Charging for simple calibration.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by AllanN, May 20, 2002.

  1. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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    Thanks largley to the HTF im now the person that my friends and family ask about HT purchases and setups. I don't mind helping them out for free. But when it comes to a friend-of-this-guy's-brother kind of thing, I have to draw the line at going out of my way to do it for free. What do you think would be a good amount to charge for a amateur consultation on setup and a simple VE/AVIA calibration?
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    A sixpack of the beverage of your choice?
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    And a pizza. Dude, since this is something that's easily learned--unlike the training undertaken by ISF-certified calibrationists--you can't really ask (nor expect) for much more than the simple amenities one usually expects from a host. Be flattered, instead, that your friends and family look to you as the resident expert. Charging fees might reduce the total friend count, too.
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    nah...he's not talking about his friends. he's talking about his friend's-brother's-newphew's-fiance's-husband kind of thing.

    when i worked at cc/gg i used to get offers to go to my customer's houses to do setup, build the racks, consultation, etc.

    i used to charge 45/hr with a minimum of one hour. if i had to travel really far i'd tack on an extra 10 bucks. i also had them sign something that said something to the effect of when i left, they were completely happy with the setup and that i was not responsible for any tweaking they did post-setup.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    All you can do is talk to the guy, and come to an agreement on some type of compensation. If you don't claim to do this as a business, then you should not expect monetary payment for word-of-mouth work. Especially, since practically anyone can buy a disc and SPL meter and do it themselves.
     
  7. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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    The people I would charge are more along the lines of Ted's clients. Im more than happy to do it for family friends. Id only charge if there was no mutual friendhsihp or I had to go out of my way to do it. Id inform them that its easy to do. But I figure the two types of people I would do it for are 1)People with absoutly no clue. 2)People who would just rather pay then do it them selves.

    Im also considering dooing it as a side business.
     
  8. Jeff Loughridge

    Jeff Loughridge Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd charge them whatever you think your time, knowledge, and expertise are worth. $50.00 per hour, with a 2 hour minimum is very reasonable.

    Remember, they are NOT just paying you for what you know. They are paying you for what THEY don't know.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'm already doing it as a side business... [​IMG]
     
  10. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Honestly Alan there aren't dozens of people wanting a calibration from you, right? Just get em over and done with and you'll have a boatload of friends who owe you a favor. One of your clients could even turn out to be Natalie Portman or a reasonable facsimile. [​IMG][​IMG]
    But if I were in your position I'd probably tell them
    a) Sorry, schedule is just too busy & too far to travel
    b) Visit your local HT specialty shop
    c) There's a neat little site called hometheaterforum.com...
     
  11. AllenD

    AllenD Second Unit

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    I used to work for a chain store in the audio dept. On the side I'd help customers who didn't know the difference between a coax and an s-video cable. I never offered my services and I only brought up my service to those who asked for it. I charged $50/hr for delivering merchandise, setting up w/AVIA & SPL calibration, and if needed show them how to operate the equipment. Worst case scenario: one of my customers didn't even know how to turn on the equipment. (The man bred top student athletes in So Cal, but didn't know where the power button was!) Any return visit was free of charge regardless of the situation. (The same man wanted to add a disk changer to his setup and I did it for free.)
    I still do it for friends and family at no charge. Total strangers, including my brother's-friend's-uncle's-daughter's-husband; are a different story, IMO. [​IMG]
     
  12. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    Where the line should be drawn? that's the question. Friends and families: I do it when I can on my schedule. beyond that (Dad's close friend, my wife close friend, anybody outside my personal so-called 'first-layer') I usually say no.

    Traveling time, calibration time (both audio and video) will take about 3 hours. During that 3 hours I can finish producing another song and no amount of money from calibration can match what I earn in that wasted 3 hours.
     
  13. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    I used to do computer work for everyone and their dog. I started with friends and family. Then it was friends of a friend. Then, my father calling me up asking if I would fix some co-worker's PC. Then they wanted me to fix THEIR friend's computers.

    I eventually started telling people it was $30 an hour with a one hour minimum. But then they expect more from you. They feel like they've hired you (they have), and think they can then call you for free tech support or bitch if things aren't just right. After a short while I figured you can't run an on-call computer repair business on $30 an hour. It's just not worth the time. I considered changing my rates to $50, but even at that, it wouldn't be worth my time.

    So, now I just tell people no. My immediate friends and family get help in trade for pizza and beer (as in, "Sure, we can setup a DSL router using Linux on that old computer. Why don't you buy some pizza and we'll watch a movie while we're at it?") But that's it. Everyone else gets some friendly advice over the phone and a pointer to the nearest computer repair shop. Every once in awhile I take pity on a neighbor and help them out for free, but it's rare.
     
  14. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Ryan,

    I used to get the "friend of a friend" computer help requests, too, since I help family and friends with their PC problems. I decided right away that I would draw the line and politely suggest a repair shop or techinical support line for these folks.

    For family and friends, I just consider any assistance a favor. There are times that I also ask friends or family for a favor, so it probably all evens out in the end.
     

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