Pricing one standard price vs package pricing

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LittleTreeGuy

DJ Extraordinaire
Jul 30, 2021
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I did try to search the forums, but didn't find much on this... sorry if it's over-discussed.

As a new mobile DJ, I'm working on my pricing. This post will relate mainly to wedding package pricing. Pricing for private parties/bar/PA setups, etc would be different altogether. I see a lot of DJ's in my area and on different forums do a lot of package and/or a la carte pricing. Packages go up depending on if you want subs, up-lighting, monogram, wireless mics, etc.

To me, it seems so much simpler to offer just one package, or one price and if something is requested outside of that, maybe I work it in. For example, you want dancing on the clouds... (I'd have to rent that machine, so the cost of the rental plus x amount for my time or a friend to run it for an hour or whatever). I know it's a lot of preference... there is no right or wrong way, supposedly, just whatever works for me... That's my opinion. Some will say, you have to do it how Joe Bunn does it. I don't doubt that he knows things that work well in a lot of cases, but I'm not, nor will ever be Joe Bunn. If I know I like taking lights and subs to any wedding I plan on doing simply because I feel that is what looks professional, is it wrong to offer that for one simple price? Obviously, I'm not trying to beat the other DJ's by pricing, I'll set my pricing on the local market and my abilities. I just see the look on a couples face when someone asks them if they want to spend $300 for subs at their reception. Most of the time, they have no clue. To be honest, it makes me feel a little shady.... use car-salesman like. I'd rather just factor into the price of my desired earnings, the cost of my equipment, and say something like, my services are $X/hour with a 4 hour minimum.

So what say you all.... Is this too simple or a bad approach?
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,875
5,189
Evaluate each job on it's own merits. Every customer deserves at least that much.

We're either affordable and capable for a given situation, or we're not. What's required of us is the ability to show someone why something is necessary for their event and that we are the best support person to deliver it reliably.

There is no "magic formula" to pricing that can trick people into paying for something they don't want. Yes, there are DJs who craftily call their clients two weeks before the event - a time when they are most anxious and vulnerable to a variety of up-sells, but customers will always have the benefit of hind-sight. They'll remember in the end how they were treated and if everything we did was truly credible and fully worth it.
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
18,340
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Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
Trying to sell individual pieces, like subs, is a losing proposition. I prefer to take a 3-tier approach; Basic (minimal), Medium and Deluxe. In the DJ world, it does seem to be pretty standard to sell ceremony service as an add-on (as it requires a separate sound system). What I always found was a pretty even split between those three levels, and offering packages with combinations of services seems to make it easier for the client to decide on their purchase.
 

Ausumm

Gold Plated Productions
Oct 21, 2008
11,726
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Bethlehem PA
I'm one of the few DJ's who price by the hour. I also include dance floor lights at no charge, so a client cannot eliminate lights to get a lower rate.
If the job requires a second system, extra equipment or lights, or longer travel, I charge extra.
 

LittleTreeGuy

DJ Extraordinaire
Jul 30, 2021
104
237
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I'm one of the few DJ's who price by the hour. I also include dance floor lights at no charge, so a client cannot eliminate lights to get a lower rate.
If the job requires a second system, extra equipment or lights, or longer travel, I charge extra.
This is sort of the route I'm thinking about going.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
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Let me say this. You mentioned using a sub or subs at a wedding you're the DJ doing it. First find out if you need to use subs at the wedding. Some events you won't need to use subs because of the size of the room and subs might be overkill. Also when using subs you need to be careful that the subs aren't over powering the tops making it sound horrible. Years ago We were doing an event in a hotel that had a big ballroom where a wedding reception was taking place. In that room you had to use at least one sub or it wouldn't sound right.
 

Jeff Romard

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Sep 4, 2006
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Let me say this. You mentioned using a sub or subs at a wedding you're the DJ doing it. First find out if you need to use subs at the wedding. Some events you won't need to use subs because of the size of the room and subs might be overkill. Also when using subs you need to be careful that the subs aren't over powering the tops making it sound horrible. Years ago We were doing an event in a hotel that had a big ballroom where a wedding reception was taking place. In that room you had to use at least one sub or it wouldn't sound right.
You can always use subs and make things sound better you don't always need subs...

@LittleTreeGuy I start with the most basic of packages and build for their needs. My base is 4 Hours usually 9-1 in this area full sound system gig bar for lighting and all consultations . Need ceremony or extra hours it's an add on. Travel is an add on. I tinkered with packages for years this seems to be what works the best for me and the client in this market. I ask them what they need and discuss the options and then quote them I don't tell them it's add ons just here's the price and what they get.

If I were you I'd do a little market research. See what others are doing and either be similar or completely different and stand out a bit
 

DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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I am currently doing packages, and have been doing the "3 packages" for like 7 years now. I have been considering changing that up though. As time marches on, I get less and less brides telling me they want this package or that package. They just want to know how much for ceremony and reception for 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. on their date. Then i end up telling them which package I believe works best for them which is always my mid tier package, and I let them know about my top package if they want more lighting, and full room up lights.

I am considering going back to one price all inclusive and sell it as what most of my clients choose. OR they can go with a la carte pricing, and I start at XXX for 4 hours of performance time, and a basic sound system then give them a price list menu for all of the add ons.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,186
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NJ
www.djtaso.com
I did try to search the forums, but didn't find much on this... sorry if it's over-discussed.

As a new mobile DJ, I'm working on my pricing. This post will relate mainly to wedding package pricing. Pricing for private parties/bar/PA setups, etc would be different altogether. I see a lot of DJ's in my area and on different forums do a lot of package and/or a la carte pricing. Packages go up depending on if you want subs, up-lighting, monogram, wireless mics, etc.

To me, it seems so much simpler to offer just one package, or one price and if something is requested outside of that, maybe I work it in. For example, you want dancing on the clouds... (I'd have to rent that machine, so the cost of the rental plus x amount for my time or a friend to run it for an hour or whatever). I know it's a lot of preference... there is no right or wrong way, supposedly, just whatever works for me... That's my opinion. Some will say, you have to do it how Joe Bunn does it. I don't doubt that he knows things that work well in a lot of cases, but I'm not, nor will ever be Joe Bunn. If I know I like taking lights and subs to any wedding I plan on doing simply because I feel that is what looks professional, is it wrong to offer that for one simple price? Obviously, I'm not trying to beat the other DJ's by pricing, I'll set my pricing on the local market and my abilities. I just see the look on a couples face when someone asks them if they want to spend $300 for subs at their reception. Most of the time, they have no clue. To be honest, it makes me feel a little shady.... use car-salesman like. I'd rather just factor into the price of my desired earnings, the cost of my equipment, and say something like, my services are $X/hour with a 4 hour minimum.

So what say you all.... Is this too simple or a bad approach?
Before I answer... I'd really like to know what add-ons, if any, you plan on offering besides sound.
 
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LittleTreeGuy

DJ Extraordinaire
Jul 30, 2021
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Before I answer... I'd really like to know what add-ons, if any, you plan on offering besides sound.
The only add-on's I can think of currently would be a cloud machine, fog machine, uplights, or ceremony sound/mics.


I know subs aren't required at every location, but for a wedding, I WANT to provide full range sound because that's what I like, so I'll have them at any wedding I do. Also, another reason for doing my full setup at every wedding is because I feel like every wedding I do may be an interview for the next wedding I MIGHT get. If I'm there with two tops and using a venue table, maybe that won't impress someone... but If I have a full sound system, lights, and a professional booth, that may impress them enough to want me at their next event. They don't often know by first sight, I offer packages. I aim to impress each and every wedding. That's my goal.
 

djtaso

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Apr 4, 2017
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The only add-on's I can think of currently would be a cloud machine, fog machine, uplights, or ceremony sound/mics.


I know subs aren't required at every location, but for a wedding, I WANT to provide full range sound because that's what I like, so I'll have them at any wedding I do. Also, another reason for doing my full setup at every wedding is because I feel like every wedding I do may be an interview for the next wedding I MIGHT get. If I'm there with two tops and using a venue table, maybe that won't impress someone... but If I have a full sound system, lights, and a professional booth, that may impress them enough to want me at their next event. They don't often know by first sight, I offer packages. I aim to impress each and every wedding. That's my goal.
You don't have enough add'ons to really make "packages". You should have your base package be set for the standard amount of reception hours in your area. Here, that is 4hrs, in other parts it's 5 or 6. Then, for now, do a la carte options for a ceremony system, dancing on clouds and uplighting (fog machines are not an add-on for weddings, and respectfully suggest you not use it. I would offer a discount of $50 if two of the 3 items are added and a $100 discount if bundling all 3 add-ons. If you start offering cocktail hour services, quality dancefloor lighting, sparklers, photo booths, monograms, etc... then I would recommend going the package route (basic package, a medium package focusing on dancefloor lighting and uplighting, and then a top tier for the works). Sound should never be compromised, and should not be an upcharge to have better sound. That's a reflection of you.
 

Albatross

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Sep 7, 2016
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I don't find many people do this the way that I do, but it seems to work for me. I use a flat rate pricing system based on what portions of the wedding they need me for. And then I have "packages" for lighting.

So it's $X as a base rate to DJ & MC the reception. If they need another system for cocktails, it's $Y. And if they need ceremony it's additional $Z.

I also do not force them to commit to the whole package at the time of booking. They are agreeing to work with me on the reception with the choice to add ceremony, cocktails, or lighting if they need to later. So I often formalize the package during my planning meeting to make sure I know exactly what they need and I just adjust my final invoice.

I've often found that at the point of booking, couples aren't exactly sure what they need yet. Maybe they aren't sure if there is room in the budget for uplights or not. Rather than trying to sell harder right there, I step back and say "I get it, you've hiring a whirlwind of vendors. If you think I'm the right fit you can secure me for the date and we can figure out the details." But everything is priced out on their contract so it's not like I'm shocking them with a price later. It just says... if you want my uplighting package it's $500 and you have the option.

The downside to doing it that way is planning. Even if I know that I have 2 weddings booked next month, I don't know exactly what I'll make in revenue. I know I'll make at least the balance of the receptions, but it could be considerably higher. So I tend to build conservative budgets and then let revenue surprise to the upside which is nice.
 
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djtaso

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Apr 4, 2017
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I don't find many people do this the way that I do, but it seems to work for me. I use a flat rate pricing system based on what portions of the wedding they need me for. And then I have "packages" for lighting.

So it's $X as a base rate to DJ & MC the reception. If they need another system for cocktails, it's $Y. And if they need ceremony it's additional $Z.

I also do not force them to commit to the whole package at the time of booking. They are agreeing to work with me on the reception with the choice to add ceremony, cocktails, or lighting if they need to later. So I often formalize the package during my planning meeting to make sure I know exactly what they need and I just adjust my final invoice.

I've often found that at the point of booking, couples aren't exactly sure what they need yet. Maybe they aren't sure if there is room in the budget for uplights or not. Rather than trying to sell harder right there, I step back and say "I get it, you've hiring a whirlwind of vendors. If you think I'm the right fit you can secure me for the date and we can figure out the details." But everything is priced out on their contract so it's not like I'm shocking them with a price later. It just says... if you want my uplighting package it's $500 and you have the option.

The downside to doing it that way is planning. Even if I know that I have 2 weddings booked next month, I don't know exactly what I'll make in revenue. I know I'll make at least the balance of the receptions, but it could be considerably higher. So I tend to build conservative budgets and then let revenue surprise to the upside which is nice.
Being that I own everything, I also do the whole book now and add items later. Couples love that, especially since all the multi-ops here force them to add stuff at signing (which makes sense, because they have multiple couples going after the same inventory of equipment and techs/assistants). It's been one of the top questions I get at the time of booking, since most couples want to ensure they get me, but have no idea what else they want. Couples have until the finalization phase to decide their items (1 month before the wedding), so that way we know what we're discussing, especially if there is a photobooth or ceremony for example. The pricing catalog they get at the time of booking is the price I go by when they add stuff later.

As far as planning financially... while I won't know the final package amount until I get closer... I will know that a certain minimum needs to be met ($3250). As long as I hit that number, I'm satisfied, everything beyond that is a bonus.
 

sawdust123

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Nov 10, 2006
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I have taken the shingle down but I thought if I ever got back into it, I would use airline pricing. Have you ever noticed on a plane that no two people pay the same price and the person next to you always paid less? And the planes are packed! They must be on to something.
 

DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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I don't find many people do this the way that I do, but it seems to work for me. I use a flat rate pricing system based on what portions of the wedding they need me for. And then I have "packages" for lighting.

So it's $X as a base rate to DJ & MC the reception. If they need another system for cocktails, it's $Y. And if they need ceremony it's additional $Z.

I also do not force them to commit to the whole package at the time of booking. They are agreeing to work with me on the reception with the choice to add ceremony, cocktails, or lighting if they need to later. So I often formalize the package during my planning meeting to make sure I know exactly what they need and I just adjust my final invoice.

I've often found that at the point of booking, couples aren't exactly sure what they need yet. Maybe they aren't sure if there is room in the budget for uplights or not. Rather than trying to sell harder right there, I step back and say "I get it, you've hiring a whirlwind of vendors. If you think I'm the right fit you can secure me for the date and we can figure out the details." But everything is priced out on their contract so it's not like I'm shocking them with a price later. It just says... if you want my uplighting package it's $500 and you have the option.

The downside to doing it that way is planning. Even if I know that I have 2 weddings booked next month, I don't know exactly what I'll make in revenue. I know I'll make at least the balance of the receptions, but it could be considerably higher. So I tend to build conservative budgets and then let revenue surprise to the upside which is nice.

Maybe only 15% to 20%% of our couples add the up lighting in at signing. Most couples add the up lighting in down the road.

My brother had a couple add up lighting in 2 weeks before the wedding in October. FORTUNATELY, my wedding did not have up lights so I was able to rent a set of wireless lights to him. I have a new formula for 2021. I am going to email every prospect a complete price sheet. So they have all of my pricing so they know what the price is down the road (Unless they forget, or never bothered to open and read it).
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Oct 16, 2011
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One great piece of advice is to examine what things you have to offer and decide from there what you should charge for what you have to offer. You may not have a lot to offer to justify charging more for those items. My suggestion is to first value what you feel your skills are worth and then sound you're using. Don't include things you have as add ons with that. Keep them separate from each other and then if you choose decide what you will sell with what for packages. Also as it has been said to figure in the hours of the event and also the distance to get to the event as well. No need of giving the same price if the event is say 100 miles away.
 

DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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So you were not using the lights for your gig, but rented them out to your brother? Do you not like your brother?

So you would gladly give other DJs your equipment at no charge, and let them make money on the stuff you invested money in yourself?

To be clear, it was an event that he was subcontracted on, and the person who booked him was making money on the Up Lights as well simply by adding them to the agreement when the client requested them.
 
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