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Major Expenses

Getting the Band Back Together: Plan Ahead Before the Band Goes On Tour

band on tour

You’re putting the finishing touches on your band’s first album and ready to go out and build new fan bases by taking your tunes on the road. But how do you actually plan for, much less afford your first tour?

One indie band spent $24,000 on two different credit cards just to get their tour going.

While hitting the road may be more about sharing your music than getting rich, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run the numbers and make a plan for your financials.

In fact, it’s a good idea to start laying the groundwork for your tour at least six months in advance.

Not only will this give you time to map out your tour route, coordinate logistics and schedule yourself at various venues, it will give you valuable time to build your cash cushion for hotel stays, food, gas and the other miscellaneous costs of tour life.

Know What You Need Before Going on Tour with the Band

By taking a full inventory of your touring needs well in advance, you’ll be able to identify what, if any, expenses you need to finance.

For example, you may want to upgrade some of your equipment and purchase a few back up essentials like extra guitar strings, drum heads and cables.

Investing in some heavy-duty road cases, a trailer and a solid lock to keep your equipment safely packed may also be a priority. Plus, you’ll need to secure a tour vehicle – making sure you get the oil changed, the tires checked and all the requisite maintenance done before hitting the open road.

In short, the upfront costs of going on tour can add up fast.

The Personal Loan Option for a DIY Tour

While the price tag of a tour may feel entirely overwhelming, a practical tool like a personal loan can help fill in the gap between your savings and your expenses as you finalize preparations.

A personal loan from Discover could allow you to get up to $35,000 at a fixed interest rate with flexible monthly payment options.

It’s an option to consider if you need money relatively quickly to get your band on the road.

Figure Out Your Day-to-Day Financials

Once you’ve assessed your upfront costs, it’s time to plan for the day-to-day financials of tour life.

Factor in any guarantees from the venues you’ll be playing to estimate your earnings. While you may get a cut of the door fees, don’t count on that money to cover your essentials. Being realistic about what’s guaranteed will ensure you can support yourself on the road, and any extra cash will be gravy.

In addition to underestimating your revenue, remember to overestimate your expenses.

It’s not just travel costs you need to consider, but additional expenses like crew members, promotion and booking agent commissions. Even if you’re DIY-ing many of these tasks, there still may be costs associated. Just making copies of posters costs money!

In addition to planning for all of these add-on expenses, be sure to also build a buffer for emergencies like a flat tire or last minute itinerary change. Having plenty of cash on hand can help offset some of the stress of an unexpected mini-crisis.

As you fill in the details of your day-to-day spending plan, remember to get creative. Reach out to friends and family around the country to see if you can crash with them while you’re in town to save on hotel stay. See if you can negotiate dinner and drinks into your agreement with local venues. Bring a cooler to store breakfast and sandwich making essentials, so you’re not going out for each and every meal.

When planning a tour, the key is to know where every expense is going to come from ahead of time.

Knowing exactly how much you need will help you determine just how much financing you need to secure ahead of time so you don’t run into a stressful situation in the last minute.

Be Collaborative

As you plot out all of these financial details, be sure to include all band members in the process.

While one of you may take the lead on organizing the logistics and calculating the budget, it’s important to communicate and agree on expectations regarding revenue sharing and costs before any decisions are finalized.

Will you be splitting revenue equally? Will you have a daily budget for the group or per person? If someone wants to grab a drink after the show, does that come out of their personal budget or the band’s budget?

It’s important that each of you consider these questions during the pre-planning stages of your tour so that when you actually get on the road, you can all focus on what really matters, making great music with great people.