I hate to complain about what people charge. I know there has been some discussion here about fuel surcharges. But I just got the invoices for a session I am doing this week. I won't be specific about what company or musicians, but one is $249 and one is $210. Same cart. co. And they are in the area and picking up one of the guys nearby when he is done to bring him here. I guess their rate is the same regardless of where they pickup or deliver. Like I say I know everyone knows what they have to have for their services. I have not raised my prices in 11 years. In fact I cut them. I did cut some included services other than raising prices, but....
Still, I just wonder where we are going to be if this keeps rising. These rates were 1/2 to 1/3 less a year ago. I know fuel is high. It just seems like it has gone up disproportionately. If I am out of line then say so. It just caught me by surprise....I don't want these kinds of things to hurt business even more than it is. Now I have to explain this to an out of town client tomorrow....Any thoughts?
I guess my question is? Is this just the way it is? If so then cartage will be a thing of the past, because cartage is almost gone for most if not all demos, and jingles. And Demos are the life blood of this town. If cartage is left to Faith Hill records etc. Then there only will be the need of actually 1/2 one of the exsisting cartage companys. It is there choice, but they will not stay in business at this rate. You can look at LA, and see what happened there.
I just want to say that I'm NOT anti-cartage. I appreciate all they do and I can certainly appreciate what it's costing cartage to be in business these days.
Regarding your post Joey: Sure, sometimes it does work out where at two or three of the guys use the same company and they all get delivered in one run. That's a good thing for all parties and the client should get a break on the extra fees.
It is true that it's an hour from the row to Franklin, however, I'm willing to bet that a high percentage of the deliveries are now to the Cool Springs/Franklin area versus the "Row". Why not factor that in? The other huge issue for cartage is that pick up is now at the players houses because many of them have their own home studios. Simply put, things have changed regarding studio location, distances, and access. With fuel costs, it's going to be even more expensive to get gear from one location to another. I think the problem is bigger that we can solve here. A harsh reality.
As players, we have less control than anybody else on this subject. I was wondering when this would rear it's head. I don't think it is out of line when you get a bill this high to say, "I am not going to pay this much." Or, pay it and tell the cartage company "to fax me a quote before the next session." That way you can tell the cartage company "I will not pay this." If this happens enough, then things will change. As players, we are in a catch 22. I can't tell you how many times somebody has poor-mouthed me into doing a non-cartage session, and then when they are in the heat of battle it doesn't cross there mind that they had you do a non-cartage session. They ask, "Do you have an electric 12 string?" You have to say I have this guitar and this amp that is it. NON CARTAGE...REMEMBER?" Or, you are doing one and they talk about how good somebody's rig sounded last week, and they had their full on rig. So as players, we have to compete. Sometimes we're doing more harm to ourselves by showing up unprepaired (without cartage). There's less damage to our reputation if we were to not take the session at all.
When I ask for a non-cartage session it's because I REALLY don't have the budget. That's not "poor mouthing". If the budget is not there...it's not there. Actually, I don't mind cartage on a date when it makes sense. But on an industrial day or a demo when you're cutting 3 hours of rhythm, 3 hours of horns and 3 hours of vocals....all back to back....it just doesn't make sense. I can't tell you how many times I've had the "big rig" in only to use one amp, one guitar, and a single 12" cab with everything else sitting in the garage. There has to be some common sense and middle ground in this area.
My main point is cartage should be available for all sessions. It should not cost more than a player makes on a 3 hour union demo session, something is not right. Tom you are the rare, in that you come from a player background. You understand the limitations to what is acceptable for a guy to bring in on his own. The main reason cartage started happening, is alot of accounts don't know what they want or don't know how to tell a guitar player what they want. So we have to read between the lines. The poor mouthing was refering to the guys that don't want to pay cartage and expect 8 guitars and every effect you have, and then talk about how good somebody's rig sounded last week when they had there great gear with four cabinet options etc.etc.
I rarely have cartage out here, and pretty much never have it on the sessions I produce. I have a house kit, good keyboards (including a rack of synth modules and a controller) and amps for those who want 'em. Some guys (guitarists, steel players) will bring their demo rigs (small amps, small racks, etc.), but that's because they choose to do so. My budgets simply don't allow for cartage, especially since most of the cartage guys charge a premium to come out here to Joelton.
But that's another interesting issue - more studios than ever have some sort of a house kit - one drummer told me that less than 10 per cent of his sessions require him to bring anything besides cymbals and snares. This certainly affeects the cartage guys; if you're going from five sessions a week for one client to one session every two weeks, that doesn't look good to the bottom line.