Tom Stimson MBA CTS
July 1, 2020
The following note came to me after the webinar on June 24, 2020. I am sharing this with the July 1 webinar on the New Gig Economy because I think a lot of folks have a misperception about freelancers in general. Also, I think many former full-time employees will be looking at freelancing as a career (or a stop gap).
YOU ALL NEED TO READ THIS.
I have been closely following you for at least 10 years, and rarely miss a webinar. As a FULL TIME Freelancer (no day job), I am extremely appreciative of your support. There are a few things that I want to mention that I am sure you already know but make a huge difference to us in the field.
First- As a freelance A/V tech, we are only as good as our last show. So we spend countless hours of unbillable time learning our craft. We explore every type of gear out there. While an inhouse tech may be pretty good on the one audio console type or video switcher model that their company owns, we spend time and money to become certified on as many different ones as possible. And we dig in deep so that when the client throws a curveball, we can make our employer look good. Most of us bring an amazing assortment of tools in our “punt kit” that if not present might prevent an event from even happening. And we rarely bill for any of this. I personally carry a mac with Playback Pro, a laptop with 40,000 songs of virtually any genre, and tons of specialty software, as well as adaptors, tools and parts.
Second- We work for repeat business. When the end client is extremely happy with their event, that usually means you had the right people in the right places. When my boss tells me I did a great job, I hope and truly expect to be rebooked for the following year. To find out that they hired more in house to keep costs down the next year is kind of insulting. Makes me think that profit is more important than customer relations. But sometimes this works out. I have been called by a new-to-me company many times because the end client asked the new A/V company to find and use me if possible.
Third- We try to establish as much trust and reliability as possible with our employers. MANY is the time that I have been flown into the home base of an A/V company that I have worked with extensively, to be met at the airport with a truck and a 4-6 week itinerary and told to “call us with any issues, labor will meet you at each site”. That is a sign of doing it right.
Fourth- The best of us have no ego. If something comes up and all you end up needing me for is sweeping the floor, “give me a good broom, tell me exactly where you want the dirt, and pay my rate.” I used to joke about this, then ended up on some hair product shows where I had to sweep the stage between haircut demos so that the dancers would not slip. So you see, ego is only for the insecure.
I will be listening closely next week. Thanks for all that you do.
Absolutely feel free to share. And if you need more, just ask. On my way to be a Stream source point for an out of state client this evening. All my own gear. 3 cams +switcher and audio +video return. Gotta keep at it and relevant.
You have long been my inspiration
I couldn’t say this any better than he did.
This is what a professional does. This is how they look at you and your business. I don’t know this person personally, but I would gladly work with them. If this is not the calibre of people you are hiring, then you are hiring the wrong people.
It doesn’t matter where you are or what your market has for talent – these people exist everywhere. If they are not coming to you to reveal themselves, that says more about you than your marketplace.
Do they cost more? Of course they do. You also may need to get them to your gig, pay per diem, and give them a private hotel room. If you think you can provide quality technical support for less money, then you are kidding yourself. Not only are your costs higher than you think they are (your burdened cost for staff labor is about twice the hourly rate – watch last week’s webinar), the quality you are getting corresponds to the price you are paying.
Maturity, experience, professionalism, and talent have a much higher ROI than the few dollars you shave by cutting corners. (Cynically, I suspect you pass that savings on to your customer with lower prices, which makes it all that much worse.)
This is why I have hope for our industry.