Bay Area Studio Engineering
Servicing Analog Equipment since 1981...

Here are some helpful tips to keep your studio booked and running during the economic downturn


Not much you can do in the times of Covid-19...

You need to BE SAFE and HEALTHY.
That means limiting your contact with other people as the crisis peaks.
Estimates are that there will be between 200,000 and 350,000 who die of Covid-19 in the USA,
and thousands more of other illnesses that hospitals will not be able to even take in
because hospitals will be maxed out with Covid-19 patients.... no emergency room availablility,
no hospital beds, staff over-worked, and much of the hospital staff sick themselves.
Got a heart attack? Good luck finding a spot in the emergency room. Stroke? - sit and wait.

So it's best to just close down your studio (assuming it is a public studio - not your private space), and wait it out.

Afer all, musicians are NOT the most healthy folks I know of...

in other, better days of not long ago..... these are things I'd have recommended...

Sign up so you can accept Credit Cards

This is one of the MOST important things you can do - and it's easy.

  You can accept Credit Cards through PayPal - though you need Internet
access at your studio location.... or you can sign up for Credit Card acceptance at your bank
there will be a small fee - usually about 3%   but it's worth it.
There is another reason to accept Credit Cards other than allowing your Clients
to pay off their studio bill over time....    
How many times have your clients ran out of money yet there's still work to be done?
I bet it's hundreds of times, and usually you'll say, it's OK let's keep going
and I won't charge you for the additional hours.....
Well if you accept Credit Cards you can say, "Hey, let's just put the rest
on your Credit Card and you can then pay it off later on!"
Sure you might give them a few hours 'on the house', but
you get paid for most (or for that horrible session all) hours.

Do NOT discount the rates.... rather discount the billed hours
You want to make sure that all your Invoices have the same hourly rate on them....
Imagine a client who sees an Invoice from another band's session and their billed rate is lower than his -
He'll get pissed.... rightly so.    
Or he hears you billed "XXX" band only 50 per hour while he paid 75 per hour.
You avoid this by charging all your clients the same rate - but discounting the hours you bill
on the Invoice... and of course you make it clear that you're giving them a huge discount
by not billing the 'real' 10 hours for the session but only 6.
If you discount your rates others will insist that they too get that discounted rate, and
believe me, the word will get around that you're charging those low discounted rates and bands will
get pissed when you try and charge them more.
So bill everything at the same rate   -   just bill less hours as the 'discount' or 'deal'

Always pretend your studio is busy   -   and pretty booked up
The WORST thing you can do is let everyone know your studio is dead and wide open....
Good studios are still booked up in bad money times, just not fully booked as they were in good times.
So your studio needs to have 'phantom' bookings... so when someone calls up and asks about Studio time
you ask them when they need it, then say, "Hey that's great, I've got a 10 day session that's ending
the day before, so let's book it now..."
the word gets around that you're busy.... and busy means you're doing good work, that bands like the studio
and they like working with you.     Not that any of that is true (but I hope it IS true)
but it will just seems like it is to folks who call to find out about studio time.

Go to as many music gigs as you can
This should be normal for you anyway, but lots and lots of studio owners or engineers
stop going to clubs on off days or just stop going to clubs at all.
Your clients are musicians thus you need to always be with musicains and talking with them.
The more musicians you know and talk to the more bookings you'll get   -   don't hype up
your studio, but just say hello to the folks in the band, or other musicians in the audience
and let the studio come up on it's own...
You'll be suprised how often when you don't bring up the studio others will, and then you
can start on how you own a studio or are an engineer or whatever.... don't push for a gig,
But you want everyone to know you.... sooner or later someone will say "Hey Bob... hey, we
were thinking about going into a studio next month, are you free then?"
And they'll do that all on their own, not realizing that you've set it up so this can happen.

Do a "3 song demo" special...
a couple hours of studio time, a couple hours mixing, a final CD...
these 'specials' bring in bands that aren't even thinking of recording right now... but if
you were to charge say 250 - 350 for the whole package that might be just the push they need....
and if you're lucky they'll be back once they get some more bucks.   At least your studio
name will start getting around, and if you do good work and that demo CD sounds good,
it will draw in other bands.
You need to be very strict on the hours you spend though, and make it clear this is a 'special' only
for the month, winter, summer.... or whatever - and limit it to 'new' bands.
And of course if they need more hours.... well 'let's put it on a credit card !

Start a Recording School
Yep. this is a way to use those unbooked hours early in the day.... and get paid lots of bucks!
You'd be surprised as to how many kids want to become Recording Engineers or Studio Owners
And yes, you will be creating folks who will compete against you in the future, but if
you are lucky you can rent out studio time to your students as well as have them pay you
to "learn" recording techniques.   Imagine having 5 'students' each paying you say
$50 a day for 2 hours of 'instruction' all sitting together while you talk about recording....
that's an income of $ 250 for just 2 hours work!
Of course you should tell them that being a recording engineer is a dead end without much
of a future, and the odds of them making the 'big' time are astronomically against them...

Advertise your studio
with flyers in music stores, on Craig's list, in the give-a-way publications
at Starbucks, other coffee houses, schools, and so on.
  Don't pay much for any advertising, paid advertising usually is a waste of
money, but free is always a good thing.

Have a GOOD website
Search around for a really good looking studio website and use it to
model yours.     Most studio websites suck.... and you'll see
that once you start looking around for a good fun site.
Have good pics of the studio the control room, the lounge and the gear
Don't put up your rates - if you list 'high' rates then no one will call
If you list 'low' rates then you won't be able to raise your rates later on
But DO list your '3 song demo" special !!!
Makes SURE that YOU can go in and change the html code and update your own site -
HTML is easy and simple to use.... yes it's not the best and it's not flashy
but it will allow you to constantly update your site without paying someone to do it for you.
If you don't know HTML code just use the 'view' button on Internet Explorer
then select 'source'.   the program 'notebook' should automatically open and inside it you will see
all the code (some code will not show up on some 'special' sites).    
Now once you see the code, you can go in and change the text, or copy and paste things you like and so on.
Save your changes as say "test.html" then go open that with a browser and you'll see your changes
as a web page....     It's easy to make your own site but HARD to do it well.
I do my own code, and my site is pretty dang simple... and I want to keep it that way so I can
update and change my site anytime I want to do so.....
A good site to learn basic HTML code is:     www.echoecho HTML  

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