As most of the team here at Production Expert work from home, a community member contacted us to ask for our help and advice as they transition from a job in audio post-production to working as a freelancer with a studio at home.
The question came from a community member, we are choosing not to name, who asked…
I have a few questions regarding working from home when it comes to audio post production. Knowing that more and more people are working from home, what would be the most professional method for approaching companies when looking for audio post work.
I am aware that most of you guys work from home. Could you maybe throw some light on the type of insurance, types of T&Cs and other things that would be needed before looking for post work.. i.e what companies would and do expect from "a new service provider". I will be working on TV and short films and I don’t expect clients will be coming to the house.
Rather than answer his questions specifically, in this article we are going to expand on his questions and look at how to set up and run a business working from home in the audio post-production sector, although for a lot of what we are going to cover will apply just as much to music production too.
We will look at the background and show how more and more people are making the jump to working from home, what structure to use to setup your business, insurance, how to find clients, how to set your prices, contracts, terms and conditions, invoicing, getting paid, security for premises, equipment and data, protecting your health & wellbeing, the challenges of working alone and finally some guidance on equipment choices.
A number of team members as well as community members have contributed to this article and we have identified who is speaking throughout the article.
Mike: Back in June 2016, we asked you to tell us what kind of Pro Tools user you are and it was clear there were more professionals working at home. Two years later we asked you the same question and we can now compare the results of the poll we took in 2016 and the poll we took in 2018.
Pro Tools User By Type
In 2016, we said that the trend toward working from home perhaps reflected the huge change in budgets available for music and post-production, now being a fraction of what they were over a decade ago.
in the 2 years between our 2 surveys into audio post-production, the proportion of audio professionals working from home has gone up from 16% in 2016 to 19% in 2018.
Read More - You can learn more about how the trends are changing for the different types of Pro Tools users are changing in our analysis article What Kind Of Pro Tools User Are You? Check Out The Results From 2016 And 2018.
Getting paid is essential and you will need both an accounts package and an accountant, you may think you can do it yourself but sometimes money saved on using a professionals ends up costing more in the long run… does that sound familiar? Money is the lifeblood of any small business and often bad cashflow can kill a business dead in its tracks.
For several years now some of the team have been using Freshbooks for our freelance accounts. It enables you to bill and collect money with the minimum of fuss, giving access to several different payment gateways to make paying you easy for your clients like Paypal and Stripe.
You can try it free for 30 days and then the plans start at $15 per month. We love it!
Find a good accountant. It’s probably best to ask around and get a couple of personal recommendations and then go and interview them to see which one you get on with the best and who understands your business best. If it’s a choice between being local or understanding our industry then I would choose someone further away geographically but who properly understands my business.
If, like us, you do business across countries and currencies, then you are often at the mercy of banks and their charging fees for international bank charges or the fees that Paypal use. One of our suppliers recommended TransferWise to us, which aims to lower charges and to use fair currency exchange rates. They use what they describe as 'mid-band' exchange rates and charge around 0.5% or £2.00 under £400 as the transaction fee, which is amazing especially when you compare it to our bank's fee of £10 to £22 per transaction.
You can have a personal account or business account with them and it works because you pay into a TransferWise account in your country, and then pay your supplier from a TransferWise account in their country, so bypassing the banks' transfer fees and charges.
Alan: Insurance wise, this really matters. You will probably find that your contents insurance will only be up to a certain value and generally will not cover equipment solely used for work. If you are a sole trader you will need to take out specific insurance to cover this equipment. If you are a limited company, then you will have to take out company insurance, plus you will also have to "sell" the equipment you use for your job to your own limited company, so that the limited company officially "owns" the equipment and therefore the company insurance will cover it.
Company insurance can also include things like Public Liability Insurance, which you will need as you absolutely will be visiting other premises in the course of your job, interruption of trading, sickness and even covering you and your equipment while travelling for work purposes.
Mike: I run my business with my wife and we are a partnership in more than one sense of the word. We have dedicated insurance for the studio and all my gear, from a specialist broker who understands the media business. I have two levels of equipment cover, one for Premises Only cover for equipment that stays in the studio and a second category All Risks to cover equipment when I work on location, which includes cover from unattended vehicles. I also have another All Risks category to cover equipment I my need to rent in.
Part of my package also includes post-production indemnity, to cover me if something goes wrong and I become liable for expenses beyond redoing my work. Don’t forget about public liability insurance, in my case I get cover as part of my membership of the Institute of Professional Sound, but I also had cover as part of my union membership.
Because you are now working for yourself, make sure your car insurance also includes business use as well as the usual social, domestic and travelling to a fixed place of work.
Other types of insurance you may want to consider are insurance to cover you when you are sick, insurance to give you an income if you are unable to work at all and life insurance to make sure that your loved ones are looked after. Yes, all of these add up but working from home as a freelancer, means it is all down to you and the cost of these needs to be built into the cost of your ‘overheads’.
Consider Joining A Union
One of the reasons Mike chose to join the union, in his case BECTU here in the UK, was because the union can stand up for you when things go wrong. He has never have needed it, but when working on your own you need to consider protection and cover beyond insurance cover.
Russ: Clients defy the law of gravity, they just don’t fall from the sky, it takes time to find them and to have them trust you with their work. It’s easier if you do a few things to help attract new work like creating a website and a showreel. Then make it easy for potential customers to contact you, join LinkedIn (a lot of my work comes from my Linkedin contacts) and for heaven’s sake don’t use your Facebook page for your business. Set up a dedicated business page and make sure you set your Facebook privacy settings appropriately - a picture of you pissed with a traffic cone on your head is not the best advert for your company.
Networking can be a real turn off for creatives with connotations of speed dating for business people, but it is essential to create support networks especially if you are one of a growing army of people working alone in a home studio. Russ touched on this in his article Has The Home Studio Dream Become A Nightmare? One way to counter this loneliness is to create networks especially as many freelance creatives can very easily feel isolated. The second reason to start networking is to meet other creatives in your field, ideally, face to face but this isn't always possible, either way with the aim of building relationships that will help develop your career.
Make sure you have trusted friends you can rely on to discuss your work, your clients, your own health and any other concerns you have.
You can learn more about networking in a number of our articles...
Setting The Price
Kate Finan from Boom Box Post has written a very helpful article on How To Set And Get The Right Price For Your Audio Work. As sound creatives, we pride ourselves in approaching design challenges from new and exciting angles and using our creativity to elevate projects from ordinary to spectacular. We don’t generally relish wearing the business hat. Yet, most of us would still like to get paid.
That’s the crux, how do you set a price for something you love to do? The answer is: quite simple. Follow these seven steps…
Establish The Services Necessary For The Project
Decide How Many Hours/Days Of each Service Will Be Necessary
Set A Rate For Yourself
Research Rates For Contractors & Vendors
Create A Bid Spreadsheet
Create A Bid For The Clients
Get Ready To Negotiate
To get the full picture check out Kate’s article How To Set And Get The Right Price For Your Audio Work.
Reputation Is Key
Mike: A good reputation and being trusted is essential for any freelancer whether working at home or elsewhere. If you are changing from a full time paid post to a freelancer hopefully you should have built up a reputation.
One of the things I stress when I talk to students, apprentices or any other kind of new entrant into our industry is never to bullshit. What I mean by this, is never say you can do something when you can’t. Having read it or studied it a bit in college is very unlikely to cut it in the real world. It's a small industry, especially in areas of specialism and reputations these can be trashed with one overstated promise that leads to a job not being done well or worse still the job not being completed at all. Our industry runs on trust and deadlines and break either or both of these and you will have a huge uphill climb to rebuild your reputation.
You should also set reasonable expectations for both those you work for and for yourself. You may have a personality that wants to please people all the time but in the long run, you find the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Russ: Don't take on work you have little experience in - you should never use paying clients to practise your skills or learn new software. Over-promising can lead to letting clients down and add to any feelings of failure - avoid this at all costs.
The bottom line is this - reputation is tomorrow’s profit, get a good one and there’s less of a chance that you will join the ever-growing list of studios and professionals that are no longer in business.
Contracts And Terms & Conditions
Russ: When you get a project make sure you work out how long it is going to take to do the job, what it’s going to cost the client and how much you want to make (the last two are not the same). AGREE TO EVERYTHING IN WRITING AND GET WRITTEN CONFIRMATION THAT YOUR CLIENT ACCEPTS THE TERMS. You don’t need a lawyer merely an email that says “I agree to proceed with the project on the terms in your quote”. Then make sure you under-promise and over-deliver, if you know it takes a week then quote 9 days, things usually take longer than you think. Also, build in 10% contingency into the project costs, things typically cost more than you think. Then deliver more than you promised.
Alan: When engaging with other companies, always insist on getting a purchase order and written confirmation of engagement - do not ever start a project on the basis of a verbal discussion.
With first time clients, I also request a deposit in advance. It's tempting to do a "good deal" on the first project or accept deferred payment, but try to resist. Deferred payment is fraught with issues and if you do a discount rate for the first episode for example, the production will often expect you to maintain that rate.
Productions do not like "unexpected extras" - pitch sensibly and be sure to manage their expectations by stating clearly what they will get for the amount they are paying, plus flag up any potential overages.
Emma: I highly recommend a contract with clients especially on short films. it doesn't need to be anything over complicated but just something that states exactly the type of work that has been agreed to be carried out (sound design, mix, ADR....) and what deliverables are to be provided.
I'd also put a clause in stating if changes are made to the picture edit after sound post has already started that this will incur an additional fee. I really got caught out by that one when I started. We all know a locked picture is now a unicorn lock and even verbally saying to clients "once sound post starts the picture can't change" they always do it.
I always ask for a deposit with shorts too as I find they tend to be the more "high risk" jobs.
I have to actually disagree a little on the purchase order front. Not all facilities I work for run a purchase order system and I know if I started to ask for one before starting any type of work, they would just find another one of the many freelancers around. Having said that, I do make sure i have everything in writing and do 99% of my bookings through email, as something to fall back on, but it does depend on what sector you are working in. In my experience purchase orders are the norm for drama but when working in factual or entertainment they are a rarity.
Lucy: I don’t get many purchase orders numbers before hand but I always get confirmation of the booking and rate in writing in email, if there isn’t an official contract. I don’t really do short films anymore but when dealing directly with production companies for features rather than post facilities, I do ask for some of the money upfront, as the features take up a lot of time and if the production company is small and unknown with low-ish budgets you can never guarantee payment at the end especially if you’ve never worked with them before.
Emma: For me the type of work may well determine where a purchase order is an option. In my experience you will often get PO numbers for drama, but i rarely get POs when working in the factual and entertainment genres.
Alan: Purchase Order numbers can make a difference because in my experience if you have one you know that your fee has been allocated in the budget, and so will not be a "shock" to the production at the end. It also guarantees that the person who authorises payment is aware that your services have been acquired.
If a facility or production company / supervisor tries to mess you around by refusing to confirm in writing or with a purchase order - walk away. I've learnt the hard way, losing a couple of grand in the early days. Always make sure you get the job and the money agreed in writing before you start.
Also beware also that although directors might dearly want to work with you, the producer and or post-production supervisor might already have a deal in place. Always make sure you get confirmation of work from the person who writes the cheques!
Invoicing And Getting Paid
Russ: Invoice the client. All my new clients have to pay 50% up front and 50% on delivery, with no exceptions, and I deal with some pretty huge brands. So make sure they get the invoice so they can pay you. I invoice at least twice a week to stay on top of cash flow.
If you forget to stay on top of invoicing your clients, then you'll soon find you've worked for weeks and are broke, and then you have to wait for the money to come in from the invoices you have sent.
I make it a principle that I like to have as much work invoiced by the 10th day of each month, this then helps me work out if I can relax or panic.
An invoice is not the same as getting paid, so make sure you chase your clients - if the work involves masters then don’t release them until you are paid, especially with new clients. If they start trying it on (and some do) then you need to be firm, you don’t have to be rude you simply need to say that the company policy is that masters are only delivered on receipt of full cleared funds. Remember to include this in the written terms outlined above.
I’ve sent in debt collectors twice in eight years, and then both of them paid me within hours, this is the last resort and is only to be used on clients you never want to work with again.
Mike: On this subject we had a very interesting question from a community member about managing client’s expectations…
"As a freelance engineer for over a couple years now my client base is gradually growing more and more. My mobile phone seems to be at the core of my communications with clients. I've always stressed to people that emailing is the most effective way of communicating with me but for some reason a majority of my clients continue contacting me via mobile.
Recently I have been very busy, as in 6 days a week and a lot of the time it's late hours. A couple of my clients that I like, have gotten stroppy and seem to have got the wrong end of the stick regarding me not texting back in time or calling back fast enough. However I am in session most of the time and can't get to back to people right away but but they seem to get offended by me not replying quickly enough.This morning one of them texted me a short essay about how they've recorded with me for a while and brought me clients and that I can't even be bothered to ring back. I had just got home at 2am this morning after finishing a session at 1.30am. I received the call at 8pm the previous day (while I was working) and the text this morning at 10.30am while I was still half-asleep.
Today I spent a draining amount of energy clearing up the situation with him on the phone but for me it's soured the relationship a bit and I would love to avoid this happening again in the future. I would be hugely interested to know what your opinion is on the mobile phone thing. I also think it could help a lot of us who have been, or are in a similar situation like this to improve on how to deal with it in the future."
We discussed this in Podcast 217 and then in the article Freelancers - How Do You Manage Clients asking the community to offer advice too. The person who sent in the question responded in the comments saying…
“Amazing response from the blog to this question (my question might I add lol). I've listened to the podcast 3 times now, and i'm completely overwhelmed to hear the way the team dissects this dilemma and gives such clear answers and ideas. Really interesting comments too. I hope this situation ends up helping more people as it has helped me. I'm away on holiday until the end of the month and i've got some great inspiration for new approaches to my work/client relationships when I get back.
Some of these include a 10 minute break every 2 hours (i'll be clear with client about this from the outset and will use this to text people back as well as reset my ears), setting up SMS auto-reply to say i'm in a session (with a view to virtual assistant/virtual call centre in the future), and managing client's expectations more (as in not promising the world, getting them to understand they wouldn't want me losing focus during their session as I would if I was playing with my phone during somebody else’s).”
Security - Premises and Equipment
Mike: The issue of security has come up several times in our discussions about our home based studios and as nearly 60% of the community earn an income working from home we thought it would be helpful for each of us to outline what we do about security. In our article Studio Design - Security - What We Do Mike, Dan, James, Alan and Russ have shared how they have each handled the area of security for their home based studios.
Key trends running through what we do…
Do not draw attention to the fact that we have a studio at home.
Have alarm systems protecting the studio, and physical security like locks are also important.
Other good ideas that have been echoed by community members are a noisy path. David Thomas amongst others mentioned, by having a gravel path, it is harder for an unwanted guest to get close to the premises without drawing attention to themselves. Also prickly plants below windows was another great idea.
David also suggested the idea of a studio dog, he describes his dog as “a vigilant and slightly jumpy dog!” But if dogs are not your thing then security lighting would help in this area.
Security - Media And Client’s Projects
Mike: Backing up is boring, it takes too long and after all, drives are so reliable now that it will never happen to me. Yes, backing up your work is boring but you ignore it at your peril. Drives will fail, mistakes will happen where you detail the wrong thing, so it is essential that you have a sensible backup strategy.
We hope that you have all heard the mantra… “You aren’t backed up unless you have your data in 3 locations, one of which is off-site”. This is also called the 3-2-1 backup rule implies that you should:
3. Have at least 3 copies of your data
2. Keep these backups on 2 different media
1. Store 1 backup offsite
Why 2 backups on different media? We really shouldn’t get complacent about hard drive failures. When I do, I always remind myself of a description I was given once, of how a rotational hard drive works. When retrieving a piece of data they equated it to flying a jumbo jet at zero altitude and finding a needle in a haystack. Now that is for just one piece of data, your drive is doing this feat many many times a second and we complain when sometimes it doesn’t do it every time!!
Why have an offsite backup? If you have a break-in then is it likely that the thief will go for the computer and the hard drives next to it. Alternatively what if you had a fire in your studio? So consider the best way to have a backup somewhere else.
We cover these issues and others in our article Getting To Grips With Pro Tools - Part 8 - Backup Basics. We also cover the 3-2-1 rule in more detail in our article Back-Up Basics: The 3-2-1 Backup Rule.
Daniel Pugh: You should make sure you have good firewalls in place. I have not had special requests from clients, but I usually tell them I’ve put unwanted scripts in confidential waste etc.
Alan: Depending on the production, you may also have to sign a non-disclosure agreement and agree to security precautions such as not using certain internet transfer systems. They may also insist for security reason that you undertake your work on their premises only.
Community Member: When I am working on client’s projects away from the studio, my MacBook Pro runs FileVault and all of my external drives are now formatted as Journaled Encrypted with passwords and I have found that Pro Tools works absolutely fine.
At the studio any new drive that goes into my cheese-grater Mac Pro is formatted Journaled Encrypted too. This means that there is a Password to login and then another password to mount each drive. The only downside with the Mac Pro is that you cannot re-mount any of the internal drives from the Disk Utility if they get unmounted. You need to reboot the system to get them back.
Alan: Internet upload speed isn't an absolute. But you will need to make sure you have the means to get large volumes of data to the host in time, be that by fibre or bicycle! (Yes, I've actually cycled a drive to Soho during the perfect storm of an internet outage and a tube strike!)
Not all internet transfer services are equal. In my experience, MyAirBridge is staggeringly awful, Dropbox is not approved by anyone and WeTransfer involves zipping and unzipping. My advice is that it’s best to insist on an Aspera login, it’s faster and approved by everyone, even Disney.
Daniel Piggott: I guess the two significant things for me are my LTO3 back up system, which mirrors a Dropbox premium account and to find good quality local studios, for when you need go somewhere for a larger job or a client attended session.
Working Well At Home
Mike: There are definite benefits of working from home like being able to break off for some family time at the appropriate moment rather than the kids having to 'wait until Dad gets home'. But for me one of the challenges of working at home is delineating between work and home. Those of us that work at home do not 'go to work', we do not have a commute to and from work and so the line between being at work and being at home can be very fuzzy and that in itself has pros and cons.
Be Clear About When You Are At Work - Interruptions are real creativity and productivity killers so you need to put in place ways that your family know when you are at work and when you really should not be disturbed.
You Are At Home So You Aren't Working - Another challenge with interruptions is from outside the immediate family. Friends, and especially extended family are the worst for this.
Turn Off All Electronic Notifications - One of the challenges of all the 'instant' electronic communications media we have surrounded ourselves with has seemed to translate into people wanting instant responses from instant communication and this is wrong on so many levels.
Keep A Tidy Ship -Everything Should Have It's Place - Every so often I have a major tidy up and prune, usually when I can hardly move. Even though I have plenty of storage, stuff ends up covering virtually every horizontal surface because all the cupboards and drawers are already full! So I am working my way through all my cupboards and storage in the studio and frankly chucking out an awful lot of it. This way I can keep the place tidier and more organised. I am not expecting it to stay perfectly tidy, but the plan is to have a tidy up session once a week, either last thing on Friday or maybe first thing on Monday, I haven't decided yet.
You can read much more about Working Well at Home and read about Mike’s morning and evening routines as well as the importance of ergonomics.
Protecting Your Health And Wellbeing
Mike: We ignore our health at our peril. As a freelancer, unless you take out sickness insurance, when you are sick, you cannot earn an income so looking after ourselves is even more essential especially if we have a family that dependents. Here are my tips for staying healthy, as I'm a creative they are in no rational order.
Sleep Matters - There's a reason sleep deprivation is used as an interrogation method. Setting aside the possible serious health impact, the sleep-deprived have to work harder to function. You may think not sleeping is smart but it may be the case that not sleeping is making you less smart.
Eat Well - Working in a studio does not lend itself to eating well. Often the highlight of the day is when the take-out menus come out. Eating well is about a number of things; quality, quantity and frequency - the what, the how much and the when. So try to eat high quality, freshly prepared food at regular intervals during the day. Also, make sure you are not starving and then gorging, that isn't good for you either.
Avoid Stimulants - we aren’t talking about drug abuse here, there are plenty of legal stimulants we put into our body daily. Both tea and coffee contain stimulants and excessive consumption may not help you maintain balance. Consider a drinking regime that is made up of water, juices and decaffeinated hot drinks.
Take Regular Breaks - You think you can't possibly stop for breaks, but you are making a big mistake when you think like that. As a creative you are being paid to stay fresh and keep your mind alert - ideas are the currency you deal in. Tiredness and stress will rob you of your creativity.
We cover these issues and others in our article How To Be Kind To Yourself And Stay Healthy As A Creative Professional.
The concentration of so many different functions around a computer means that although we are sat down and not moving around much, we stress our bodies in so many different ways without realising it by extending our wrists, slouching, sitting without foot support and straining to look at poorly placed monitors.
All of this can lead to what health professionals call 'cumulative trauma disorders' or 'repetitive stress injuries' (RSI), which if not dealt with can cause serious, irreversible medical conditions. Symptoms of these may include pain, muscle fatigue, loss of sensation, tingling and reduced performance.
So what can we do about this? There are a range of options that we can use, bearing in mind that no one solution is the right answer for every person and every problem.
Posture And Right Angles - How you sit and the height of the work surface, are both crucial. Everything should be at right angles and make sure you get a decent chair.
Move! - Moving around has many benefits: it relaxes tissues, lubricates joints and prevents stiffness, improves circulation, reduces fatigue, and builds stamina. Studies have shown that heavy computer users who move around every 10 minutes successfully avoid computer-related pain.
Exercise At Your Computer - There are exercises you can do at your computer but do use them as a replacement for taking medical advice.
When To Seek Medical Care - Remember that if you have to hold any part of your body in tension, you will be much more prone to pain and causing damage to your body. The key here is that pain is your body's warning system that something isn't right.
We cover these issues and possible solutions in much more detail in our article Back Pain, Posture And RSI - What Can We Do?
Dan: Being a self employed business person in the creative industry involves two things - long hours and tight deadlines. Long periods of work in a high pressured creative business without taking a holiday is a recipe for stress but many of us worry about leaving our businesses behind. Here are 4 tips that will help you prepare your business for when you take an essential holiday for yourself - away from work.
Out Of Office - Inform your regular/most important clients of your holiday dates. Use automatic "out of office" replies within your inbox along with a recorded a voicemail message on our phone letting regular or potential clients know that you are unavailable. Don't be tempted to engage with your emails whilst on holiday as this can easily lead to mistakes and miscommunications.
Finances - The is simple business management. Ensure your business finances are in good order before you leave. You don't want to worry about your finances nor feel the need to work for cash flow sake whilst on holiday. If you have bills to pay during your holiday period then pay them before you leave or schedule wire transfers through you bank. Organise client invoices well before you leave so that you receive your payments on time so that overdue invoices don't distract you from your time off.
Prepare For Long Return To Work Hours - Set a date to return to work. It's good to put a day or two between your return home and your return to work so that you don't diminish your holiday vibe too quickly. This will also ease you back into your working rhythm thus preventing you from rushing your return to work duties.
Don't Work On Holiday - If you have planned the perfect holiday then it stands to reason that the same amount of planning should go into preparing your business for when you are away. Think of your holiday as an investment in you.
The Hardest Challenge Of Working Alone In A Creative Role
Russ: Once the term bedroom studio was a pejorative term used by elites to undermine the credibility of audio professionals who did not work in a large facility. Those days are over; you are as likely to find a top album or TV show that has been worked on by professionals working from home as you are to discover they have been made in a large studio or post house. But there are challenges to working alone that you need to look after.
Working alone at home as a freelancer means that there is no water cooler or kitchen.
If you work in an office or remember a time when you did, then you'll remember those water cooler and kitchen moments. These are the momentary interactions with your colleagues that seem trivial but often help you to do your work better. These are the moments when you share your ideas, what you are working on and a small conversation takes place about it. Sometimes those conversations confirm you are on the right track, at times a better idea emerges, or you realise the idea is dumb and needs scrapping.
This seemingly trivial part of working in a team is an essential way to make sure we produce great work. If there is no one to tell us the idea we have is a moment of genius or conversely our worst one to date, then the first person to say it may be our client.
Often the issue is less binary and an idea may be good but could be great with some tweaks. A production is rarely ascribed greatness by one single idea, but a lot of smaller decisions made in production that when combined take the concept from average to amazing. In my opinion, it's the water cooler or kitchen moment, the shout across the room, the someone passing your workstation interactions that contribute to this. But there is a second and equally important reason why these small team interactions matter and that is in the area of communicating with those outside your bubble.
Working From Home May Not Be For Everyone
Russ: Even as a freelancer you may prefer not to work from home but to have your own business premises. Back in 2014 we looked at the Pros and Cons of running a recording business from home or renting premises. Here is a summary but you can learn more by reading the full article.
Running a studio from your home
No commute: Valuable time and money saved each day.
No extra rent cost: One of the biggest benefits
Family commitments: Working from home doesn’t take you away from your family
Space: You need to make sure you have enough space in which to work.
Work ethic: For some people, working from home can be a massive distraction especially if you have projects that need to be done by yourself.
Privacy: Your work may involve you having lots of different clients in your home for long periods of time and at varying hours of the day.
Security: Advertising is important, so is word of mouth, and reputation.
Running a studio from rented commercial property
Work Ethic: There should be minimal domestic distractions to you and your work.
Location: Depending on your budget you can choose a location that you think best suits your needs…
Professionalism: I feel more “professional” working with clients in my commercial space than at home.
Cost: It will cost money to setup and trade from a rented premise.
Terms: In the UK it is common for a commercial property leases to have a minimum 5 years on it.
Setup: You may need to invest money into making the space workable for your needs and studio.
Commute / Travel: This is one to consider and is the polar opposite to the PRO option.
Alan: I started off working from home, but this is tricky if your housemates do shift work or also work from home. After two years, two things made me move into my own premises - frequent disturbance and conflict caused by the nature of my work, with my housemates (in my case my wife and cat) and increasing requests from directors and producers to attend mix sessions at my premises.
We are not going to go into detailed equipment choices here but Alan Sallabank makes some good general points…
Alan: Make sure that your equipment is in alignment with your most regular clients. It will quite likely often be work for other post-production companies, so ensure that you have the same raft of "industry standard" plug-ins and metering as they do. They will also expect you to have a competent level of data backup and archival. I have been asked to re-supply deliverables two years after a project has been released.
Take a look at my Want To Get Into Post Production Sound? We Show You How For A Budget Of £5000, Building A Low Cost Cross Platform Host Computer For Pro Tools and How I Built A Network Storage Server For My Pro Tools Post Production Facility For Less Money Than A NAS articles for help equipping your home setup.
We hope this article and all the other articles we have referred to, will be helpful to anyone working from home as a freelancer or planning to work from home. Ultimately only you can decide if this is for you, and remember that it doesn’t work for everybody, but for those of us that it does work for, it is a very rewarding way to work.