Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why should I pay you $300 a day when your friend will work for $15/hr?

It's the same old argument, Trade Show after Trade Show.  And I'm finally bent enough to blog about it.

Dear Fellow Co-Workers:

Please STOP doing MY job for $15/hr.  My minimum rate is $300/day to be a Crowd Gatherer, which is approximately $40/hr.  That you are willing to lower not only my standards, but the rest of the Industry's standards to work the SAME job as I do for just over minimum wage is insulting.

True, you might not have the same experience as I do--yet--so you may need to take a job paying $250/day just to get your name out there enough to demand the same pay as I get, but $250/day is three times more than what you are accepting now.  Have some dignity.

Stop it. 

Do you realize how much your booking agency takes from you when you agree to work for $15/hr?  Do the math.  I get $40, you said yes to $15.  They are charging the client the SAME rate.  Do you think you should be the one laughing because you are working and I am not?  NO.  The hiring agency and the client are laughing at YOU because they just got your services for basically nothing.  And now you have to work three times as many days to equal my salary.  So while you are working seven days a week trying to pay your bills, I work three and am putting money in the bank.

You deserve better.  Especially those of you who I refer into this business.

And please don't use the excuse, "I would rather be working for below market rate than not working."  Bullshit. 

  • Would you date a man who beats you or cheats on you just because you don't want to be lonely and dating an abuser is better than not dating?  No.  You would tell that man to get out of your life and come back when he has learned some respect.
  • If a waiter brought your dinner to you in a nice restaurant and it had bugs and hair in it, would you just sit there and eat it?  No.  You would send it back and demand the meal that you are paying for.
  • When you are shoe shopping and like a pair of shoes, do you buy the size 6 that doesn't fit because the store is sold out of your size?  No.  You walk out of the store and go to another that might have the perfect fit.


Let's quickly go over some myths in the business:

  1. It's the slow season, so any work is better than nothing.  No.  There is no "slow season" in marketing.  I am just as busy in January as June.  Be flexible in the jobs you work, and you will always be working.  Note I said the JOBS, not the pay!! 
  2. I'm new in the business so I have to start somewhere.  Wrong.  Would you accept a "regular job" for below minimum wage because you are new?  Nope.  Then don't do it in this business. 
  3. I can work for less than I normally do because they pay in cash right after the gig and it's close to my house.  This one kills me.  A gig is ALWAYS close to SOMEONE'S house, so why are you so special?  And the reason you are paid in cash is so that the company does not have to make a paper trail and report your earnings to the government--saving THEM time and money.  Again, they win and you lose.
You deserve better.  You deserve respect.  And you deserve pay equivalent to your talent.  When you take a job for $15/hr, you tell the world that you have little talent, no respect for yourself, and don't deserve better than what you are getting.

And when it comes time for me to hire you, do you think that I'm going to offer you $300/day when I know I can get you for $15/hr?  Nope.  I might give you $20/hr just so that you feel good about yourself, but I'm still going to be pocketing an extra $100 a day off of your hard work.  And if I can get you to do my job of looking for two other people to work the gig too (because you won't charge me a referral fee), I'll be able to stay home and watch Dr. Phil on TV all day, because you and your friends are making my $300/day rate for me, and I don't have to do a thing.

Think about it.

Here is another good article about why you should just say NO to bad pay:  How To Get Paid What You Are Worth

Life is Good.  At least for me, because I respect myself.  So should you.


  1. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I would rather not work than work for less than I feel human taking. I will straight up, say "no way!" and try and hold back a guffaw too, just so you catch my drift. The referenced article is the truth! I have always gotten higher paying gigs after turning down those calls as well. (I won't answer $15 emails so they are always calls or texts) I always say "no. I have a day rate (and that's for promo. Trade Show? way different.) and you cant match it or beat it then I stay in bed. ...and No. I don't have any friends! (unless of course it's you in a bind Jen! You know it always "slips my mind" to apply for work at that rate) ;)

  2. How do you get a day rate? Teach me!!!
    Do you simply not reply to a posting with the less amount. Do you negotiate for a higher pay once agencies reach out to you?

    I've worked events for 13.50, 15 because I was just starting out. Now do I don't work for less than 20, I didn't know we could ask for more than that. How. I read the other article "How to get paid..."

    But as ba, promo models talent etc; its different how do you get your rate raised ?

  3. Jennifer, this is angry, sarcastic, in-your-face, and RIGHT ON THE MONEY. I couldn't agree more! Every one of us defines our value every day of our lives. When we say 'yes' to a low rate, we are simply branding ourselves as "low value."

    Thanks for lighting this fire ...

  4. WOW! SO TRUE! Couldn't have said it better myself!

  5. Thank you so much for saying what I always say and advocate for, Jennifer. So true. I don't even reply to those insulting job notice emails, and never have. No PROFESSIONAL should.

    $35/hour is the least minimum, and higher. My work ethic, professionalism, expertise and experience alone is worth $500/hour minimum and up. Ok!!!

    People; please stop responding to them (job notice emails and posts), stop taking them, start advocating for yourself and your proper hourly pay and day-rate pay. Yes, this of course applies to live marketing work as a whole (bridal shows, tours, guerilla/street team, promotional campaigns, tradeshows, conventions, events, on-premise, off-premise, etc etc etc etc).

    Also; there is a FB group, as well as a national talent Union
    that advocates to and for talent on the same ideals you do, Jennifer.

  6. Dear Anonymous, you feel your "talent" is worth $500/hr?! So let me get this's right- you feel that handing out t-shirts and collecting leads are woth what a doctor and, in some cases, even a surgeon would earn after 9 years of medical school?! There is a fine line between self respect and needing a reality check. You are way over that line.

  7. Dear, Anonymous September 11, 2012 11:38 PM.

    Your ignorant statements have no merit here. Perhaps one day you will know your worth and earn the skills, experience, professionalism, expertise and work ethic to be at the top of your field (in your career). But then again; people of your mind set and experience are being paid what you're worth and are getting booked on jobs of your caliber. So, we feel sorry for you. We can only hope that you and people like you will reach our level; so that more people on the path Jennifer so graciously shared in her factual Blog here.

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