Today I’m going to write about the financial side of the recordings that I have discussed previously. I will explain and justify my pricing; as well as taking into consideration my outgoings and looking at comparisons with competitors.
A one day (8 hour) recording session with a five piece alternative indie band recording 3 tracks. How much much shall I charge and why?
Competitors Current Rates:
A main local competitor would be Absolute Music, a music super store hiring out practise rooms as well as offering recording sessions for local bands in one of their on site recording studios. Their going rate for recording sessions starts at £30 per hour, this includes the full use of the live room, the control room and the services of their in-house engineers. Whereas hiring out equipment from Absolute music is priced separately at a starting rate of £99 for their basic equipment packages. Links to both of these pages can be seen below:
How do these rates effect my prices?
Absolute Music is a very big business making a lot of money from their sales and services within all departments. Whereas I am an engineer/producer with my own equipment, outgoings and disposable costs. All these aspects need to be taken into consideration for my pricing. I have to be competitive, taking into account that I don’t have all the resources that Absolute can offer whilst, at the same time, not undervaluing my skills and expertise. Being aware of your competition is a valuable tool for any independent.
Should I charge for Pre-Production?
No, well not for the first meeting. The first Pre-Production meeting is ultimately a sales pitch both for me as the engineer/producer and the band or artist. Bouncing ideas off each other and getting to know each other personally and professionally. In short building a solid foundation that will make the end result acceptable to all parties. Failing to put in this ground work could ultimately result in everyone being dissatisfied with the end product which will only ever be bad for business!
So I shall not charge a fee for the first Pre-Production meeting, however if more Pre-Production meetings are deemed to be of use the band shall be charged before recording. These additional Pre-Production meetings shall be charged by the hour, with a starting rate of £15. However, this is dependant on the bands needs. Composition and writing tracks alongside and separate to and for the band shall be charged accordingly per track.
Outgoings & Disposable Costs:
My outgoings consist of travel expenses, so in this case bus fares. A bus card costs £45 a month.
Bus fare daily cost: 45 x 12 = £540 ÷ 365 = £1.48 per day travel expenses.
£1.48 would be added to the total cost to cover travel expenses/current outgoings.
As well as hiring out a space to record in. Having looked at the cost of suitable spaces, the average cost per day comes to £30.
My disposable costs consist of blank CD-R’s and CD cases. The band shall require 1 CD-R and 1 CD Case to take away their 3 tracks.
CD-R: 12 ÷ 50 = 24p per CD-R.
CD Case: 1.62 ÷ 10 = 16p per CD Case.
40p would be added to the total cost to cover disposable costs.
In total £31.88 shall be added to the total cost to cover outgoings and disposable costs.
Recording Starting Rate:
My recording rate is £15 an hour. I know from experience that I can earn this money and sticking to this rate for expertise is a good starting point.
Equipment flat rate or dependent?
My total equipment value is £2000 and still growing. The life expectancy, based on research, is 10 years. This equates to a 10% annual depreciation value amounting to £200 depreciation each year in the value of the equipment, which works out at 55p a day depreciation. A charge of 55p per day in this case (8 hour recording session) to cover depreciation will be included in equipment hire costs. Having researched equipment hire costs (Absolute Music). I would charge the client £50 per day undercutting Absolute Music. This would be a daily flat rate.
Total Cost Summary:
The calculations and a income and outgoing expenditure table can be seen below.
Hourly Rate = £120 (£15 x 8)
Equipment Cost = £50.55 (Equipment Hire + Depreciation)
Outgoings = £31.88 (Room Hire + Travel Expenses)
15 x 8 = £120 + £50.55 + £31.88 = £202.43
I would round this up to £205.00 for convenience. This £3 increase would cover the cost of additional CD-R, CD Case or even bus journey if needed.
Why Do I Charge The Band This Amount?
When deciding on a price to charge the band I have to take into consideration every aspect of the recording process. Hiring the space, equipment usage, my time and expertise, outgoings and disposable costs. Absolute Music’s overall price for an 8 hour recording session £240 making it £35 more expensive than my price of £205. Even though my costs come out cheaper I am still valuing my expertise and equipment to a professional standard i.e. Absolute Music.
This price is not only justified within the calculations above but in the relationship established at the first Pre-Production meeting. Listening to what the band need from me as an engineer and producer. This is another reason why I do not charge for the first Pre-Production meeting. Getting to know the client and establishing their needs is the foundation to these costings.
Thank you for reading! Till next time!