School & Teen Events Pricing

BlueLineDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Jan 25, 2015
821
High schools around here have dances usually in September, Nov/Dec and then February. They are priced lower b/c they require less equipment and run shorter. Proms begin near the end of April and require more equipment and the events themselves last longer and therefore justify a higher price tag.
 

Valerie Hicks

Moderator
Staff member
So what is the difference between the 2 systems?
small system is smaller sound system (4-3 way hipaks, 6 dual 18's), smaller lighting (30' truss with lighting), and single 15' video screen. allow 3 hours setup and 1.5 teardown/load out.
larger system is bigger sound system (12-3 way hipaks, 12 dual 18's), bigger lighting (65' truss with more lighting), and 2 15' video screens. allow 5 hours setup and 3 teardown/load out.

base price is up to 4 hr dance. transportation is $1.50/mile round trip ($3/mi one way).
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
3,904
37
Well...for me I don't think it matters what I charge to do a school dance because I hardly book any these days. 2019 is ZERO on that front. 2018 was ZERO.

...And I am okay with that to be honest. If my assortment of events only consists of A) Weddings B)Corporate Holiday Parties and C) Adult birthday parties or Anniversary parties I will be a happy camper.

This Saturday I am doing a All 70s Disco CostumeParty that a number of people put together. It should be a lot of fun! It's a party to get people's spirits high I have been told because most of the people in the group worked for "Discovery" and Discovery recently closed up, so a bunch of people lost their jobs. ...But they seem to have money because it's in a nice DC restaurant, and I am charging well for this party :) ...All people aged 30 to 60.

...I would classify this as "An Adult Party"
 

jaswrx

DJ Extraordinaire
Feb 15, 2015
239
33
I charge the same rate all year round for school dances, by I don't do a lot of them, so not sure how helpful I am here. I mainly do weddings.

Valerie--Why again do you chose to use so many dual 18s? Wouldnt you be better buying fewer cabinets that produce the same SPL? Would make setup and teardown quicker.

Small concerts (Nokia center in LA) comes to mind. They use 6 dual 18's and have thousands of attendees.
 

adj2ent

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 20, 2006
1,241
59
Long Island NY
My price varies depending on whether they are getting a DJ only or Video Dance Party, then if it’s a Video Dance Party how many video screen. Usually the schools go with our smaller package with a 9x16 or 17 ft screen. Colleges usually go for the dual screen setup with two 17ft screens. Pricing doesn’t vary between the seasons with schools as my market is really colleges & universities. August & September are usually my busy months when we go on tour with colleges & parks& recs.
 

wifedj

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 20, 2008
1,618
I charge the same rate all year round for school dances, by I don't do a lot of them, so not sure how helpful I am here. I mainly do weddings.

Valerie--Why again do you chose to use so many dual 18s? Wouldnt you be better buying fewer cabinets that produce the same SPL? Would make setup and teardown quicker.

Small concerts (Nokia center in LA) comes to mind. They use 6 dual 18's and have thousands of attendees.
My guess is that Valerie's gear does the job with continual sufficient results and success & "iz awlredy bawt'n paid fo." Therefore, replacement is not and would not be beneficial, neither financially nor performance wise.
 
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Valerie Hicks

Moderator
Staff member
I charge the same rate all year round for school dances, by I don't do a lot of them, so not sure how helpful I am here. I mainly do weddings.

Valerie--Why again do you chose to use so many dual 18s? Wouldnt you be better buying fewer cabinets that produce the same SPL? Would make setup and teardown quicker.

Small concerts (Nokia center in LA) comes to mind. They use 6 dual 18's and have thousands of attendees.
Several reasons actually, and a valid question.
Yes, we could pack about the same punch with a smaller PA, but we keep our EVX 18's in service because they are very effective, we own them, and they provide a certain look. The 24 18's hold up the 12 3way high packs at a suitable height, so changing subs would force a change in tops as well because we'd lose our platform for them. Currently 2 dual 18's holds up 2 hipaks at about a 5' height (top of sub/bottom of hipak). That puts the horns at about a 9' height which gives us great coverage in large rooms. (We play large convention centers and fieldhouses with a dance floor of up to 3000). Sure, we could switch to a different top as well, but again, at a (fairly substantial) expense to equal the quality of what we currently have....so for a sum of money our advantage is possible time (Labor) savings.

Addressing those in detail.... Right now setting the PA is not the largest portion of our setup time. Lighting is a bigger time killer. Our setup takes just over 3 hours. We allow 5 because with big systems, a little glitch can cause a big delay. We frequent locations where load in alone can take more than an hour.....Century Link Center in Omaha requires a reserved loading dock, down a service hall, up a freight elevator (which requires their personnel to run AND may be shared with other vendors), then a trek down another service hallway before a significant trek across 2 very large carpeted ballrooms and to our setup spot. Fewer cabinets would trim the number of trips in and out with PA (currently it takes 24 trips of PA cabinets), and sometimes that would add up to some time savings, and other times where we load in and set up on the other side of the loading door it wouldn't matter much. If we went with a smaller PA we'd have to go to a flown rig to at least equal what we currently have. Now that presents a few issues. It's not fast to rig a PA. It would require either a much bigger truss system to be able to ground support a flown PA, or it would require certified rigging points and venue approval along with ceiling access by walkway or lifts and certified riggers. Considering most of our work is in schools, they seldom have certified rigging points established. One of our big selling points to schools and other events is the fact that our system is all ground supported. Rigging requires additional time, effort and concern on the client and/or venue. Beyond that, once you enter a union facility, you will be hiring union labor to do any rigging, which adds time (they don't move real fast typically) and significant expense. Yes, we work in a few union facilities, and because we are all ground support, we rarely are required to hire union labor. I can think of one time where we were required to hire union labor and that was in Sioux City. They let us by fairly light and we could hire 2 people and only had to hire for the load in and load out hours.

Now another factor is the eye appeal. Our system spans over 65' wide. That's the better part of the length of a basketball court. That gives us a giant dance floor that can accomodate 500 or 2500 kids. When we do events of 1500 or 3000 attendance, we have the majority on the dance floor. It's not one of 3 dance areas, and it's not a small rotating dance floor. The majority of the attendance is on the dance floor which is an entire gymnasium or fieldhouse. The speaker stacks are placed at the truss stands which provide protection from that trip hazard. Our entire system is essentially a 'wall'. Yes, kids can be up against the speakers, screens and DJ booth. It's all made for it. We don't have kids going behind screens or into where cords or equipment is a hazard. We used to run some smaller systems and to be honest, the big ones are easier. When kids walk into the room and go OMG this is going to be amazing they aren't looking for trouble. When they walk into a room and go OMG this is so lame, the DJ is going to have a hard time regardless of how spectacular he might be. Start out rock star status and your night will go a lot better.

I'm certainly not saying it's the only way or the best way, it's just our way. Not everyone wants to work that hard. Not everyone wants to pull in with a semi and schlep all that gear in. Not everyone can deal with the power requirements or the technical aspect of keeping a system that size going. It's worked well for us. We quit doing small systems about 10 years ago. We work less often by intent. We just prefer the big system & events.
 

Chuck The DJ

I know people.
It for me, depended on the school. I had 5 real good clients that would hire me for every dance during the year and they did so for YEARS! The longest one being 15 years and they only stopped because I moved to Maui./

With those schools, I always gave a deal on the first dance of the year because the dance committee needed to make bank to put everything on, so the first dance I would do for like $500. I did charge more for a Prom than a Valentines dance for example, but that was mainly because of the supply and demand of that time of year. As a solo op, there are only so many dates that I can do.

I never charged a travel fee, just factored into my pricing. I had one school a little over 5 hours away that hired me for their Winter Ball. The average drive time for me was 2 hours for schools.
 
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Bob Kreider

DJ Extraordinaire
Feb 12, 2016
117
Kennewick WA
I charge the same for high school, the sound sytem and lights are the same for Homecoming, Sadies, Twirp, Tolo, Prom (whatever you want to call the dances) And they are the same length in time, usually three hours.

However I have had a few smaller middle school dances with a hour and half after school dance. I'll discount for them.
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
1,710
57
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
I like to get as much as possible...and have yet to figure that out to be honest.

$300 for a 'regular' school dance seems doable. School dances I did this (hs formals) ranged from 30 kids in attendance to about 400. I got paid $50 more for the 400 one. Same lighting, less speakers for the 30 kids.
The 400...only time I've ever played at max volume..and they would have liked more (school gym, 2 EV 18" subs, 4 12" yamaha tops). Also the largest dance I've done by far - double the next largest one in a much smaller room.

Have done one prom..80 kids, didn't get as much as I'd like, but small prom. I do a photobooth (for 8 years now) at one prom and get more for that...but then they have 350 kids come (DJ runs 2 subs, 2 10" tops in a country club ball room). 350 kids times $90 per ticket is a LOT more money that 80 kids times $125/ticket.

Did a 2 hour elementry dance (grades 1-6) last friday for $250. They were pleased with that price. Last couple I've done (different school) they balked at $200...

I've been upping my game/gear and will add video soon. And of course, raise pricing!
Working up a reputation now.

And yes, lighting takes as much or more time than setting up the sound.