How To Set Realistic Pricing

– Posted in: Biz Booster Hot Tip! Negotiation
How To Set Realistic Pricing

How To Set Realistic Pricing - by Jeri Goldstein     

I want to talk about how to set realistic pricing for your gigs.

It all starts by establishing your value in the markets you play. Whether you are an agent booking solos, duos, trios or any configuration of a group, or whether you are booking your own act, establishing the value of the act in the desired markets is the one true way in which you can begin to create realistic pricing.

It is not the number of people in the group or even necessarily the night of the week that matters. How to set realistic pricing is about the value of the act that drives the negotiation.

Let’s test this. Take two solo performers, one new, emerging act and one, shall we say, Eric Clapton, performing solo. I think you get where I’m going with this. The value is in box office receipts—who can put the butts in the seats and sell tickets.

So if you are just beginning to build your act’s reputation or value in a new market, you’ll have less leverage to negotiate a good price because your ticket selling power is an unknown factor. So you go in with a percentage or a very low guarantee plus a percentage. You play the venue, do all you can do to get press, build a loyal fan base and get your foot in the door so you can come back a second and third time. If you do a great show and get some supportive press, your market value increases. Next time around you’ll be able to leverage the success of the previous gig into a higher percentage and a higher guarantee.

Keep records of the number of tickets sold, the kind of press that was done, the type of email or social networking campaign that was done and the merchandise sold.  Also keep track of any other events or type of weather that occurred on that day that might have influenced ticket sales.

All of these factors help you to establish the artist’s value in the market and is how to set realistic pricing for your act. Use your numbers to leverage a higher fee next time through. It’s all about the value that the venue booker perceives that the artist has in their market and in their venue. They are just as happy to have a hot selling artist on a Tuesday night whether they show up with a full band or play solo, as long as the venue booker sees evidence that the artist can sell tickets. If the artist has a track record of selling tickets in their venue and in venues throughout the region, then they will offer an appropriate fee. How to set realistic pricing is all about understanding your value in the market from the perspective of the venue booker.

Work on building value, the money will follow.

Steps to Take to Build Value:

1. Build relationships with local media. Invite them to your gigs. Eventually they will show up.

2. Do multiple house concerts surrounding the venues you eventually want to play. This builds your fan base that might attend a regular main stream venue in the future and a solid mailing list.

3. Create a separate list of potential venues and media contacts for each market you want to play. Send them very specific emails of career development information to keep your name in front of them without asking for a gig or a review. When the time is right for both, they will be curious enough about you to check you out or give you a shot in the venue.

4. Try getting a monthly or weekly gig at one venue on a slow night and build your fans and market value with consistent performances.

5. Invite venue bookers to other higher profile gigs in their area when you book them. They may not attend, but the fact that you are playing those gigs continues to build curiosity and influences their future booking decisions. It is another way to keep your name in front of them without asking for a gig.

Now set your sites on a few target markets and put this template in place in each one to build your value in those markets. This is how to set realistic pricing and how to increase your value in each market.

Do you have a plan to build your value in your target markets? What have you done to help yourself set realistic pricing for your act?

Leave me a comment below or on the Performingbiz Success Strategies Facebook page

I can’t wait to hear about your success.

Thanks to Carol Ehrlich for this week’s Biz Booster graphic image, “How To Set Realistic Pricing.”

Now, Thanks to the Band Curfew from the UK for providing the Biz Booster theme Music, Future Dance. Check them out at

And for more career boosting tips, articles, books, resources, tele-seminars and online courses, visit me at


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