This information is for the emerging artist. Established Artists will have Managers and/or a Road Manager who will prepare the budget for them. I know the last thing you want to think about when planning a tour is the budget, but if you think you can wing it.....oh please don't, you'll regret it. I'll help you, soon I will upload some budget templates you can use to make the process easier, you will have to fill in the blanks though, I'm not psychic.

I'm sure you've done your homework, you've analyzed your social media data, you've reached out to fans, you have an idea how many many people will come out to your shows.  In other words, you know what cities you want to play and probably even know what venue. But before you book the shows you'll have to know how much money you need to break even - everything else is gravy.


You want to do as many shows a week as possible, every day off is money lost on rentals, accommodations, salaries, etc. But you also can't exhaust yourselves, cancellations cost more, because there's no money coming in.


No matter how you're going about booking dates, sonicbids, reaching out to venues yourselves, opening up for someone, etc., you have to know your nut!  You have to know how much you need to make per week. So let's break it down.


For this overview, we'll assume it's National tour, one currency, and low budget (van.)


Gear: you can't rely on the venue to fulfill all your technical rider requirements, their Sound & Lights are what they are. If there is a particular piece of equipment you need to achieve your sound, you should rent it yourselves and bring it on tour with you, if at all possible.


Here are the other categories you have to fill in:


Salaries: Generally the band gets paid last, if there's any money left over, but you more than likely have to pay the crew. (Sometimes crew will work for the experience instead of a salary.)


Per Diems: Average $25 a day sometimes more, sometimes less, but everybody should get the same.


Travel: Van or Trucks or both, you will need to budget for rental plus insurance, gas and tolls. You want availability and reliability: Here are a few suggestions: Bandago ~ GreenVans ~ State Van


Local transportation: when you've found a parking space and you need to keep the spot for an extended period of time, you'll need to take taxis to get around. 


Tips & Gratuities & Laundry


Accommodations: Even if you're determined to save money by sleeping in the van, you want to get a day room or two for showers, (hygiene and sanity.) You could also look into AirBnB's, Band Swaps, etc.




Miscellaneous Gear 




Show supplies 


Office supplies 




Itineraries & Passes


Merch COGS: If you're selling merchandise yourself.


Those are the basics for a small budget club tour. You should have a contingency fund though, say 5%? For unforeseen expenses. Don't make the mistake of relying on merchandise revenues to make up any shortfalls. 


Now look at routing to cover the cities where you have the most support and route as straight a line as possible, (see: Routing) then go ahead and book your gigs. (Major Markets can pay more than Secondary and Tertiary.) If you're an opening act, see if you can get some of your gear on the Headliner's trucks.


This is just an overview, I will get more specific very soon. 


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