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Etiquette

Price negotiations

EceitelEceitel California member
First Comment First Anniversary
I am not a fan of haggling. I know people that love it! They love a deal, I get it. I don't. I hate to the point of taking offense. I know this sounds extreme but let me explain:

I got recommendations for a band. I contacted the band, at which point they responded and asked for budget from me.

I'm not trying to tell them what they are worth, I want them to tell me what they think is a fair value for their service.

I tell them that I'm flexible and will ultimately go with the best musical fit. They respond with a base price of $9000.00. I look online and multiple review sites mention they are reasonably priced and reference them as $$ (usually suggesting moderate prices, not cheap but not expensive. For reference, bands in my area are $2000-5000.00). Even their website says that they work with your price and to name your price.

Here's my thing. I don't appreciate being high balled as a person who is already spending so much on a big life event. Also, it forces me to basically tell them I think they are worth less than that, which is rude. Why can't they just offer me a fair value to start. I feel like I have to either forfeit my first choice, be taken advantage of or be an asshole to get a reasonable price.

Anyone else feel this way?

Re: Price negotiations

  • AlexisA01AlexisA01 Dubai, my royal playground. member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2014
    Come back to them with a price. Ask them to down the cost. I think that is extremely high. I don't think you would be an asshole for getting a negotiated price. If you feel that they aren't fair then move forward with another selection.

    Live fast, die young. Bad Girls do it well. Suki Zuki.

  • You can just say, "Sorry, we were budgeting more in the area of $2,000. Unfortunately we can't afford $9,000." (or whatever your budget is for a band)

    They'll negotiate down to accommodate you and book the gig, or they'll walk and lose the gig. You're not being an asshole for sticking to the budget you can afford. If they won't come down in price, then you walk, because it sounds like they're just taking advantage of you.
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I've never heard of a reputable vendor asking their client to name their price.  That's a red flag to me and I'd find someone else.
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2014
    Agreed. I would come back and say, "Sorry, our budget is around X, so we will not be able to book you for our wedding" and see if they are willing to work with you. Or you could ask them what you are getting for the 9K as you've gotten quotes from A,B,C bands for X,Y,Z prices (they shouldn't be pricing themselves out of the market unless they are offering something the others aren't). 
  • JoanE2012 said:
    I've never heard of a reputable vendor asking their client to name their price.  That's a red flag to me and I'd find someone else.
    I've had a few vendors do this to me, just because they can then work with you on what they'll offer. Like if you can afford $5,000  for a band, then they'll play the entire night and include special lighting and bring their extra guy and blah blah blah. If you can afford $1,500 then they'll do a three-piece band instead of seven-piece band without the special lighting and play for fewer hours or something.

    Usually (hopefully) it's just so they know what they have to work with and then offer you whatever they can provide based on your price range. Especially the bands that pay each member individually so the number of members can vary and instruments can vary etc etc etc.
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited December 2014
    JoanE2012 said:
    I've never heard of a reputable vendor asking their client to name their price.  That's a red flag to me and I'd find someone else.
    I've had a few vendors do this to me, just because they can then work with you on what they'll offer. Like if you can afford $5,000  for a band, then they'll play the entire night and include special lighting and bring their extra guy and blah blah blah. If you can afford $1,500 then they'll do a three-piece band instead of seven-piece band without the special lighting and play for fewer hours or something.

    Usually (hopefully) it's just so they know what they have to work with and then offer you whatever they can provide based on your price range. Especially the bands that pay each member individually so the number of members can vary and instruments can vary etc etc etc.
    Yeah, that makes sense.  I guess I would hope that THEY would be the ones saying "our prices range from $3k for 3 musicians to $10k for 10 musicians  Or for a florist......I can generally do low centerpieces between $50-75 each or taller centerpieces for $200-250 each.  What does your budget look like?"
  • I understand how you feel.  And because of that, I don't work with anyone who doesn't clearly list out their prices either on their website or their brochure.  I understand that for some things that's just not feasible (if I want orchids and lilies instead of carnations and daisies, I know that my cost is going to be dependent on the types of flowers I want and the season or if I want a cake with intricate handpainting and piped scrollwork I know that the cost if dependent on how difficult the design I choose will be).  But something like a wedding band?  Equipment set-up fee + rate x number of hours isn't that hard to set.  It's really not the sort of thing where there should be a wild variation.  At the very least, there should be a clearly stated base price.

    Personally, I would look elsewhere. 
  • allispainallispain member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited December 2014
    As someone married to a professional musician, here's my take on this.

    a) Most bands pay each of their players more or less a set amount. Therefore, the amount that they are being paid as a whole will have an effect on how many people you have performing (back-up singer? second guitarist? etc.). It will also affect things like whether or not they will bring their own sound guy to ensure mixing is of the best quality or if they will just adjust all of their volumes individually.

    b) The amount the band is paid will also affect the amount of time they will be playing for you. Cocktail hour? Quieter instrumental music while guests are eating dinner? Or just the regular let's-get-up-and-dance music later on?

    c) This all being said, a good point person for a band should communicate some options to you when first contacted. For example, DH always lets people know that the base price is X for Y number of people and Z hours of playing, but that he can arrange to have more musicians and/or play for more hours depending on the clients' needs and budget. However (see D below), he can only give them the best sense of what options are available if they give him some kind of basic information themselves, since the venue's size, the time of day, etc. will affect things substantially.

    d) The (very) high figure they quoted you may have been for one of several reasons. Often the clients that come to DH and don't start off by specifying a budget are the higher end ones - the ones to whom money is not much of an issue, who have very high expectations. They want the full shebang, so that's what he quotes them. Maybe something you said gave them that indication? Another possibility is that, since they specifically ask their clients to let them know what price range they are looking for, and you specifically said you would not do so, they thought you would be hard to work with and so just threw out a figure, knowing that it would be too high. Honestly, it's perfectly reasonable to ask a client what their budget is before you start discussing too many details - that's what any good consultant should do at a bridal shop, a florist's, etc. When I was wedding planning, the budget question was one of the first ones out of most of our vendors' mouths, since they weren't about to start showing me things I wouldn't be able to afford. Your refusal to name a budget - to a vendor - probably rubbed them the wrong way. Like I said in C, the point person still didn't do their job of communicating the basic options from the start, but OP, you also didn't do your job as the client and let them know the range you were looking for.

    ETA: typo
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