Have you ever played a gig, and afterwards been left looking around awkwardly, wondering who’s going to pay you? Should I ask the wedding planner, should I ask the venue? Do I wait for a check to come in the mail? 

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Then, on top of that, your band members approach you asking for payment, saying “Venmo me, please!” (Or not saying please at all). You’re left having to tell them that you can’t pay them yet, because you yourself haven’t been paid. Or, in an act of kindness, you put up the funds from your own bank account in advance of actually getting compensated for the gig. 

What a pain! This scenario puts you in such an awkward position, and probably puts you in a financially uncomfortable place as well, having to use your own money to pay the band. 

If you were able to get the money before you played a single note, then you would be able to play the gig much more comfortably, knowing you already got paid. On top of that, you wouldn’t have your musicians asking for payment you can’t deliver.

It’s a win-win. 

I run a quartet called Dream City Strings, and we have successfully learned how to manage payment expectations. Doing between 150 and 200 weddings each year, we’ve come up with a system to manage payment expectations so that we get paid before we ever get in our cars to drive to the gig.  

Three Simple Steps of Our Payment Expectations Management System 

There are three easy steps to achieving this payment process, and successfully managing payment expectations:

  • Step one: Use a contract with payment terms already built in. In your contract you can dictate your payment terms. With Dream City we do seperate payments — first a deposit which is 25% of the gig fee, due upon contract signing. Then, we do the remaining balance, due a week before the performance. We do not show up to gigs unless we are paid in full a week before. 
  • Step two: Send invoices and receipts. Sometimes, a client will sign a contract without using the online credit card interface right away. I then like to send an invoice, saying your date is coming up and you owe a deposit of 25%, due immediately. They click the invoice, pay with a credit card, and you see the money in your account. Plus, it sends them an automatic receipt. 
  • Step three: Send payment reminders. As I mentioned we collect final payment a week before the gig. We schedule reminders about that payment, a week before the due date, or two weeks before the gig. We send out that reminder, which once again contains a clickable invoice. Boom, they click it, they pay, and everyone’s all set. Money in the account, sometimes two weeks before. 

We’ve had people pay their entire balance upon contract signing, and we’ve had people log into BookLive Pro and pay at some other point, sometimes months before payment is actually due. It’s great, because these are the types of clients we want to work with — they treat you with respect, and they treat you as the consummate professional that you are. 

Will I Come Across As Too Serious?

You might ask: are we taking this too seriously? Will people actually want to pay two months before the event? The reality is that most of the people planning these events are dealing with other vendors. 

For example, if they’re planning a wedding they’re dealing with a venue, a caterer, a photographer and others, all of whom are managing payment expectations with contracts. Moreover, all  of them are also expecting payment in advance. This process is completely normal within the industry, and it’s a good thing to take our business every bit as seriously as everyone else. 

Final Thoughts — Cashing Out 

Using the three steps of this Payment Expectations Management System to ask for money before the gig will actually alleviate a lot of tension rather than causing it. 

Use a contract with payment terms, send invoices and receipts, and send payment reminders and you’ll be on your way to securing payment ahead of time without ever sounding pushy. 

Lucky for you, all of this is automated with BookLive Pro. Try a 30 day trial completely free

May all your performances be spectacular!

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