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15 ways to save money on your rehearsal sessions.

By Jimmy Mulvihill - 13th Nov 2023
(Note: If you'd like to explore the economic theory behind many of the points in this post, here's a link to the first part of this blog post that explores it in more detail. ) It's late 2023 in the UK, and the recent sharp-rise in the cost of living means that money has never been tighter for many. With disposable income at an all-time low people are spending less, making it harder than ever for small businesses to attract the business that they need to keep the lights on. With music venues closing down left, right and centre, and with audiences dwindling at live events there is also less need for bands to prepare for shows which are becoming increasingly rarer. These are undeniably the hardest of times for the grassroots of the music industry. However, as the owner of a rehearsal studio that is at the coalface of this, I still believe there are many reasons to be hopeful for the future, and the biggest two are as follows: a) Rehearsal Sessions are still a cheap form of entertainment.
If you want to make whatever little money you have stretch out as far as possible, there’s few better ways to do it than rehearsing in a band. Relatively speaking, band rehearsals are an extremely cheap form of entertainment, and especially cheap when compared to other nights out. Even if you book a session in our biggest and most expensive studio, the £56.50 that you pay for your session, split four ways between the average number of band members, comes to little over £13 per person. When you factor in that you can bring your own alcohol into the session, with the option to maybe even split a pizza as well, delivered to the studio, for about £20-£25 per person you've had a 4 hour night out in London with beer and food included, in a private room, where you can play great music with your closest friends, and finish early enough to be able to get the tube home.  All things considered it's really hard to beat that kind of value, especially with the average price of a pint now being above £8 in certain pubs. Spend 4 hours in a rehearsal studio, with the relatively early-start-early-finish schedule that rehearsals have, and not only will your head feel much better in the morning, your wallet will thank you too. b) Bands can learn how to save money to make them even cheaper. Numerous factors can drive up the cost of rehearsal sessions, but bands can educate themselves to minimize these expenses. In the same way that many of us have become savvy enough to print our tickets in advance, accept randomly assigned seats, and avoid checking baggage to save on costs when booking a Ryanair flight, bands can do the same by learning what factors inflate the costs of rehearsals, and knowing how to sidestep them. The first part of this blog post focuses on the economic principles and theoretical concepts that inflate rehearsal studio costs, whilst the 15 practical steps below builds on that knowledge with specific ways that will help you reduce the cost of your rehearsal sessions.

15 ways to save money on your rehearsal sessions.
1) Book your sessions at the very last minute.
The concept of trying to save money by booking at the very last minute is not a new idea, and the fact that one of the biggest websites for buying cheap holidays in the late 1990s was literally called “Lastminute,com” shows how synonymous the act is with getting a great deal, yet it’s an underused tactic by bands. Of the 1,450+ bands that have used us over the years, I can only think of 6 off of the top of my head who would do this, with them all getting 4 hour rehearsals for £25 at the same time that other bands were paying £48 for the same sessions. They would leave it until 6pm on the day of the booking to enquire if we had space free via text message, (the days before WhatsApp) and it was an arrangement that worked out well for both band and studio alike.

At the time, in the heady days before COVID and “the-rising-death-spiral-of-costs” that we find ourselves in today, there were whole months at a time when all of our studios were booked for more than 26 of the 30 days in the month. On those remaining 4 days a month we’d have 3 or 4 bands booked in. Under the circumstances it made no sense at all to offer a discount for an advance booking, when there was a 90% chance that we’d have 5 bands booking in the evening shift anyway at full price.

That all changes when it’s an hour before the evening session starts, at which point the chance of us getting such a late booking is slim to none. Whilst a full price £48 session is better for us than a £25 discounted session, a £25 discounted session is better for us than an empty studio, so the later you leave your booking, the more chance you can negotiate a great price. Sure, there’s less chance that there will be a studio available, but so long as you don’t mind waiting until a session eventually comes up, the savings can be substantial. It’s also a tactic that can help rehearsal studios as well, since it doesn’t deny them the opportunity to rent out their studios to bands paying the full price, but it does give them the safety net of covering some of their running costs with a reduced amount of income if they are unable to find a band to pay for a session at the full rate.

2) Help the studios to earn extra income around your booking, and ask for a discount in return.
As explored in the first half of this blog post, rehearsal studios are much more susceptible to transaction costs – costs which they'll incur with each customer - than most businesses, and there’s nothing wrong with being direct with the rehearsal studios you’re using and saying to them, "are there any changes we can make to our session that can help you save money? If so, could we get a discount on our session by changing our session slightly?" In many cases it will be music to the studio's ears. Here's some other real world examples as to how bands can do this.

If you ask for a 6pm - 9pm rehearsal session during the week, it'll be difficult for the rehearsal studios to fill the time from 9pm onwards. They'll either have to find a band that does a 2 hour, 9pm - 11pm session, (and that's tough for them, as most bands find that a 2 hour session isn’t enough time) or they'll need to find a band that can do 9pm - midnight, which again is tough as most bands like to finish by 11pm. The same applies to studio staff, many of which rely on catching the tube/public transport home. Your choice of a 6pm – 9pm session may mean it's the only session that the studio can book into that studio that night. They may be missing out on other bookings as a result of your booking. However, if your time is flexible, ask if they can offer the studios for a cheaper rate for the 5pm - 8pm slot instead, on the basis that then they'll be able to get another band in from 8pm – 11pm. This is just an example, of course, each rehearsal studio will be different. Whatever rehearsal studios you use, they'll know what changes can be made to your rehearsal session that allow them to earn extra money around your booking, so if you have a flexible schedule, just be honest with them and say that you're open to the idea of your session being altered slightly to accommodate them, so long as you are able to get a discount in return.

We have had very few bands who have been able to do this, but those that did were able to get sessions discounted by as much as 30%- 40%, on the basis that we could still earn money from other bands at the same time. Bands that can do a 9pm – 11pm slot, for example, are like gold dust especially if there are already bands booked in from 6pm – 9pm. I still remember the day in 2008 that a local band came to the studios with £150 in hand and proceeded to pay it as an advance payment for x10 2-hour rehearsals from 9pm – 11pm, with storage included, with them agreeing to book on any day when a band had already left our studios at 9pm. We received £150 in the hand for sessions that would have been very difficult to otherwise sell, and they got 10 opportunities to have a quick 2 hour session for less than £4 each band member, per session. It worked really well for both us and the band.

The same applies to moving sessions to alternative days, as the previous blog post explored in depth. Let's say that you are using a rehearsal studio with 5 studios, and your session is booked in on a Thursday, on a day that the rehearsal studios has all of their other studios also booked up. There are also only 2 bands booked in on the following day, Friday, with 3 studios sitting empty. If the rehearsal studio gets a call from another band looking to also book Thursday, who are not available on Friday, then they cannot accommodate this booking since all of their studios are booked. The rehearsal studio has lost the potential income from that booking.

However, by moving your session from the Thursda to the Friday, you are now allowing that studio to accept an additional booking at full price from the other band. Even if the studio were to charge you a 50% rate for you moving your session from the Thursday to the new Friday slot, they would be earning 150% of the usual session rate between the two bands, (100% from the other band, and 50% from your band) as a direct result of you moving your session to accommodate the other band, more than they would have if they had had to turn the other booking away.

The more flexible you are with your scheduling, the more the studio is able to maximize their income, and the greater your chances of getting a discounted session, so try to use this to your advantage.

3)  Help the studios to reduce the costs associated with your booking, and ask for a discount in return.

Likewise, if you are able to help your rehearsal studio save on their costs, then it's not unreasonable to ask them for a discount in return. This can be done in the following hypothetical ways.

Let’s say that the rehearsal studios that you use has five studios, and on a Thursday evening they have four bands booked in, with one studio sitting empty. You are booked in on Friday, and you are the only band booked in on this evening.

This means that the member of staff will need to turn up to the studio on both Thursday and Friday to work these shifts, since there are bands booked in on each day. However, if the studio knows that you are flexible in your schedule, they may contact you and ask if you can move your session from the Friday to the Thursday instead, at a reduced rate.

At which point they either no longer need to pay a member of staff to work on Friday, or if it’s the studio owner themselves that was working this shift, they can also have the night off instead. By helping to reduce their costs or the amount of shifts that they need to do to accommodate all of their bookings, you can potentially get a discounted rate for your session in return. Likewise, if your band is booked in from 5pm - 8pm and all of the other bands are booked in from 7pm - 11pm, then as explored in the previous point, your session will allow them the studio to book another band in from 8pm -11pm. However, if at 4pm on the day there are still no other bands that want to book in for the 3 hours after your band leaves, your rehearsal studios may now be happy to offer you a discounted rate to switch your session to 7pm - 10pm instead, on the basis that they will need to be present at the studios for 2 less hours. You can leave the logistics to the studios you use, but by being proactive and letting them know that you are happy to be flexible with your booking schedule, in return for a discounted session, you can open up lots of new ways to save money in your session.

The same applies to taking care of the studio equipment or keeping the studios clean. Rehearsal studios need to factor in the costs of things like amplifier repairs and the time and cost of cleaning the studios into the price of their sessions, so simple acts such as treating the equipment with respect, and putting your rubbish into the bin helps the rehearsal studio that you use to keep their prices low. If there are 2 bands; the first of which turns up and leaves on time, looks after the equipment and leaves the room tidy, whereas the second band acts in completely in the opposite way in all of those respects, it’s going to be a lot easier for the first band, who treats the studio with respect, to negotiate a potential discount on the basis that there are many more benefits to a rehearsal studio attracting that kind of band to rehearse with them. If the band leaves on time and doesn't need to be cleaned between sessions, then the studio can cram more sessions in. The more bands that the studio has like that, the easier it is for the studio to earn extra money, so the studio will go out of their way to retain those kinds of bands, including offering discounts wherever necessary. If your band is leaving the studio in a complete mess, it’s hard to make the case for why you should get a discount if the studio has to put in so much extra effort and has more costs associated with your bookings, from your band not taking care of the studios.

If you want the studio to offer value above and beyond what is expected to your band in particular, you need to offer something above and beyond in return. If you want to have better value in the price that you pay for your sessions, be a band that a rehearsal studio values more than other bands. 4) Keep an eye out for the extra fees that get added to your session. We have resolutely resisted charging bands extra for back-line equipment ever since we took over the studios from the previous owner in 2005, because we feel it is difficult for a band to accurately compare the price of rehearsal studios when such a policy is used. We also find that bands fit into two categories: those that have their own cars and amplifiers big enough to gig with, who usually have more disposable income, and band members that only have a small practice amp at home and both lack the money to buy a bigger amplifier, who also use public transport/walking/cycling to get to the studios. Offering free back-line equipment to the bands that don’t have the budget for their own car/ amplifier helps the band members who need it the most. Other studios have less qualms about this, so always confirm in advance what additional fees may be added to your session, to ensure that you know exactly what you're paying for upfront. Tell your rehearsal studio exactly what you need in your session, and ask for an “all inclusive price” and make sure that they include VAT. There is no shame with being upfront and asking this, to make sure that you don't get stung on the back end.

We have even heard stories such as a bands booking a rehearsal studio for £5 per hour, who at the end of a 5-hour session were charged £85 in total from all of the extra additional costs, which even included a hire fee of £1 per hour for a bass drum pedal, (not even a particularly good one either), which they didn't realise would be added to their session fee. Although we charge a flat rate that includes all of the equipment you need, never assume that the same applies to other studios, and the emphasis is on you to make sure that you know upfront what you're going to pay for, because not every other studio will be as transparent with their pricing as we are.

The same applies to parking fees. If you need to rehearse somewhere where you plan to drive to, check to see what parking fees you will need to pay. Some studios, including Bally Studios, offer free parking, which should be factored into the overall cost.

5) Join forces with other bands to split longer sessions/long term bookings. We not only offer rehearsal studios by the session, but we also allow bands to book our rehearsal studios on a long-term basis, from as little as £350 per month, with them being able to use the studio from Monday to Friday, 8:00am. to 6:00pm. with an average of 22 working days per month of access, which works out to be approximately £16 per day, for a 10 hour day. That’s all well and good if you’re a signed band that can rehearse 5 days a week, but for other bands it requires a much greater commitment to take the room for the whole month. However, if your band has good relationships with other bands, and if your schedule is flexible enough, why not propose to them renting the studio between the different bands and split the time between the bands accordingly. We’ve had it happen here many times, and it can work out really well for everyone.

In the past we have had up to six bands split such long-term rentals, with one band being the named party on the rental contract, and the other five bands subleasing it off of the main band. If you were to be part of a 5 band, long term rental share, each of the bands would only need to pay £70 per month, and commit to at least 6 months of bookings to get access to a fifth of the sessions. Each day is split into two sessions, of 8am – 2pm and 2pm- 6pm, (with extra hours being given to the early band to compensate for the early start), which creates 44 half-sessions per month, or nearly 9 sessions per month, per band.

Sure, you have to find 4 other bands who want to do it, and you have to commit to rehearsing during the daytime, and you have to commit to the sessions months in advance, but if you manage it you’ll get access to 9 sessions per month, for £70 per month. That is less than £18 per band member, per month, for a 4 piece band member. Or £2 per session, per band member.

In this instance you trade the flexibility to use other studios and to take the time off when you need to, and in return you get really, really cheap rehearsal sessions. The rehearsal studio also gets a fixed income each and every month, without the worry of booking bands in, without the need to employ staff there since long term booking bands are given their own key to come and go as they please, so these bookings can provide a stable income for rehearsal studios at a time that such stability is desperately needed.

6) Don’t assume that the most expensive room is the best one. Ask to see the smaller rehearsal studios in advance to see if paying more really does get you a better studios.
We have different rooms available for different rates, and the bigger the room is, the more expensive it is. That’s one of only two factors that we have at Bally that changes the price of the studio rate, the other being that the more expensive studios have easier loading access. Apart from that, you’ll get the same amplifiers, the same PA, the same quality drum kits, and the same level of service whatever studio you book.
If you’re a band with 5+ members, booking a bigger studio will not only give you the extra room that you may need to have a better rehearsal session, but the extra cost will be split at least 5 ways, so it will be negligible for each band member. If you need the extra space, it’s money well spent. But it all depends on whether you need that extra space, and in many cases that isn’t always the case.

We had one particular regular 5 piece band in the past who always rehearsed in our biggest studio Studio 2 over many sessions, booking the room well in advance in order to get their preferred studio. They refused to book the smaller studios, and would change the day of their session if needed to secure their preferred studio. One week they snagged a great last minute gig which needed a last minute rehearsal, and the only studio that we had available was our smallest one. Upon us telling them this, there was a long pause on the phone……..followed by a sigh and another pause….. before they replied “go on then, as it’s so last minute I guess we don’t have much choice……” Crestfallen.
At the end of the session they came back into the office, empty coffee mugs in hand, and told us that the session was just as productive as the sessions in the bigger studios. “It was a bit more cramped, but we actually got everything that we needed to do in it, it did the job. ” Now, this isn’t to say that bands should always rehearse in smaller rooms all of the time to save money, but in many cases bands have preconceived ideas about what they will get out of a studio, without actually having any factual basis for that assumption. Therefore bands should take the opportunity to practice in a smaller or cheaper studio at least once so that they can see first hand whether the extra cost for the session is actually worth it.

7) Tell your rehearsal studios what jobs your band members have, in case they need your services at a later point.

If you've got 4/5 band members in your band, that's 4/5 opportunities to help a studio out with different trades or services. No matter how mundane you think your job may be, you may well be able to provide a valuable service for a rehearsal studio that could result in a discounted, or even free session. Remember, most rehearsal studios are run by a very small team of people and on a tight budget, and they also don't have the formalities that big businesses have. It's not like a multinational company where they'd need to pass a suggestion through 20 departments and the shareholders before it gets approved, in many cases you'll be dealing with either the studio manager or a person who talks to the studio manager in a daily basis, and the staff members will also likely have the autonomy to make decisions with little delay. If you’ve got something to offer them, the likelihood of striking a deal is very high.These are all actual services that we've personally needed over the years that allowed bands to get free/heavily discounted sessions at Bally Studios. These aren't hypothetical scenarios, they're actual real life examples that have actually happened at Bally. - The drummer who worked at a printer, who gave us a cheaper deal on flyers in return for free drum sessions. - The drummer who worked as a plasterer who helped arrange for supplies to be delivered to the studios for building work we were having done, (which took him a 2 minute phone call) who got to extend his bands session by an extra 2 hours for no extra charge.
- The singer who owned his own van who was happy to drop some amps off to a guitar repair shop in return for discounted sessions
- A pharmacist who gave us a job-lot of large plastic tubs for us to store cables and shop stock in, (which he was going to throw out anyway) in return for getting an extra hour of drum practice before their session.
- The guitarist who worked in a guitar shop in Leyton who did us a trade deal on 2 new bass amplifiers, who got a really great deal on a Friday to Sunday recording session in return.
- The singer in a covers band who was a solicitor, who was allowed to stay late on Saturday night, when the studio was otherwise closed, so that her band could get a few hours of free sessions in return for her giving us 15 minutes of her time to look over our new lease.
- The carpenter who helped us hang a new door on studio 5, who in return was able to order a heavily discounted bulk order of cables/strings at trade prices through our trade account.

In all of these examples the bands got free/heavily discounted sessions/stock by offering us services, whilst we were able to save ourselves money and hassle in return. No matter what job you have, you’d be surprised by how often a rehearsal studios can find something useful in it.

8) Don’t waste any time in your rehearsal doing things that you can do elsewhere.
The more organized you are in your rehearsal sessions, the fewer sessions you need to book and the more money you can save. The best way to do this is to only focus on the things that you NEED a soundproofed rehearsal studio to do. Restring your guitar at home, instead of wasting some of the 4 hours that are set aside for a band to work on their songs, which will not only waste the 10 minutes of your rehearsal session, but it will also save you wasting extra time throughout the first couple of hours of that session in re-tuning them consonantly between every song, until the strings have stretched out and settled. If you are a drummer that's bringing your own drum kit, ask if it is possible to turn up early (assuming that the studios are open before your session starts, which is not always possible) and unpack all of the drums in a common area outside of the rehearsal studios. This will give you time to take everything out of its case, to set the cymbals up on their stands, and to pack all the cases inside each other like Russian dolls, so that as soon as the session starts you can move the drums into the rehearsal studios, with them having already been unpacked and assembled at a time before you started paying for the studio by the hour. As obvious as it sounds, make sure that all band members turn up on time! A 4-hour session with all members turning up right on time is just as productive as a 5-hour session where the band members turn up an hour late, and it costs an hour less in studio fees. I know that this is such a basic point, but you would not believe how often it happens. If it takes you 5 - 10 minutes to get a great sound out of the PA, take out your phone and take a photo of the PA settings so that the next time you are in that studio you can pull out your phone and copy those settings from the previous sessions, to save extra time in any future sessions that would have otherwise been spent setting up the PA again. The same applies to guitar amplifiers, if you find a setting that you think sounds great, take a photo of the settings to save you time next time from needing to set it up again.
Here’s a link to a previous blog post that we did that explored how to get the absolute most out of your rehearsal session, and to make them as productive as possible. The more productive your sessions are, the less you’ll need to book and the more money you’ll save.
9) A better rehearsal studios can mean more productive sessions, of which you'll need less.

Booking a better quality rehearsal studio will likely save you money in the long term, even if it is slightly more expensive, in the same way that buying good quality shoes that last you for many years will save you money compared to buying cheaper shoes each and every year. I have been in bands myself using other studios where the PA system is not loud enough to cut above the sound of the instruments, and as a result we would get frustrated throughout the session, with the band’s productivity nose diving as a result. We were still rehearsing, technically, but we were not achieving anything, so we’d need to book additional sessions to make up for this. We would play for many hours and it was only within the last 30 minutes that we would notice a note in the bass line that was clashing with the guitars. If we had been able to hear the bass line clearer throughout the session then we would have been able to correct this quicker, but the small bass amplifier that was provided to us prevented us from doing this. In all cases, a rehearsal studio that is better set up for the band to hear the music that they are playing, is always going to make for a more productive session, and also a much more fun one - and there is no doubt that a session that is fun can often be much more productive from the band being in a better mood throughout it. The same applies to whether the rehearsal studios are staffed or not. Sure, there are some studios that allow you to book online that don’t have staff on site during the session, but then there’s no-one to check that the equipment is fully working before your session and to make sure that the bins are emptied, the carpet is vacuumed, the microphones are disinfected, (as we’ve been doing since 2007), and the PA is properly set up. Those studios that expect the bands to set everything up themselves are, frankly, showing such a level of disrespect to the bands that come to them that they should be avoided like the plague. It’s one thing when you’re booking a studio by the month, in which case you’ve used the PA for 50+ days in a row, so you know how to get the most out of it. It will also have been checked over by a staff member that day before your session. By contrast, if you book a 3-hour session and then turn up to find that the PA is not working at is should, then you’re not only missing out on valuable rehearsal time, but also you’re paying to fix the studios PA issues. We have had bands use such studios who have said that they turned up to their session, and the vocals weren’t coming out of the PA system properly. They contacted the staff member via the booking app, and they’d receive a reply along the lines of, “so what part of the PA system is the problem with? Is it the mixing desk? The cable? Is the microphone working? Does it have a switch on it? Is the channel muted? Is the XLR cable plugged in properly? Is the signal routed to the main output or the sub output? Is the mixing desk connected to the power amp? Is the power amp on? Is the power amp connected to the speakers? Are the speakers blown?” Such issues should not be left to the band to resolve, the studio staff should be doing it. If there’s no studio staff where you rehearse, then quite frankly you are being short-changed.

Some other studios offer cheaper equipment to bring the cost of the session down, but it’s a complete false economy if it means that your amplifiers are constantly being pushed to their limits, in which case there’s much more chance that they will develop problems throughout your session. A 3 hour session in a studio that is clean and set up when you arrive, with a friendly staff member that helps to put you in a good mood when you arrive and with equipment that allows you to get the very best out of your session, will be much more productive than a 4 session that starts with you wondering what the hell that smell is, trying to find a snare drum with a working snare lever, wasting 10 minutes trying to work out how to get reverb on the mixing desk, with all of the band members wondering what it is that is making the carpet so sticky. A bands progress is not measured in how many hours they put into the band, but what they get out of those hours, so make sure you choose a rehearsal studios that allows you to get as much out of your rehearsal sessions as possible so that you need to book less of those sessions, which in turn will save the band money. 10) Get a job working at a rehearsal studios.  This isn’t a realistic option for everyone, but some studios (including Bally Studios) allow their staff members get unlimited access to the rehearsal studios, for free, in "downtime", which is the name given to rehearsal slots that don’t have a band booked into it. Priority is always given to paying customers, but if there's a time when a studio would otherwise be sitting empty, then our staff members get to go in there with their bands and make use of the studio, for no charge. Apart from the cost of the electricity, which is minimal, the studios wouldn't have been used otherwise, so we are not missing out on any extra income, and the equipment would have just been sitting there unused, so it makes perfect sense to allow staff members to rehearse in otherwise empty slots. We have had staff members record whole albums in our studios with their own recording equipment, and so long as the band is happy to book either on the day, or the day before (to give priority to paying customers), working at a studio can provide you with free, unlimited access to studio time.
We've previously written a blog post here which gives advice for people looking to get a job in a rehearsal studio, and we have also had staff members in the past who have worked one day a week at Bally, and then others who were designated back-up staff members, who would fill in when other staff members took holidays or needed personal time, meaning their availability for 4-8 weeks of the year enabled them to make use of empty rehearsal slots for the rest of the year. Getting a job at a rehearsal studios is not only an opportunity to put extra cash in your pocket, but to also keep it in your pocket and save on future band rehearsal costs. We've explored the extra benefits of working in a rehearsal studio in this previous blog post.

11) Ask to make payments by bank transfer instead of credit/debit card.
We went into more detail on this point in another blog post, but we don't allow bands to make payments via credit/debit card as they bring a 3.5% fee with them. In certain rare circumstances the fees can be as much as 6%. It doesn't sound like too much, but a 3.5% fee on a £50 session is £1.75, and for a band doing 40 sessions a year, that's £70 gone on card fees alone. Most studios offer this payment method as it's quick and easy for the customer, but if you're willing to pay for your sessions via bank transfer that can be paid by a banking app instead, this method comes with no transaction fees at all. In doing so you'll be able to help the studios save on their fees, and in return you can ask if you can either get a discount on your session, or if you can get free studio time somewhere down the line.
12) Studio storage facilities are a great way to save money on your session. Bargain with your rehearsal studios to get them for cheap, or even free.
Being able to store your equipment at the studios means saving even more money on your transport to and from the studios, which will reduce the overall amount of money you’ll pay for your sessions. If you're bringing your guitars, guitar amplifiers, drum kits breakables and keyboards/stands to your session then you'll likely be driving to the studios. If you're able to store these items at the studios instead you can come by public transport, cycle or walk instead, saving on fuel and parking costs, etc. Most studios will charge for storage, as we do, but there's no shame in being direct with a studio and making the proposition that if they can store your back-line equipment for cheap/free, any extra money that you save will be put towards extra rehearsal sessions.

The feasibility of this depends on how much storage space they have and how much you need, but if you're paying £10 a week for storage, see if they can give you free storage on the basis that you increase the amount of sessions that you do by an extra session per month, from which they will earn an extra £50 a month. There's nothing wrong with offering a deal like this, the worst they can say is, "sorry, no, we can't do that." In which case, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Too many times bands don’t ask for a better deal as they are scared of the reaction that they'll get, but if the studio that you go to is going to respond in a way that is anything other than polite and respectful, then quite frankly you're better off going elsewhere.
13) Reliable bands will always get cheaper sessions.
There are associated costs that rehearsal studios will incur with any band booking, but some bands cost rehearsal studios much more than others. If you are a band that books a session and later cancels it at the last minute, and if you then resist paying the cancellation fee, the studio is going to have less incentive to keep you coming back to them then they would for a band that turns up to their session and pays on time. It's therefore much harder to make the case as to why your band should get a discount in future, if you are already costing the studio more in time and energy from them needing to chase you up.

Many rehearsal studios factor this in when deciding which bands to book in and which bands to give discounts to. If you are a band that is solid and reliable, with you either always turning up to your session or paying your cancellation fee on time and in full, then you are worth more to the rehearsal studio than a band who is notoriously flaky, and you will find that the rehearsal studio will likely offer you more discounts because your trade is worth more to them. We have had bands who have come to us for years who are as dependable as the day is long, and there have been times that they have booked a Friday-Saturday-Sunday rehearsal session, and we have given them the keys to their studio at 6pm on Saturday, the time that we would usually close early, so that they can continue rehearsing as long as they want to after we havefor gone home. We know that they are dependable and trustworthy, so it's no problem to allow them to have some extra free rehearsal time when we are not there. The fact that we could trust the band implicitly meant that they got extra from us. The same applies to numerous other studios.

When you are asking for a discount from a rehearsal studio, you are making the case to them that they should give you preferential treatment, In which case the question is, "why? What can you offer them that they can't get with another band?" The answer to this is simple: you are dependable, you always pay on time, and therefore it stands to reason that you can use this to chip away at the cost of your rehearsal session. It's less likely that you will be able to secure any discount if you cause the rehearsal studios extra lost income from not paying your cancellation fees, or if they need to put a lot of effort into chasing you up for such matters. 14) Ask for a loyalty discount at some point in the future.
The most obvious way to save money on your rehearsals is to just ask for a discount outright, but that's not always possible. However, in cases where it is, there’s ways that you need to do so to increase your chances of being successful. Some bands ask us if they can get a discount on their first session, on the basis that if we do, “then we will keep coming back for many years.” The problem with this is that they are asking for a discount in return for their loyalty - at a time that the studio has no way to know if they will be loyal or not, and that's what makes it a tough sell. The risk is on the side of the studios.

However, why not turn this situation on its head. If you find a rehearsal studio that you like, ask them for a discount, but only once you have proved to them that they can rely on your loyalty. You can do this by offering to pay for the first 11 sessions at full rate, so long as you can get the 12th one at a discounted rate, or even free. This is a MUCH easier sell, as the studio only incurs a drop in their income at a time that they have already earned sufficient money from those first 11 sessions. There’s a HUGE difference between offering to put money into a business’s pocket first, and then get a discount later, rather than asking for a discount now on the promise of giving them something later.

The same applies if the studio has a shop with a trade account. Propose to the studio that if you do 20 sessions in the next year, they will then agree to waive their profit margin on any shop stock that they sell to you, which will allow the band to save even more money. In this case you are asking them to give up potential profit margins that they may not have even made in the future, in return for you being a solid dependable band for those 20 sessions. The same applies to band storage for your musical instruments, there’s no reason that you can’t ask, up front, if you can pay your studio fees as usual, but once you book your 10th-20th session with them, will they include free storage for your band?

The best way to ask for a discount is to say to whatever studio you use, “If we are good customers to you, and if we pay at the full rate now, what extra benefits or discount will you give us in the future?”

15) Ask the studios if you can get credit for bringing new bands to the studios.
It costs money for each rehearsal studio to attract new bands to come to it, whether that be in advertising, or the time taken for staff members to liaise with other people that work in the music industry. For many years we have run a scheme where band members can earn £5, every time that a band comes to us that was introduced to the studio from that band. If Band A is happy to recommend the studio to Band B, Band C and Band D, all of whom come to the studio three times, then we will give Band A a £45 credit towards their future rehearsal sessions, £5 credit per session, from all of the first 3 sessions, for each of the three bands.

We see it as a great way to get bands in the door where we only have costs at a time after the bookings have been made, so we are more than happy to give this credit to any band who is able to spread the word. If the rehearsal studio that you are using does not have the same policy, why not just approach them and suggest the idea to them, of them giving your band a discount on your session price, for every new band that you introduce to them? This option can be particularly lucrative if you are working a role where you meet many other bands, such as a sound engineer or even as a bartender at a music venue.


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