Requests for bagpipers aren’t as uncommon as one might think. Even if you haven’t had a bagpiper play for your special occasion — bagpipers are frequently asked to play for weddings, funerals, birthday parties, family reunions, graduations, parades, golf tournaments, and many more events.
In fact, bagpipers who actively advertise can get twelve or more leads per month (with wedding season being especially busy!)
A high volume of both leads and bookings brings new challenges in the form of administrative tasks. Any piper who has experienced a surge in leads knows just how quickly the process can become unmanageable.
At the same time — it’s critical to track payments, mileage, and scheduling for reporting purposes. Especially now during tax season — good reporting can mean the difference between a sizable deduction or leaving money on the table. More good news — the costs associated with
Since I began playing gigs, I’ve tested different methods and tools to reduce the time spent on tracking while also being flexible and scalable. After all -- no matter how much time I spend on paperwork and ‘back office' activities, I'm only getting paid when I'm actually playing the bagpipes. What I’ve developed is a system that manages the process end-to-end with minimal effort with the added bonus of giving my service a polished, professional look. I'd like to share three of those tools that have some of the biggest impact:
Getting paid is the end goal, so making that process as seamless as possible is key. Invoice2go is the perfect solution for knowing who has paid and who is outstanding, but now with their payments feature — also gives your clients flexibility to pay by card or PayPal. This means deposits can be directly deposited into your bank account and eliminates the need for sending checks through the mail. Their Starter Plan starts at $19/yr. and is good for up to 50 invoices. I personally use the $99/yr. Pro Plan which includes unlimited invoices.
Disclaimer: as a former employee of Invoice2go I do own limited equity. My relationship is now that of a customer and I do not receive any form of compensation for my use and recommendation.
Mileage Tracking: MileIQ
Driving to and from events is a tax deductible expense, but is there a more tedious and cumbersome task than tracking mileage? Enter MileIQ — an app that tracks the mileage for you as soon as you get in the car. The free version comes with 40 drives/month which should suit most pipers, but even their unlimited plan is $5.99/mo. For 20% off their unlimited plan, you can sign up here.
Before a prospective client even contacts me, it's helpful if they know what dates I have available. A list of booked gigs also connotes experience and can act as a trust factor — assuring the client that you’re not a fly by night operation. The Bandsintown Manager is a great free app that might’ve been designed for popular, traveling bands, but works well for chronicling bagpiping events. Truth be told it’s not a perfect tool as it has limited customization — such as the inability to remove the RSVP message from a listing (who would attend a stranger's private memorial?) — but that aside, it serves it’s purpose well. I’ve included Squarespace in this category as the website builder has a seamless integration with Bandsintown, so an update to the Bandsintown Manager app shows up on my website in a matter of seconds. If you want to take a look - here’s the page. Super simple.
Squarespace itself is an incredible service with website templates that can be customized with little to no web development experience. Pricing is also straightforward at $12/mo. for a simple website.
Whether you’re new to booking gigs or a seasoned veteran — I hope these tools can help your process and free up your time to focus on practicing! Don’t forget that these tools might also be deductible on tax returns as well.
What tools have you tried? Any standout tools or apps that should be mentioned here?