What to charge

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #151744

    Hello Everyone
    People frequently call me to book me for weddings, receptions and other events and I always get so nervous about pricing. Once a woman rang me and said I was far too expensive and got pretty vicious with me to the point where I had to put the phone down and have a cry! I charge €250 for a wedding and €200 and hour for background music. Am I being unreasonable? Please let me know what is the going rate for a harper, I am well qualified Classical and Irish Traditional.

    Sylvia Clark on #151745

    I think the rates differ according to what area you are in.

    David Ice on #151746


    richard-hagan on #151747

    I would like to pose the question as to why one would even refer such a person to other musicians (of harp or other instrument)?

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #151748

    I wouldn’t do it without calling the other musician to warn them immediately upon hanging up….however, it might be worthwhile to set up an arrangement with a colleague so that when they say your rates are too high, and you refer them to the colleague, the colleague then quotes a higher fee. Personally, however, I would just tell them I wasn’t able to accomodate them and let THEM search for someone else, thus breathing a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to deal with it.


    Sylvia Clark on #151749

    If someone wanted to argue the price, I’d refer them to someone else simply because they need to know that we all charge for our services, and I am not a unique case.

    unknown-user on #151750

    Hi Everyone
    Thanks so much for the tips and support, I really appreciate it very much.
    I live in an area where there is no other harper around at all, even of poor quality so if they turn me away, there isn’t anyone else.

    I hope a big break comes my way soon, I’d love to never bother with a wedding again – they’re simply not worth the effort, I find my whole day is gone when I play at a wedding, between packing and unpacking the harp, getting dressed, travelling.. they are time consuming and stressful;(

    I don’t know what people expect when they ring me, surely a harpist at your wedding is an extravagant extra!!

    It’s so nice to be among fellow harp players who understand the BS we have to put up with!!!

    Secret Harper

    Seoid OC on #151751

    Whereabouts are you?

    barbara-brundage on #151752

    >certainly more than an organist or singer, but not too much more.

    Harpists generally get MUCH more than an organist or singer, who only has bring himself/herself and not lug a harp.

    Seoid OC on #151753

    Should a pedal harpist charge more than a lever harpist?

    barbara-brundage on #151754

    Why? It’s your skill they’re hiring, not the particular harp you want to bring. Should I get paid more if my concert grand cost more than your semigrand?

    Regardless of the kind of harp you play you have these expenses that the organist/singer do not:

    vehicle to haul it around and fuel for that vehicle


    barbara-brundage on #151755

    I should add that I play both pedal and lever harp and I charge exactly the same for them. Nobody but other harpists cares how you make your sharps and flats.

    steven-todd-miller on #151756

    Amen, Barbara! I had that mindset when I began playing for weddings. When I got my first concert harp, I thought this is it, the big time. Then one of my first weddings out, someone asked me, “I thought all harps were gold…” So now I have to think I can charge more when I have a gold harp? Enough is enough! The music and service you are providing is an out pouring of you – don’t undervalue yourself. Size doesn’t matter! Play like you’re packing a Louis XV!

    jennifer-buehler on #151757

    Some pedal harpists charge more because they hire a mover.

    barbara-brundage on #151758

    And some smart lever harpists charge the same and pocket the difference. I believe Ray Pool said once he does that: charges his standard rate and takes his Dusty in the subway to gigs.

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