Pricing a Gig: Getting Undercut

Pricing a GigPricing seems to be the topic of the day for me. I got two notes in my inbox on the subject and I wanted to share a few thoughts. For starters, if you’re new to pricing performances, you might want to check out this article written earlier in 2013 about it to support your pricing process. 

The first note was from someone who said, “what do you do when you get underbid?” I recently got outbid by a younger performance troupe on a gig where they are getting paid almost 2x as much money for a performance 5x as long with 6x as many artists. How I see it is if some other group wants to do 6x as much work for 5x as long for 1/3 the pay per person than I’m getting, good luck to them. I mean, I’m unwilling to do that. I value my time, my skills and my training too much to sell myself that short.

If you’re firm in your pricing and you hear about people underbidding, I recommend considering these things:

  • Look in your heart: are you disappointed because you are attached?
  • Would you be willing to do what the competition is offering?
  • Do you care that Nike and Converse both offer sneakers for $100 a pair but you can get those same sneakers nearly free at good will?
  • Does it make you want to reduce your rate?

Because if you are still feel set on your rate and you wouldn’t do what the competition would do, why do you really care that you got underbid? I’m guessing, because you lost the money and you’re attached to the money itself.

Open into the contraction and breathe.

I offer you one of the best things my coach ever said to me which has been one of the most valuable frames of reference in this process of growing my business: “what’s next is always better.”

Don’t waste your time worrying about the other guy, especially when the numbers are as disproportionate as the ones I listed above or even worse, like the inquiry I got: free. People giving it away are in a different place in their career than a professional. And the clients willing to “hire” them are not your clients. Focus on better opportunities.

And, keep practicing so you have more to offer and differentiate yourself in the market. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Pricing a Gig: Getting Undercut

Add yours

  1. Yes, you hit the nail on the head. There is always someone willing to do a gig cheaper, so what though, stick with your pricing. If the client is that focused on price and not quality, safety, experience etc, then you dont want them as a client. If you want monkeys, pay peanuts.

  2. I find that this undercutting of prices and quality applies to all creative fields. As a graphic designer, I always see people pricing themselves too low, just to get work. In the end, if hurts our industry as a whole, because customers expect everything for nothing. It is the sad reality all creatives must deal with, but the saying “you get what you pay for” always rings true in the end.

    1. Sometimes pricing yourself lower makes sense because you have less skills. And to the point of, You get what you pay for, in that instance, I believe you do. Less experience, but lest cost as well.

      However, I don’t think pricing yourself at an entry level rate when you are entry level is “undercutting” and in that regard, I don’t think it hurts any industry, only helps it, by paying people what they are worth.

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