involves equipment, lights and a more elaborate production OR if they have a reputation behind them - American Idol finalist, semi-famous or famous touring artist, etc)
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