I began mixing in my own personal room in 1998. It was in a commercial space and I billed for it as a separate line item from my time which was charged at my engineering rate. I have continued that policy ever since.
Many years ago, musicians started doing overdubs in their own home studios, some of which are extremely well equipped. When I would ask if they charged separately for the room, I found out that most didn't. So you paid them for playing and the studio was free. That's a big plus for budget-strapped producers. No studio fee.
So, here's the question. For those of you with personal rooms (rooms where just you work all the time), do you charge separately for it or is it included in your fee? Regardless of whether it's itemized as a separate fee, does your fee reflect the fact that you are providing more than just engineering services? Do you adjust your rate considering the fact that you are providing the room and that the client is not having to rent a studio for you to work in?
Maybe (obviously) I've lived a sheltered life for the past ten years, but I'm hearing about guys who are charging for engineering/mixing and the room is free. Is that the norm these days? What do YOU do? Does it matter whether the space is in a commercial facility or in your home?
I've pretty much been expected to include my gear in my rate, much like I did when carting around racks of gear to other studios. It's interesting that I have much less invested in gear now but can do so much more with what I have today. If I had a commercial facility I would have to charge in addition to engineering. I think any way you can help the client get a better deal is beneficial to you both. You just have to decide what you are comfortable with for income vs. overhead. I tend to work by the song or project and I don't really have a "studio" so it all evens out.
I always factor my studio into my rate. I'm in a commercial facility in a commercially-zoned district with an acoustically designed / accurate room that would rival most "B" or "C" rooms in town for tracking and/or mixing, so I feel I can charge accordingly. With a low overhead and no staff however, I can pass those savings down to the client, and it works out great for both of us IMHO.
Charging separately for the engineer is actually a relatively new practice dating from the late 1970s when many studios let their staff engineers go. (At least for those of us who got our start in the '60s or earlier.)
Lynn, this always bugged me a little bit, too. Especially because when doing overdubs, everything takes 3 times as long because you have to be not only the player, but the engineer AND the second!
Initially, it was just kind of "expected" that your room was free, but lately I've seen a trend where most of my clients expect to pay around $100/hr for overdubs (where I would usually do $75/hr) and that seems to be pretty fair. If we charged what the big studios charge, there'd be no reason for producers to bring drives to my place.
I had someone ask just this week why there was a difference in my rate for engineering in other studios and for mixing (which I do in my studio). Honestly, I'll mix anywhere. It'll just cost them a lot more than if I do it somewhere else other than at my place. They were satisfied with that answer.