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What salary should I ask for studio managing?
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starseed
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4th July 2009
Old 4th July 2009
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What salary should I ask for studio managing?

Hi.

I'm being offered a position managing a small but pretty high end recording studio in the US. Salary is one important issue that is yet to be discussed. What can or should I expect?

I am not currently in the US, you see, so I have a vague image of cost of living etc.

I'd sure appreciate some advice

here

Some part of the salary is offered on commission (due in part to me also doing mastering and bringing my own gear)

What should my basic salary be? How large should the percentage of commission on studio rates be?

Any thoughts?

Thank you very much,

Jeremy
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4th July 2009
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In the US a lot of professional accounting and legal firms use 1/3 of what you generate in revenue as a benchmark. For every $1 you are paid you should be generating $3 in revenue to cover your salary and overhead for the business to be profitable.

Studios are a little different but this might be a good benchmark to start from.
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i would say that all depends on:

Where it is (New York or Dallas is a big difference in living expenses)
What you will be doing exactly (are you end-responsible?)
Who you will be doing it for (big names or garage band demos?)
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$140,000 / yr. [to start, 7-10% annual increases, 5 yr. minimum guaranteed employment contract], company car, company phone, full health and dental insurance [family plan], 2% of gross sales annual bonus.

... and when they stop laughing... take the $35k with no benefits they'll offer you if you want the gig.
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35k and no benefits sounds a little generous.....
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Frankly, an an American in a depressed economy I'd say - STAY HOME!!!!

Who is this studio?
I'll undercut you in a hot minute!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
$140,000 / yr. [to start, 7-10% annual increases, 5 yr. minimum guaranteed employment contract], company car, company phone, full health and dental insurance [family plan], 2% of gross sales annual bonus.

... and when they stop laughing... take the $35k with no benefits they'll offer you if you want the gig.
That was pretty damn funny!
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Fletcher cracks me up, as always.

We had some visitors over from the city in question, who also laughed heartily when I read them his reply.

I was told to keep several things in mind, things that become taken for granted in a place like Sweden.

So, ideally, somewhere in between 35K-140K from no benefits to total coverage...that narrows it down, but not very much.

I'm looking up and down statistics and apartment prices and maps right at the moment, so any thoughts further thoughts would be greatly appreciated. The picture I'm getting is still pretty vague.

Single bedroom apartments in that area seem to run from 700-1300 (and up), if that gives you an idea of the relative economy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Frankly, an an American in a depressed economy I'd say - STAY HOME!!!!

Who is this studio?
I'll undercut you in a hot minute!
I was born in LA, and have lived in at least half a dozen countries...home is where I make it. Business isn't exactly booming in the rest of the world either. I might as well sit in the front row seat when the Amero is rolled out.
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I just got my intern a job at the studio that I just designed and oversaw the construction of for the last year.. Got 40K and no benefits... that's pretty damn good for a fresh out of college grad in upstate NY... that said, he is going to have to perform, which he has already started doing and the facility won't even be online till the end of August.

In this economy that is what I consider great money for a starting position at a brand new facility.

Good luck with the job and don't be afraid to ask for what you think you are worth... like asking the hottest babe in the room to sleep with you, all they can say is "no"... but you never know, you might just get lucky!!!
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If I had to answer this I would have to know far more info, like mentioned the city is everything, some places it would take 50K to live the same way 20K could some place else...
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I'm not sure it is a good idea to talk too much about the studio, or even city, before it becomes a reality. I do understand the extent to which the local economies can vary within the US.

Thanks for your input so far, gives me a little something to go on

Jeremy Barnes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starseed View Post
I'm being offered a position managing a small but pretty high end recording studio in the US. Salary is one important issue that is yet to be discussed. What can or should I expect?
Jeremy Barnes? Doesn´t sound swedish.

From Sweden to the US of A? Wow, many people would give a lot for getting
an employment in Sweden. You must love that job!

I´d make use of the internet. Try to find out as much as you can about
the cost of living. I´m sure you can find prices for just everything (food,
a vehicle, housewares, apartment/utilities, clothes) you´ll need over there.

Maybe this will give you at least a basic impression of the area you´re going
to work and live in. Oh well, that´s what i´d do first. Probably you´re already
trough with that.

Anyway, hope this will work out for you somehow!

Last edited by opentune; 6th July 2009 at 11:11 AM.. Reason: typo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opentune View Post
Jeremy Barnes? Doesn´t sound swedish.

From Sweden to the US of A? Wow, many people would give a lot for getting
an employment in Sweden. You must love that job!
if you read the posts, he says he was "Born in the USA". So to speak...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
if you read the posts, he says he was "Born in the USA". So to speak...
Damn, and i even read this thread twice... thanks for the comment. That clears
it up.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starseed View Post
I'm looking up and down statistics and apartment prices and maps right at the moment, so any thoughts further thoughts would be greatly appreciated. The picture I'm getting is still pretty vague.

Single bedroom apartments in that area seem to run from 700-1300 (and up), if that gives you an idea of the relative economy.
Basic accounting says that your housing should be approximately 25% of your salary. I don't know that I could do it on 35k personally, (that's approx 673/week, after taxes thats MAYBE 400 bucks..which puts your rent budget at risk), but you have to consider the whole package. Studio managing is not mastering & mixing, it's an entirely additional job.

Health benefits are extremely costly, both to the employee and the employer right now in the USA. Is any other person getting benefits from the studio? That's your benchmark. Answers might be far and wide: 1: No, no one is (so much for benefits); 2: Yes, the owner is (unlikely for you); 3: yes, the owner, the former manager and the lead engineer all did (you have a good chance).

So... without even looking at how much money the studio normally makes, what a studio manager should earn from just managing, I'd try to get closer to 40k as a starting point with *some* portion of health insurance, say, major medical; and larger percentages of the work you bring in, aggressively, lets say 25-30%, but that all depends on how much weight you carry and how much $$ you can bring with you. If your book is worth 100k a year, that's something. If it's 10k a year, that's another.

Ask the owner:
1) what is a studio manager job who does not add revenue worth to the company?
2) What would an engineer who brings revenue worth to the company?
3)What is the burden (cost of doing business) for new projects? ie, it costs the studio X % for every dollar earned to cover electricity, equipment leasing & maintenance, rent, etc. Take out the operating costs of each dollar you can generate.

Of the net profit that is remaining, how much should be yours, and how much should be the studios?

The key here is making it a win-win situation for both you and the studio owner.

Hope this helps!

JvB
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