Bally Studios Company Ethics.
To us, Bally Studios is not just a way to line our pockets. Of course we need to make a profit to pay the bills and wages, but we truly want Bally Studios to stand for something more than a company that only makes a profit. With this in mind, we have a 10 point Bally Studios Mission Statement that we always strive to achieve:
1) Everyone that comes to the studios, whether they are rehearsing here or not, will always be given the respect that so many other rehearsal studios forget to show the very people who keep them in a job.
2) We will always do our best to make sure that each and every studio is a nice place to rehearse, and as comfortable as possible for the bands that use them. We clean the studios daily as we would want to use a clean studio ourselves. There is a huge difference between a place where a rehearsal is possible and where a rehearsal is a joy, and it is our job to make your rehearsal a joy.
3) If you're not happy with the sound of any of the equipment, we'll do all we can to make it sound better. If you know how you want it to sound, we'll do everything we can to make sure you get as close to that sound as possible.
4) If you book a 4 hour slot, you'll get a 4 hour slot. If you start late due to reasons within our control (not including the band setting up equipment), we'll make up the extra time, either for free on your next session or at the end of your session.
5) Once a band is in the door we will never try to fleece them for extra money in the way of extra hire charges for amps, drum kits, etc. Apart from the digital recorders there are never any extra fee's at Bally. The room rate is all you pay, with no nasty surprises at the end. No tax, no parking fees, no booking or transaction fees, nothing. What you see is what you get, you only pay the room rate.
6) The Bally Shop will always be provided as a service for the bands, as opposed to a way of generating extra profits. We have the slimmest of profit margins, just enough to cover costs, are up to 60% cheaper than other studios shops, and incur extra fees in order to give our customers a greater choice, such as the wider range of herbal teas that we do not even charge for. First and foremost, the studio shop is, and always will be, a service to the bands. We charge 50p for soft drinks, and have done for over 10 years, and we know of at least 4 studio shops that charge £1 for the same drinks. We are making money from the rehearsal session, that's enough for us.
7) If you'd like to swap the amps between the rooms, we will always try to do it wherever possible. You won't get any sighing under our breath or tutting if you ask, as we understand a little bit of effort can make all of the difference to your session, and we are more than happy to put that bit of effort in. We're musicians too, we understand, and that's the whole point of the staff being here - to help you. All we ask is that you give us as much notice as possible, even if it is 5 minutes before the session so that we have as much chance to swap equipment over as possible without disrupting other bands rehearsal sessions.
8) If you have to cancel your rehearsal, we will always do everything that we can do to get a replacement band. If we manage to find a replacement band we will never charge for a cancellation, we will simply replace the money we would have got from you with the money we got from them. We are only looking at covering our costs, not looking to get paid for the same session twice. Even though we will go to extra effort to get the same amount of money whether you pay the cancellation fee or we get a replacement fee, in our eyes if we manage to get a replacement band to cover that session we have two happy bands: a band that gets a rehearsal slot, and a band that is grateful to avoid a cancellation fee. Not only is that basic decency and helping our customers out, that's good business.
9) At Bally we think it's good to be good, but it's better to be even better, so we'll always try to keep improving the studios in any way that we can. If you think of any way that we can improve, please let us know and we'll be happy to implement it wherever possible. In fact, we'd be really grateful to you for pointing us in the right direction so if you can suggest anything that you think will make a difference, don't be surprised if you get some free studio credit or a discount at your next session. If you help us make our studios a better place to be, we'll make sure that you get something for helping us.
10) Bally Studios are not in the rehearsal business, serving people - we are in the people business, serving rehearsals. No-one's perfect and we all make mistakes from time to time, including us, and when that happens we will always admit our mistakes quickly, try to rectify any mistakes that we make, and will never pass the buck or shift blame. On occasions when sessions were booked but it was not possible to fulfil the session, which (in Dec 2015) has happened 27 times out of 18,570 sessions, about 0.1% of all bookings, (8 of these were due to the electricity board shutting down our power without warning, 5 were due to an electrician that we got to check the circuits making a mistake, whilst the London Riots caused other cancellations), we will give you a free rehearsal session and some shop credit that you can spend on whatever you want, both as an apology and as a way to compensate you. We know what it is like to be a band who can't have their rehearsal session, we know the frustration it causes and we do all we can to make sure it never happens to anyone else. A 0.1% cancellation is not bad, but we will always strive to make sure it never happens.
Although we do not shout it from the rooftops, we make a 25p donation to worthy causes for every single rehearsal session that we have at the studios. Charities that have benefited from this in the past include Guide Dogs, a great organisation that raises money to train up lovely Guide Dogs for people with impaired vision, and SoundSeekers, a charity that helps to reduce infections and diseases through malaria nets, clean water and education that prevent young children from going deaf. They set up Hearing Assessment and Research Centres and mobile earcare clinics which deliver outreach audiology and ear disease treatment services in isolated poor communities, with each centre helping 4,000 – 10,000 people every year in their country of operation. The main causes of deafness and hearing loss in the developing world are infectious diseases such as meningitis, malaria, lassa fever and measles. However there can be so little understanding about this locally that people can still believe witchcraft to be the cause of deafness. They work with deaf children, their parents and communities to teach them about ear care, hearing impairment and how deafness needn’t be an obstacle to integration. Both of them are fine charities, and we are more than happy to help with a small contribution.
We have also had bands that have been personally touched by sad events, including the tragic passing of band members, who have decided to put on a fundraising gig to raise money for the cause they were affected by. In these circumstances, wherever possible, we are more than happy to help out with lending our equipment totally free of charge, and also in providing a free rehearsal space for them to get ready for the event, which helps them to save money on hire fees and mean that they will be able to raise even more money. This has happened 5 times in the past, and we are always more than happy to help out wherever we possibly can.