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Old 17-03-2015, 07:39 AM   #1
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Rate Structuring...

Figure this is probably as good as anywhere else to post this, here goes...

As some of you know I recently collected a small fee from a label for assisting a local act they had semi-recently signed. During the process the band and I had opportunities to talk about all manner of things beyond just the simple job for which I was tasked. Much to my surprise for 90 percent of the questions they asked, I had an answer.

I had lunch with the brains behind the outfit the other day and he asked me to put together a rate structure. My first reaction was "oh yeah right...me?" But the more I think about it the more one thing he said rings true, which for purposes of this thread, I'll paraphrase and apply to the reader / responder...

People like us, here on IDMf, have a very unique and valuable skillset that reaches beyond what people like my friend are able to accomplish or even care to.

So with all that said I think I'm going to try and put something together for him just to have on hand and maybe pass around. Point being I'm having a hard time coming up with a specific rate structure because its not something I've thought about before, and honestly, never thought I'd have to. I've decided its best to charge by the job as opposed to by the hour. So...

I'm opening this thread for any conversation as related to this issue. Suggestions, dollar amounts, jobs, anything and everything that could be put on a rate sheet goes regardless of if you've ever made one or not.

The way I see it is this...

People are getting paid everyday for this shit, people who probably know less than us, so we may as well try and grab a slice of that pie, even if its only a job here and there for some guy up the street with a guitar.

If nothing else perhaps someone other than me will find this useful one day...

Thanks all!

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Old 17-03-2015, 10:57 AM   #2
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Re: Rate Structuring...

Rates for what dude?
For the band playing?

You should probably work out your break even point first and go from there.
That might be variable depending on where you're playing or if the band are willing to absorb some costs here and there and what kind of band you are, but generally I'd get a ballpark figure in your head after basic costing. You should also try to cover the entire bands costs as a whole before people get paid. If the drummer lives out in the sticks and it costs him $50 bucks more than everyone else to get to the venue/meeting point then make sure he always gets that $50 or start looking for another drummer today.

That figure can then be used as a yardstick. Sometimes you may wish to charge more or less depending on the budget and capacity of venue, whether or not a rider/accommodation/travel is provided etc.

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Old 17-03-2015, 03:21 PM   #3
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Re: Rate Structuring...

I did say anything goes but not so much rates for playing but more technical tasks. Like what would you charge to say mix atrack down? What would you charge to mix five tracks down? Recording would be a big piece I'm missing here but if you could do that what would be your going rate? Would you charge less if it was working on someones demo? I'm not going to put mastering services on the sheet but out of interest, if somebody asked you to, what would be your going rate for that?

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Old 17-03-2015, 03:55 PM   #4
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Re: Rate Structuring...

I would most certainly charge by the hour then if you think its your fault and you've taken too long you can always adjust the charges. That comes from working for my dad's web company and doing my own freelance writing for various projects.

That being said...I think we need a quick break down of what all you did again and what you might be asked to do in the future.

I can see charging per-track to mix if you think you are efficient enough at it. But you also did some work creating some synth parts or drum parts of tunes right? Something creative like that I would charge by the hour.

Then if they want you to run the gear at a show...yea...maybe do that per show...I dunno, from what I know/remember here in the AM it seems you'll need to come up with different ways to handle different aspects of what you've done.

Or just hand them a dirty cardboard sign that says "Will Work 4 Synths" ;p

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Old 18-03-2015, 07:56 AM   #5
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Re: Rate Structuring...

Sorry for the delay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by relic View Post
I would most certainly charge by the hour then if you think its your fault and you've taken too long you can always adjust the charges. That comes from working for my dad's web company and doing my own freelance writing for various projects.
Yeah my main reason for asking for going rates among people like us by the job was because I was concerned charging by the hour would be too many hours to bill for. Didn't think if I decide to tweak out on an eq nobody is going to notice but me for three hours I could always adjust after the fact.

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That being said...I think we need a quick break down of what all you did again and what you might be asked to do in the future.
See that's the thing, what I did for the guys before was kind of a unique job that wouldn't be commonly requested I don't think. I basically set up a live set full of audio in groups, timed some things out, set up live for them, showed them how to use it, and how to reproduce it in a live setting on the road. Not really something one could put on a rate sheet and, I don't think, a commonly requested service.

It was within the doing of that in which the conversation started that in the future I could do "other things" for them and possibly people they refer me to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relic View Post
I can see charging per-track to mix if you think you are efficient enough at it. But you also did some work creating some synth parts or drum parts of tunes right? Something creative like that I would charge by the hour.
Yes there was some minor creative work involving the recreation of a part or two, creating one new part for one of the tracks, and remaking an 808 drum loop for them that was used in the record.

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
Then if they want you to run the gear at a show...yea...maybe do that per show...I dunno, from what I know/remember here in the AM it seems you'll need to come up with different ways to handle different aspects of what you've done.
Here's the thing...

We've already worked out the rate for running gear. The guy asked me for a rate sheet for his purposes and maybe to pass around that included undefined "other" things. It might sound like a crazy idea that I might be able to make some money here and there with the occasional job (I know you didn't say that, its my self doubt coming through). That said I know people that are no better than us are making money for this stuff all the time. Fuck I checked Craigslist tonight and there are guys offering beats and getting paid so I know jobs are out there for all sorts of things...

Being as besides mixing I don't have any idea what else could even go on a rate sheet I just thought I could open it up to the community for general discussion. Not even specific to me. That said I'll put the question to you (and anyone else)...

What do you think you could put on a sheet of your own and how much would you charge for said things? If nothing comes to mind, what would you charge to mix a track if someone asked? What would you charge for five of them?

I'm just trying to get ideas here, that's all.

Maybe the better thing to do is to just make a business card to pass around and take everything case by case assuming there would be anything at all. But, like I said, I know jobs are out there and I think anyone here who has applied what they have learned from via asking, reading, and applying could be confident in trying to go out and grab one or two if they have a mind to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relic View Post
just hand them a dirty cardboard sign that says "Will Work 4 Synths" ;p
Essentially yes this is exactly what is happening in an indirect way.

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Old 18-03-2015, 01:43 PM   #6
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Re: Rate Structuring...

I don't have any experience in those areas RFJ, but I'm happy to ask my friend that does what he charges.
His fees are very reasonable considering his huge experience and connections.

I would say that if you're working in a technical capacity for the band then don't go ott on stuff that might crossover into artistic preference. Sure you want to do a good job, but charging someone to tweak EQs for 3 hours seems excessive. (I know it was just an example)
You want to aim for working efficiently to achieve a great mix, not timelessly to perfect a mix.

I'll get back to you.

edit: ok, so he's saying that he doesn't have a rate sheet and that he charges on a job by job basis but he's happy to provide some approximate figures.

Last edited by lolirl; 18-03-2015 at 01:50 PM..

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Old 18-03-2015, 04:56 PM   #7
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Re: Rate Structuring...

OK so to come back to you RFJ, it seems my friend works on a similar scale to other basic tradesmen.
These are ballpark figures and he does not usually publish them online.

Quote:
finished session... so whats he doing... production/remixes/mastering? i basically charge 100 a day for general stuff!
Quote:
but i dont use that much...thats for people that come here which isnt too often! mastering from 25 a track to 150 a full album... (but that varies a lot and discounts for regulars etc)
Quote:
100 a single track mixing and mastering
Quote:
mixes tend to go back and forth a few times with changes etc until they are happy! more than mastering does
Quote:
recording is 100 a day ...8 hours... or 50 half a day...these vary a lot as i say
Quote:
thats ok! i never print them as i think its wierd when people quote a one price fits all figure... its more like a plumber... cant quote properly til you know the job
Quote:
it seems to be working well for me anyway... nearly 4 years now!
I feel like his Terms & Conditions are just as important tbh.

Quote:
1. Quotes are valid for a period of 3 months

2.Deposits at time of booking for all studio mixing or mastering sessions.
@ 25% for work quoted at 100 and over
@ 50% for work quoted under 100

3.Cancellations.
Over 4 weeks notice: Billed for any specific job preparation
Less than 4 weeks notice: Loss of deposit plus any specific costs for specific job preparation.
Less than 2 weeks notice: Billed 50% of quote plus any specific costs. for specific job preparation
Less than 1 weeks notice: Billed 75% of quote plus any specific costs. for specific job preparation
Less than 48 hours notice: 100% of quote is billed to client

Please contact [The Studio] if you feel your cancellation is due to exceptional circumstances.

4. Material will be stored at the [The Studio] for a period of 3 months from completion of work, unless otherwise agreed.

3. Payment types accepted : Cash/Bank transfer/Paypal/Moneygram/Western Union transfers

4. All material property of [The Studio] until paid in full.

Also, bare in mind how much of a bargain this is when you look at his client list:

Quote:
Mastering for...
Psychic TV, Sol Invictus, Merzbow, Coil/NIN, Ten Horned Beast, Sleep Research Facility, Hirsuit Pursute, Anni Hogan with Nick Cave and Marc Almond, AX, Burial Hex, My Silent Wake, 3 Cold Men, Dark Digital, Tylean, Eleven Pond, Tobias Bernstrup, Machinenfabriek, The Other Window, and many more...

Remixes and production for..
The Damage Manual, Mona Mur & En Esch, Die Form, In The Nursery, The Last Dance, Black Tape for a Blue girl, Stromkern, The Hiram Key, High Blue Star, Zeitmahl, IT, Midnight Configuration, Regenerator, Fernthal, Dark Digital, V2A, Scene Noir, 3 Cold Men, Elisabat Muse, Venus Fly Trap, Necro Stellar, Nude, Biotek, Void Prototype and many many more ..

Label clients include...
Cold Spring Records, Projekt, Trisol, Metropolis, Undergroundinc, Hyperium, Wave records, Other Voices, Shadowplay, Vinyl on Demand, Neuropa and Two Gods...
I hope that helps.

Last edited by lolirl; 18-03-2015 at 06:52 PM..

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Old 18-03-2015, 07:06 PM   #8
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Re: Rate Structuring...

That's an awesome wealth of information there man. Many, many thanks to you and your friend. Given his portfolio of clients it seems his rates are a steal. Especially that rate for recording. I guess though if you're recording an album for someone those days would add up quickly.

I was just talking to my friend briefly this morning about this and he was talking about a tracking day starting at like 11:30 in the morning, ending about three, and guys up there getting four times that. Not that that's what I had in mind, obviously, just saying your friends prices seem really really fair.

Good call on the terms and conditions too. Does he have a website you could link when you have time?

Thanks again, to the both of you.

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Old 18-03-2015, 07:19 PM   #9
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Re: Rate Structuring...

As I said he's coming it at it from his own pov.
He needs to make enough money to cover bills but realises he's not a brain surgeon and has no misguided thoughts of retiring early/rich. He simply loves what he does, and wants to continue doing it whilst being fair and improving on the opportunities that he had when he was getting started.

He's a very nice guy, very tolerant and accommodating, relaxed, with a good sense of humour and genuine interest in sound and music without pretence.

I actually helped him figure out those conditions after he got really messed around by one joker.

I'm happy to PM you (or anyone else) his website address but I wont be posting it here.

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Old 18-03-2015, 08:13 PM   #10
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Re: Rate Structuring...

This may have already been said but...

I worked for myself for a long time and my wife is currently self employed. Setting rates is a tricky thing.

First, as far as structure goes, you should have an hourly based "general" fee that helps you estimate projects based on your time, which is really the commodity.

Second, there are things that can modify the expense of that time such as effort or resources. If you have to work harder to achieve X task, it might be worth it to charge more for it. Similarly if you have to expend some of your own personal resources, postage, time on the phone with a vendor, whatever, that needs to be considered in the final price.

Third, doing a "per project" based system is great but, there are clients who are assholes, inevitably, who will take 3x the time of someone easier. You need to include some buffer for those who expect you to go at 110% of what you counted on. So, in my wife's business model, she does base pricing packages, then talks to the client about what they want specifically, then adjusts the base price based on any like I mentioned in the second paragraph. THEN, she puts something like "Additional hours of "insert work here" available at $60/hr.

Finally, it seems obvious, maybe even a bit too cautious, but write shit down and have people sign it. Make sure they read it an know what they are obligated for and what specifically they are getting from you.
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Old 19-03-2015, 12:54 AM   #11
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Re: Rate Structuring...

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Originally Posted by PhantomSignal View Post
Third, doing a "per project" based system is great but, there are clients who are assholes, inevitably, who will take 3x the time of someone easier. You need to include some buffer for those who expect you to go at 110% of what you counted on. So, in my wife's business model, she does base pricing packages, then talks to the client about what they want specifically, then adjusts the base price based on any like I mentioned in the second paragraph. THEN, she puts something like "Additional hours of "insert work here" available at $60/hr.

Finally, it seems obvious, maybe even a bit too cautious, but write shit down and have people sign it. Make sure they read it an know what they are obligated for and what specifically they are getting from you.
Both of these here are great points and definitely things to consider. The job I did for the guy I already knew was done merely over a handshake, but yeah, I can see the importance of getting everyone's expectations laid out on paper. Even with my friend though it was an odd feeling knowing I was going to be paid but not having any idea of when that would be. I really didn't like the feeling of wondering if I was going to have to bring it up again. Didn't wind up having to, which was cool, because I really suck at those things. Having that point of fact on paper, in addition to the other things you mention related to what's included with the job, could have well avoided any of that feeling of...well, this is going to wind up being awkward.

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Old 19-03-2015, 01:04 AM   #12
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Re: Rate Structuring...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFJ View Post
Both of these here are great points and definitely things to consider. The job I did for the guy I already knew was done merely over a handshake, but yeah, I can see the importance of getting everyone's expectations laid out on paper. Even with my friend though it was an odd feeling knowing I was going to be paid but not having any idea of when that would be. I really didn't like the feeling of wondering if I was going to have to bring it up again. Didn't wind up having to, which was cool, because I really suck at those things. Having that point of fact on paper, in addition to the other things you mention related to what's included with the job, could have well avoided any of that feeling of...well, this is going to wind up being awkward.
It protect both parties really and whenever you impose something like that, it's a two way street. Usually, if you can convey it as such, it goes over better than if it is seen as "not trusting" your friend.

That said, I also have a thing about "Dual relationships" meaning, I avoid doing business with friends and making friends of business acquaintances. It's not impossible but, I have found that if only 1 out of 10 times, eventually even friends will drop the ball. At least if it's a business partner you can torch that bridge without too much personal impact, but imperiling a good friendship isn't worth it IMO. People I get along with are not always the same as people I work well with.

Also, just because it's on paper doesn't prevent you from having to bring it up again. Sometimes my wife does business with people who are all good until it comes time to pay that final invoice and then suddenly they are really difficult to reach. Sometimes it's a perception of value, sometimes it's avoiding critical conversations between people who otherwise like one another and don't want to piss each other off...but there are numerous reasons why someone might flake, even if they signed an agreement.

Also, in California at least, signing something doesn't necessarily guarantee anything...there are breach of contract clauses, anti-indemnity, all kinds of ways to muck up the works is someone wants to. And sadly enough, it's often not worth pursuing for anything less than a few thousand dollars or more. Some people (hopefully not friends!) take advantage of that on purpose (like my last landlord who over charged us for cleaning and shit and never gave us receipts but ultimately, it was only a few hundred $ so, not really worth pursuing legal action on...fucker)

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Old 19-03-2015, 11:19 AM   #13
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Re: Rate Structuring...

If it's a paid agreement then just don't hand over the goods until after payment is received basically.

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Old 21-03-2015, 03:04 AM   #14
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Re: Rate Structuring...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFJ View Post

See that's the thing, what I did for the guys before was kind of a unique job that wouldn't be commonly requested I don't think. I basically set up a live set full of audio in groups, timed some things out, set up live for them, showed them how to use it, and how to reproduce it in a live setting on the road. Not really something one could put on a rate sheet and, I don't think, a commonly requested service.

Yes there was some minor creative work involving the recreation of a part or two, creating one new part for one of the tracks, and remaking an 808 drum loop for them that was used in the record.
Those activities sound like producing! Also some teaching.

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Old 21-03-2015, 03:23 AM   #15
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Re: Rate Structuring...

Congrats to you RFJ. It would seem that you are extremely close to achieving the center of the golden hoop of doing something that you really enjoy and making some money without having to whore out your integrity. I can't really say what you should or shouldn't do but given the unique nature of your task, I believe that you could go in the direction of setting a flat rate for your service if you feel comfortable doing that, Which it would seem that with your endeavor being successful you now are in a better position than someone at ground zero being like hey! $1,000 flat rate for service..I just use $1,000 as an example, But it would seem that you obviously posses the knowledge and drive to get shit done in a very good manner. Ultimately, It's up to you to decide on what you want to do with it. As for actual numbers for the type of service you provide, I've none. But I will throw in my two sense on the matter and say that you should at least test the waters as they say.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide to do. You've earned it.

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Old 22-03-2015, 02:09 AM   #16
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Re: Rate Structuring...

Thanks guys for the help, suggestions, and encouragement. I think what I've decided to do is just print up a small run of business cards to keep around and pass a few to my friend in the hope he'd pass around a few for me. I'll definitely use all the information obtained by @[Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
;, and general suggestions from everyone else, as a guide.

I really like what lolirl's mate said about being unable to quote properly until you know the job and I think you could also add where the job is coming from to that as well.

Anyway, thanks again guys for all the help. Hopefully one day something might come of this.

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Old 19-01-2016, 01:13 PM   #17
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Re: Rate Structuring...

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Originally Posted by glocalme View Post
Hi All .
we offer the widest range of DJ equipment and dj services
No you don't. Go home

Edit: the guy rekindled a good thread. Maybe he deserves a second chance

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Old 19-01-2016, 02:21 PM   #18
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Re: Rate Structuring...

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Originally Posted by RFJ View Post
People are getting paid everyday for this shit, people who probably know less than us, so we may as well try and grab a slice of that pie, even if its only a job here and there for some guy up the street with a guitar.
If you are good at something why do it for free?

I think it is a good idea to at least know what others charge / have charged.

thread delivered, thanks.

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Old 19-01-2016, 02:25 PM   #19
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Re: Rate Structuring...

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Originally Posted by RFJ View Post
People like us, here on IDMf, have a very unique and valuable skillset
I wish I agreed with you man, its fucking awesome people are paying you for this though... Very exciting!
id be really worried about charging too much and them not being happy with the job but that's because I'm a worrier and I'm not certain I could do a good job tbh. They obviously like what you did and want you again so charge what you think they can pay tbh

...or all the other great in depth advice too

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Old 14-09-2016, 04:22 AM   #20
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Re: Rate Structuring...

I can only go by what I've seen others do and it's pretty much what I will do. I don't record bands at this point so it's only mixing and mastering so far. I will say that I was paid $500 for mixing a 7 song album and it took about 2 months give or take a week. I gave them the mastering for free because of this and because they are friends and support my own band. The hourly thing works but it's tough to get people to agree to that if they're not watching you work and don't know how many hours you're putting into the mixing/mastering. It does pay more, that's for sure.

Let's say you're charging $30 an hour and you spend maybe 6 hours a day for 2 weeks not counting weekends. 6 x 10 = 60 hours @ $30 and hour = $1,800. That's a pro guy number for two weeks of work. 900 bucks a week. It's not steady work until you're a bigger name but that's pretty damn good. Guys like us, starting out in the game of mixing other people's music will probably go less than half that, $10-15 an hour and as you get more work and have a bigger portfolio, the price steadily goes up until you feel like you're getting paid what you're worth. Still, if the project is easy to work with (and trust me they aren't all easy- whole other story) and you're dealing with programmed drums and midi synths rendered out, asking $30/hour isn't going to net you many clients yet.

If you have to do editing, and ALWAYS fucking remember this, if you have to do editing/cutting/chopping/nudging whatsoever, you charge them separate for that shit! That's not mixing. it's another step and by far the most tedious part of working on material. I've gotten fucked so hard by this shit.

Try to find some mixing agreement contracts online, google studio mixing contracts/agreements. It's usually pretty simple, they pay you to mix- half up front and half when you give them the finished tracks, you mix, you give them the mixed music. That's how I've been doing it and it's worked out well so far.

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