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mobile recording advice needed. New pricing strategie?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
mobile recording advice needed. New pricing strategie?

Hi

Just a question regarding pricing strategy.

I run a mobile recording company. I started the company with a good friend and we built it together and are now the only company that is operating in our era. (We are not in USA) My friend left a couple of years ago because he found more lucrative ways to earn money.
I bought his share of all the equipment. Right now I have a lot of gear. 150+ mics, 100 ch of hi end preamps including 500 series etc.. 48 ch of radial splitters, loads of cables and mic stands, (decca tree, mega stands etc) I have spent all my money the last 5 year on investing in great gear. (over 100 K USD)

After I parted ways with my friend I have tried to get other talented people involved, but as I expected its really hard.Seems like people just cant handle the long hours and physical work involved. I pay them 300 USD (I keep 500 USD becaus I own everything and deliver files which takes time) We totally charge 800 USD

Some more info:
The recording gigs varies a lot but can go over 12 hours easily and its a lot of carrying gear, and logistics which is very hard and physical work. We usually do a lot of multitracks.
Yesterday we had recording session in a church with 6 different ensembles moving around and changing mics between each. There was no break in the schedule and it all took about 12 hours.
We usually charge 800 USD for a recording session, It can be everything from a small ensemble or a big rockband.

All the sessions we do require two people. Because of many factors like load in and out of equipment. The ability to work very fast etc...

We have many pro clients and a very good reputation. The thing is I feel like we are too expensive because we only get hired in for the big projects people cant do themselves. There is a thin line how much you can charge and people can afford right?

Also where I live a regular day job (9-17) pays about 230 USD. So what I pay my team doesnt seem so lucrative, and every time I need to take a lot of calls finding the person that is available. All in my team have other jobs/businesses too.

Right now Im trying to find a new way to run the business.
I feel like I really do not earn enough and that I have way more expenses than I actually earn from it in the end. I also do store everything at my home and in the cellar. Its just so much gear and my girlfriend complains haha.


I want to get a location but I just dont see a way to afford it?

My former partner also owned the car we used so right now I am dependent on asking my brother which owns several trucks (He is in the construction business)

I have several of thoughts:

1. Im soon turning 40 and sometimes I feel just to give up, but its a sad feeling because we spent so much time and effort in building this thing. ( We are regulary called for work by national TV, Music university in town, festivals etc)
We never do any advertisement and it has all been word of mouth from the start.

2. Im thinking about building a proper website (which we dont have yet) and put the prices with explanation. Making prices depending on amount of microphones og people in the band involved etc. Anyone do anything like this? I will probably loose many jobs and It would not be good for business right?

3. In the last 5 years we have only said no to 1 job offer. I feel like I can never say now and if I do I will loose customers. Sometimes it goes weeks by between jobs, and some weeks we get many jobs in the same week. So Im afraid raising the price will turn off clients

4. Im too dependent on another person to do the jobs with me. I earn enough to just get some food on the table. And Im concerning about my health in the future if Im still doing this.

Anyone have some good pricing strategies or other advice.

We have done many hundred jobs and it has been a great ride with a lot of great memories. But right now Im really not sure what to do. What would you do if you were in my situation?

Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
JCBigler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Without knowing what part of the world you're in, it's impossible to know if your pricing is adequate or not. In the US, $800 for a two person gig is rock bottom pricing. And probably way below minimum wage depending on the number of hours required.

But in your country and market, it may be a good wage.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 ➑️
Hi



I run a mobile recording company.

I feel like I really do not earn enough and that I have way more expenses than I actually earn from it in the end.

Im concerning about my health in the future if Im still doing this.

Anyone have some good pricing strategies or other advice.

We have done many hundred jobs and it has been a great ride with a lot of great memories. But right now Im really not sure what to do. What would you do if you were in my situation?

Keep the memories. Sell the business.
Or raise your price and keep it as a sideline while you find something else.
Of course, you could just keep going as you are if you are happy. There are worse fates.
Just my 2c. Hope things get better for you. Good luck.

Last edited by edva; 3 weeks ago at 12:25 AM.. Reason: +
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
Hello musicmixer04....

I noticed you've been down that road before, some threads from 2019 and before...so, my advice, since there are few people (none!) in your area that have so much pro gear or offer this service is to charge more$$$..... there is no way you can make a living at this having to supply so much gear for so little money... no wonder you can't get staff...... sell some of the 150 mics and 100 channels pre amps...keep the best ones and make a decent living charging more and being more selective...if you take everyone that asks you're asking for trouble, in the end it doesn't make a "sound"investment...

Ray
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I would agree with the above, and me who might need to take the advice myself.

Get leaner and look for paying clients in other, perhaps not as prestigious pursuits. This Two mics and two preamps to record high school kids that are trying to get into music schools. Community groups that are looking for archival recordings of their (hopefully soon) performances. A couple of mics and a recorder. Do it by yourself and charge half your current rate. Your back will feel better and the gear that you don't need for this new work, you can sell and put the money in your bank account.

Knowing how to do large scale recordings might come in handy assisting someone somewhere else in the world, nothing more to move than just you.

It will allow you to continue to use your skill, do work that you may still love to do, lower your stress and still make some money. Might be a win-win.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
It sounds like you kind of own the "big location multitrack" niche in your area, but that there isn't a lot of work now for that kind of rig, that scale of set up, and you are limited geographically by not having a truck. Lots of good advice above. Some folks that have been in your position have gone on to build out a small recording truck so that they can range farther from home and get in and get out of setups faster. Yes, some little investment is involved, but if you are handy and mechanical you can do a lot of the work yourself. The other alternative, short of bailing on the business and selling everything off, is to build up a much smaller leaner and meaner rig, and see if that gets you any extra work. You could probably do this with gear you already have in a new configuration, maybe 16 channels? But what seems to be clear is that you can't really keep going as you've been....
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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wildplum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In your area, how would varying your rates dependent on how much gear (and how many people) you need for the gig? Like charging 500 when there is only limit gear and set up involved and you can handle it by yourself, reserving the $800 (and up) when more gear/personnel are needed.
And I second the idea of getting a proper vehicle.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
It would help a lot to know where you are located.

I only know of one 24 track mobile rig in this area (Northern, Ohio) which was owned be two high school teachers and I am not even sure if they are still in business.

Not a good time to be in the mobile studio business unless you are Steve Remote. <GRIN>

Others have suggested doing this as a sideline business and finding some work that is more lucrative.

Best of luck!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Your rates are low and I sympathize with you. Plowing the fields of large recordings is a dead end in my opinion. The reason is that in your part of the world, the daily wages limit your clients to large broadcasters. There are not that many large jobs per year that justify your investment.

I suggest dumping those hundreds of channels of gear and streamlining your capability to 24 channels.

Get a good day job and do this recording work on the side.

The fact of the matter is that world-wide, the old days of good recording budgets are gone and now is the time to get out at 40 years of age. Otherwise, it will only get harder and harder to do the work. Don't wear yourself out. Make your decision based on business and not emotion.

Sorry, maaaaaaaaannnnnnnnn
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Guru
I've found that if I drop a couple of twenties on the act they will let me record them.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
i doubt changing prices would change much: there is not much money in remote recording (anymore), pretty much regardless of who you are, genre, gear or skillset...

...so get smaller/more efficient, get out of business and keep things as an ambitious hobby, team up with your biggest competitor or someone who's into video, live sound, advertising, broadcasting etc.

that said, i own a pretty large rig myself... (but then, i do not depend on one specific area of our business such as location recording)
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
surflounge's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yes, trade their tracks recorded, for a few random melodies you can keep as originals for your personal archives. No complaints unless the random jam session sounds better than their practiced stuff. Get an agreement
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Thank you all very much for helpful advice, appreciate it.

I will comment on all posts first and then tell about my new ideas about my new strategy and maybe you have some more advice to give

Quote:
Without knowing what part of the world you're in, it's impossible to know if your pricing is adequate or not. In the US, $800 for a two person gig is rock bottom pricing. And probably way below minimum wage depending on the number of hours required.
Yes you are probably right. We have raised the prices over the years, but very little and no price strategy at all. We have also always met the budget of the clients. It has been very fun but not sustainable for sure.

Quote:
Keep the memories. Sell the business.
Or raise your price and keep it as a sideline while you find something else.
Of course, you could just keep going as you are if you are happy. There are worse fates.
Just my 2c. Hope things get better for you. Good luck.
This made me think. again on the point. We have had a business thats have been more about the passion than the business. I have always had the motto that putting all the work in to get the best result that can be will maybe make new opportunities (when people hear the great result). But its a hard to get paid for all that extra time put in.
I have actually thought about the idea of selling, but I have come to the conclusion. 1. Its so much investments in all that gear,and physical labour in this particular business, so I guess there is just not many that are interested. 2. We dont have any work agreements or regular projects. Its all random jobs coming in. That said we have a festival that hires us every year (which brings in about $15 000, but with video work included)

Quote:
I noticed you've been down that road before, some threads from 2019 and before...so, my advice, since there are few people (none!) in your area that have so much pro gear or offer this service is to charge more$$$..... there is no way you can make a living at this having to supply so much gear for so little money... no wonder you can't get staff...... sell some of the 150 mics and 100 channels pre amps...keep the best ones and make a decent living charging more and being more selective...if you take everyone that asks you're asking for trouble, in the end it doesn't make a "sound"investment...
Yes you are right, and I agree. The jobs we get, we are usually the only ones that can take on. No other remote recording companies around. But then I wonder what will be too expensive. An other thing is that often people get funding for these projects, and yeah it probably wont make much difference charging some more $$$... So raise the price so its possible to hire without underpay is key, will get back to this in the end and my thoughts on a new strategy. Yes you are right. I think having a better and higher pricing strategy will eliminate the less serious projects for sure. Yeah its time to be more selective.
Not sure if I will get rid of mics cause I love the different options too much. But I think I will sell some preamps and have just a couple of options to use like from 1-24 ch I always use this setup. Over 24 ch I always use this setup etc.. (and just keep it the same every time)

Quote:
I would agree with the above, and me who might need to take the advice myself.

Get leaner and look for paying clients in other, perhaps not as prestigious pursuits. This Two mics and two preamps to record high school kids that are trying to get into music schools. Community groups that are looking for archival recordings of their (hopefully soon) performances. A couple of mics and a recorder. Do it by yourself and charge half your current rate. Your back will feel better and the gear that you don't need for this new work, you can sell and put the money in your bank account.

Knowing how to do large scale recordings might come in handy assisting someone somewhere else in the world, nothing more to move than just you.

It will allow you to continue to use your skill, do work that you may still love to do, lower your stress and still make some money. Might be a win-win.

D.
Good suggestion but Im just not sure if its a market for it. Probably studio owners will do some of the small gigs themselves. Also people have audio recorders and stuff, and do people know much about sound quality? If the guy in the music shop says that the zoom recorder is the best way it may take a couple of years for those who are starting out as artists/musicians to really care more about the sound quality and possibilities in a good multitrack recording.

Quote:
It sounds like you kind of own the "big location multitrack" niche in your area, but that there isn't a lot of work now for that kind of rig, that scale of set up, and you are limited geographically by not having a truck. Lots of good advice above. Some folks that have been in your position have gone on to build out a small recording truck so that they can range farther from home and get in and get out of setups faster. Yes, some little investment is involved, but if you are handy and mechanical you can do a lot of the work yourself. The other alternative, short of bailing on the business and selling everything off, is to build up a much smaller leaner and meaner rig, and see if that gets you any extra work. You could probably do this with gear you already have in a new configuration, maybe 16 channels? But what seems to be clear is that you can't really keep going as you've been....
Yes to have a truck would be cool, but Im just not sure if I want to invest more. Also I think it can be a nice thing to actually go inside the spaces. To stay outside in a truck require other things like parking which can be difficult sometimes. One thing would be to have gear already inside the truck. Like ables, mic stands etc. Then the load in/out would be easier. But I live in the middle of town and dont have a parking space, and getting one would be another expense. Yeah thinking about a leaner rig, will get back to that in the end of the post.

Quote:
In your area, how would varying your rates dependent on how much gear (and how many people) you need for the gig? Like charging 500 when there is only limit gear and set up involved and you can handle it by yourself, reserving the $800 (and up) when more gear/personnel are needed.
And I second the idea of getting a proper vehicle.
yes I think to make pricing packages and stick to that would be a solution. And yeah agree on the truck, but just not too keen on that new investment. I can loan my brothers trucks for free. Not very efficient though. Need to go out of town to pick one up etc..

Quote:
It would help a lot to know where you are located.

I only know of one 24 track mobile rig in this area (Northern, Ohio) which was owned be two high school teachers and I am not even sure if they are still in business.

Not a good time to be in the mobile studio business unless you are Steve Remote. <GRIN>

Others have suggested doing this as a sideline business and finding some work that is more lucrative.

Best of luck!
Yes you are probably right. the remote recording business is not as it was. And I guess it was already on a decline when we started. But with your vision blurred with passion its not easy to see haha. Yes Im looking towards putting it on the sideline. I have some other music related interests that I want to pursue so that would be a good thing.

Quote:
Your rates are low and I sympathize with you. Plowing the fields of large recordings is a dead end in my opinion. The reason is that in your part of the world, the daily wages limit your clients to large broadcasters. There are not that many large jobs per year that justify your investment.

I suggest dumping those hundreds of channels of gear and streamlining your capability to 24 channels.

Get a good day job and do this recording work on the side.

The fact of the matter is that world-wide, the old days of good recording budgets are gone and now is the time to get out at 40 years of age. Otherwise, it will only get harder and harder to do the work. Don't wear yourself out. Make your decision based on business and not emotion.

Sorry, maaaaaaaaannnnnnnnn
Yea I guess you are right. Sometimes we have actually taken the place for large broadcasters. One of my ideas earlier were to send those a pitch to be a partner, but that again that would require that I have more dedicated people on my team, and as said in my first post thats one of the issues, getting people involved wanting to sacrifice for this business.

I think the 24 ch rig might work but I dont see a big market for it. It has so far probably only been 30% of our business.

Day job will never happen, but I have a sideline part time job I can do from home. I dont do it much and it doesnt pay well but it has helped sometimes to make ends meet. That said I also have another musicdream going on. I do love songwriting and production and Im pretty good at it. Just havent focused on it because of this remote business. My plan is to shift focus toward this and Im pretty sure it will make me some income. I have produced tracks and made $$ form it in the past, but not much in the last 5 years which has been mostly trying to build this mobile recording business.

Your last sentence is spot on thank you! After all replies in this thread I need to realize this. Time to shift gears.

Quote:
I've found that if I drop a couple of twenties on the act they will let me record them.
Happened to me too. As long as the product we make wont sell much its just a limit how much people are willing to pay unfortunately.

Quote:
i doubt changing prices would change much: there is not much money in remote recording (anymore), pretty much regardless of who you are, genre, gear or skillset...

...so get smaller/more efficient, get out of business and keep things as an ambitious hobby, team up with your biggest competitor or someone who's into video, live sound, advertising, broadcasting etc.

that said, i own a pretty large rig myself... (but then, i do not depend on one specific area of our business such as location recording)
Teaming up with video guys etc we have done in the past few years. My thought was to offer some video services too, but again Im dependent on video gear, people etc. I can shoot videos pretty good myself, but to offer multicam video for a concert I need more people involved for sure. I have also thought about working for broadcasters etc showing my resume, but it is just not as interesting for me working for someone else. I always wanted to have my own business and to succeed that way. Im just like my brother which build companies in the construction business.

Quote:
Yes, trade their tracks recorded, for a few random melodies you can keep as originals for your personal archives. No complaints unless the random jam session sounds better than their practiced stuff. Get an agreement
Interesting view. But that would involve some rights agreements etc, at least If it would be at any value for me I guess.



SO my thoughts forward on:

website:

Setting up a website with prices planned out. like : concert recording, two persons involved. $1000, including a video total in 4k for documentation purposes. Smaller productions requiring only one person $650 etc

If I raise the prices and put them on a website I can: 1. Send all requests directly to my website, where they can see overview of different prices, policy etc. In this case I dont need to sell my business every time on the phone/mail which sometimes is time consuming. If the clients come back to me after looking at the website they are willing to pay without spending more time negotiating. 2. With raising prices I will afford hire anyone at the standard payment for a sound engineer If I have too.There are some facebook groups where I can post ads, but they require that I will pay whats expected for a sound engineers daily work. If I have projects that I only need help with load in load out I can use assistants paying what we already agreed on. But as mentioned its not easy always to call around, so a budget for a proper sound engineer salary is good to have.

more video:

We have done multicam video in the past. I will ask clients about video if I have video guys that are interested in the project. I will take 20% for every video gig I sell. I will do all communication with the client.

Equipment storage:

Instead of having stuff in different studios/locations, I will clear out my cellar and store everything at home. The logistics will be much easier. I will sell all equipment that is not needed.

Smaller rig:

I will build a smaller rig, purchasing a smaller snake drum etc. So I have the possibility to do smaller project doable for 1 person. I think I will charge $650 for a session. I know I probably could do it cheaper, but I really like working with colleagues much more that doing work alone. I have done hundreds of sessions over the years and I think I like more to work with someone and what it brings than just putting up mics. The technical thing is not the most interesting aspect of it to me anymore. I try to focus more on the music, people involved etc

car:

I will see if the business is still going after raising the prices and then consider if an investment of a truck is ok.

shifting gears:

while only taking on work and saying yes to projects that only accept my new raised prices I will not feel the need to husstle to get all the work anymore, and I can focus on my songwriting.production skills more and see if it can bring in some money.

Yeah that was some quick thoughts on the future.
Let me know if you guys have some suggestions or advice.

And again appreciate your feedback very much, thank you!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
I've found that if I drop a couple of twenties on the act they will let me record them.
Musicmixer04 ,

I think Jim was pulling your leg!! (it was a joke)...

Ray
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Musicmixer04 ,

I think Jim was pulling your leg!! (it was a joke)...

Ray
OK. haha

Thanks @ surflounge !

Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
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grasspike's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
If I were you. I would sell pretty much everything you can, take the funds and buy a 32 channel digital mixer that allows for direct recording to SD cards or an external laptop

Something like an X32. I have used the X32 on well over a thousand gigs (when we still had gigs). If you get the "X-Live" card you can record up to 32 tracks directly to SD cards and record to a DAW on a laptop for redundancy.

This could give you a lean and mean rig that is very scalable you can use it with just a few mics to a larger production with up to 32
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I would be careful about getting into something like an X32. I'm not knocking that board, but I'd think about how it will look to your clients when you show up with something that many musicians have themselves, or that they see in rehearsal halls and low-budg venues. In general clients, especially players, know a lot more about recording gear than they used to, and if they are paying for the service often expect the tools that get used to be something better than they have, or at least more exotic. I know that an X32 can do a fine job, but there is a perception issue here.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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As for me work great b2b lead generation and email sales with https://belkins.io/email-deliverability. And I advise use test email spam with Folderly.
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