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Advice sought on opening a studio
Old 19th August 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Advice sought on opening a studio

hello,

i saw a property for sale that i thought would be fun to run a studio out of. but it's in a 75% shady area. not the worst ever, but there are drug dealers around and a lot of low-income housing.

i get along with people, so i'm not worried about getting shot. but i am worried about my equipment getting ripped off when i'm not around.

anybody have any insights? obviously something like "dude don't do it, it ain't worth it" is a safe answer. but i'm drawn to this property, and i do like the people. but when someone is short on money, it could make a temptation when they know stuff worth thousands is right be hind a door or a window. i'm not talking about everybody. but if you take 1000 people, many on low income, there has to be a percentage of people that would find the theft potential enticing.

my first instincts would be to get equipment insurance, try to keep a lot of things behind locked doors and safes, and put up some surveillance cameras. but if my place gets broken into, i would guess i could get dropped by the insurance carrier if i get deemed as a chronic loss risk on the insured property.

so if anybody who has owned/worked in some "bad towns", i'd love to hear what you have to say.
Old 19th August 2005
  #2
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joaquin's Avatar
 

I'm looking for a space myself...a bit in the long run. Anyway, I think that you, must like the space (Art), imagine the potencial work that this space is going to be able the generate (Art & $), evaluate the property ($) value and how that is going to project in the near future, do not worry about Thieves...get a pair of good friends (Life)..I mean...Dogs, and buy if you think ($) that the whole area is going to be better in ...say 5 years!?
Good Luck and Felicidadez!!...............Joaquin.
Old 19th August 2005
  #3
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
whats the formula for working out what percentage shadiness an area has? I wonder what my area is?
Old 19th August 2005
  #4
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joaquin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Narco
whats the formula for working out what percentage shadiness an area has? I wonder what my area is?
My area is %100 Me heh
Old 19th August 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 
balanceman's Avatar
 

many studios are in "fringe" areas. where else are you gonna find property @ 50 cents/ft or that you can blare guitar amps at midnight?
GET INSURANCE!

I have a sign at the end of my block that reads:

Prostitution and drugs are a problem. do not be a part of the problem.

or something like that.

it is pretty sketch a coupla blocks up- our block is across from a cement factory so many lurkers find it to loud to be around!

I would hate to lose my gear- some of it is no longer easy to find - it is all very personally put together over 15 years in the business- things I LOVE to use (if you only like it -why keep it around?).

But I can't worry about it - that's wasted mental energy.

I just got my bill from Clarion Insurance a few days ago (why I'm so quick to answer the thread). I chose Clarion because they have an ad in Mix and seem comfortable with the special needs of studios.

This will be my fifth year with them and, thankfully, I have never had to file a claim.

I'm more apt to have gear insurance over health insurance. . .

but that's gearslutz! heh
Old 19th August 2005
  #6
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
If you're planning on a studio for hire you might want to ask yourself a really important question...

If you don't feel 100% safe being there, how will your clients and potential clients feel?

Gunfire is gunfire...stray bullets are gonna suck a lot more then stray cats & dogs.
Old 19th August 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 

thanks joaquin,

exactly, from an art standpoint i find it inspiring (i'm a boxing type of guy rather than a pretty boy), so the street aspect actually appeals to me.

also, there is a lot of new construction going on in the area. so over 5 years i could see the property appreciating. if it then gets too civilized upscale and boring i could then move to another 75% shady area later on!

i could see myself getting a guard dog. just want one that doesn't fart a lot to be honest! (dog farts can really wreck a mood when your're trying to chill and happily enjoying thinking about anything else than a fart).

wanted: low gas-emitting guard dog.

my friend has a rottweiler. awesome dog, but when she lets one rip she's anything but a lady for those moments in time!


Quote:
Originally Posted by joaquin
I'm looking for a space myself...a bit in the long run. Anyway, I think that you, must like the space (Art), imagine the potencial work that this space is going to be able the generate (Art & $), evaluate the property ($) value and how that is going to project in the near future, do not worry about Thieves...get a pair of good friends (Life)..I mean...Dogs, and buy if you think ($) that the whole area is going to be better in ...say 5 years!?
Good Luck and Felicidadez!!...............Joaquin.
Old 19th August 2005
  #8
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
genericperson, you need one of these!

http://www.sonystyle.com/intershopro...s7/tour01.html

or maybe you could find a 75% farting dog?
Old 19th August 2005
  #9
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

what's shady is the thought of trying to open a studio at all in this biz climate.
That scares me a hell of a lot more than a "shady" area.
yikes.
Old 19th August 2005
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cajonezzz
what's shady is the thought of trying to open a studio at all in this biz climate.
That scares me a hell of a lot more than a "shady" area.
yikes.
word.
Old 19th August 2005
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cajonezzz
what's shady is the thought of trying to open a studio at all in this biz climate.
That scares me a hell of a lot more than a "shady" area.
yikes.
Agreed. But, if you really want to open one, go for it. Just get yourself a dog and insurance. I say go for it, sounds like fun.
Old 19th August 2005
  #12
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absrec's Avatar
 

My place is in the shadiest part of downtown Atlanta. It's worked out well for me. Something about the city vibe for a recording studio. If you give the homeless people a couple bucks to clean up the sidewalk every now and then, they will actually look after the place for you as well. They know better than to bite the hand that feeds them.
Old 19th August 2005
  #13
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by absrec
My place is in the shadiest part of downtown Atlanta. It's worked out well for me. Something about the city vibe for a recording studio. If you give the homeless people a couple bucks to clean up the sidewalk every now and then, they will actually look after the place for you as well. They know better than to bite the hand that feeds them.
That's true. There were a couple of squatters in my old building and I'd hand 'em a couple bucks to help move stuff or clean. If they asked I'd also let them use the shower once in a while. Though, the hood I was in wasn't all that sketchy, it was just old.
Old 19th August 2005
  #14
Gear Addict
 
AdAudioInc's Avatar
 

Also depending on the space, consider living there your self or renting a portion for extra income to cover the mortgage. There are some minor tax advantages to this, and someone will be there most of the time to deter thieves.
Old 19th August 2005
  #15
Moderator
 
toolskid's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by genericperson
so if anybody who has owned/worked in some "bad towns", i'd love to hear what you have to say.
FOR GODS SAKE DONT DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 19th August 2005
  #16
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Use the 3 rules of retail:

1) Location
2) Location
3) Location

and the answer will likely be NO.

War
Old 19th August 2005
  #17
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead
Use the 3 rules of retail:

1) Location
2) Location
3) Location

and the answer will likely be NO.

War

took the typed letters off my fingers Location is everything when it comes to a business.
Old 20th August 2005
  #18
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead
Use the 3 rules of retail:

1) Location
2) Location
3) Location

and the answer will likely be NO.

War
Uhhh...the studio business is a service business. The rules of retail aren't as relevent. I'm not saying location doesn't matter because it does, yet it doesn't. In a retail enviornment you need to be accessible but a studio or other service based biz can be hidden off the main roads and not suffer. If anything it's more desireable to be off the main roads and not have frontage, you can find some super cheap spaces if you hunt around enough.
Old 20th August 2005
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cajonezzz
what's shady is the thought of trying to open a studio at all in this biz climate.
That scares me a hell of a lot more than a "shady" area.
yikes.
That's a good point.

Maybe no one will rip you off for fear of having to run "their" own studio with it.

heh heh heh
Old 20th August 2005
  #20
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joaquin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
If anything it's more desireable to be off the main roads and not have frontage, you can find some super cheap spaces if you hunt around enough.
Old 20th August 2005
  #21
Moderator
 
toolskid's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
Uhhh...the studio business is a service business. The rules of retail aren't as relevent. I'm not saying location doesn't matter because it does, yet it doesn't. In a retail enviornment you need to be accessible but a studio or other service based biz can be hidden off the main roads and not suffer. If anything it's more desireable to be off the main roads and not have frontage, you can find some super cheap spaces if you hunt around enough.
you still have to be in an area people are happy to travel to, and leave in the wee hours!!
Old 20th August 2005
  #22
w2w
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w2w's Avatar
 

DONT........DO......IT!!!!..Again,to each his own...you never know unless you try....Do you have any steady clients...Honestly....dont we have enough studios now.....Ask yourself some serious questions,do some research(Even searching this forum about this topic will give you much insight on some of the studio climates these days).Why would someone come to your place over the next guy.....not to mention being in a "nice" part of town,in reality...its not a big plus for you,no matter how hard you want to convince yourself that it is ok......dont mean to rain on your parade,but unless you have lots of cash just sitting around & even more free time on your hands,there are a lot of serious things to consider......Its pretty sad these days,its tough to get people to spend ANY kind of money for sessions,plus they all have some kind of home setup & think"well,I can just do it at home, just as good ,etc". It really is a whole different game than what it used to be,even just a few years ago....Try being an intern, or freelance at some local studios & see how they are doing....better yet,try filling up someones room,then imagine trying to fill up your own....they just dont walk in off the street......Best of luck.
Old 20th August 2005
  #23
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by genericperson
but when someone is short on money, it could make a temptation when they know stuff worth thousands is right be hind a door or a window. i'm not talking about everybody. but if you take 1000 people, many on low income, there has to be a percentage of people that would find the theft potential enticing.
There are many studios in low rent areas. The trick is, you don't know where they are unless you're recording there. You don't put signs up and advertise for crackheads to rip you off. My studio is in an older, downtown area that is actually very safe. The police dept. is a half block away. Still, the only thing on my door is a street address. No biz name or markings of any kind. "If you don't know where it is, then you don't need to know where it is." When I get cold calls asking where I'm located, I give generalities; Not specifics. Caution, not paranoia.

Other than that, a monitored burglar alarm system is a good idea and will significantly reduce your insurance premiums.

Good Luck!
Old 20th August 2005
  #24
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

Ok, some advice with out the smartass element.
I would NEVER consider opening a brick and mortar studio. no way.

but,

I'd put together a mobile rig ( fly pack, portable studio in road cases to roll into a venue or truck ) for sure.

I think there is a ton of opportunity for a guy that is willing to be aggressive marketing a mobile set up.

Building alliances with venue's , club owners and musicians is important. Have a small space at home to mix/ odub and I think you could do ok.

real quick about our place:
Days are cool, it's a busy beach community.
we're in a neighborhood that is pretty rough at night- we have to always be careful with clients and let them know that it's a little sketchy. Don't keep gear in the car, and be careful late night of the crack heads in the area ( some mex gang activity, but not too bad )
Old 20th August 2005
  #25
In the UK where there are few guns in the hands of criminals - what would be a drag IMHO would be hassle from bored teenage hoodlums... .. what you DONT want here in the UK is a whole housing "estate" (project / govenment housing) kids to lay siege to your studio..

Pesky kids = avoid
Old 20th August 2005
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

There are 2 reasons why I would consider opening up a studio:

1. You are a working Producer or Engineer that is routinely getting middle of the road budgets and are tired of wasting 3/4 of it on studio time. You want to put that money back into your pocket.

2. You've checked all the studios in your area and they are all booked solid. You can't get into any of them for weeks or months (depending on how much time you need to book).

I wouldn't worry about the area being too shady. As mentioned, don't advertise it as a studio. Don't pull up to it in a Porsche. Hopefully you're on a side road and not next to the local Bodega. Try to keep it soundproof or people will find out quick where the studio is. If you get clientele thru word of mouth or other contacts you should be OK. If you are forced to advertise you might be more vulnerable.

Good Luck.
Old 20th August 2005
  #27
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
If you don't feel 100% safe being there, how will your clients and potential clients feel?
This is it exactly.

If you've got off street parking directly behind the space with a rear door access, that would help a lot. However, if you are talking about on-street where anybody can see your clients come and go, that could be a problem.

It's not cool when clients have to walk a gauntlet of problem types to get in the front door. What happens for loadins and loadouts? If it's front door only, that's real uncomfortable, anxiety producing, and potentially dangerous if you are the one trying to get gear in and out without having it ripped off. I know, I've had to do it. Really a drag in an aggressive homeless and drug dealer/gang type environment.

I don't want to expose myself, my gear or my fellow musicians (especially the women) to potentially unpleasant or dangerous situations if I can avoid it. I've had aggressive homeless guys box my car in until I gave them some money, I've had guys grab me trying to shake me down for some money, I've had guns pulled on me, I've had my car vandalized, and I've had buddies get their cars broken into and stuff stolen. All those experiences really stink.

If your studio is in an area that sucks, there is *no way* I personally would ever book time, no matter how cheap. And I highly doubt I'm the only one who feels that way.
Old 20th August 2005
  #28
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toolskid
you still have to be in an area people are happy to travel to, and leave in the wee hours!!
Which was my point.

War
Old 20th August 2005
  #29
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

A location for retail is a location for retail and a location for a studio is a location for a studio, I think the rule still applies.
Are you someone that already has gear?
If not, the basic investment is pretty high, not to mention the maintenance, insurance, rent, coffee and pencils etc... Advertising
If you're rich or already have lots of work, fine, do what you like.
Then, I can say it's a drag to go to a studio where you're afraid to leave your car or get off the bus, get your guitar stolen, have guys harasse your girlfriend or the female band member or your mother.
Dogs can be a problem too

dfegad

then you have all these guys hangin around
I used to work in studios where the clients were more scary than the minions outside
Old 20th August 2005
  #30
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Your location is one of the major factors in defining your business and the type of clientel that you will attract. Upscale clients will not be interested in even checking you out if the location is not perceived as safe for them or their automobile and gear. If you want to stay on the bottom wrung of the ladder and be doing the demo and grunt work then go ahead, but if you want make a bid for the clients outside the entry level rock scene then look for a secure location. I know that there are exceptions to the location thing, especially in the urban environments, but after many years in the business it has become apparant to me that most businesses need the clients with deeper pockets if they are to survive and those people really aren't interested in the type of neighborhood that you find "fun".
Just the fact that you mentioned "i'm not worried about getting shot" is evidence that the neighborhood is piss poor. Keep your client's welfare as a top priority and you've got a chance to keep the studio going....asking your clients to risk their safety for the sake of your desire to locate in a bad environment and you just flunked your first business "test".
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