How much should I charge?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by therecordingart, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I have a small home setup...good results...and I don't know how high/low I should set my rates. I've been charging $15 per hour to just start getting people in the door while I build my set up further. Here is a rundown on my gear....

    Tascam FW1884
    Cubase SX
    4-Shure SM57
    2-Oktava MC-012
    1-Shure Beta 52
    1-Oktava MK319
    1-Blue 8 Ball
    Presonus HP4 Headphone mixer
    Event TR-8's
    Line 6 Pod
    Various instruments
    a lot of misc software.....

    I have a 2 room setup (control room/live room) and both are nicely fitted with Auralex.

    It's a small but effective setup to record a demo. I'm constantly expanding on my gear.

    You can hear samples of some of my work at

    Can someone give me a ball park of what I can/should charge? Oh, and I'm located in an upper middle class suburb of Chicago near O'Hare airport. (Just in case the market has any affect on what I should charge).
  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I think $15 pr hr is way low for any market, but I understand how you want to proceed slowly at first, building your clientele.

    The problem though, is that people will percieve that what you charge is what you're worth. (And the converse is true: The more you PAY, the more its worth...)

    I'd draw up a new rate sheet for "new" clients and gradually bring your old clients up to speed after a certain cut off point.

    And, it's no one's business WHAT you charge, or how/where your $$ goes after you've been paid. You're investing your time, your home, your talents and more countless intangibles to provide a walk-in, no-hassles service. Surely that counts for more that $15 pr hr.

    Your equipment will amortize over time, and you WILL be constantly reinvesting in gear and supplies. That's gotta come from somewhere as well.

    Don't give away the store, and even if you're feeling generous and altruistic, remember that even the heat and electricity is costing you $$$. Maybe get help from a good accountant (someone who's doing your taxes, perhaps) and find out what it's costing you per hr just to keep the doors open and the lights on. Add to that a little profit and contingency, and there's your rates.

    I'm guessing for your market, it's at least $50 pr hr for even a small project studio's time. (You may want to offer package deals, too...fixed fees for fixed services.)

    Good luck!
  3. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    The rate you can charge is exactly related to the quality of you produce, not really the gear you have. (within reason of course)

    If you charge too little, potential clients will think your not capable of producing quality product. The inverse is if you charge too much, they won't think your worth it.

    What are other studio's charging in your area. Are they- as good-worse-or better than you? How long have you been offering your studio commercially?

    You get the idea.

  4. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    $15/hr is way too cheap. Make your rate $40-$50/hr and offer package deals for block of time, then is ok to charge $20/$25 hr to get the jobs. (Say, $100/ 4hrs) Then when you build your business up and you are charging $50/hr people won't think youre gauging them- you just have too much work to offer those great specials you had in the past.

    What I found worked for me when I had the studio was to offer a package deal- so many songs, so many hours for a set amount- make sure you sell a block of time, though. You don't want your clients to come one hore here, one hour there.

    The best advertising I found to get work was word of mouth from satisfied customers. the second was the yellow pages. I never got one customer from thousand of flyers I posted in clubs parking lots. When a customer new calls it works to give them references to past satisfied customers. Clear it with them first, though. Ask if its ok to give their names out for references.

    A mobile rig is one good way to get customers.. Go to a rehearsal hall and offer to record rehearsals for $15/hr. Then sell them studio time at $25-$50/hr to mix their tracks in a proper studio. If they are happy with your work they might just come and record that CD with you at your studio.

    By the way, its good to have an album special. Say, $5,000, so 10 songs, a set amount of studio hours. Then give them a special rate if they go over their alloted hours. It works. But only if you are getting a good sound. If your sound sucks, yo are toast! 8)
  5. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Makes perfect sense to me. I think my sound is pretty can be the judge if you'd like and I appreciate honesty no matter how brutal.

    My samples are at
  6. radioliver

    radioliver Guest

    I think you need to work on your mixing skills. Vocals are really buried and sound seperation is not too great. Other than your skills, there's nothing you should really improve until your budget allows it. The drums sound pretty good for a project studio. Just practice mixing vocals and guitars over those drums and you're set to go.
  7. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I understand what you mean and I can hear the lack of separation. My ears don't stop communicating with my brain when I try correcting it. I honestly don't know how to create more separation. Can you help? What should I do? Any books to help learn better mixing techniques?

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