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bectu/live nation rates of pay

#1 User is offline   sightandsound 

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:02 PM

Hello, can anybody help, I've been a resident Tech now for ten years this year and I am now leaving and doing more freelance and touring work. I have a vague idea of what to charge etc and appreciate that its a sort of "horses for courses" type of affair with regards to what you can charge certain acts/groups etc. But im looking for some sort of basis to start. I currently charge 120 a day for touring with a client but this doesnt include travel days etc. I understand that BECTU/LIVENATION have a rock and roll pay agreement for such positions and wonder if anyone has a copy of this or has any idea how to charge.

Kindest regards

Greig

#2 User is offline   tokm 

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:24 PM

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I understand that BECTU/LIVENATION have a rock and roll pay agreement for such positions and wonder if anyone has a copy of this or has any idea how to charge.
I've just had a look at it on Bectu's website (need to be a member to view it though, I am) and it only covers local crew type activities, not touring.

To summarise, its set rates for set calls with rates for any hours extra, rates for spot op duties, if you stay for the stop-on, if your working as a runner, for catering, etc.

I did have a quick look around for anything touring related as I'm sure at one point there was something covering weekly rates/tour allowance/travel for theatre tours, but that seems not to exist anymore.

Sorry I can't be of more help. Personally, I've always proposed something near my freelance day rate and negociated from there depending on various factors, I.e travel, size of tour, size of venues/how much kit, catering, hotels.. Ask for whatever you feels fair?

HTH.

T

#3 User is offline   nb705 

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:36 PM

I'm intrigued to see the rates for Audio Live Events are higher than the going rate in this area, is this the case all over the country?

The figures from their guidelines state a 10 hour call for Audio (Live Events) should be 162 and for a 12 hour call 196 as a minimum (there are no copyright notices on their documentation, so I assume these figures are free to republish, if anyone knows otherwise, please say and I'll redact them).

The Rock 'n' Roll rates are simply for crewing, but they recommend an hourly wage with minimum 5 hour calls for in and out.

#4 User is offline   sightandsound 

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 03:09 PM

Thats great thanks, seems strange though that there must be a large pool of freelancers based in the uk in the lighting and sound fields and there is little available info on how to charge for their services. Maybe its time for a union to negotiate for us.

Thanks again for your help though, I appreciate it.

G

#5 User is offline   tokm 

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 05:37 PM

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Maybe its time for a union to negotiate for us.
Bectu already does that for the TV boys.. Quite vehemently in fact! The difference between TV work and the rest of the industry is there's much less control over the rest of the industry, TV seems to have always been regulated and there's usually more money, the budgets in rest of the industry however ranges massively as does the type of work/hours/etc. I'd almost go as far to say there's little point trying to set day rates as there will always end up being companies paying less and people willing to work for less..

I think the industry regulates freelancer rates quite well on its own. Some companies have set rates depending on how high up the pecking order/how experienced you are, some just say 'whats your day-rate' then that determines how often they employ you (i.e. do they think your worth that much in what role/position).

I guess the average is around 180 a day for non-tv lampies. I'm sure there's people charging/being paid much more and much less. All depends what your prepared to take for what work your going to be doing/how long the days going to be.

T

#6 User is offline   Stan Hope-Streeter 

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 06:53 PM

View Posttokm, on 17 Aug 2010, 5:37 PM, said:

I'd almost go as far to say there's little point trying to set day rates as there will always end up being companies paying less and people willing to work for less..


As evidenced by the large numbers of students offering to work "for the experience". Whether or not they get taken on in place of real professionals, they still devalue the market and depress rates. "How much? Listen mate, I get dozens of people calling me every day willing to work for nothing"

Quote

I think the industry regulates freelancer rates quite well on its own. Some companies have set rates depending on how high up the pecking order/how experienced you are, some just say 'whats your day-rate' then that determines how often they employ you (i.e. do they think your worth that much in what role/position).


Just be aware that if a company has a set rate which they dictate to you then you are not self-employed, but a casual or temporary employee.

The same might be said to apply if your invoice only lists "x days at x00" (as opposed to "services as discussed" or "Technical services on xxx event" or similar)

An inspection by HMRC which turned up any evidence of either practice would bring the roof down on your head and that of the company you worked for.

Whist you will doubtless use a day rate for working out your fees, it should not apppear on your invoices.

As a budgetary figure, 200 for a day's work by an experienced, genuinely self-employed, technician is about the going rate for corporate events, top-end music shows, or major festivals. To that you need to add travel, accommodation, and out-of pocket expenses (PD's).

#7 User is offline   paulears 

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 10:14 PM

That's not strictly true, Stan. The Revenue take plenty of things into account when considering your status, and even charging by the hour is quite acceptable if you meet certain requirements. Consider plumbers and electricians - they always charge by the hour, so doing it this way is not an absolute no-no.

Two years ago I was the subject of a tax inspection - it took virtually a year before the final meeting, sitting down with the Revenue Inspector, my accountant and one of his colleagues. A number of invoices had queries, and all these contained lines such as "technical services for show" or names of shows with call times. In my case, I have three rates, long, medium and short days. I don't charge by the hour. None of these caused any problems.

No doubt charging by the hour could well be the thing that confirms suspicions that you are not really self-employed if your accounts don't have all the other usual attributes of being self-employed. I suspect a canny Revenue official can spot 'pretend' self-employment pretty easily. A van. VAT registration, and a business bank account help, as does evidence of investment in equipment, tools and even paperwork.

We spot 'pretend' self-employed people on the BR quite easily, so I'd expect the Revenue, with their access to data to be much better at it!

#8 User is offline   TeeJay 

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 11:40 AM

Talking of BECTU and freelancers, I remember there was some talk of a freelancer's 'toolkit' to assist with this sort of thing being developed with the aim of having them available at BECTU Head Office by the end of September.

Crewbus, the online freelancers site for TV freelancers should also be opening up for theatre freelancers.

Haven't heard anymore on this for a couple of months so it may be worth getting in touch with your National Official or Head Office to find out the state of play

Hope this helps
Foolproof? Ha!
God always has a better fool waiting in the wings

#9 User is offline   sightandsound 

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:06 PM

View PostTeeJay, on 18 Aug 2010, 12:40 PM, said:

Talking of BECTU and freelancers, I remember there was some talk of a freelancer's 'toolkit' to assist with this sort of thing being developed with the aim of having them available at BECTU Head Office by the end of September.

Crewbus, the online freelancers site for TV freelancers should also be opening up for theatre freelancers.

Haven't heard anymore on this for a couple of months so it may be worth getting in touch with your National Official or Head Office to find out the state of play

Hope this helps


Cheers Teejay, I'll check this out,

G

#10 User is offline   Grum 

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 09:13 AM

Charging 120 per day with ten years experience is not only devaluing everyone else's work it's also ruining your own chances of being taken seriously within the industry. I went freelance in 2001 with a starting rate of 150 that was nearly ten years ago.

I understand that by charging a lower rate you think it's going to help you get work but all it's going to do is make it harder for you to actually make a living. And as for not charging for travel days, why the hell not??? You should be charging for every day that you are unable to work for anyone else, I've got to be on a bus at 10pm in london tomorrow in order to go to V festival that means I don't have to leave home until 6pm but I'll still be charging for a full days work because I cannot work for anybody else.

I understand how much you want to tour, I felt the same way for so many years (from the age of 13 it was all I wanted to do). If you've already accepted a job for such a low rate then there's not much you can do now but honour your agreement, get the experience under your belt, work your backside off and earn yourself a reputation for being someone worth taking on tour. Then when you get your next offer negotiate yourself a better rate. To give you an idea, a typical starting rate at the moment is 175 per day plus PD's. All the record companies are trying to pay less for travel days but don't go below a 25 discount after all, you've still got bills to pay, there'll be times when the TM wants to load in the night before (at no extra cost) and travel can be more stressful than the gigs.

When working out your rate you have to look at how many hours you're going to be working and by working I mean un-able to go off and do what do whatever you want to do. For example you might spend 3 hours waiting around for soundcheck because the artist (who travels separately from the crew) has decided to stop off on the way to the gig for a burger. This time feels like you're not working but it's not time where you can go off and get some food for yourself therefore you're working. So, with a 10am get in, sound check a 4pm which goes on until 6pm, a show at 8pm with a get out that doesn't finish until midnight (at the earliest) you'll be lucky to get two hours off before the show and maybe an hour between closing the truck doors and getting on the buss to go to the next gig. That's a 15 hour day with only 3 hours of break time (if you're lucky) not counting the 7 hours you'll spend sitting/sleeping on the bus on the way to the next gig in order to start it all again. That means you're working 12 hours a day for 10 per hour which is probably not much more than you'd be earning in a badly paying venue where you get to go home every night to your own bed and not have to share you space with a bunch of people you may not choose to be with.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE touring there's nothing else I'd rather be doing except riding my motorbikes but in order to be able to do it it has to be capable of paying the bills and with people being prepared to work for such a low rate it forces others out of the industry. How are you going to feel when in ten years time you are being replaced by someone who is just starting out because they are prepared to work for 96 per day?

#11 User is offline   sightandsound 

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 03:25 PM

View PostGrum, on 19 Aug 2010, 9:13 AM, said:

Charging 120 per day with ten years experience is not only devaluing everyone else's work it's also ruining your own chances of being taken seriously within the industry. I went freelance in 2001 with a starting rate of 150 that was nearly ten years ago.

I understand that by charging a lower rate you think it's going to help you get work but all it's going to do is make it harder for you to actually make a living. And as for not charging for travel days, why the hell not??? You should be charging for every day that you are unable to work for anyone else, I've got to be on a bus at 10pm in london tomorrow in order to go to V festival that means I don't have to leave home until 6pm but I'll still be charging for a full days work because I cannot work for anybody else.

I understand how much you want to tour, I felt the same way for so many years (from the age of 13 it was all I wanted to do). If you've already accepted a job for such a low rate then there's not much you can do now but honour your agreement, get the experience under your belt, work your backside off and earn yourself a reputation for being someone worth taking on tour. Then when you get your next offer negotiate yourself a better rate. To give you an idea, a typical starting rate at the moment is 175 per day plus PD's. All the record companies are trying to pay less for travel days but don't go below a 25 discount after all, you've still got bills to pay, there'll be times when the TM wants to load in the night before (at no extra cost) and travel can be more stressful than the gigs.

When working out your rate you have to look at how many hours you're going to be working and by working I mean un-able to go off and do what do whatever you want to do. For example you might spend 3 hours waiting around for soundcheck because the artist (who travels separately from the crew) has decided to stop off on the way to the gig for a burger. This time feels like you're not working but it's not time where you can go off and get some food for yourself therefore you're working. So, with a 10am get in, sound check a 4pm which goes on until 6pm, a show at 8pm with a get out that doesn't finish until midnight (at the earliest) you'll be lucky to get two hours off before the show and maybe an hour between closing the truck doors and getting on the buss to go to the next gig. That's a 15 hour day with only 3 hours of break time (if you're lucky) not counting the 7 hours you'll spend sitting/sleeping on the bus on the way to the next gig in order to start it all again. That means you're working 12 hours a day for 10 per hour which is probably not much more than you'd be earning in a badly paying venue where you get to go home every night to your own bed and not have to share you space with a bunch of people you may not choose to be with.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE touring there's nothing else I'd rather be doing except riding my motorbikes but in order to be able to do it it has to be capable of paying the bills and with people being prepared to work for such a low rate it forces others out of the industry. How are you going to feel when in ten years time you are being replaced by someone who is just starting out because they are prepared to work for 96 per day?


Hi Grum,

Cheers for your response. The reason im currently charging only 120 a day is because on an ask round of other freelancers in Scotland this seems to be about the norm with PDs obviously on top. At the momment I am fortunate to still be working in a recieving house as my main source of income but this may not be for much longer as times are hard and money short so redundancies are on the cards. The band I tour with cover all expenses/meals/accomodation anyway so with the exception of charging for travel days I thought I was getting an ok deal. My reason for questioning the rates etc were because I obviously dont want to have all my eggs in the one basket with only the one touring act. Ive had considerable interest from other acts wishing my services too which is good news for me but its handy to know (being new to the field) what others charge or feel is fair.

Dont get me wrong, the more the better, but at a time when everyone is pleading poverty (whether poor or not) id much rather be in a 120 a day job than sat in the house, or stacking shelves in ASDA for 6.00 an hour. Must be a sign of the times though if almost ten years ago a good starting rate was 150 and ten years later its only gone up 25 to 175.

Cheers for your insight its appreciated and helpful to know how others feel/think

Enjoy V

G.

#12 User is offline   tokm 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 10:10 AM

Hi Greig,

Not a personal dig at you.. your not to know, but comments like:

Quote

At the moment I am fortunate to still be working in a receiving house as my main source of income
Get people's backs up same as when kids come along saying 'oh its ok, I don't mind working for 50, I live at home with my parents, etc etc'.

In fact, that's the problem most people have with young people/anyone who works for free/stupidly low rate, they're often being supported in other ways and so whilst they don't need the gigs they work on to pay proper money to pay bills, other freelancers who do are then undercut.

Sorry to hear about the possible redundancy, I can definitely see why your looking elsewhere! 120 a day.. I knew rates up north were lower (that's the impression I've also got from talking to crew living in the north/Scotland), but surely not that low? Without wishing to make too much of a generalisation and forgive me if I'm missing something blindingly obvious, but I'm guessing the reason they're so low is the same reason why people everywhere complain of relatively low rates, people took the work at that rate and thus the companies aren't compelled to pay more!

If your thinking about touring nationally rather than just being a freelancer in your own neck of the woods, I would suggest you try negotiate for something closer to the average.

Just my thoughts, seems to be mildly in-line with the general advice!

T

This post has been edited by tokm: 20 August 2010 - 10:11 AM


#13 User is offline   sightandsound 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:51 PM

View Posttokm, on 20 Aug 2010, 10:10 AM, said:

Hi Greig,

Not a personal dig at you.. your not to know, but comments like:

Quote

At the moment I am fortunate to still be working in a receiving house as my main source of income
Get people's backs up same as when kids come along saying 'oh its ok, I don't mind working for 50, I live at home with my parents, etc etc'.

In fact, that's the problem most people have with young people/anyone who works for free/stupidly low rate, they're often being supported in other ways and so whilst they don't need the gigs they work on to pay proper money to pay bills, other freelancers who do are then undercut.

Sorry to hear about the possible redundancy, I can definitely see why your looking elsewhere! 120 a day.. I knew rates up north were lower (that's the impression I've also got from talking to crew living in the north/Scotland), but surely not that low? Without wishing to make too much of a generalisation and forgive me if I'm missing something blindingly obvious, but I'm guessing the reason they're so low is the same reason why people everywhere complain of relatively low rates, people took the work at that rate and thus the companies aren't compelled to pay more!

If your thinking about touring nationally rather than just being a freelancer in your own neck of the woods, I would suggest you try negotiate for something closer to the average.

Just my thoughts, seems to be mildly in-line with the general advice!

T



Hi T, Cheers for your thoughts and no offence taken this seems to be a hot topic, The point is though that yes maybe such comments will get peoples backs up a little but fortunately I wasnt of the generation that started the low fee scenario, im coming into the market now and have to come in at a level people are willing to pay. As I say the more money the better and I will certainly be trying to bring the average up as best I can as an individual and taking everybodys advice and comments on board.

I can understand and fully appreciate how annoying it is that there will always be people willing to work for little or nothing and tour managers and operators are always going to like free or cheap help. From what I have observed of tour producers and production firms, it is them that should be taking necessary steps to up the average by offering closer to the average in the first place. Then we as freelancers can charge appropriate rates and bring everything in to line again.

Cheers

G

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