Weddings Why a Wedding DJ Costs THAT Much

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Scott Hanna

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The real reason a wedding DJ costs THAT much:

Because that's what they are worth. Someone else is willing to pay it. Djs that are in demand can charge more. And get it.

We don't charge based on what our expenses are. We charge mostly based on the the demand is and the hours involved.

Yes, if there were addional costs specific for that event, we'd add that in to the quote.

Because we are able to generate a decent gross profit, I'm able to update equipment so we typically have newer computers and quality modern lights that are wireless dmx and battery powered, as well as equipment that customers recognize as high end.

But we are not able to charge more because of our equipment. While we do promote our equipment and our typical set ups in our meetings with clients, I feel it adds to the overall comfort level that they are getting a quality DJ that uses quality gear that will sound great and look great.

The client needs to feel that the DJ is worth it and will provide the entertainment they want.

But the reality is if no one would hire us at our current price, we could charge less and make money. Would we want to is a different question.
 

rickryan.com

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I read that piece. It struck me as yet another whine about how the DJ has spent so much money and how much their overhead is. Clients don't care...........at all. In fact, they're annoyed when you try to use that as justification for your price. What I feel works is listening to them, trying to get a good vision for what they want their day to be like, then convey that you are the guy that can make it their dream wedding. Tap those emotions and you have a win.
 

Scott Hanna

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Thus kind of reminds me of that video someone put out trying to justify what they charge by saying every wedding is like 60 hours or work or something like that.
 

DJ Ricky B

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. What I feel works is listening to them, trying to get a good vision for what they want their day to be like, then convey that you are the guy that can make it their dream wedding. Tap those emotions and you have a win.

It works for weddings. It CAN work for Mitzvahs depending on the type of parents who are looking to hire a DJ. As noted on DJ Taso's videos, this works with the high end "Super" Sweet 16 clientele as well.

However, for corporate, and 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th birthdays...MOST sweet 16s. High School Re Unions. Halloween Parties. Holiday parties. School Dances. Store sales events. ...Those emotions, and trying to get a good vision for what they want their party to be like isn't really there. In those instances, it really just comes down to being the most visible, and coming in with the right price for them to book and go with you.

I don't see any DJs claiming to book $1,000 30th birthday gigs out there.

I look at those gigs as "filler" work these days. If the client came my way via referral, I know I have a greater chance of booking them above $500, but know they won't go for $1,000+. If they came my way via the internet, I know my booking success rate is low, and if I really want the gig I quote low on them. They just aren't going to normally pay a DJ higher pay.

If you ain't doing weddings, and/or mitzvahs, you really aren't making the big bucks as a Mobile DJ these days.
 
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DJ Ricky B

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I am in the belief that we ALL charge the SAME rate....

THE MOST WE CAN GET.
Agreed. The most a DJ can get is the most they are accustomed to asking for as well.

After a while of not raising your rates, a DJ tends to start pricing themselves more about being "competitive" and "value priced" . I know many DJs who fall into that rut. They stop trying to aim higher, and just look at the business as just getting the gigs booked because other DJs are priced low. I even get that way sometimes.

There is a top, and the higher your rate, the harder it is to consistently book events, and keep your calendar full.

However, having the same price as 5, or 10 years ago isn't good for your growth either. If anything it's going backwards.

My Podcast partner hasn't booked a single DJ gig this year. He claims "The DJ business is DEAD" because he hasn't booked anything. There's a number of reasons why he hasn't booked anything. However, I can vouch that the DJ business is not dead.

There's always room to "charge more" as long as you feel you are worth more than you are currently charging (and as long as you are filling your calendar at your current prices). You shouldn't be charging a price that you don't believe you are worth for someone else to pay.
 
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Ausumm

Gold Plated Productions
Oct 21, 2008
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Agreed, Ricky.
I have leveled off and kept the same price for a while.
Only because I am pretty much at my limit for this area.
There are guys who get a little more, but my current rate keeps me working and doesn't get "talked down" by brides looking for a bargain.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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It works for weddings. It CAN work for Mitzvahs depending on the type of parents who are looking to hire a DJ. As noted on DJ Taso's videos, this works with the high end "Super" Sweet 16 clientele as well.

However, for corporate, and 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th birthdays...MOST sweet 16s. High School Re Unions. Halloween Parties. Holiday parties. School Dances. Store sales events. ...Those emotions, and trying to get a good vision for what they want their party to be like isn't really there. In those instances, it really just comes down to being the most visible, and coming in with the right price for them to book and go with you.

I don't see any DJs claiming to book $1,000 30th birthday gigs out there.

I look at those gigs as "filler" work these days. If the client came my way via referral, I know I have a greater chance of booking them above $500, but know they won't go for $1,000+. If they came my way via the internet, I know my booking success rate is low, and if I really want the gig I quote low on them. They just aren't going to normally pay a DJ higher pay.

If you ain't doing weddings, and/or mitzvahs, you really aren't making the big bucks as a Mobile DJ these days.
The thing I want to say is are you leaving those potential clients with the WOW factor as I call it? WOW I got to have this or that and I must have you. What I find sometimes is it depends on where they are having the event take place. A fancy catering hall that charges a nice dollar normally will get you a higher rate of pay. Then it all comes down to what you have to offer and how well you sell what you have to offer. And I'm not limiting it to the gear you use. It might be in your light show you offer, the way you present yourself on the phone, in person or email. Also the way your setup looks has a lot to do with it as well. Does your setup look like a top of the line professional that deserves to get paid that much. I had to learn that the way your setup looks is very important. I was of the mind set that as long as I did a great job rocking the crowd it didn't matter what my setup looked like. How wrong I was.
 
Where I am, I find demographics play heavily into it. In Northern Virginia DJ's can generally make larger money up there , they got 3.5 million people to advertise to. They are a good hour's drive and more for me. Where I am, we have no middle class people, hardly any people who are my age. Most people here are retired, we ride around on golf carts all day (literally) and or are too young to have need of a DJ there are virtually no middle class people here. The community is only 25,000 people and my town itself is only 3500 people of the 25,000. This pond is said to be over fished. Over saturated. You just generally don't fetch Northern VA prices in the Northern Neck because people won't pay it. They are two totally different areas in which is why I refer to Northern VA as the great State of Northern VA . We can sit here and talk about frugality all day, to help understand it you have to dive into the mindset of the people here. Nobody here wants a bowling alley, or a movie theater or even a hospital the nearest of these are all 25 miles away at the least. People are penny misers on all of these things, they don't want them here and for that reason alone, the area itself doesn't grow much. But if you are not from there they won't do business at all with you.
I have to reach out beyond this area I'm at a junction point where I could go to Southern Maryland , Northern VA or Richmond VA areas, or even Hampton Roads if the money was right but getting there is not going to be inexpensive in the least. Farthest West I've ever DJ'd was Wintergreen Ski Resort south of Charlottesville, farthest north was Martinsburg WV and Baltimore MD at Camden Yards. Farthest east right here in my own town because I am east in Virginia.
People have perceptions and mindsets, changing them, well lets just say "elections" are easier.
 

DJ Ricky B

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Where I am, I find demographics play heavily into it. In Northern Virginia DJ's can generally make larger money up there , they got 3.5 million people to advertise to. They are a good hour's drive and more for me. Where I am, we have no middle class people, hardly any people who are my age. Most people here are retired, we ride around on golf carts all day (literally) and or are too young to have need of a DJ there are virtually no middle class people here. The community is only 25,000 people and my town itself is only 3500 people of the 25,000. This pond is said to be over fished. Over saturated. You just generally don't fetch Northern VA prices in the Northern Neck because people won't pay it. They are two totally different areas in which is why I refer to Northern VA as the great State of Northern VA . We can sit here and talk about frugality all day, to help understand it you have to dive into the mindset of the people here. Nobody here wants a bowling alley, or a movie theater or even a hospital the nearest of these are all 25 miles away at the least. People are penny misers on all of these things, they don't want them here and for that reason alone, the area itself doesn't grow much. But if you are not from there they won't do business at all with you.
I have to reach out beyond this area I'm at a junction point where I could go to Southern Maryland , Northern VA or Richmond VA areas, or even Hampton Roads if the money was right but getting there is not going to be inexpensive in the least. Farthest West I've ever DJ'd was Wintergreen Ski Resort south of Charlottesville, farthest north was Martinsburg WV and Baltimore MD at Camden Yards. Farthest east right here in my own town because I am east in Virginia.
People have perceptions and mindsets, changing them, well lets just say "elections" are easier.
Mike,

I am seeing this post 7 months later. I don't venture into this part of the forum often obviously! However, I hope you still see this reply. I know you left us here on ODJT a couple of months ago. ....You are absolutely correct! And, honestly, I don't know how to overcome that situation!

Even though I live just a few miles from Baltimore, and the area I live in has about 70,000 people living in a few square miles, the people who reside within a few miles of where I live are over whelmingly "lower class" and are also set in their ways. I can't book $1,000 Wedding DJ gigs here. It just doesn't happen. I have to go into the city, or target clients who are having their weddings at Mansions in the suburbs and rural areas, or target the Wedding Factory type venues on the Chesapeake Bay that are very expensive to have a wedding at. Even Baltimore City is a "Crap" Market. ...People who don't live here may claim "Oh you live in a big city, you shouldn't have a problem booking high end gigs" but Baltimore ain't a sun shine city. There is work out there, but there are A TON of DJs, and being very inexpensive rains supreme in this city with 90% of clients!

Targeting, and earning the business of that upper 10% clientele around here is hard. I manage to do it sometimes, but not enough to earn a boat load of money like some other DJs claim to do...and I've been at this for 17 years!

Also, times have changed, and the way people shop has changed! Even the difference from this year, and the way people shopped in 2015 is changing...QUICKLY!!!
 

Jeff Romard

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My Podcast partner hasn't booked a single DJ gig this year. He claims "The DJ business is DEAD" because he hasn't booked anything. There's a number of reasons why he hasn't booked anything. However, I can vouch that the DJ business is not dead.
I was told the same thing the other day by a guy that turned down at least half a dozen that I tried to send him this year. In his case, and quite likely your partners, the problem isn't the business
 

dunlopj

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As I've said for the past few years, technology is a double edged sword.

Back 15 years ago, we were pretty much the only ones with a huge music collection. And that gave us the upper hand.

Nowadays, MANY people have as much music as we do. Even if they don't "own" their music, they have easy access to it..i.e Spotify.

And you can preach all you want about what we can bring to an event. Fact is (IMHO) - aside from a few here like Taso (LOVE what he continues to do!) - our skills don't seem to matter as much as they used to...

In a few years, I can see where the need for a pro seasoned DJ for most events is simply not a requirement.

Many venues seem to be getting their own sound systems and clients seem to be in love with the idea of using THEIR musical choices - guests be damned.

Please feel free to disagree...or agree.
 
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steve149

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As I've said for the past few years, technology is a double edged sword.

Back 15 years ago, we were pretty much the only ones with a huge music collection. And that gave us the upper hand.

Nowadays, MANY people have as much music as we do. Even if they don't "own" their music, they have easy access to it..i.e Spotify.

And you can preach all you want about what we can bring to an event. Fact is (IMHO) - aside from a few here like Taso (LOVE what he continues to do!) - our skills don't seem to matter as much as they used to...

In a few years, I can see where the need for a pro seasoned DJ for most events is simply not a requirement.

Many venues seem to be getting their own sound systems and clients seem to be in love with the idea of using THEIR musical choices - guests be damned.

Please feel free to disagree...or agree.
I agree .. the ones that survive will be because they do things "special", or they are great Emcees, or something else out of the ordinary.
 

rickryan.com

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As I've said for the past few years, technology is a double edged sword.

Back 15 years ago, we were pretty much the only ones with a huge music collection. And that gave us the upper hand.

Nowadays, MANY people have as much music as we do. Even if they don't "own" their music, they have easy access to it..i.e Spotify.

And you can preach all you want about what we can bring to an event. Fact is (IMHO) - aside from a few here like Taso (LOVE what he continues to do!) - our skills don't seem to matter as much as they used to...

In a few years, I can see where the need for a pro seasoned DJ for most events is simply not a requirement.

Many venues seem to be getting their own sound systems and clients seem to be in love with the idea of using THEIR musical choices - guests be damned.

Please feel free to disagree...or agree.
I largely agree but there's one thing that (I hope) will continue to drive the need for good DJ/MCs.........................people are deathly afraid of speaking in public. Public events will continue to require someone to manage the event and I don't see that ever being a planner or venue manager, regardless of what they might tell you.
 

dunlopj

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I largely agree but there's one thing that (I hope) will continue to drive the need for good DJ/MCs.........................people are deathly afraid of speaking in public. Public events will continue to require someone to manage the event and I don't see that ever being a planner or venue manager, regardless of what they might tell you.
Ricky, I totally agree. I wonder if there's a small niche market for that or if any venues would be willing to hire one?

My only vocal work now is the occasional commercial voice over...
 
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dunlopj

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I agree .. the ones that survive will be because they do things "special", or they are great Emcees, or something else out of the ordinary.
Yeah, but with a huge ego almost being part and parcel of most DJ's, don't most of us already consider ourselves "special"? :cheers:
 
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steve149

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Yeah, but with a huge ego almost being part and parcel of most DJ's, don't most of us already consider ourselves "special"? :cheers:
I guess the ones that make it will actually have to BE special.
 
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DJ Ricky B

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I think brides/grooms will continue to book DJs for their weddings. Same goes with Mitzvahs it is more entertainment, hands on etc. However, only so many mitzvahs, and most DJs over age 40 really don't want to do mitzvahs.

I believe that prices have stale mated, and with how brides/grooms are shopping, and how tight they are with budgets, I foresee DJs dropping prices to get things booked in the coming years. The ones who can't effectively compete, and are not willing to drop prices AND do not offer or market spectacularly like Taso does will end up retiring, or turning their DJ biz into a very part time business.

However, When will this actually happen?

I mean, if I am judging by how many DJs/DJ companies out there are paying big bucks for Wedding Wire/The Knot advertising, then apparently there are still enough clients booking a large group of DJs and those DJs earning "ENOUGH" money to continue to keep on truckin.

Wedding Wire is charging $337.50 a month in my area, and over $400 a month I believe for featured in the DC area. Over 25 DJ companies in both areas are paying those prices! Add another 15 companies in the Baltimore area, and 40+ companies paying for secondary listings at $120 to $180 per month. Unless some of these DJ companies are operating on small margins, or just foolishly blowing their money on these expensive advertising platforms and not making money at all, then there must be enough clients still propping them all up to support this many DJs in this area ...I dunno about other areas, but this hasn't seemed to have changed over the past 7 years or so. I thought I would witness the amount of DJ companies out there advertising decrease on these platforms by now, and that has not happened. If anything, there might be more DJ companies on these platforms now than there were in the past. It seems as if there are even more DJs in the pool willing to spend a lot of money on advertising. That leads me to believe that the market is at least moderately "Healthy" for the time being to support so many DJs.
 
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IceBurghDJ

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I think I ran into him in a forum...45 to 50 hours he says.
Posted the sheet he gives to brides showing it too.

A tad exagerated..and not every bride does everything on the list.

And a bit in-effcient too I think.

Thus kind of reminds me of that video someone put out trying to justify what they charge by saying every wedding is like 60 hours or work or something like that.