A SOUND INVESTMENT – Bo in the trenches / by Bo Gerard

What if I said you could be adding an additional two or three hundred dollars onto your show fee, simply by bringing your own professional sound system? I’ve got your attention now, don’t I?

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Owning and using your own professional sound system will not only guarantee your show sounds great, but it could turn out to be an additional revenue source. Over the years I have expressed my great enthusiasm for using a pro av setup for your show. Yes, I know that it’s much easier to use these all-in-one speakers that are light, and require little or no set up. But the one thing these affordable, convenient systems CAN’T do, is provide a truly professional quality sound. And I understand that purchasing pro audio components, loading them in, and setting them up can be more expensive and time consuming. So, it’s really a trade-off. But if you have a pro system, or are planning to invest in one, here’s a way to increase your profits at the same time.

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When you are booked to do a show in, say, a hotel ballroom, for a medium sized group of 75 to 200 people, you can offer to bring your personal sound setup, and inform your client how they will save hundreds of dollars over using the hotels’ AV company. For instance, last night I did a show for 50 people at a popular DFW resort hotel (whose name will not be mentioned), and the in-house AV company (whose name will also not be mentioned) was charging the client $957 to bring in a 4 channel mixer with EQ, and one wireless handheld mic; and hook it up to the in-ceiling (Yuk!) speakers. The AV guy literally walked in with the mixer, plugged one cable into the XLR input in the wall, and plugged the power cord into the wall. He did the same with the wireless receiver, turned on the wireless mic and he was done! 4 minutes of work - $957.

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In a case like this, offering a client YOUR sound system for $300 would save them a nice chunk of cash. I find clients are always happy to learn how much I can save them. And since I’m already making my main money on the show fee, I can afford to add my sound for a low price. I don’t have to arrive at the venue any earlier than I would if I were using some AV company’s sound, and I always prefer to use my own setup anyway. No surprises! (Like last night, when the hotel AV guy didn’t have the mixer plugged in until 10 minutes before they let the guests in!!!)

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In addition to my wireless headset mic system, I have a hand held mic and receiver in my case, should my client have need of it. Of course, all of this only works if you have pro gear, the right size audience and a client who does not have any other AV requirements, like video projection or multiple mics. When it works out, it’s a sweet deal for my clients and for me!