“ For only three pieces this is too expensive for me.”
“ For only three pieces this is too expensive for me.”

“ For only three pieces this is too expensive for me.”

 For only three pieces this is too expensive for me.”

Our experience shows that the effort and the costs involved in a professional and well prepared performance are unfortunately often underestimated, forgetting that a musician is a small business. The annual costs for social benefits, insurances, instruments (maintenance, spare parts, new purchases…), premises and so on must be covered by the annual income. And in addition, of course, the idea of making a profit would be “to earn something with it”.

How much money is left at the end (net)?

Wenn du deine Tätigkeit als Musiker seriös kalkulierst, sind folgende Abzüge zwingend:

If you calculate your activity as a musician seriously, the following deductions are mandatory:

7.8% AHV

1.4% IV

0.5% EO

3.5% BVG (occupational pension plan and 3rd pillar, voluntary but recommended)

8.7% Vacations (4 weeks a year)

3.0% Practice room (500 CHF per month; acceptance)

3.0% For instruments (maintenance, spare parts, new purchases; estimation)

4.0% For insurance companies: Instrument insurance, business insurance (accident, liability, etc.; estimate). Partly voluntary but certainly recommendable.

In total, we thus arrive at deductions of 31.9% (ALV (unemployment insurance) is not possible for self-employed persons; KV (health insurance) is a private matter; family allowances are voluntary; VAT is only mandatory for annual sales of CHF 100,000 or more).

You also have to take into account that you have ongoing expenses that have to be made as a musician anyway:

  • 20% Backoffice, Administration, Akquise, Marketing, Social Media (1 day per week)
  • 26% Own practice (1,5 hours per day)

If we now assume an hourly rate of CHF 150 (this is an average hourly rate of a car repair shop in Zurich), then you only have 22.1% effective salary, i.e. CHF 33.15 per hour net.

What can you do with statements like:


For only half an hour of music it is too expensive”?

subito mf has created and prepared a professional OFFER-TEMPLE (DE) for download, which you can adapt and personalize according to your wishes. It is based on offers from the private sector or small business. The trick is to be as transparent as possible, but also to point out meticulously all the points that cause you costs, which arise from the commitment – and which you would like to have compensated. the idea is also that the customer is sensitized to which services are compensated by the fee. positive side effect: If you e.g. charge the 9.7% of the social security benefits additionally and separately, you increase your net income without charging an “all too high” hourly wage.

How to use the quote template


Open the offer template with a PDF program such as “Preview” on a Mac or Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can find here. Afterwards you can fill out the form, the fields to be filled out are marked. Read the form carefully and add/delete everything that is necessary. Since we have also inserted placeholder text, it is important to look carefully!

IMPORTANT: Once you have completed the form, it is important that you do NOT simply save and send the completed form, otherwise the customer will be able to open it and edit it easily (as if you were sending a normal Word document). If this is not possible (as unfortunately with Acrobat Reader), print the form and send your customer a scan – this way you are on the safe side.

Costs for the engagement time

The attendance time (whether you play all the time is irrelevant, you are on site and cannot play at someone else’s place!) is charged in the hourly rate. How much should your hourly rate be? Of course everyone can decide that for himself. A car repair shop, for example, charges around CHF 140 per hour, a lawyer CHF 250 to CHF 450 per hour and in the IT industry around CHF 200 per hour is common. We recommend to split the costs in the offer:

– Performance per hour or part thereof Presence time: XXX CHF per hour

– Construction and dismantling: XXX CHF (can be a flat rate)

– Soundcheck: XXX CHF (can be flat rate)

Fixed costs

This includes the meeting with the client and the individual program composition (e.g. searching for sheet music, buying, preparing etc.), rehearsal and practice times (for this gig!) and other expenses directly related to the offered engagement.

Whether you take care of your own accounting, administration, advertising, acquisition, etc. or whether this is done externally (for a fee, of course), these costs must be included here. Also insurances (e.g. instrument insurance) and room rent must be covered.

– Preparation, own practice and rehearsals: XXX CHF per service (for example)

– Discussion with the client and individual program composition: XXX CHF (can be a flat rate)

– Administration: XXX CHF (flat rate)

– Material costs (instrument wear and maintenance, clothing, score music, rehearsal and practice room and swt): XXX CHF (flat rate)


Under this point the use of the means of transport (usually car) is compensated according to kilometers, e.g. according to GoogleMaps. Usually CHF 0.50 to CHF 0.70 is charged per kilometer driven.

Social benefits

As a self-employed person you have to bear the costs for all social benefits such as (AHV/IV/pension fund / vacation compensation etc.) yourself. For AHV/IV/EO alone, you have to add 9.7% of the fee.

Discounts? Compromises?

Sometimes you can’t get a fair price despite all your efforts. If there is no other possibility (we have experienced it ourselves), you can give a discount, but we do not recommend to give “general discounts”, but to offer a little less for each discount or to make a concession to the customer. This is psychologically important, because otherwise the customer has the feeling that your service is negotiable and therefore the price is arbitrary, i.e. if the customer wants to pay 5% less, you can arrange for example 2 pieces less or 30 minutes less presence time. Or maybe he can have you picked up at the station by car, so you can take the train instead of renting a car. If you are forced to give discounts, in EVERY case, indicate them in the offer so that it is clear what the original price is and how much your service would cost “in reality”. If you deduct 10% of the total amount at the end, it may be a lot of money. Think about “giving” a part of it (e.g. the costs for the expenses or the soundcheck) and show it in your offer by listing the costs and calculating them away at the end. This way the fair price is visible and you effectively make “a gift”.