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I hate to complain about what people charge. I know there has been some discussion here about fuel surcharges. But I just got the invoices for a session I am doing this week. I won't be specific about what company or musicians, but one is $249 and one is $210. Same cart. co. And they are in the area and picking up one of the guys nearby when he is done to bring him here. I guess their rate is the same regardless of where they pickup or deliver. Like I say I know everyone knows what they have to have for their services. I have not raised my prices in 11 years. In fact I cut them. I did cut some included services other than raising prices, but....

Still, I just wonder where we are going to be if this keeps rising. These rates were 1/2 to 1/3 less a year ago. I know fuel is high. It just seems like it has gone up disproportionately. If I am out of line then say so. It just caught me by surprise....I don't want these kinds of things to hurt business even more than it is. Now I have to explain this to an out of town client tomorrow....Any thoughts?

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Hey George,

I've seen the same thing. I actually had a bill for $350 last Sept. for one of my favorite guitar players rig to be setup. The cartage company said they had to charge an extra fee because they had to lift the amp rack up about 6 inches from the dock to get it into the studio. I'm thinking.. wait... isn't that your JOB!?!?!? To lift and move gear!!!! And this studio was on the Row. It's not like it was a long drive!!!
So, in all it cost more for the cartage than the guitarist was making the 1st session! How screwed up is that?
Of course to cap it off the bill was presented to my out of town client quite rudely by the cartage dude (and I do mean dude) and told that she should "think about recording her next album somewhere else because this studio was hard to get into and he wasn't going to be the one that broke his back to move gear into this room anymore". Yeah... they got a call from me the next day;-)
Man, I want my fellow man/woman in the music business to have a nice income but with these kind of rates it's only going to keep money out of the players pockets.
I want to give that dough to the players.. not to the cartage companies. If I know that I have to spend $250-300 just to have some gear setup for a single day then I'm going to have to start figuring out some creative ways of getting around that. It has nothing to do with being "cheap" or trying to cut someone out of a living but geez... when I have a small budget for a custom album then I'm going to work that dollar as hard as I can for my client. I hope that's fair.
The only thing I can think of is supply and demand.
From what I can tell there are fewer sessions happening, overall. Fewer session with budgets that include cartage, certainly. Record budgets are going down, more indy projects that are usually cheaper. This all means less quantity for cartage companies. They have the same bills to pay, with fewer clients paying them, so the rates go up.

Just thinking out loud.
the same bills to pay? or the same salaries to keep? ; )
No one starts a company to lose money. I don't have a problem with people making a profit or paying themselves a good salary.

Nor do I have a problem with a free market economy in which someone prices themselves out of competition and has to close shop. :-)

Has Walmart started offering cartage?
i totally agree with you... i was just makin a little statement. no one should lose money.....

however, if there are less sessions, then people are making less money, why shouldn't cartage companies be in the same position we are in? they should realize that (and i'm SURE they they do) work fluctuates and they may lose some money here and there... that's all.

should i raise my rate so i can cover for that one gig i'm not getting anymore? just sayin...
Yeah, I covered that in my second paragraph, you nut. :-p
apparently i don't know how to read..... ( sigh )...
So would this hold true for engineers who are working less overdub days because producers have home studios and musicians are doing overdubs at home? We raise our rates to cover the loss? Yeah, that will work! But not for long....

I think most engineers (myself included) have found ways to develop more income sources or income streams, if you will...

My engineering rates are actually a little less than when I was working 20 days a month and 18 hours a day in the studio. I'm not complaining, because I am still having fun, doing what I love and helping out those artists and producers with shrinking budgets!

I don't do cartage though.
Don't you ever sleep?
Obviously more than you! :)
Kudos Brett,

For me, each year it's a "LITTLE" better but it's almost always different than the previous ones. I'd love get the same rate for everything but I also try and excercize the "Golden Rule" mentality and work with people on whatever their buget is. Most of the time this works for both of us. I'd also like to add.....we get to make a living (part-time or full-time) doing what we love to do.....That's truly a blessing from God.


Ranj

P.S. I don't do cartage!!!!!
I was wondering when this would come up. First, I don't want to offend because I'm in business to make money too, but I just can't afford cartage on every session and the fact is, it's going to weigh in on who I call. As everyone knows, most of the players have small rigs that they are glad to bring in themselves. When they do, I certainly don't mind helping them load in and out. I predict that we will see more of this in the months ahead. We all know that fuel costs will most certainly affect cartage costs, however, my biggest beef is that I pay a $60 distance fee in Franklin and I'm 1.5 miles off the interstate and have no stairs or other access problems. And like George said, they may already be in the area with another player. How do you justify that extra billing? That makes a delivery roughly $240 for any session or player at my place. Ouch!

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