The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
How much to charge for home studio time? Full gear list included
Old 10th March 2021
  #1
How much to charge for home studio time? Full gear list included

Hey all, over the past year I've been getting a lot more serious about engineering and production. I've been producing for maybe 5-6 years or so but only really got into mixing and engineering maybe a year or so ago. I spent a good chunk of money kitting out my bedroom studio, and now want to make sure I set a fair price for my customers.

Due to COVID restrictions in my province(Quebec), I've only been able to have a couple sessions recently. I charged 50$ an hour and included free mixing on my own time when the artists weren't in the studio. This seems a bit low, but I would like to entice new customers to book so they can get an idea of my mixing ability, then maybe raise prices in a year or so once I have more repeat customers. I have a friend who owns less equipment and has less mixing experience who just so happens to be a genius with social media and getting his name out there, so he's also charging 50$ and seems to get quite a few customers.

I would estimate I now have around 10k CAD (8k USD) worth of physical gear not including the computer, DAWs, plugins and software. I have written a gear list below. Keep in mind that this is a very small bedroom studio, so it will most likely only be used for solo artists like rappers, singers, guitarists etc.

Microphones
  • Vanguard Audio Labs V13 (large diaphragm tube condenser, my nicest mic usually used for lead vocals)
  • AKG D5 (dynamic, somewhat similar to an SM57 and sounds good on an amp/cab for guitar and bass)
  • Sonarworks XREF20 measurement mic (omni pattern small condenser, mostly use it for zoom/discord calls but could be used as a room mic maybe?)

Controllers/mixers
  • Behringer X-Touch (8+1 moto faders with various other buttons and controls, works much better with Ableton than with Pro Tools)
  • Fostex VM88 (very old mixer. currently not plugged in, but could be useful if I ever need some more preamps)

Outboard gear
  • Midas L10 (cheapest 500 series chassis on the market, the card slots are not all straight making module installation a total PITA, but no problems otherwise)
  • Golden Age Premier PRE-573 (the premier version of their 1073 clone, has real Carnhill transformers and higher quality build)
  • JLM Audio LA500A (opto compressor modeled after an LA3A/LA2A with a HUGE transformer, sounds great on almost everything)
  • 2x Lindell PEX-500 (solid state pultec style EQs with aftermarket opamps installed by previous owner. bought 2 off reverb, one was DOA and refunded, paid for it to be fixed by a professional at Economik and is now broken again smh)
  • TK Audio BC501 (SSL bus comp style compressor with a couple extra features. my single most expensive piece of gear but it does wonders on the mix bus, especially with the THD switch turned on)
  • Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1 (cheap, basic TRS patchbay. I have no need for a 96 point bantam model, some of the jacks have gotten a bit scratchy though)

Interfaces (aggregated into one device)
  • Solid State Logic SSL2+ (2 in, 4 out interface with a nice BIG volume knob. my main interface)
  • Steinberg UR22 mkii (2 in, 2 out interface used as a mono/stereo send and return with outboard gear)

Monitoring
  • 2x Genelec 6020a (these were purchased by a family member about 10 years ago at a HUGE discount at an audio warehouse liquidation sale, amazing monitors, same as 8020b with an added RCA jack)
  • Genelec 5050a subwoofer (passive radiator subwoofer that was sold as a complete system with the 6020a, sounds amazing)
  • Audio Technica ATH-M50XBT (bluetooth/wired version of the standard ATH-M50X, mainly used by the artist to monitor while recording)

Instruments/MIDI controllers
  • Yamaha TRBX174EW bass (amazing beginner bass, the second cheapest model at my local Steve's music store, purchased very recently to learn bass on)
  • La Patrie Presentation nylon string classical guitar (quite an old guitar, sounds pretty nice but I'm not really into guitar nor can I play well enough to judge it properly)
  • Behringer Odyssey (super nice, especially for the price. fully metal and built like a tank while even the original was plastic. sounds super fat)
  • Yamaha P35 (fully weighted full size digital piano with MIDI output, doesn't feel like a real piano but feels a lot nicer than the springy keys of the Behringer)

Other stuff
  • Audio Technica ATLP60USB (cheap USB turntable used as part of my aggregate device for sampling obscure old vinyl)
  • Peavey KBA30 (technically a keyboard amp, but I use it for bass as keyboards can actually produce lower frequencies than a bass, so no worries about blowouts like there would be with a guitar amp)
  • DIY rockwool/roxul acoustic panels (spent about 350$ and a weekend of my time instead of paying multiple thousand for prebuilt ones from Primacoustic or GIK)
  • Sonarworks Reference 4 with measurement mic (this in combination with the acoustic treatment made my mixes translate MUCH better than they used to. I highly recommend this for any studio)
  • Yorkville SD2 studio desk (cheapest studio desk I could find, this is the small version with 4u of rackspace, the SD1 is much wider and has 8u IIRC)
  • Yorkville SDW side monitor stands (I have my monitors on the main upper part of the desk, so these are used for my laptop and my turntable)

What do you think I should be charging for my services? Any input is appreciated, thanks!
Old 10th March 2021
  #2
Can't really speak to the Canadian rates of pay .. but ...

Clients seem to pay for your labour and reputation. Labour rates tend to be semi-skilled, similar to a gardener or something like that. The gear and facilities are expected to be included for free. That's my experience at least. Not exactly fair employment really, but good value for the clients to be sure. Your gear is probably overall 'acceptable' and the space/facility 'low end' in most clients' eyes but overall most clients won't care that much (unless they are looking to track a drum kit or crank a full stack ...).

Given that, my guess is that your rate is probably about right until you have more work than you can handle. Then raise it.
Old 10th March 2021
  #3
Gear Nut
 
illegal4Hunna's Avatar
Your gear is fine bro, I wouldn't take that into account for pricing. The clients that ask about gear are like 1% of the market and normally not the ones you wanna work with anyways. Generally, clients care more about your actual sound and how you run the session. If you're able to make them feel comfortable, like you're their homie or something, they'll generally do their best on the mic. Certain things tend to impress them a lot as well so pay attention to those things and give them what they like. Most of these things are pretty simple, like playing the song back loud or doing a beat cut, tape stop or lofi effect. Develop your banter skills because if they like you they'll always come back so long as you're doing good work.

Thats mostly how you'd maximise your worth in their eyes. What price that gets you, I'd say compare your mixes to local guys and price yourself accordingly. If your sound is at similar quality to your competition but you're more likeable and make the sessions more enjoyable then they'll go to you every time.
Old 11th March 2021
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by northeastbeats ➡️
Hey all, over the past year I've been getting a lot more serious about engineering and production. I've been producing for maybe 5-6 years or so but only really got into mixing and engineering maybe a year or so ago. I spent a good chunk of money kitting out my bedroom studio, and now want to make sure I set a fair price for my customers.

Due to COVID restrictions in my province(Quebec), I've only been able to have a couple sessions recently. I charged 50$ an hour and included free mixing on my own time when the artists weren't in the studio. This seems a bit low, but I would like to entice new customers to book so they can get an idea of my mixing ability, then maybe raise prices in a year or so once I have more repeat customers. I have a friend who owns less equipment and has less mixing experience who just so happens to be a genius with social media and getting his name out there, so he's also charging 50$ and seems to get quite a few customers.

I would estimate I now have around 10k CAD (8k USD) worth of physical gear not including the computer, DAWs, plugins and software. I have written a gear list below. Keep in mind that this is a very small bedroom studio, so it will most likely only be used for solo artists like rappers, singers, guitarists etc.

What do you think I should be charging for my services? Any input is appreciated, thanks!
Salut mon ami!

I saw your post in the other section of GS and saw this post too. You've got more info here so I'll respond here.

Getting clients and charging an appropriate rate isn't just about gear. There's TONS of things to consider.

-What's your "bedroom" studio look like? If it's really a bedroom as opposed to a more appropriate room, that's not going to attract too many people. If your studio is clean/neat with a cool vibe and you work in a professional manner and treat people well, that helps alot.

-What services do you provide? Do you just record, or do you make "beats" as well? Do you do other stuff like photography or video? People are often all about their social media content, so providing more than just audio may help attract clients. You want to be known as a really good place to record, but if you provide other services you can charge more. Licensing beats can be an additional source of income. A lot of people just want to sing/rap/whatever and have a producer do everything else for them, and I'd charge more for a full-service like that.

-Speaking of social media, you mention your friend is "a genius with social media and getting his name out there, so he's also charging 50$ and seems to get quite a few customers". That right there should tell you that social media should be one way you use to attract clients.

-Make sure to check out what the competition is charging. I don't mean the people on Kijiji who think a bare-bones setup allows them to charge unreasonable amounts. I mean the other places that seem on the same level as you.

Now, should you charge the same as them? Maybe, or very slightly less for now to establish yourself. Just make sure not to charge a lot less, or you'll get the kinds of clients you really don't want.

Your market and the kind of music you do differ from what I'd do, but where I am it seems that $50/hour for recording is charged by a higher-end home studio. $20/hour is bottom-feeder stuff. If you're doing recording/mixing only, my feeling is that around $35-40/hour would work. Charge this to get clients, then raise your rates once you've established your portfolio/reputation (while maintaining the same rates for your first clients to keep them coming back). Providing beats, production, video, and photography would be extra.

I can't really think of anything else at the moment. It is a balancing act of services, exposure/marketing, business practices, and return on investment. Provide good service and a good product at a good price, but don't get walked all over.
Old 14th March 2021
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Charge as much as you can get people to pay

That is only slightly tongue in cheek haha

First I would check the rates at the nearest "real" studio for the same work you are doing. If we are talking mixing, or just tracking or both...mastering?

Check the rates. I doubt you'll get people to pay that rate for you in your house. So that's a starting point for setting your own rate.

Seeing how they do it will also allow you to pick up industry standards like 4 hour minimal or whatever.

You can also think about doing flat rate deals. You'll probably get some young new bands that way. Because they will usually have a very small/fixed budget, and with a flat rate per song for example they know exactly how much they can afford.

However with a flat rate you have to be REALLY good at estimating your time and then managing it afterwards. If you tell them you can do a $100 flat rate per song for example. And you end up spending 20 hours on the song...well the math doesn't look too kindly.

If however, you are working with a singer song writer. Just keys/acoustic and vocals for example. Well, those can be mixed pretty quick. So a flat rate might work for you there.

For the record I'm not saying you should do a flat rate, just expressing an option.
Old 14th March 2021
  #6
Lives for gear
 
standup's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you’re getting $50/hr, continue with that. When you’re overbooked raise the rate until things are comfortable again.

In my area I can book large rooms at $65/hr, so a home studio would be a second choice? But if you’re getting that rate, stick with it
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 1898 views: 568791
Avatar for Method Man
Method Man 6th April 2021
replies: 2348 views: 397168
Avatar for didier.brest
didier.brest 1 day ago
replies: 8 views: 2208
Avatar for Feltman
Feltman 23rd September 2015
replies: 2 views: 1532
Avatar for Lana
Lana 16th November 2016
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump