There's a saying I learnt from my Dad, in business profit is what you don't spend.
Building an audio business is a costly affair, both in terms of the building and the gear. It's depressing sometimes walking into gorgeous studios that are making no money they have the desk, the rooms, the mics but the profits are not covering all the expense.
The problem is that often we need to invest to get the work and sometimes it is for just a single project. It can feel like a catch 22, but there are ways to grow your studio business without spending as much money.
Here are 8 ways To build a successful audio business without wasting money.
Work From Home Or Rent A Space In A Facility
Many top engineers and producers now work from home, gone are the days of having a flash facility the numbers simply don't add up. It is true that impressions count but make sure you are running the kind of audio business that needs an impressive facility. Many of us we can work from home as 99% of the time our clients do not attend and when I say work from home I know post mixers who are mixing top TV and film from a shed in the garden or their basement. Even if you record bands then it still might make sense to hire a room in a studio facility and then rent the top Neve equipped tracking room when you really need it. There are plenty of fully equipped music and post studios desperate to find extra income streams so freelance engineers and producers renting a room and bringing in clients is a real benefit for them.
Rent Stuff For Projects
If you need something for just one project then rent it. A couple of days ago I was involved on a one day film shoot, the gear we used was worth about £40,000. It included top cameras, prime lenses, lights and other equipment - the hire for the day was £550 and the cost was put against the job.
Don't lose work because you haven't got a piece of gear but don't lose profit by buying a piece that you can rent.
Borrow Stuff For Projects
If you have friends or local studios you have a relationship with, then borrow stuff for projects. James and I live around 10 minutes drive from one another so we often share gear, sometimes we talk before we buy things to see what could work for both of us. Make sure you insure anything you rent or borrow and treat it as if it were you own. If you get it back to the owner in the same condition it came to you in then you have more chance of being able to borrow stuff again.
Sell What You Don't Use
I'm amazed how much hardware and software I bought on whim I used it once but then forgotten. If you are the same then put it on Ebay or another sales site. I've managed to raise enough cash to buy something I really need... or something I need to sell again.
Use A Demo Before You Buy The Product
Use a demo before you buy the product, make sure you really need it. Avid are making a lot of noise about being able to buy plug-ins in session with Pro Tools 12, as if that's a smart way to get a project finished. Budgets are so tight on project that most can't afford the luxury of buying a plug-in just to complete a project. Even if you can afford it then it's still not a smart way of spending money. A lot of companies offer time limited or restricted demos of their software, which should normally give you enough of an opportunity to find out if you need it, or get the project finished.
Buy The Right Specification In The First Place
I recently wrote that you should buy computers for growth which means don't buy what you need now but what you'll need for the next phase of growth. It's costs more now but a lot less than buying, selling and buying again. Never buy computers to spec from manufacture. For example Apple memory costs far more than good memory from companies like Crucial etc. It's the same for many other peripheral products, this is where they make their money. Again find a deal online either new or via Ebay.
Turn Off Gear And Lights When You Are Not Using Them
All the flashing lights and LEDs may look sexy, but leaving them on all the time is vanity not sanity. Depending on the gear you have and where you are in the world (air conditioning and heating make a difference) the average bill for a medium sized recording studio is around $500 per month.
Save the planet and your pennies by turning off stuff you don't need.
Buy Used Gear
Like cars, buying equipment from new can often mean paying more than you have to. I'm not suggesting you buy used tape and hard drives but used hardware such as rack gear, mixers, and keyboards can often be a lot less than new.
So there are 8 ideas to save money and maximise profits... what are yours?