How do you handle setting the rate(s) for the work you do? Is it always "whatever I can get?" or are there some clear guidelines related to market and experience level? I've always been willing to work within any budget but sometimes I have to juggle financial needs with my desire (or necessity) to take every job that comes my way.
I've seen some engineers charge say XX for engineering and then tack on an extra XX per hour for their ProTools rig. Also, I have a good friends who says XX per hour is better than 00 per hour. Especially if you have the time open. I know it's a supply and demand sort of thing.
One thing that I can't understand is someone who advertises on Craig's List that they have a HD3 Accel system and a room to track a full rhythm section for $25/HR. This does nothing but hurt everybody.
I'm sure it's the same for musicians and singers.
Sometimes I wish we were more like gas stations where you never see more than a few cents difference in price. Never gonna happen! I really don't think we all should be charging the same rate, BUT it does work pretty well for the musicians, who have a union to control this sort of thing. Then we get into the whole union, non-union debate.
What seems to work for me is to try to keep up with what my peers charge and try VERY hard NOT to undercut them. I will often tell a client that I like to get XX per hour but I certainly am willing to be flexible when there are budget concerns. Or sometimes I will just try and go the extra mile or throw in some perks. I think your years of experience and the quality of your work should also support your rate.
I don't know, you'd think that after 27 years engineering this wouldn't be a dilemma. Ha!
I definitely will get a lot of use out of this discussion! ;-) This is what us younglings need.
I will say this...I never advertise a low fee, because I don't want to be one of the many at fault for causing the loss of high quality work in this industry...but I often find myself having to work with "budgets" that are MUCH lower than even EXTREMELY conservative budgets. How do you combat this when you don't have the clientele to afford to turn down projects? btw...I'm referring to mostly garage-band/beginner songwriter stuff at this point.
Craigslist only affects people who rely on Craigslist for work. Most serious people don't shop studios through Craigslist. It all depends on the level of one's clientele.
I always ask what the budget is before deciding, but these days you have to be willing to be somewhat flexible if you want to work. Just don't totally devalue yourself and let desperation affect you too much.