The music industry is not known for its accountants and math wizards. Budgeting is a powerful tool that can be used to organize finances in every area of your life, especially touring. Tour expenses add up quickly and it is important to save pennies when you can. Here are a few tips that will help you save money on the road, hit sales targets, and have a successful tour.

Drill Down Into What You Really Need to Spend Money On

There are a few categories of expenses where money should absolutely be allocated. Expenses like food and travel (gas, airfare, etc.) are inevitable. You may also need to consider booking and management fees as fixed costs during the tour. How much will you be promoting your shows? Having a marketing budget that includes printing flyers and social media advertisements is very common. These are all common and crucial expenses while on the road. Do you need to budget for 5 trips to Dave & Buster’s? Probably not.

Create Sales Targets That Reflect an Actual Tour

Every night will not be the same. Low turnout to a show can happen for a multitude of reasons. Bad weather, big sports events, and competing shows can make it difficult to predict what you will make on any given night. To mitigate this, set realistic sales targets based on capacity. If you typically make $200 when the capacity is 500, that is your 100% goal. If you make $150 when the capacity is 400, that is your 80% goal, and so on and so forth. Ideally you want to exceed your sales target each night. This tactic will enable you to be realistic about your budget and better plan for the days ahead.

Still estimated to lose money on tour? Here are a few more tips:

  • Need more income? Raise the ticket price. Not a $20 ticket act yet?
  • Prioritize merchandise. Get fan feedback on items and designs to sell. Display your merch so everyone can see it and invest in a good salesperson.

Your budgeting will not be perfect the first few times. This is an important process to learn from and fine-tune as you go.

Photo by Frankie Valentine on Unsplash