MixCoach Podcast 036 : When to Raise Your Rate (and when to go low)

In this episode, more business, pricing, and timing is discussed. Kevin offers his advice on when to raise your rate as well as when to go low with your rate.


Question: What are some pricing and rate issues that you have run into?

By Jon Wright

As a graduate of MTSU with a degree in Audio Engineering and Technology Jon has been working as a full time mixer and engineer in Nashville. He loves running, writing, and all forms of entertainment. He also enjoys long walks on the beach with his wife.


  1. Kevin,
    I think that, when dealing with known quantities, such as musicians you’ve worked with before who are reliable, I prefer charging project rates. However, since I am trying to build a clientele, I find I’m dealing with a lot of flakes who are late and unreliable. What are your suggestions for dealing with (or not dealing with them at all) the flakes?

  2. True, we are all “flakes” to some extent in the creative fields, however the best musicians and artists who I have worked with are also the most professional in their behavior.

    For me, “flaky” means essentially unreliable and/or essentially dishonest. I don’t think that all of us could be characterized that way.

    An example of “flaky” behavior I recently experienced: Prior to the holidays, I had 10-15 email exchanges with a guy I met through Craigslist who said he would be interested in taking recording lessons with me. I had stated my fees upfront and he was ostensibly ok with them. When I tried to set up an appointment with him, he answered, “I’ll probably (first red flag) set something up with after the holidays.” Over the ensuing 2 weeks, he asked me a number of specific recording questions which would normally be addressed in the context of lessons. However, because I expected that we would be working together, I spent at least 2 hours (over the course of 2 weeks) thoroughly answering his specific questions in personal emails. After picking my brain sufficiently, he then said he couldn’t afford the lessons; this after I had stated my fees in one of my first email responses. Lest someone think that the advice I provided was not valuable, he admitted himself that he had no doubt that I was a good teacher.

    Joe Gilder talks about an email he recently received which I would characterize as flaky: http://www.homestudiocorner.com/why-free-isnt-necessarily-valuable/. In it, the guy critizes Joe for ending each post on his website with a link to a product that Joe sells. He added that Joe’s emails were basically aimed at making cash. I think Joe’s response is great, and you can read it in his blogpost.

    The issue of flakiness could easily take up a whole podcast if not a whole book on the establishing and running a home based music business. So I apologize for the breadth and vagueness of my initial question. How would you have handled the situation that I experienced if you were still in the process of building your client base?

    1. In retrospect, the second example I refer to (i.e., the email to Joe Gilder) reflects an attitude that everything in the music business should be offered for free, including hard won skill as a recording engineer. I would extend the definition of “flaky” to include a huge sense of entitlement or simply that it is not ok to make money in the music business.

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