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Title: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 04, 2010, 11:57:23 am
Its time for you guys to enlighten me once again and grace me with your intelligence. I'm getting a bit bored and tired of my current "business" which is running sound for mostly small bar bands. I am moving to Phoenix in June, and I am kind of thinking about doing something else, and diving into the equipment rental and rehearsal space side of things. I've done some research, thought out some plans and ideas, but would like some input on this. Obviously I would need to get a small business loan to get things up and running. I will basically be working by myself for the most part.

Heres what I can tell you so far:
As far as the equipment rental, I want to mostly supply equipment to small-mid size bands and venues. Atleast for the time being. So that means, I dont want to be renting out EAW systems and the similar. Again, atleast starting out. Mid grade (junk to most of you on here), simplistic, and portable systems. A few mixers (8ch-32ch), single and dual 18" subs, matching tops, and proper amps. Along with mics, stands, small lighting rigs, etc.

As for the rental of rehearsal space, I'd like to start with 5 or so rooms, but the space to add more when needed. Geared toward local bands needing a budget friendly space, rented by the month, and also offer discount pricing for PA's for these spaces.I would also like to offer a larger "live room" with stage and standard PA, for larger bands and/or more important events to get ready for. These would be rented by the day. The plan would be to allow bands renting monthly to be able to leave their stuff there, 24/7 access, security, etc.

I would also be for hire as an engineer. And a "shop" within would be great for me to have a place to build and sell road cases. My better half also does screen printing, so she could not only have room to do her thing, but also be in connection with possible bands needing shirts.

What are some things I need to think about and consider? What are some of your suggestions about me taking (or NOT taking) on this business. Please discuss.....
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: Art Welter on January 04, 2010, 12:33:52 pm
Benjamin,

It would be unusual to find an existing building that is set up properly for band rehearsal, you need to have rooms that are acoustically isolated, an expensive proposition when you consider heating and cooling (very important in hotter than hell Phoenix) .
The rooms also need easy access to load in and out, most bands will be using the same stage gear for rehearsal as on the gig.

The build out needed for 5  bands to rehearse at the same time is quite expensive. The amount that a band is willing to pay for that space won’t allow a payoff for quite a long time. You would need a lot of money set aside to afford such a proposition, and it will never be a very high return on investment, even at full occupancy.

Most bands will have some sort of PA that they can use for rehearsal, hard to get any money for a practice PA.

I once read that the average length of a band being together is six months. Long term rentals are probably not going to happen, so count on holes in occupancy.

Art Welter
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: Tony "T" Tissot on January 04, 2010, 12:38:35 pm
Suggest you call and talk to operators in areas with high concentrations of these places. Like San Francisco, LA etc.
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 04, 2010, 12:46:27 pm
Art,

Thanks for the reply. Allow me to clarify a few things to help out. Granted I have only been to one place that rents rehearsal spaces, and that is where I've gotten several ideas from. They had a main hallway from the front door in which the bands loaded in/out through, and in each room they had a window air conditioner to cool each room. Heating isnt really going to be necessary for me, so this should keep costs down, concerning the running of AC ducts and whatnot.

I am prepared to build these rooms, as I dont expect to find a building sufficient for my usage. I've read around alot on proper isolation, and studio techniques, so I've got a few ideas for that.

To be honest, I have no clue what a building would go for rent wise around here, let alone Phoenix, so I am kind of in the dark at this point.

As far as the PA goes, thats not a big concern of mine. I just figured I COULD offer a discount if they needed one. Just a simple powered mixer and 2 monitors would suffice. I am a firm believe in only needing monitors when practicing.

I'm not looking to do long term rentals, which is why I'm leaning towards monthly rentals only.

--------------------------------

I am thinking insurance would probably go up a good bit if I were allowing the bands to keep their stuff in "their" room, right? Just one more thing I've thought about but have no solid confirmation or information on. I plan to have cameras in the parking low, hallway, etc. As well as Security alarms on the door to each room.



Any other input is greatly appreciated. I want to cover all the bases before diving into this. And any tips/suggestions concerning equipment rental would be great as well!

Thanks Tony, I will have to do that. Good idea.
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: Adam Schaible on January 04, 2010, 01:08:20 pm
On the other side of this (renting a rehersal space) -- $150 - $200 per month is my budget.  Not sure if rates there would be any different.
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: Art Welter on January 04, 2010, 01:34:14 pm
You will want liability insurance so that you don’t loose your ass-ets when some drunk bass player breaks his ankle moving his SVT over the air lock threshold and sues you for whatever.
Cost of insuring random band gear could be in the same range as what you might rent the space for, that ain't gonna fly.

So you are prepared to build the rooms, are you prepared with permits, a licensed electrician, etc.?
If you have not done a lot of building, take your cost estimates and double them to be in the ballpark.

You will be competing with the usual no to low cost band options, somebody’s garage or a cheap band house that half (or all) of the band lives in.

Monthly rentals on 5 units would require 60 bands a year.
There are some music meccas that have enough bands to support such a venture and provide a return on investment. Do you think Phoenix is one of those places?
Do you even know 60 bands? I do, but can't think of one that would pay to rent a rehearsal room.

Talk to some local booking agents and find out what they think their bands would pay per month for a rehearsal place.

Then add up all the build costs, your rental costs, and see if it looks like you can make money.

I watched three different rehearsal space places come and go in Minneapolis/St.Paul, which has  tons of working bands. In each case, the operator thought they could do it better for cheaper and make decent money doing it. In each case, they found out they could make more money per hour with less headaches flipping burgers.
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: Ned Ward on January 04, 2010, 01:57:08 pm
A thought - you may want to look at what spaces are in Phoenix and then offer something better that doesn't have you competing in the lower end of the market.

SIR in LA does mostly backline rentals, but they have some rehearsal spaces that include full PA, monitor, video and lights - there's also enough space for a crowd or guests to do a private listening party. If you can offer multitrack recording of a band, that can also be helpful; or even a CD-R of the band. Or shooting a video of the band's performance - again all helping to put you above the competition.

I'm not suggesting this is the model to follow, but I'd be very wary of trying to compete with the $15/hour places (going rate at the place near me in LA). What passes for gear in these places is bottom of the barrel, but the people renting these rooms don't seem to care - or bring in their own gear.

Sounds like a business plan is in order. Research insurance, permits, zoning restrictions, HVAC costs, etc. before committing. You may find the breakeven costs are significantly higher than you think.
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: trace knight on January 04, 2010, 04:36:27 pm
I am currently in a 10k sq ft building, if divided up into 5 units of 2000 ft each, and add the cost of air/heat and insurance, the base operating cost is around 4500.00 a month, add a reasonable profit and you'd have to rent space for around $1-1.3k per month minimum for that space, hardly seems that your gonna many bands with that kind of dough! Keep in mind that these are very rough estimates, but it's not a real money maker in my opinion, or there would be way more rehersal studios all over the country.These costs don't even begin to bring into consideration the remodeling needed for isolation.The last rehersal studio I was in was in a 12 story building, every other floor was rehersal space,skipping a floor for isolation, when all bands were there at once, what a train wreck!

tk
Title: Re: Equipment Rental and Rehearsal Space
Post by: Tony "T" Tissot on January 04, 2010, 04:54:47 pm
trace knight wrote on Mon, 04 January 2010 13:36

I am currently in a 10k sq ft building, if divided up into 5 units of 2000 ft each,

The one "we" (actually a lithium-addled, non-driving, guitar-player) rented in San Jose's Japantown was 300 square feet. $400/mo., no HVAC, self-installed carpeted walls (not to code and not fire proof). The facility had 10 similar rooms plus one larger room.

Hated it. So we fired him.
Title: Re: Equipment Rental and Rehearsal Space
Post by: Art Welter on January 04, 2010, 06:22:43 pm
Tony "T" Tissot wrote on Mon, 04 January 2010 14:54

trace knight wrote on Mon, 04 January 2010 13:36

I am currently in a 10k sq ft building, if divided up into 5 units of 2000 ft each,

The one "we" (actually a lithium-addled, non-driving, guitar-player) rented in San Jose's Japantown was 300 square feet. $400/mo., no HVAC, self-installed carpeted walls (not to code and not fire proof). The facility had 10 similar rooms plus one larger room.

Hated it. So we fired him.


Reminds me of another one of those wonderful details of practice rooms- there will usually be band members that take up residence there, "getting their moneys worth".
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: E. Lee Dickinson on January 04, 2010, 06:35:52 pm
Just a quick thought: I know at least 3 bands who rent monthly self storage units for rehearsal. That would be my starting point for pricing and sizing.

Value-added services are really, really hard to sell to most bands. "Yours comes with carpet, water cooler, air conditioning, free cable rental, a lounge area, a security system, and a drum riser? that's cool. But I can get a storage unit for like $50 less, so I think we're going to do that."
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: trace knight on January 04, 2010, 07:18:46 pm
How about "I can get a storage unit for $50.00"

tk
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 04, 2010, 07:20:51 pm
Adam - I've got to say, I have been eying your website, since you are from Ohio as well, and it kind of intrigued me about the equipment rental.  Cool  $200 was kind of where I was thinking. Or maybe offering two different size rooms for different budgets...


Art - I guess the insurance is something I am going to have to look into and get some estimates. Seems that could make this unworthy right off the bat.

I have a licensed electrician (2) as good friends who would do it for next to nothing.

Maybe I have my hopes up, but I'm kind of hoping that I dont need 60 bands -- I mean I hope I have repeat clients for more than one month. Again, I'm banking on something I guess I have no control over.

I appreciate the input, it gives me something to think about. What do you have to say about the equipment rental?


Ned - From my research thus far, I believe there are only 2 in Phoenix that I have found. One only rents by the hour. To me, this means one of two things and only one is good...there isnt a market for it, or, I could potentially have the upper hand. This isnt something I am going to jump right into when I get there in June, so I will have to start networking and talking to the actual bands around there to see what I'm working with. The goal of this thread is to compile a game plan for when I decide this will be a profitable business.

Good idea on the videos, and I've thought about the recording. This is something I would like to use the larger "live" room for. Being able to fit some private guests in there would be nice as well, as you said. Thanks for the input, I am chewing on everything!


Trace - Finding out the cost of buildings in Phoenix, and all of the legalities will have to be determined first. I know location is a big factor. Hopefully I will be able to get a better idea of this stuff once I get out there. But I do understand the necessity of good isolation.


Tony & Art - Theres gotta be rules enforced!


E. Lee - I know what you mean. I'm aiming toward more serious bands. If you are content with practicing in a storage unit in Phoenix, go for it! Hahaha. Here in Ohio, I had a 10x10 storage unit when I moved, it had metal walls, no lighting and no electricity....for $75/month. Most of them around here are just like this.


Thanks everyone, keep it coming. Anyone that knows of bands currently renting, if you could pass on some info (price, size and location) it would be of great help!
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: Adam Schaible on January 04, 2010, 07:37:00 pm
benjamin fisher wrote on Mon, 04 January 2010 18:20

Adam - I've got to say, I have been eying your website, since you are from Ohio as well, and it kind of intrigued me about the equipment rental.  Cool  $200 was kind of where I was thinking. Or maybe offering two different size rooms for different budgets...


I probably do 1 or 2 rentals per month and they are all fairly minor.  $100-$250 I'd say.  I admit this is not a full time thing for me and I'm not trying to make a living off of it, so this offsets the cost of my "hobby".

That said, I have a pretty solid contract and always require bare minimum $500 deposit.  I try to collect 25-50% deposit depending on what goes out.

On my typical speakers on sticks/small mixer/mic rental, I get $500 and every time it comes back in good shape.

80% of the time people want the absolute cheapest thing so if I was trying to make money at renting, I'd have a set of crappy gear I could rent for close to nothing (even though I'm renting decent gear for close to nothing now).
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 04, 2010, 07:42:10 pm
Adam Schaible wrote on Mon, 04 January 2010 18:37



I probably do 1 or 2 rentals per month and they are all fairly minor.  $100-$250 I'd say.  I admit this is not a full time thing for me and I'm not trying to make a living off of it, so this offsets the cost of my "hobby".

That said, I have a pretty solid contract and always require bare minimum $500 deposit.  I try to collect 25-50% deposit depending on what goes out.

On my typical speakers on sticks/small mixer/mic rental, I get $500 and every time it comes back in good shape.

80% of the time people want the absolute cheapest thing so if I was trying to make money at renting, I'd have a set of crappy gear I could rent for close to nothing (even though I'm renting decent gear for close to nothing now).


Yeah, I agree, your prices are very reasonable. Does the $500 deposit deter alot of clients? I know if I were renting, I couldnt just come up with that much. Just wondering.
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: Adam Schaible on January 04, 2010, 07:52:26 pm
No, it's actually never stopped anyone.

I take it on a credit card, or I'll take a check and just give it back when they return the gear.  If I only took cash I'd guess it would stop people.
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 04, 2010, 07:56:02 pm
Adam Schaible wrote on Mon, 04 January 2010 18:52

No, it's actually never stopped anyone.

I take it on a credit card, or I'll take a check and just give it back when they return the gear.  If I only took cash I'd guess it would stop people.


Oh ok, good stuff. If you have any tips or suggestion regarding equipment rental feel free to let me in! Very Happy  I promise not to steal your business haha
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: Art Welter on January 04, 2010, 08:17:56 pm
Unless the room rental at $200 is really small, and you are paying next to nothing for the space yourself, you will make hardly any money and you will have some of the biggest headaches you can imagine, even at full occupancy.

In the days before everybody and their monkey could afford to record themselves, rehearsal halls as an adjunct to a recording studio made sense, an act would book some time in the rehearsal hall before laying down the big bucks in the studio.
Now there is some guy on every block ready to record a band for $15 an hour.

Enforcing rules and being a house keeper for slob musicians (most non-slob musicians generally will have a house or garage available for a rehearsal place) for a few dollars a month (if you meet expenses) is not my cup of tea, but you are young and eager and perhaps like that kind of shit.

Art Welter
Title: Re: Equipment Rental && Rehearsal Space
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 04, 2010, 08:43:20 pm
Yeah I know what you mean about everyone recording. I used to do that, for $20/hr. Just wasnt my thing at the time.

I will have to figure out what my rental cost will be and factor that into what I need back out of it. Between that and getting in contact with local Phoenix bands, I will have to better feel out the situation. I was just looking for some ideas and tips on here. As it seems before, I was a bit discouraged from another thread I had posted when receiving posts saying that running sound for bar bands and running "small" rigs is worthless. This is what I want to do. But I cant make money from that apparently, and I cant afford "big boy toys", and I cant get a job with an already established sound company to make money. So I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm trying to find my place in the music business, wherever that may be. And make money. I'm young, and willing to work hard to make these things work. What gives?
Title: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: Art Welter on January 04, 2010, 09:00:48 pm
benjamin fisher wrote on Mon, 04 January 2010 18:43

Yeah I know what you mean about everyone recording. I used to do that, for $20/hr. Just wasnt my thing at the time.

I will have to figure out what my rental cost will be and factor that into what I need back out of it. Between that and getting in contact with local Phoenix bands, I will have to better feel out the situation. I was just looking for some ideas and tips on here. As it seems before, I was a bit discouraged from another thread I had posted when receiving posts saying that running sound for bar bands and running "small" rigs is worthless. This is what I want to do. But I cant make money from that apparently, and I cant afford "big boy toys", and I cant get a job with an already established sound company to make money. So I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm trying to find my place in the music business, wherever that may be. And make money. I'm young, and willing to work hard to make these things work. What gives?

What gives is unless the bar is doing a lot of business, like 250+ persons per show, the revenue stream is not large enough to provide much income for a sound person.

Bars can be a good place to learn, but there is a definite and rather low ultimate ceiling working with bars and bar bands.

The trick is moving up the ladder without falling off.
The rungs are quite slippery in the sound business.

Art Welter
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: trace knight on January 04, 2010, 09:35:35 pm
I don't like being a nay sayer, but have you noticed how recently in the marketplace ads, how many people are getting rid of their gear,totally or really downsizing, because it isn't making money, it's unfortunate, but I'm having a rough time as well, it's called a bad economy, seems that this past holiday season, most pa's are/were sitting, while dj's were working, but I bet they were down too...........just my view
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 04, 2010, 10:30:11 pm
Trace, your observations are spot on.  I've watched a half dozen or so firms close in the last year and have seen probably a dozen liquidate assets for pennies on the dollar to have operating capital for another couple of months.

What drove home the recession: rental prices for staging and roofs went down.  Significantly.  Lighting was also down.  The things that have paid the bills are now minimally more profitable than audio.  That doesn't bode well for the industry as a whole and will be death to a number of regional and local providers.  That said, some parts of the USA will see improvement in 2010.  Lets hope we're in them!

Tim "Grim" Mc
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: Dave Rickard on January 04, 2010, 10:43:34 pm
trace knight wrote on Mon, 04 January 2010 19:35

I don't like being a nay sayer, but have you noticed how recently in the marketplace ads, how many people are getting rid of their gear,totally or really downsizing, because it isn't making money, it's unfortunate, but I'm having a rough time as well, it's called a bad economy, seems that this past holiday season, most pa's are/were sitting, while dj's were working, but I bet they were down too...........just my view

I occasionally rent systems to a great guy who runs a DJ company.  His shows were down a bit this year too.
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 06, 2010, 05:09:55 pm
After more research and thinking, I think I have changed paths a bit. Starting off with 2 rooms, the option to rent hourly/daily/weekly/monthly, and providing backline. Anymore discussion would be great
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: Adam Schaible on January 06, 2010, 05:15:40 pm
One thing I've seen -- not sure if this is even in your situation.

I used to rent a space that was at a guys house .. but it was a building a good distance from his house.  He had a studio/etc in it.

It really didn't cost him anything extra so it worked out for him.  That's the way I could see this working.
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 06, 2010, 08:00:51 pm
Adam Schaible wrote on Wed, 06 January 2010 16:15

One thing I've seen -- not sure if this is even in your situation.

I used to rent a space that was at a guys house .. but it was a building a good distance from his house.  He had a studio/etc in it.

It really didn't cost him anything extra so it worked out for him.  That's the way I could see this working.

I'm renting a house, so I dont see that as being an option for me
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: Art Welter on January 06, 2010, 09:05:34 pm
benjamin fisher wrote on Wed, 06 January 2010 15:09

After more research and thinking, I think I have changed paths a bit. Starting off with 2 rooms, the option to rent hourly/daily/weekly/monthly, and providing backline. Anymore discussion would be great


You should lose less money attempting to rent two rooms than five.
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: (BJ) Benjamin Fisher on January 06, 2010, 09:32:56 pm
Art Welter wrote on Wed, 06 January 2010 20:05

benjamin fisher wrote on Wed, 06 January 2010 15:09

After more research and thinking, I think I have changed paths a bit. Starting off with 2 rooms, the option to rent hourly/daily/weekly/monthly, and providing backline. Anymore discussion would be great


You should lose less money attempting to rent two rooms than five.


Thanks.
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: Dick Rees on January 07, 2010, 10:45:30 am
benjamin fisher wrote on Wed, 06 January 2010 20:32

Art Welter wrote on Wed, 06 January 2010 20:05

benjamin fisher wrote on Wed, 06 January 2010 15:09

After more research and thinking, I think I have changed paths a bit. Starting off with 2 rooms, the option to rent hourly/daily/weekly/monthly, and providing backline. Anymore discussion would be great


You should lose less money attempting to rent two rooms than five.


Thanks.


Listen to your Uncle Art.  It's not about sound at all, it's about business.  All the time you've spent providing sound to this point has had a bit of a business component, but dollars to donuts your focus was learning how to do sound and getting some gear.  This is not business.

Take some time to learn how to run a business before you jump in and do it the hard way.  If you're lucky enough to have some substantial financial reserves/backing, spend a little of it on business school.  Otherwise you may well end up spending all of it on your education in a way you'd rather not remember.
Title: Re: The Field of Broken Dreams
Post by: Charlie Zureki on January 07, 2010, 12:24:31 pm
benjamin fisher wrote on Wed, 06 January 2010 16:09

After more research and thinking, I think I have changed paths a bit. Starting off with 2 rooms, the option to rent hourly/daily/weekly/monthly, and providing backline. Anymore discussion would be great



  Hello,

   Trying to be kind..... I think you're missing the point that it has been done, and is neither profitable nor does it make business sense to pursue this as a profit center.

   If you had an existing building, were currently providing profitable, external services from your building (lighting, Audio, Staging,etc..) and had "extra space" ... it may, in the right market (NY,LA, Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville) pay for itself.

   But, I doubt that you'd recognize and profit from it.

  In the mid 1980's we had built some rehearsal rooms, 2 large & 1 small , with on-site storage lockers for the renter's gear.

 Each room had a basic, prewired sound system, with mixing console. We charged 65 dollars a month for each contract, giving them each 14 hours per month to rehearse. (OR charging $4.60 hr)

 24 hrs. x 30 days = 720 total hours x 3 "studios" = 2160 studio hours divided by 14 hours = potential of 154 customers

 154 customers x $65. =  $10010.00 a month

 + the rental of the 12 storage lockers @ $25. = $300.

  (we thought we'd get rich)

 We never recouped the cost of building the Storage lockers, much less equipping the three studios, or even building the studios.

 the maximum amount of customers we had for any one month, for rehearsal space was about twelve. We rented 5 storage lockers.

It never made a profit, it never paid for it's cost or upkeep.
We had to have an employee there 24 hours a day. (for those late night sessions) The additional insurance put us in the red on these rental studios the first day. The additional costs to the heating and electric bills....

 Of course we shut it down after about three months.

 We found that Groups starting out are not willing, nor do they have the funds to pay for a rehearsal studio. They'll practice in someone's garage, basement, etc..

 Good Luck,

 Hammer