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How much should a musician charge for a performance?

I would like to solicit comments from the general public and working musicians.  I recently joined a gig booking site and I am seriously considering removing myself from the site.  The way the site works is that a bid comes in, the client contacts at least six other people and then they hire the person with the lowest bid. 
For example, a retirement home requested a classical pianist to perform for three hours at a holiday party.  I bidded $300.  Someone else bidded $250.  The other person got the job.  Let me also add that the location of the party was in Burke, VA.  I lived in Ashburn while the other person was commuting from Silver Springs, VA.  Are musicians not supposed to factor in gas and travel time when setting their rates?
It is very disappointing to come to the realization that people really aren't concerned about the quality of the performance.  Playing classical piano for three hours is hard work especially if you are playing real classical music like Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.
Please tell me if I am missing something!

7 Comments to How much should a musician charge for a performance?:

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Shandra Love on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 10:19 PM
Thank you all for posting on my blog. I always solicit comments from the music community and general public provided they pertain to my blog. The purpose of my blog is to educate other teachers and musicians in the community who might be in similar situations as myself. Keep reading and educating yourself.
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