How much are you charging your clients?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Willyum
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How much are you charging your clients?

Post by Willyum » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:42 pm

I was giving everybody free time in my home studio, a few weeks ago I had some problems with my bank account and had absolutely no money for 4 days. Not one of the people I let record here for free (projects that I am not part of) even so much as bought me a Happy Meal from McDonald's knowing I had Nothing!

So, now I'm gonna charge... But what's the going rate for Home studios with decent equipment (controllers), good mics, Live 8 suite, Reason, some plugins, great monitors, no mic booth (just hanging blankets). Basically I can get a fully completed project (with half-assed Mastering)

What are you guys charging?

shatzer
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by shatzer » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:14 am

Now that i've moved out to a commercial spot with steady business i charge around $40 an hour and a little cheaper for day rates. When i was at home building up clients out of my bedroom i charged $20. It also depends on how much studios are going for around you. If someone can go to a professional set up for only 5 or 10 dollars more than you then you're screwed. At first people won't care about your work and if you're good or not. Musicians like to feel important and a real studio makes them feel that way even if the engineer is crap. IMO. Basic rate around my area goes for $45 an hour. For the simple reason i was recording out of my bedroom i charged less than half of that, even tho i knew my product sounded better than the studios around here. Not trying to brag at all, but once people started finding me and realized how cheap it was and that their recording where coming out sounding better than the higher priced studios then my clients tripled. Now i have a place of my own and i can charge more and still keep those clients because they like my work. Just my opinion.

shatzer
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by shatzer » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:19 am

Also to mention, i started off doing it as free too. You pretty much have to. Because when you first start out you suck. lol People like that are just wanting a free ride, and if they cant get it then they'll go somewhere else. Just make sure you are good at what you do and dont promise anything you cant do or is outside your boundaries. Prove to people that your work is legit by offering specials or discounts, or do a couple of songs for each band for free and have them advertize and market your name around in return. Just little stuff like that to get your name out and build up your clientele.

SubFunk
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by SubFunk » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:10 am

that is nearly impossible to answer, it depends all on the quality you believe you can deliver...

in my experience over the many years of doing live and studio sound (for concerts, events and recordings / productions in hire studios) and home recordings, it is very important that you need to have a representable setup, not meaning the latest and greatest gear for thousands of dollars... but it needs to make some sort of impression... not having a desktop full of smelly ashtrays, empty beer cans and a cable mess, etc. you might be comfortable with for yourself...

in the very moment people are about to pull the wallet, this impression will have a major effect on if they will be willing to pay good (or at all) money or not,
that is really just one observation i made regardless of your skills, knowledge and quality you are able to deliver... if you underestimate that first impression if someone comes to your place, it will cost you at least 50% of your income.

look at it as a mirror of your inner confidence and knowledge about what you are going to offer for money.

it's not friends anymore who drop by, it's clients!

p.s. try to create a bit of a positive / comfy vibe... no joke, it will have ultimately an effect on your clients and the product, no joke.
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Willyum
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by Willyum » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:53 am

Thanx,for the replies. I think I'll probably just focus on doing my music for a while only.

starving student
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by starving student » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:17 am

Willyum wrote:Thanx,for the replies. I think I'll probably just focus on doing my music for a while only.
what kind of music and what kind of job are you typically doing by this I mean the whole shabang or a partial service?

leedsquietman
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by leedsquietman » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:20 am

Home studios, no matter how well equipped will struggle to get business and attract freeloaders and shysters who will try and get out of paying (get the money ahead, or at least half of it) unless they have a state wide reputation, in which case most of this type move out and hire cheap rental space for a more professional look and deal, like shatzer.

And SF has the right idea - we all love our buddies, but it gets a bit much having them come around your house doing music for free and basically taking advantage when it becomes a regular thing. Tell the buddies that you're happy to record them at the going rate, (maybe with a slight discount), or maybe even for a few beers and the odd take out but zip all is not acceptable, even for friends, on a recurring basis.

One exception - if you know of a band or your buddies are really amazingly talented and attracting big crowds and lots of interest, then you might be able to gain some leverage by recording them for free. Especially if you can get them to commit the rights of the recordings to you legally - that way, you can release the recordings yourself if they get big, or license them to another label, or sell them back to the label. I used to be mates with a music lawyer when I lived in the UK and was still working in studios, so a contract got drawn up regarding an 8 track demo tape which the band shopped around and they got a deal. I contacted the label about the demo tapes and I got a thousand quid to hand over my demo tapes and sign a disclaimer that I waived my rights. Good business as they ultimately amounted to nothing, they recorded several tracks with the label but nothing was released and they got dropped when their label was bought out by another. This was 1999 though, when artists could just about still make a few quid if they were lucky from music.
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Sage
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by Sage » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:56 pm

If you're going to give anything away for free you've got to be a bit selective who you give it away free to.

ethios4
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by ethios4 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:38 pm

Man, there's a lot of lame bottom-feeders out there. Make sure and get your money, or at least a deposit, up front. It really sucks to put a bunch of work in for someone's project and they say "Oh well I got fired and cant pay you for a while (ever)". Well, so you don't give them their product, but you're still out however much time you spent on it.

I get calls all the time from people who have some song they want me to produce. Then I tell them it'll be $500-$1000 and it's too much for them. Well, I won't work for less than $30/hr...that's only 17-35 hours of work. 17 hours isn't much. 2 hours recording, 8-9 hours writing and sequencing all the other parts, 4 hours mixing, 2 hours mastering. It's not hard to rack up $500 worth of work. But they want it for $200, cuz it's just a hobby, they're just starting out. My thought is, I spend thousands of dollars on my setup, and I've invested thousands of hours in learning and practicing, so $500 to record an excellent demo song is not too much at all.

moreofmorris
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by moreofmorris » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:40 pm

So is it quite a common thing to have a commericial studio (how ever big) and have Ableton Live as the central DAW? ..What else are people using? I'd never own ProTools but was, at some point, thinking of getting Logic Pro with the Apogee Ensemble.

SubFunk
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by SubFunk » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:29 pm

littlejim84 wrote:So is it quite a common thing to have a commericial studio (how ever big) and have Ableton Live as the central DAW? ..What else are people using? I'd never own ProTools but was, at some point, thinking of getting Logic Pro with the Apogee Ensemble.
i only can speak for my own experience, but when we talk studio, not some home budget mini setup, something you really commercially work in and make money, then Live is always only around as an addition to Logic, PT, DP, or Nuendo, etc. never as the only main DAW.

it is still more a writing tool and good for sound design and stuff, but not for the more common types of work you would offer as a service to others (typically, exceptions always apply!) like mic tracking, arranging, mixdowns, editing for video / film / tv and the like... live is simply not that great for it, not because it is not up to par in terms of quality, but it is simply not well designed for certain types of work.

again, no misunderstanding here... it is not about sound quality, it is about workflow, shortcuts, layouts, functions, etc.

if you however feel, Live serves you better in those respects to offer common services to clients then use it. period.

it also depends what type of work you offer, just please don't offer mastering with live's devices exclusively on speakers you barely can call monitors, like i witnessed a few weeks back here in berlin and take money for that. that is just gross!
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moreofmorris
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by moreofmorris » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:19 pm

SubFunk wrote:
littlejim84 wrote:So is it quite a common thing to have a commericial studio (how ever big) and have Ableton Live as the central DAW? ..What else are people using? I'd never own ProTools but was, at some point, thinking of getting Logic Pro with the Apogee Ensemble.
i only can speak for my own experience, but when we talk studio, not some home budget mini setup, something you really commercially work in and make money, then Live is always only around as an addition to Logic, PT, DP, or Nuendo, etc. never as the only main DAW.

it is still more a writing tool and good for sound design and stuff, but not for the more common types of work you would offer as a service to others (typically, exceptions always apply!) like mic tracking, arranging, mixdowns, editing for video / film / tv and the like... live is simply not that great for it, not because it is not up to par in terms of quality, but it is simply not well designed for certain types of work.

again, no misunderstanding here... it is not about sound quality, it is about workflow, shortcuts, layouts, functions, etc.

if you however feel, Live serves you better in those respects to offer common services to clients then use it. period.

it also depends what type of work you offer, just please don't offer mastering with live's devices exclusively on speakers you barely can call monitors, like i witnessed a few weeks back here in berlin and take money for that. that is just gross!
I'm ultimately interested in this response because I am setting up a side line in on location recording and mixing other peoples tracks back at home... I've been weighing up if Live would be suitable for this and I can't but think it isn't. I also like the idea of actually having something else for 'work' and keeping Live for me to write my own tunes in. I love Live - it's let me actually get an EP out (four track coming out on Rudimentary Records in a couple of months - plug, plug!) ... but for client stuff I was actually thinking of going for something like Logic Pro.

I just don't get on with Pro Tools to be honest. I'll never probably work in a 'proper' studio. But for my side line in mixing and recording for others, can't help but think Logic Pro would be the best bet for me.

SubFunk
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by SubFunk » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:30 pm

^^^ well, i absolutely love live to death myself, it is a superb piece of software (well, when it works... but they are on the way fixing that)

but for many types of commercial audio work it is not suited fully, i personally like / need to have logic pro on the side...

both give you all you ever need for any type of commercial work. (and the one or other high quality 3rd party plug can come in handy)

which one you choose, is pretty much up to you, logic, DP and cubase (but not on a mac, cubase performs poor on macs) are the ones you should look at.

also, if you really want to offer services for others, it is advisable to get a good audio editor (well, Logic does come with waveburner, which is pretty decent) i like peak for instance a lot (i actually love it!)
but there are also others around, such as waveeditor.
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moreofmorris
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by moreofmorris » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:44 pm

Yeah, I'm a great fan of Audiofile Engineering's Wave Editor. It's top notch software and incredibly useful for so many things. After some mishaps with some plugins not recalling their settings properly, I've decided (once again ) to keep my plug ins down to an absolute minimum. In Live now, from this point on, it's really all about keeping it to just Operator and Sampler for alot of what I do. I can seem to get just about all the things I want from them and they are absolutely rock solid and really quite flexible. If I want anything more, I have Absynth and Kontakt. As for plugins I keep this to basically Pro-Q, Pro-C and Simplon from Fabfilter, the Abbey Roads bundle for 'special' processing and the SoundToys bundle. That really is about it, apart from maybe a few OhmBoys things and the Reverberate reverb from Liquid Sonic.

It's just I'm thinking that learning another DAW (like Logic) might be my best option... It has some fantastic built in stuff and it seems very well suited to recording and mixing duties.

Hmmm.... maybe that is the where I should go next.

SubFunk
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Re: How much are you charging your clients?

Post by SubFunk » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:51 pm

^^^ you need to decide, i always go from what i need... not what something has to offer... know your needs and then you know what you need to get in order to accomplish that need, many people are fine with just live, totally OK,
if you need / or want to offer services Live is not enough for or does not allow you the workflow you seek... get something in addition. simple.
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