What makes one function band more expensive than another?

By 17th October 2011News, Weddings Blog

I am always reading blogs and wedding idea to find my wedding customer the best advice. I cam across this blog and and I really thought it’s well covered. So if you are looking for your Wedding Band do not forget to consider all the following from this interesting post by Brad Lazarus of LM2 Entertainment.

I hope you enjoy the Blog and get good advise from it…

I often get asked this question by prospective private clients and event industry professionals alike. The question could do with some clarity so we can look a little deeper into it – “What makes one 6 piece swing band more expensive than another 6 piece swing band”. When I have a conversation with a prospective customer around this question there’s an understanding that one can’t compare function bands purely on the basic metrics of genre, number of personnel in the band etc in the same way that one might compare a commodity product. Commodity products have little to compete on other than price. So there seems to be an understanding that choosing a function band based on price alone is a risky game to play but how does one ascertain the value of comparable bands at different fees.

People tend forget that the market for function bands is like any other market ie it’s subject to the same rules of economics as everything else ie demand and supply. So in its simplest and purest form there may be two comparable bands, one busier and in more demand the than the other, if the band have read the market well and identified this, they’ll put their price up. If they’ve misjudged the market and overpriced themselves the market will ‘tell them’ ie their diary won’t fill up in the same way it did before and they’ll have to make a decision to drop their fees.

Reputation can be a huge value add for a band and influence its fee. Reputation comes from, word of mouth recommendations, testimonials, positive social media comments etc etc. A band that has understood their reputation and its positive effect on the market will likely increase their fee as the client is likely valuing them more than their competition and will probably pay more for that value. But who can deliver such prized customer satisfaction time and again?  This is possible where a well run professional function band is really going to steal a march on the competition and with good reason.

So far I’ve covered a couple of what could be described as intangible reasons why comparable bands are maybe priced differently. The tangible reasons can be a little easier to quantify:

  • Fully professional musicians – Great professional musicians cost more than mediocre ones and even more than semi pro or amateur ones. A band made up of all professional musicians will have a much greater cost base which is reflected in the fee charged to the client. Moreover band leaders demanding the best of their band as a unit will need to keep attracting first-class professional musicians by paying them consistently at that level.
  • Continuous improvement and development of show and repertoire – A great professional function band has to earn their ‘great’. Remaining static in terms of their repertoire and show is therefore not an option. Like any product in a competitive market place professional function bands need to continually find new ways to differentiate themselves and better their offering. In many cases new musical arrangements come at a cost. If the bandleader takes on the job himself, then time spent working on new arrangements is time not spent earning elsewhere. As the modern day musician must develop multiple revenue streams to make a living, time really is money. Moreover new arrangements and the development of any band require rehearsals. Again the time factor is at play here and influences the bands fee.
  • Unseen costs – By unseen costs I’m referring to maintenance of PA and lighting gear, upkeep of vehicles, vehicle road tax, public liability insurance, PAT testing and time to deal with administration. A professional function band is a mini business. One that is run that way will have overheads.
  • Reliability – For me reliability is not just about turning up when you said you were going to! It’s having systems in place that make you more efficient and easy to deal with. This covers an efficient contracting process, communication pre and on event day, a procedure for taking responsibility should an unforeseen situation arise etc. A reliable band will offer an enhanced client experience and thereby increase their reputation and hence fee.
  • An extensive musician’s network – Professional function bands in general do not rely on one static line up. The reasons for this are wider than the scope of this post. Great function bands rely on ‘deps’ to fill in for other more regular members. A band who works week in week out will have ‘deps’ that have played with the band multiple times before so quality of performance is guaranteed. A band leader without a network of deps greatly increases the risk to the client should a band member be taken ill on the day of a booking. There is huge value in this network which is reflected in the price.
  • Ability to see the band before booking – Wanting to see the band live before booking and have the ability to ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ what they are paying for has become the norm rather than the exception in the sales process. A band with a regular ’showcase’ gig for prospective clients to go and see them is a huge value add. 9 times out of 10 a bride will come back from a showcase for a band we manage and book the next day at the price quoted.
  • Be sure as to what’s included in the quote – We always like to quote an all in fee for our bands and ultimately absorb the costs of travel and accommodation if needed. Many bands own their own PA and basic stage and dance floor lighting. If they don’t own their own system they’ll be incorporating the cost to hire it into the fee.
Easy Gourmet

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