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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » How Much Do You Pay Your Staff? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: How Much Do You Pay Your Staff?
Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 10-20-2000 05:24 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We asked the ticket price question so I thought I would ask this one.

Santa Rosa has an overheated economy that suffers from being too close to San Francisco.

We start our staff at $6.00 per hour and then throw quarters at them if they behave.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8093
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 10-20-2000 05:47 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting question. Here's what I've been paid at theatres (keep in mind taht I've never worked in a theatre full-time; this is just a hobby for me):

$7/hour - single-screen - projectionist, bank-drop guy, light cleaning of auditorium/lobby at night, fix-it guy for anything that required electricity, etc. ($7 was _not_ enough for this...anyone who has to deal with boxoffice reports and bank-drops like I was doing deserves more than that...this was not smart, especially since management was doing really sloppy accounting work and a few missing dollars could have easily gone unnoticed...fortunately for them, I was honest unlike one of their other employees)

$12.50/hour - multiplex - projectionist - probably a reasonable pay rate for a major metropolitan area and decent theatre

$15/hour - single-screen - emergency fill-in projectionist - this was probably too much for working in a fun little carbon-arc booth, but I've only done this on rare occasions where they couldn't find anyone else and would have had to have closed down the theatre commute sucked, though (2 hours each way in moderate traffic)

Personally, I'd think that most people who work in movie theaters aren't doing it for the money (esp. when Wal-Mart is paying $9.25/hour), but because it's more fun than working at McDonalds or someplace like that. The benefits (free movies, posters, etc.) are better, too. On the other hand, it's tough to get quality people and that is something that is especially important in an all-cash business. I'd say that $6/hour is probably fair for a starting wage for concessions/box/etc. if it's a fun theatre to work in. I would think that the gigaplexes should pay slightly more (though they probably don't). Wages for other employees (projectionist, manager, ushers, etc.) probably depend more on the market conditions...I guess the important thing is to pay something above minimum wage to anyone who needs to handle cash...

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Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 10-20-2000 05:52 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oops, let me clarify.

Federal Minimum Wage in the US is $5.15 per hour, currently.

We pay or starting floor staff $6.00 per hour, to start.

It is belived that the minimum wage a person needs to earn in the Bay area in order to live idependantly is $17.00 per hour. Under this theory, we aren't even paying ourselves as owners enough to live in the Bay Area

I am interested in what other countries minimum wage is and what their starting floor staff makes.

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John Scott
Master Film Handler

Posts: 252
From: Oakdale, MN, USA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 10-20-2000 07:34 PM      Profile for John Scott   Email John Scott   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We start off at minimum wage, and give a raise after 90 days and then annually, and we seem to have no problem finding staff.

As someone else mentioned, people work at the theatre because they love the job, not because of the pay.

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Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 767
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000

 - posted 10-20-2000 08:06 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Minimum wage in Ontario, Canada for over-18 is $6.85 (about $4.60US). I suspect most theatre staffers here make that or less ($6.15) if they're kids. Don't let that shock you, things are generally a little cheaper up here right now, different economy. I've noticed that alot of consumer goods over the border has the same numeric price. We ain't buyin' though, cuz a greenback is $1.50 Canadian pesos! You could squeak by on minimum here in the rural parts (if you got 40hrs.), but up in the "Smoke" (Toronto), no way. (Not derogatory, people around here always called T.O. the "big smoke", many even commute and work there.)

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Bruce McGee
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1776
From: Asheville, NC USA... Nowhere in Particular.
Registered: Aug 1999

 - posted 10-20-2000 10:05 PM      Profile for Bruce McGee   Email Bruce McGee   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I could not make a decent wage working in any of the local theaters here. $6 an hour? Gaag. I'm making a little better than that, and even though the car is paid for, I still have to feed it, and pay house payments, utilities, and TAXES, not to mention feed myself. There is little left over for entertainment, etc. I dont even have my satellite turned on anymore. The cost of everything is getting crazy, yet the bottom line employees are still getting as little as possible. I am just thankful that my house payments are just a tad lower than rent on a house. I couldn't make it. I tend to stay home alot, because I really cant afford to do much of anything else.

The main job that I have runs 35-45 hours a week. It's hard to cram another job in there, too.

Here in Western NC, the job market is getting full, and the employers know it. Old high-paying jobs are going away and low paying replacements are coming in to take up the slack. I am worrying about our future here.

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Gracia L. Babbidge
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 709
From: Bowdoin, Maine
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 10-21-2000 12:20 AM      Profile for Gracia L. Babbidge   Author's Homepage   Email Gracia L. Babbidge   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmm... theaters around here don't tend to pay as well as other places of employment can. (L.L. Bean is one that comes to mind for paying better. ) For the most part, starting wage at theaters around is the same as minimum wage with one chain, and a little bit higher with another. (I don't want to name names and point fingers, but I will say that the former, as a general rule doesn't treat their staff as well as the latter!)

The first theater I was at, I started at $4.75/hour, which was minium wage at the time. After I had been there about six months, minimum wage went up to $5.15, and all the floorstaff that were at the theater earning minimum got raises to $5.25/hour. At that point I was solely a concessions attendant, box office attendant, and usher. Right after that raise was when I learned to be a projectionist.
After another few months at that theater, I got promoted to a supervisory position, and got a raise to $6.00/hour. A piddlance for the responisibilities that go along with the position!
It was a year and a half later, and after a transfer to another location, and going through several hellish months at that other location, before I saw another raise. Too long of a space there, and too small of a raise. It was only another $0.30/hour.

Things got better when I started working for another chain entirely. I got hired at $7.00/hour for being an almost-full-time projectionist, no floor duties! Then going full time meant going on, make that salary! And that works out to being a little over $8.00/hour.

Yeah, I still don't have the best paying job, but I get paid decently for a job that I usually enjoy.

~The Purple-Tressed Booth B*tch

In some cultures, what I do is considered normal.

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Paul Rich
Film Handler

Posts: 56
From: Murfreesboro, TN, 37128
Registered: Nov 1999

 - posted 10-21-2000 09:40 PM      Profile for Paul Rich   Email Paul Rich   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Floor, Box, and Concessions start at $5.40/hour and never get raises. Carmike doesn't give raises.

Heck, even some supervisors, such as myself, still only make $5.40. Supervisor pay is $6.50. I'm not sure about booth pay, though.

No one can say I do this job for the money.

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Tom Kroening
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 214
From: Janesville, WI USA
Registered: Oct 1999

 - posted 10-22-2000 02:03 PM      Profile for Tom Kroening   Email Tom Kroening   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
At my old theatre i was started off at 5.15 as an usher, and i left making 5.50 as the head projectionist. I started working for this theatre at 6.50 training as a manager at a 20 plex for two weeks, then was making 7 bux for basically being the unofficial booth manager at an 18 plex. And they wonder why im quitting. I think floor staff starts at minimum and works their way up (either every 6 months or every year). Them being teenagers and living at home it doesnt matter that much. Yes im only 18, but im not living at home. I guess they didn't understand my clearly enough when i told them i can afford to live here a few months ago. I was offered salary but it was basically a joke. I mean if you are going to make an offer, at least offer something above the poverty line. *sigh*

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Lance C. McFetridge
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 134
From: Penn Yan, New York
Registered: Jul 99

 - posted 10-23-2000 03:27 PM      Profile for Lance C. McFetridge   Email Lance C. McFetridge   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My projectionists make $9.00/hr. Plus I throw them some cash when they go on vacations and such. Both are in their early 20's. Concession staff when starting make 5.40/ hr with raises yearly. Concession managers make 6.75 right now and will be up for a raise after the first of the year. Plus I kick in pizzas weekly and two kick - ass parties for them all every year. They screen every movie, and if you can believe it, have had sleep-overs in the theatre and a marathon of movies that night. Oh to be young again.....

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9511
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 10-23-2000 06:23 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lance not only do you have the classyiest show around and the cleanest but you are a model employer
Maybe there is a liberal spirit afterall in PennYann

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Rick Fowler
Film Handler

Posts: 17
From: Richmond, VA, USA
Registered: Sep 2000

 - posted 11-08-2000 01:19 PM      Profile for Rick Fowler   Email Rick Fowler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
well we are a 20-plex and start floor staff at $6.25hr you should base it on your local market if you have problems keeping staff most likely your not paying enough. that was our problem Richmond is a workers market (more jobs than people) so the majority of the staff we get are first-time workers 16-17yo. yes your gonna have those few people that love the biz but the bulk of your staff doesn't. but if you trade passes with other local business' you can get some great stuff to reward your better workers with.

Regal Booth Certifier

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Rob Brooks
Film Handler

Posts: 57
From: NY, U.S.A.
Registered: Oct 1999

 - posted 11-09-2000 02:40 PM      Profile for Rob Brooks   Email Rob Brooks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, I'm thankful I'm in a union town. Projectionist pay with no out of booth responsibility is about $23. per hour for 6-8 plex's. $26-$30 per hour for 9 screens and over. Pension and health benefits are included in the job.


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Kevin Crawford
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 207
From: Sacramento, CA, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 11-14-2000 11:07 AM      Profile for Kevin Crawford   Email Kevin Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I make the middle teens plus benefits. But that is due to the Union. Otherwise they would pay me as little as possible.

The floor staff makes $6.25 an hour, soon to go up to $6.75. Makes me mad that they get raises like that, and the company balks at a pittance raise for me, or more hours. I swear one day they'll be sorry. Oh they will be sorry. Wait a minute, they already are. They have to go to court to see how many of their assets they get to keep.

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Carl King
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 199
From: Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 11-15-2000 01:37 PM      Profile for Carl King   Email Carl King   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've been a projectionist for 32 yrs and make a good living. My career in this industry started when I was a toddler and went to the theatre with my Dad, the manager. I used to follow staff around thinking I was being a big help.
When I was 16 I went on the payroll as an usher at minimum wage. At the time it was C$.80 per hour. My oh my how far we have come.

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