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Starting Home Studios

Discussion in 'Recording' started by whitie, May 22, 2003.

  1. whitie

    whitie Guest

    I was jut wondering, if anyone here has started their own studio. What they started with, like both equipment and moneywise. And when you started chargin people, how dod you go about that, rates and stuff. Any info you have for me will be greatly appreciated.
  2. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Whitey, I started recording with two cassette decks and a mixer when I was thirteen. It CAN be done.(admitedly not too well). This graduated into a fascination with live sound reinforcment, and later moved back to recording.
    If you are just starting out, then learn each piece of gear you have, inside & out. A complete knowledge of what you have and how it works, will yeild better results.
    You should charge EVERYONE something in the beginning. After all YOU bought all this stuff, why should people use it for free...even if it IS practice.
    I suggest you take some post secondary courses on business, and research a bit. However, rather than charging people on a whim, here is a formula that may help you derive a price.
    Put together ALL of your expenses related to recording. Tapes, disks, cable replacement
    epair, rent, a wage for yourself, financed equipment, paper, taxes, kleenex, everything right down to the markers you use to write on the board. How much does this cost each year? Write your total. Now, lets take a 40 hour work week, multiply this by 50 weeks(two weeks holiday...why not?), and you get 2000 hours. You will not book all 2000 hours. Take 60% of this to account for administrative tasks and slower periods, you get 1200 hours. Now divide your expenses by 1200 and you get cost of operation. Add 20-30% for return on your investment, and presto! An hourly rate.

    Annual costs, divided by 1200 hours= hourly cost
    Hourly cost plus expected return on investment= Hourly rate.
    P.S. Hopefully you can see what moves you may want to work towards, and will include extra costs for equipment upgrades and building improvements.

    Good luck.
  3. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    very intereting. do you mean summing all your investment, let us say:
    $70,000 ( gear) plus $2000 ( bills) +...?

  4. mixman77

    mixman77 Guest

    Haha, Steve I did that when I started out as well. Two boom boxes recording back and forth. I think I was around 13 as well. It sounded like crap but hey, I was multi-tracking lol. Funny to think back, thx for the mem.....


  5. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Alecio, If you wish to add your investment, and you do so over one year you will drive your price too high. The best thing to do here is, if you personally own the gear the you should lease it to your studio over five years, with interest. Come up with a monthly payment and add that to your expense list.

    Buenos dios!(how's my spanish?)
  6. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Thanks Steve. You mean the investment in the current year, right? what about a obsolescence ratio into the formula?

    Man, we speak portuguese notenglish!lol
    It is oka that they are somewhat similar.

    You can say:

  7. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    sorry, I meant Portuguese not Spanish.
  8. whitie

    whitie Guest

    Ok, Im gonna be using (for now) my friends BOSS little 8 track recorder. And the only thing id kidna be doin for a lil while is like lil demos for my friends and what not. Since im still workin at gettin better, is it still good to charge, like if my roomate doesnt care that im usin his recorder? Should i start charging now to let them know I'm not gonna do it for free all the time?

  9. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Alecio. I suggested stretching your gear over a five year period as that is roughly equivalent to the amortization period of a business loan. Once you have established a price, it is up to you to market yourself and run your business effectively to maintain a steady profit. From these profits I would suggest that you establish a budget, and in that budget include money for improving your facility. There are many ways of setting up a total accounting process for a business, however to my knowledge it is not standard practice to include this. Perhaps you should consult an accountant in regards to budgeting.

    Bom dia.......Right?
  10. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Whitey. This is totally a judgment call for you to make. I have always charged for everything I do. I have found that eveyone wants something for nothing, and I used to get a lot of nothin' for somethin'. The question is...how good are you? Do you need to learn, can you afford school?
    Here is my paralell. I know guys who used to make $150+ a night as a club player 6-8 years ago.
    A couple of these guys were players in some of canada's biggest bands before then. Lots of musicians, who have no interest in music as a career will do the same gig for 20 bucks cuz they have a day job. This makes it hard to get a good paying gig.
    If this is going to be a career move for you, then be focused AND respectful of your colleauges. Charge money for your work.
    If you have no intention of making a career then don't charge. Do it for yourself or your buddies.

    Whatever you do, have fun doing it, and good luck.
  11. entleybay

    entleybay Guest

    Whitie, how about a flat rate per song. The first paying gig I did was billed this way ($150 per song). It was with a Mac, a Digi 001, a Mackie 1604 and various pieces of outboard gear. The album came out great because I put in a lot of time, and now they are coming back for their next one at an hourly rate. The per song charge enables you to put in the time it will take for you to experiment and learn without the band worrying about a mounting bill. A band should be willing to pay something for a recording.
  12. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Whitie, Please correct me if I'm wrong but when you spoke of borrowing a Boss 8 track it makes me think that perhaps you are just starting to learn the trade. I would suggest working for free for awhile. The more hands on experience you get the better engineer you'll become.
  13. doulos21

    doulos21 Guest

  14. doulos21

    doulos21 Guest

    i started out with one 5 dollar radio shack mic and a short wave radio and bounced that to a dual tape dec. I went from that to a old tec tape deck run in rec pause mode to a sound blaster 16 into cool edit home version, then to pro tools free and now a 001 and a digital mixer and off of that my last album sold 50,000 coppies an got local air play not bad from recording in my back bedroom 10 by 12 and ill soon be upgrading to a 002 rack mount a new digital mixer and mac g4 also im 22 years old and all my gear is paid for :)
  15. doulos21

    doulos21 Guest

    humm what if your goal is to be a producer as well? Thats my goal so what ive been doing is putting up all the money for recording up front scoutin my own bands and recording after i have a recording contract and pull all my money off of cd sales my last album i made 6 thosand in cd sales the first month but i didnt charge a percent just what ever my rec cost would be still 6,000 for 200 hrs i was very happy lol i figure the more decent bands i have as co producer or producer and engineer for a portfolio the easier i could get a gig as a assistant engineer at a real studio. Big plans for me huh lol be a lil more then an intern and sit under a real engineer
    but thats my goal does this seem unreasonable?
  16. mgraffeo

    mgraffeo Guest


    one additional skill you might want to work on:




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