When I grew up dreaming of rockstardom, I never realized how many spreadsheets I would have to make. But they’ve become so indispensable to me that I’ve even named this column in their honor! Below I’ve included the spreadsheet templates my projects use to stay organized for booking, advances, finances, merchandise inventory, and our gear while on the road.
Booking spreadsheet: Where it all begins! Initially, booking a tour yourself is the messiest part, so it’s best to keep it all organized in one place so you don’t accidentally double book yourself or book a city on the wrong day. Use google drive when booking tours so that everyone in the band can easily check the spreadsheet.
Useful columns to include: Date / City / Outreach&Contacts / Venue / Bands / Door Deal or Guarantee / Accommodation / Notes / Confirmed (y/n).
Advancing Spreadsheet: Once all the shows on your tour are confirmed, each venue will (hopefully) send you an advance email that includes load in time, sound check time, your set time, the deal you made with the venue, backline, hospitality, and any other important details, usually a couple weeks to a month prior to the show. Feel free to reach out to the venues before you leave and send them your stage plot and input list if they haven’t sent you their advance yet.
Useful columns to include: Date / Departure time (day of) / Venue Address / Venue Contact / Load in Time / Soundcheck & Set Time / Backline / Bands / Accommodation / Driving Time to Next City / Notes.
Working Financial Spreadsheet & The Envelope System: To keep our finances organized, I use four labeled envelopes for cash and receipts. There are two envelopes for cash: one for door/guarantees, and one for merchandise sales. Receipts that receive throughout the day (from gas/tolls/parking/hotels/etc.) have their own envelope; after I enter them into our expenses spreadsheet, they go in a different envelope labeled “Filed Receipts.” I use an excel sheet with formulas in it to automatically calculate how much cash we have at the end. Always double check that the info has been entered in correctly!
Merchandise Inventory Spreadsheet: Before I leave for tour, I enter the inventory for each item that we are taking with us into this sheet. It’s kind of difficult to keep track of what’s sold every night if you have multiple people working at the merch table. I usually just put in how much we made in merch total each night and then do a count when I get back from tour of what’s left over. I include a ‘Items Sold’ column for each night in case we want to keep track of our most in-demand items.
Gear Checklist: This one you can tape to the dashboard of your van and also to the inside of the back door of your van. Every time you load your stuff into the van at the end of the night, be sure to do an idiot check and say out loud all the gear that is in the van. You’ll be less likely to leave something at the venue only to realize until you’re 100 miles away the next day if you do this!
Though being part of a touring band seems like it’s all fun and games, a lot of work and organization goes into making those tours a success. But that doesn’t mean everything is a drag, either. Even if you can’t 100% predict what happens on the road, using simple tools to keep it all together ensures you’ll at least have a smoother ride.