Mudcat Café message #758554 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49818   Message #758554
Posted By: Genie
02-Aug-02 - 02:40 AM
Thread Name: Getting nursing home gigs
Subject: RE: Getting nursing home gigs
Marion, I really never know what a facility's overall budget is, but if it's a nursing home with mainly Medicare patients, it's probably not well funded, especially if it is a non -profit. If it's a residence owned by Holiday Retirement Corporation, SunRise Assisted Living Communities, or Marriott, on the other hand, the residents pay a lot to live there, and the facility can bloody well afford to pay a reasonable price for entertainment.

Most ADs are pretty straight with you about what they generally pay their entertainers. If they say all their budget can handle is, say, $30 for a 45-minute program, that is probably true. Note: The activity director can usually do little to increase his/her budget. The administrators probably could allocate the funds differently, but good luck trying to get them to do so. Even if the AD has made what I'd consider a bad choice-- such as spending the entire budget on Bingo prizes and having to use only volunteer musicians--it's hard to change his/her mind.

If I know they're paying, say, half of what many clients pay, I decide whether I'm willing to do a program for that price, and it depends primarily on how much it costs me in time and money to do it, plus whether the time conflicts with something I'd rather be doing (such as taking a higher-paying gig).

One place I do music in San Diego is a senior center near my parents' home (travel time about 20 minutes round trip). They can only pay $25 and give me lunch. (Senior centers usually are on a shoestring budget.) But I play for only 30 minutes; I play at noon, so it seldom conflicts with other work; I can play pretty much anything I want and they'll love it;they're a very sharp audience and are a delight to perform for; and getting the booking takes me about 5 minutes. I don't mind at all doing this gig for this price.

As for references, I'm actually seldom asked for them. Sometimes I just tell a prospective client the names of the facilities and ADs to call, and sometimes I fax them a list.

I want to start getting formal letters from ADs, though, if I can--if only to tell the new AD or the administrator of THAT facility that my prior programs have been well received! As I said, staff turnover is frequent, so it's often hard for someone to contact the AD who hired you last year and thought you were so wonderful. But ADs are also notoriously overworked, so getting them to find time to write a letter might be hard.


PS, The "bizarre situation" I referred to is not really a boring story--more a case of incredible audacity on the part of the AD!. But I've been too long-winded in these threads already, so I'll spare you this tale.