March 27, 2011 at 10:31 pm #148269Jessica AParticipant
“You don’t need the headache of wondering where your musician is, how they will sound, will they be able to adjust if things are not going right.”
When you say that, aren’t you implying the other harpistsMarch 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm #148270tony-moroscoMember
“When you say that, aren’t you implying the other harpists are not as good as youMarch 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm #148271Dwyn .Participant
” In undercutting, a competitor is simply saying that he/she will do the job for less than another competitor. I believe that is also called predatory pricing and that’s illegal, because its sole purpose is to drive the competition out of business. “
There’s nothing illegal at all about offering to beat a competitor’s price.March 30, 2011 at 4:59 pm #148272onita-sandersParticipant
Very well said.March 30, 2011 at 9:47 pm #148273carl-swansonParticipant
Then I would suggest that the original poster tell all potential clients to call her back when they have found the cheapest price and she will see if she can undercut them.March 31, 2011 at 12:50 am #148274eliza-morrisonMember
Years ago when I lived in a major urban area with lots of music conservatories and professional harpists, the harp community used to get together regularly to make sure that we were all charging similar rates for events such as weddings. As far as I can recall, every gigging harpist participated in these meetings and everyone was extremely ethical about setting rates. That way, it was not to a bride’s advantage to “shop around.”
That’s not to say there weren’t occasional other violations of trust. At one point I was being considered for a job at a newly opening hotel on the waterfront; two other harpists were candidates for the same position. One of them blurted out, in her interview, that I was pregnant. Indeed I was, but it was certainly not her place to say anything about that to a prospective employer. I believe she did so simply to try to eliminate me from the running. Happily, the hotel hired me anyway, and when I took maternity leave, hired a temporary replacement whom I recommended for the job.March 31, 2011 at 2:28 am #148275laura-smithburg-byrneParticipant
I totally agree with Carl, you just can’t believe how “LOW” some people will go.
Have you ever read the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie?”
The freelance music business is precarious enough, but when music is your only source of income this kind of “predatory pricing” is not acceptable in the professional freelance world, even though some people get away with it from time to time.
We are not deck builders or house painters we are highly educated and talented professional musicians often with several college degrees in performance.
I have not only had undercutting happen with weddings but also with established “cartage rates” for union gigs.
This “ONE” harpist tried to steal an opera contract from me a few years ago by letting it be known that she would play for less cartage.
Not only did she infuriate me but the percussionists too.
When all the other musicians got wind of it they backed me up and recognized what a slimy snake she was to try and slither her way into my job. We had a collective bargaining agreement and the union president went to bat for me against the management at that time and offered to pay me the difference out of his own personal account if necessary.
We won that battle and the management has since changed and things are much better now; but I have not forgotten it and neither have any of the other musicians.
Some people think they can steal work from established professionals who have earned their success because they have an inflated ego or an “agenda” and think they can get away with it.
Professional freelance musicians remember when someone has been unfair and played dirty, and there is always payback.March 31, 2011 at 2:39 pm #148276onita-sandersParticipant
I would never suggest that a harpist call the client back and “see how they could undercut previous bids”.March 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm #148277Maria MyersParticipant
“Have a friend call her, with you listening on an extension phone and taking notes or recording it.”
In some states it’s illegal to record someone without their knowledge.March 31, 2011 at 9:45 pm #148278Saul Davis ZlatkovskiParticipant
Jane Doe has retired from playing weddings, due to the backt-stabbing wounds she continually suffered, she tells me.
Is some of this due to “mean girl” behavior?
I think when someone is starting out, they really need guidance from others on how to do things the right way, and why, because they just don’t know better. I also think it would be wise to feed a little work to someone who is hungry in such a way as to keep them off your back, too.April 1, 2011 at 3:44 am #148279laura-smithburg-byrneParticipant
Saul, we come from the same school of thought about professional codes of conduct and manners with other harpists. I remember very well my teacher would not tolerate “diva” behavior and expected us all to support each other as colleagues in the harp world. There were harpists who became world class international harpists at my conservatory and there were hard working students without such accolades and everyone got along fine. There were lots of differences in personality but there was always a level of professionalism with one another, even if you weren’t best friends. We shared gigs, subbed for each other, and helped each other professionally in the community. I have always tried to carry that work ethic with me and tried to be friendly and generous and share whatever gigs I couldn’t do with other professionals in my area including “hungry” newcomers who introduced themselves.
I remember all too well being young and hungry, but I would never presume to poach work from other professional harpists.
I would ask to be put on their sub list for freelance work.
I gave recitals, I took every gig that was offered to me, I helped other harpists whenever I was asked and I paid my dues.
I understand everyone’s opinions on this thread and can appreciate their perspective and work philosophy regarding freelance work in their area.
But I am talking about something else here that is manipulative and predatory in the freelance harp world.
There is an air of entitlement that some people have that is extremely unprofessional and disrespectful to others.
It is absolutely “Mean Girl” behavior and it is shocking when someone goes after your hard earned work and does it with such brazen arrogance.April 1, 2011 at 3:54 am #148280carl-swansonParticipant
Laura- The key to me into the behavior of the harpist being complained about is when she tells a client,”I will beat anybody elses price.” So what’s her price. Apparently that depends on what other people say they are charging. And it’s a moving goal line. I’m all for competition in the work place. But when a competitor says “My price is lower than anyone elses” then that is predatory pricing. State your low price up front. But she doesn’t want to do that. I just hope this all comes back to bite her in the butt hard.
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