Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
How to Get by with High Gas Prices as a Band on the Road
No matter where you are in the country, or what stage of touring and playing shows your band is at, we know that you're feeling this gas price rise... hard. Breaking even on the road is difficult enough to do with expenses being low, but with such a high price to get from show to show, we have a few suggestions for getting by without having to curb your touring or going into debt to do it. And hey, with the money you save, you could be buying more merchandise, and making more money to get you through life on the road!
We know that every dollar counts, so hopefully by integrating some of these suggestions into your tour, you can work on keeping more money in your pocket and less at the pump!
Split expenses with a second band. One easy way to split expenses right in half is to buddy up with a second band on the road. Especially if you're already planning to tour with a band, there's no reason to pay gas for each van when you're going to all the same destinations. All it takes is a trailer and a van that can fit all the band members; if you already have that, then scoot on over and cozy up with your friends- sure beats paying twice at the same pump! Don't think you have enough room for 2 bands-worth of equipment in the trailer? Keep your new mentality going and share! Less equipment to lug, and less weight in the trailer= less gas to get to your next gig.
Share equipment. This option may not work for everyone, but if you're doing a smaller-circuit tour, this may be a good short-term option for saving some gas money. Not to say you couldn't do it on a grander-scale though if you wanted to put in the effort. If you have some out-of-town shows coming up, try reaching out to some of the local bands on the bill to see if you can use their equipment. If all you have to bring to the gigs are your guitars, symbols, sticks, picks, and yourselves, you can fit the band in a passenger car, as opposed to a gas-guzzling van. Load up the small equipment (and maybe the drummer) in the trunk, and you're on your way! This is also a great way to bond with your band, especially if you're traveling in a very fuel-efficient little set of wheels!.
Pay cash. It's safe to say that paying for your gas in cash rather than using a card will almost always cost you less. If you're doing a lot of driving, that little bit of savings adds up, so ditch the plastic and pay cash when you can. Concerned about keeping track of how much you're spending? Print out a simple spreadsheet with the date, location of fill up, and amount spent; or just keep an envelope with gas receipts under your visor..
Head off the freeway. Gas tends to be more expensive on main roads than on smaller routes. If you don't have to go too far out of your way (ie. you're not literally in the middle of nowhere), take an extra minute to head down the off-ramp and find a local gas station instead of the Exxon along the freeway. Not only will you be saving some potentially significant cash, but who knows what you'll discover along the way!.
Ask for a higher guarantee. This suggestion sounds great in theory, but unfortunately you can't always control the outcome of this. However, it doesn't hurt to try. We understand that a lot of times you feel lucky to get any gig, regardless of the pay. If you have agreed on getting gas money in exchange for your performance, be upfront about how the rise in gas prices has effected you and ask for a higher guarantee. They may not always go for it, but it's a reasonable request..