Would you DJ a wedding for $550 in 2021?

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Would you do a $550/4 hour wedding reception in 2021?

  • Absolutely! It's fair pay in my opinion!

    Votes: 6 33.3%
  • I would only do this on a weekday.

    Votes: 2 11.1%
  • I would only do it if it's under 10 miles or 15 minutes from my house

    Votes: 1 5.6%
  • Nope. There is just no situation where I would do a wedding for $550 today

    Votes: 6 33.3%
  • No, I have never even booked a wedding that low before!

    Votes: 2 11.1%
  • No, but I would for $595 to $650 if it is logistically favorable for me to do it.

    Votes: 1 5.6%

  • Total voters
    18

Dessicant

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 4, 2016
165
172
31
Expensive compared to what?
It can be expensive, but coming from the photo world where I'd carry $30k in gear to a weddding DJ stuff is cheap.
Unless you customize for each event, you got fast, slow, sound active and few varations on that. Done once, done forever.
Be efficient on the load/unload - for 90% of my events ONE trip with the flat dolly does it. From arriving to show is 45 min give or take, and last song till drive away is 30 min.
That’s not how I roll. I take at least 10-15 of the top songs requested by the bride, and I program a custom light show for those songs. I use Grand MA2. The 2 nodes alone are $4,000. My moving heads are $2,000 bucks a pop. 6 of those. My effect lights are $300/ea and I have 20 of them. That doesn’t even get into wash lights. And that doesn’t even include sound with 6 QSC tops plus subs plus Soundcraft mixers. And these mics which had to be replaced because of the FCC. 3 ULXD 2 with matching lavs and handhelds. That’s what, 5 grand? Plus time. To program lights for one song easily takes 2 days. Plus my creativity and design has to get paid for. So no, I don’t leave the house for less than $1,000 for a wedding where I will also have to meet with the bride, spec out the venue, help with planning, etc. Plus, this is my side gig. I am also a busy real estate agent and real estate appraiser. So my time is completely spoken for 48/7.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
11,812
1,527
63
Let me ask this question to everybody.
Experience.
I've done 50th and teen parties (12, 13, 15 quince) and other htan the line/participation dances there is no dancing.
Same for grad parties.
The kids hang with their friends and the adults do the same.
So every kind of event you do like these there's no dancing other then line dancing? What do you do to try to get people to dance at these events? A 50th birthday celebration for me would be a breeze for me. I normally start off with stuff that the older people can enjoy in the beginning. An event like that I expect there's going to be some people in the crowd to be older than 50. So play stuff in the beginning to make them happy. Some stuff that they might get up and dance to. One of my all time personal favorites is Marvin Gaye's Got To Give It Up. That's a song a lot of people will know. Especially an older crowd. At times that song can turn into a line dance song.

What I do when being asked about doing an event is to find out what styles of music or what specific songs a client would like me to play at their event. That may mean I will need to write those songs down so when at the event I can look at my notes to remind me what songs they definately want to be played. If something I feel is not right for the event, then I can discuss it with the client. It's ultimately their decision.

Now let me say this. I don't just play oldies at such an event. I like to play some other stuff as well later on during the event. Now there are those events that no matter what you do the crowd is not interested in dancing. It doesn't mean you did a bad job necessarily. It just happens sometimes. One thing I learned from my experience is you can have the right songs to play and play certain songs or styles of music at the wrong that the event will turn into a disaster having a bunch of people leaving the event early because of what the DJ is doing.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,726
5,064
Experience.
I've done 50th and teen parties (12, 13, 15 quince) and other htan the line/participation dances there is no dancing.
Same for grad parties.
The kids hang with their friends and the adults do the same.
You are clearly being hired as a backdrop not as entertainment. It does not seem to have occurred to you that this is what you have become known for and your perspective is skewed by the customer base you have cultivated and accumulated. What you describe is NOT the norm for people seeking DJs.

Line dances are an example of people entertaining themselves. It does not represent anything brought to the table by a DJ. I've seen people doing the Cotton Eye Joe to background music while waiting in line at retail stores.

I did a weeding this past weekend with only 52 people in the room. They danced all night.
I did a graduation party for HS seniors (their 3rd dance type event in the same week) and they dance all night following dinner.
I do 50th Anniversaries and people dance - because that's the way I structure my presentation. Sure, at a 50th anniversary family social time, age and ability will change the way dancing is included, but dancing DOES happen successfully.

I'm 58 years old, and thanks to Covid hadn't performed at a DJ event in almost 2 years. Talk about rusty - If anyone was likely to fail miserably at a HS Grad party this season - it was me. That didn't happen, and I would say it was largely due to EXPECTATION. People expected me to fill the dance floor - and that carries a lot of momentum when it comes to people leaving their seats. So, what is it that people are expecting of you?

It sounds like you've become comfortable with low expectations. If you want people to dance - you have to begin by ASKING them and providing an appropriate cause to do so. Getting people on the dance floor requires inspiration and that process starts with groundwork laid during the initial phone inquiry. If we wait until we're on site and all set-up - it's probably too late.
 
Last edited:
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djrox

Sir Wyzazz
Aug 12, 2006
8,521
5,896
New Orleans, Louisiana
Stating the obvious is not an "attack."
There was a time when that was absolute...but welcome to WOKE-World where the obvious/truth is as fluid, indefinite, malleable and mercurial as opinions on dj software.

Reality is just another polarizing topic to far too many...some in this very forum.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
11,812
1,527
63
Stating the obvious is not an "attack."
It may feel that way to people denying their own reality, but lay bricks to that shelter at your own risk. .
No most times you make negative post to what others post. It's like you have to big up yourself by putting others down. It's one thing if you are right. Just remember nobody's always right every time.
 
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IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
3,236
1,923
59
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
sounds like complete overkill, and at $1000 way cheap.

Typical wedding here, mine or anyone elses, 2 tops no subs. 1 in 10 DJs, usually young/newbies bring a sub and then play too loud, unless it's bose L1 setup. If the wedding is over 300 then some bring 4 tops. I've seen DJ's play proms of 400 kids with 2 tops 2 subs.

lighting..gig bar or similar. Moving heads? I have a couple fo cheaper chinese ones, but in 15 years of doing photography at weddings, proms, etc never seen a DJ bring a mover.

I use GTD mics, 150 for a 2 mic setup, bulletproof. Had Shure at 4X the price...if I was having a singer then yes, better mics, but for announcements and toasts? Not needed.

You get $2k say for a gig and bring what, $15k in gear?
I get $750 and bring $2k in gear.

My business is more profitable than yours.

That’s not how I roll. I take at least 10-15 of the top songs requested by the bride, and I program a custom light show for those songs. I use Grand MA2. The 2 nodes alone are $4,000. My moving heads are $2,000 bucks a pop. 6 of those. My effect lights are $300/ea and I have 20 of them. That doesn’t even get into wash lights. And that doesn’t even include sound with 6 QSC tops plus subs plus Soundcraft mixers. And these mics which had to be replaced because of the FCC. 3 ULXD 2 with matching lavs and handhelds. That’s what, 5 grand? Plus time. To program lights for one song easily takes 2 days. Plus my creativity and design has to get paid for. So no, I don’t leave the house for less than $1,000 for a wedding where I will also have to meet with the bride, spec out the venue, help with planning, etc. Plus, this is my side gig. I am also a busy real estate agent and real estate appraiser. So my time is completely spoken for 48/7.
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
3,236
1,923
59
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
OK, so what are you doing to get them dancing?
I've seen DJs lead dances on the floor - I dance like that girl on seinfeld, so I won't/can't do that.
You play different music? Unlikely.
You get all hypy and shouty and enthusiastic? (aka pushy some would call that)?

i'm curious.

Last wedding I did was in a barn...85% humidity and 80-85 in the building with no air flow. Outside was cooler with a breeze. Big doors on it, being a barn, and the folks were outside more than inside.
THey did dance for a bit, all got really hot and sweaty and that was that. Till the last 15 minutes when slow songs brought the couples out.

Some guests even went outside to eat it was so bad inside.

You are clearly being hired as a backdrop not as entertainment. It does not seem to have occurred to you that this is what you have become known for and your perspective is skewed by the customer base you have cultivated and accumulated. What you describe is NOT the norm for people seeking DJs.

Line dances are an example of people entertaining themselves. It does not represent anything brought to the table by a DJ. I've seen people doing the Cotton Eye Joe to background music while waiting in line at retail stores.

I did a weeding this past weekend with only 52 people in the room. They danced all night.
I did a graduation party for HS seniors (their 3rd dance type event in the same week) and they dance all night following dinner.
I do 50th Anniversaries and people dance - because that's the way I structure my presentation. Sure, at a 50th anniversary family social time, age and ability will change the way dancing is included, but dancing DOES happen successfully.

I'm 58 years old, and thanks to Covid hadn't performed at a DJ event in almost 2 years. Talk about rusty - If anyone was likely to fail miserably at a HS Grad party this season - it was me. That didn't happen, and I would say it was largely due to EXPECTATION. People expected me to fill the dance floor - and that carries a lot of momentum when it comes to people leaving their seats. So, what is it that people are expecting of you?

It sounds like you've become comfortable with low expectations. If you want people to dance - you have to begin by ASKING them and providing an appropriate cause to do so. Getting people on the dance floor requires inspiration and that process starts with groundwork laid during the initial phone inquiry. If we wait until we're on site and all set-up - it's probably too late.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
11,812
1,527
63
sounds like complete overkill, and at $1000 way cheap.

Typical wedding here, mine or anyone elses, 2 tops no subs. 1 in 10 DJs, usually young/newbies bring a sub and then play too loud, unless it's bose L1 setup. If the wedding is over 300 then some bring 4 tops. I've seen DJ's play proms of 400 kids with 2 tops 2 subs.

lighting..gig bar or similar. Moving heads? I have a couple fo cheaper chinese ones, but in 15 years of doing photography at weddings, proms, etc never seen a DJ bring a mover.

I use GTD mics, 150 for a 2 mic setup, bulletproof. Had Shure at 4X the price...if I was having a singer then yes, better mics, but for announcements and toasts? Not needed.

You get $2k say for a gig and bring what, $15k in gear?
I get $750 and bring $2k in gear.

My business is more profitable than yours.
You said some interesting things here. As far as how loud to play the music, some think by blasting the music that will impress the crowd. that's not true and if too loud it can sound distorted. Of course you're talking about years of experience vs. a newbie. Also sometimes using a sub is not a bad thing. It depends on how many people will be attending the wedding and the size of the room. I remember while doing an event I peeped into an event where a reception was being done in a big ballroom in a hotel. For that reception with that many people in a room that size, you would need to bring at least one sub.
 

Dessicant

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 4, 2016
165
172
31
sounds like complete overkill, and at $1000 way cheap.

Typical wedding here, mine or anyone elses, 2 tops no subs. 1 in 10 DJs, usually young/newbies bring a sub and then play too loud, unless it's bose L1 setup. If the wedding is over 300 then some bring 4 tops. I've seen DJ's play proms of 400 kids with 2 tops 2 subs.

lighting..gig bar or similar. Moving heads? I have a couple fo cheaper chinese ones, but in 15 years of doing photography at weddings, proms, etc never seen a DJ bring a mover.

I use GTD mics, 150 for a 2 mic setup, bulletproof. Had Shure at 4X the price...if I was having a singer then yes, better mics, but for announcements and toasts? Not needed.

You get $2k say for a gig and bring what, $15k in gear?
I get $750 and bring $2k in gear.

My business is more profitable than yours.
I buy very good equipment, even if it’s just for me. Do the same with tools, appliances, etc. So naturally, the gear I bring to an event is going to be overkill. I’m comfortable with that. I can rely on my stuff because you get what you pay for. Plus I bring backups of all the important stuff, so 2 computers, 2 lighting nodes, 2 controllers, 2 mixers. The extra stuff stays in the truck, but if I need it, it’s there. I almost went Axient on the Shure Mics, but realized it didn’t offer enough value over ULXD. I do urban gigs in rooms full of cell phones. I need reliable wireless mics that can cut through the noise.

The fact that you are noticing that what I bring is unusual is exactly the point. We need to differentiate and higher production value with better lighting and sound is one way to do it. Being a super-talented MC is another way, and I’m not able to deliver that. Some guys have that edge. Gig bars just don’t cut it from where I’m looking. And I would never show up without my subs. They provide good balance to the sound, even when they are not thumping.

We each tackle this job differently, and good gear is one way I like to approach it with.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
3,904
7,829
34
NJ
www.djtaso.com
sounds like complete overkill, and at $1000 way cheap.

Typical wedding here, mine or anyone elses, 2 tops no subs. 1 in 10 DJs, usually young/newbies bring a sub and then play too loud, unless it's bose L1 setup. If the wedding is over 300 then some bring 4 tops. I've seen DJ's play proms of 400 kids with 2 tops 2 subs.

lighting..gig bar or similar. Moving heads? I have a couple fo cheaper chinese ones, but in 15 years of doing photography at weddings, proms, etc never seen a DJ bring a mover.

I use GTD mics, 150 for a 2 mic setup, bulletproof. Had Shure at 4X the price...if I was having a singer then yes, better mics, but for announcements and toasts? Not needed.

You get $2k say for a gig and bring what, $15k in gear?
I get $750 and bring $2k in gear.

My business is more profitable than yours.
This reminds me of the one time I worked at Stroudsmoor Country Inn and you were surprised a couple would pay $3000+ for my setup at the time. People want and appreciate the finer things... doesn’t mean they can all afford it. However, if there was somebody local doing what i was doing at say $1950 or something... he’d be killing it! The most just don’t do it though, or haven’t been discovered, so couples have to look in NJ and pay NJ/NY prices for it.
 
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djrox

Sir Wyzazz
Aug 12, 2006
8,521
5,896
New Orleans, Louisiana
Typical wedding here, mine or anyone elses, 2 tops no subs. 1 in 10 DJs, usually young/newbies bring a sub and then play too loud, unless it's bose L1 setup. If the wedding is over 300 then some bring 4 tops. I've seen DJ's play proms of 400 kids with 2 tops 2 subs.

lighting..gig bar or similar. Moving heads? I have a couple fo cheaper chinese ones, but in 15 years of doing photography at weddings, proms, etc never seen a DJ bring a mover.

I use GTD mics, 150 for a 2 mic setup, bulletproof. Had Shure at 4X the price...if I was having a singer then yes, better mics, but for announcements and toasts? Not needed.

You get $2k say for a gig and bring what, $15k in gear?
I get $750 and bring $2k in gear.
You could have stopped at "Typical wedding" the rest is just grist for the proverbial mill.

My business is more profitable than yours.
Of that we have ZERO evidence...nor does anybody really care.


Some guests even went outside to eat it was so bad inside.
Maybe it wasn't the heat. Again, regarding that we have ZERO evidence...nor does anybody really care.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,726
5,064
This reminds me of the one time I worked at Stroudsmoor Country Inn and you were surprised a couple would pay $3000+ for my setup at the time. People want and appreciate the finer things... doesn’t mean they can all afford it. However, if there was somebody local doing what i was doing at say $1950 or something... he’d be killing it! The most just don’t do it though, or haven’t been discovered, so couples have to look in NJ and pay NJ/NY prices for it.
There's probably at least a handful of people serving that area with high-end offerings of which he has no knowledge or connection. (They can't all be coming form NJ.)

I had been working in this state for at least 5 years before I discovered that side of the Boston market. It wasn't until I started selling DJ products and services that those high end performers found me - through Music and Sound Retailer and DJ Times advertising.

Typical wedding here, mine or anyone elses...
It's simply not possible to speak to: "anyone else" as attempted, or expect the internet to serve up other's secret recipes. Most of us view the world consistent with the one we've created for ourselves. We attract that which we ourselves prefer. By and large - everything in this thread confirms that in obtuse ways; "I'm not an emcee - so, I don't do that", "I prefer high end gear", or "nobody cares about lights". etc. Ultimately - we end up with clients owning the same disposition.
 

Dessicant

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 4, 2016
165
172
31
There's probably at least a handful of people serving that area with high-end offerings of which he has no knowledge or connection. (They can't all be coming form NJ.)

I had been working in this state for at least 5 years before I discovered that side of the Boston market. It wasn't until I started selling DJ products and services that those high end performers found me - through Music and Sound Retailer and DJ Times advertising.



It's simply not possible to speak to: "anyone else" as attempted, or expect the internet to serve up other's secret recipes. Most of us view the world consistent with the one we've created for ourselves. We attract that which we ourselves prefer. By and large - everything in this thread confirms that in obtuse ways; "I'm not an emcee - so, I don't do that", "I prefer high end gear", or "nobody cares about lights". etc. Ultimately - we end up with clients owning the same disposition.
True, we pick clients who like what we like, and clients pick us because we have demonstrated that we like what they like. I do this in real estate also. I tend to like and enjoy working with rational clients who are calm and objective and solve problems. Emos and excitables are rejected and referred to other agents, often newer, who have the patience to deal with that. The older I get, the picker I get, because time is at a premium and I won't spend it with crazies or bridezillas. Either in real estate or DJing. If I pick up on hysteria and cheapness from a couple, then I politely release them from membership in my universe. It's good to be the king.
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
3,236
1,923
59
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
This is a business for most of us, and profitability is the whole reason I do this, or continute to do this.

A hobby DJ can spend $10k on gear and do 5 gigs a year for $1000 and not care. I'm not that guy- I have to make a buck, and that means choosing gear for VALUE.

yes, a $2000 laptop is nice, but if a $400 one does the job then I'm going with 400.

Bose is ncie, but $2k when I can do just as nice an event for 1/2 that price with yamaha..no brainer.

Just like a new $50,000 van is way nicer than my 18 year old $3500 one, but it's paid for and nice and reliable.

And the client DOES NOT CARE. And damned few if any notice.

NOBODY has EVER asked:
What speakers do you use?
What lapttop?
What software?
Where do you get your music?
What vehicle do you use?
What controller do you use, or do you USE a controller?
What brand of wire?
Who made your suit?
ANYTHING about lighting other than "do you provide dance lighting" - no questions on bransd, quantity, style, dmx or not, truss or stands or if I sit it on the floor (which i've seen djs do more than I care to count)

I have been asked about 'do you have silence between your songs" by 2 different brides.
can you play clean versions of songs?
Did you get to eat?
Twice now, please don't consumer alcohol (for a reunion, they tell me last time the dj got stinkin drunk)


YOU may think 'gear' matters, but as long it's not distorting and it's reliable NOBODY CARES.

YOu call a tow truck...do you care what it is?
You got your tires balanced, what machine did they use?
What equipment does your dentist use?
THe local lawn care folks, what brand of mowers and weedeaters do tehy use? Brand of truck and trailer?
Favorite restaurant uses what brand and style of fryers or cooktop?



YOU DO NOT CARE any more than our customers care about what we use.

So why spend $5k if 3k will do the job?

Personally I want that $2k difference in MY pocket rather than someone else's pocket.

Of that we have ZERO evidence...nor does anybody really care.



Maybe it wasn't the heat. Again, regarding that we have ZERO evidence...nor does anybody really care.
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
3,236
1,923
59
Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
Maybe it wasn't the heat. Again, regarding that we have ZERO evidence...nor does anybody really care.
Having been to hundreds of weddings over 15 years, yes, the heat makes a big difference on how busy the dance floor is. At least around here.

This morning at 7 am it was 68F and 97% humidity...yes, 97, and NOT RAINING. It's beyond stifling. That puts the dew point around 66, 67, in the very uncomfortable range. Let it get up near 90 and the new fills with warning to not even go outside. IN the barn(s), any barn, it's hotter yet as there is no breeze. It's miserable.
 

Dessicant

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 4, 2016
165
172
31
This is a business for most of us, and profitability is the whole reason I do this, or continute to do this.

A hobby DJ can spend $10k on gear and do 5 gigs a year for $1000 and not care. I'm not that guy- I have to make a buck, and that means choosing gear for VALUE.

yes, a $2000 laptop is nice, but if a $400 one does the job then I'm going with 400.

Bose is ncie, but $2k when I can do just as nice an event for 1/2 that price with yamaha..no brainer.

Just like a new $50,000 van is way nicer than my 18 year old $3500 one, but it's paid for and nice and reliable.

And the client DOES NOT CARE. And damned few if any notice.

NOBODY has EVER asked:
What speakers do you use?
What lapttop?
What software?
Where do you get your music?
What vehicle do you use?
What controller do you use, or do you USE a controller?
What brand of wire?
Who made your suit?
ANYTHING about lighting other than "do you provide dance lighting" - no questions on bransd, quantity, style, dmx or not, truss or stands or if I sit it on the floor (which i've seen djs do more than I care to count)

I have been asked about 'do you have silence between your songs" by 2 different brides.
can you play clean versions of songs?
Did you get to eat?
Twice now, please don't consumer alcohol (for a reunion, they tell me last time the dj got stinkin drunk)


YOU may think 'gear' matters, but as long it's not distorting and it's reliable NOBODY CARES.

YOu call a tow truck...do you care what it is?
You got your tires balanced, what machine did they use?
What equipment does your dentist use?
THe local lawn care folks, what brand of mowers and weedeaters do tehy use? Brand of truck and trailer?
Favorite restaurant uses what brand and style of fryers or cooktop?



YOU DO NOT CARE any more than our customers care about what we use.

So why spend $5k if 3k will do the job?

Personally I want that $2k difference in MY pocket rather than someone else's pocket.
There is a unique and abiding pleasure that comes with buying and using the best gear. It is an end in itself. Plus, good gear is much more reliable and will not fail you in a pinch. A $400 laptop simply cannot be reliable. It will fail you. You will be unhappy. Your client will be unhappy.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
3,904
7,829
34
NJ
www.djtaso.com
This is a business for most of us, and profitability is the whole reason I do this, or continute to do this.

A hobby DJ can spend $10k on gear and do 5 gigs a year for $1000 and not care. I'm not that guy- I have to make a buck, and that means choosing gear for VALUE.

yes, a $2000 laptop is nice, but if a $400 one does the job then I'm going with 400.

Bose is ncie, but $2k when I can do just as nice an event for 1/2 that price with yamaha..no brainer.

Just like a new $50,000 van is way nicer than my 18 year old $3500 one, but it's paid for and nice and reliable.

And the client DOES NOT CARE. And damned few if any notice.

NOBODY has EVER asked:
What speakers do you use?
What lapttop?
What software?
Where do you get your music?
What vehicle do you use?
What controller do you use, or do you USE a controller?
What brand of wire?
Who made your suit?
ANYTHING about lighting other than "do you provide dance lighting" - no questions on bransd, quantity, style, dmx or not, truss or stands or if I sit it on the floor (which i've seen djs do more than I care to count)

I have been asked about 'do you have silence between your songs" by 2 different brides.
can you play clean versions of songs?
Did you get to eat?
Twice now, please don't consumer alcohol (for a reunion, they tell me last time the dj got stinkin drunk)


YOU may think 'gear' matters, but as long it's not distorting and it's reliable NOBODY CARES.

YOu call a tow truck...do you care what it is?
You got your tires balanced, what machine did they use?
What equipment does your dentist use?
THe local lawn care folks, what brand of mowers and weedeaters do tehy use? Brand of truck and trailer?
Favorite restaurant uses what brand and style of fryers or cooktop?



YOU DO NOT CARE any more than our customers care about what we use.

So why spend $5k if 3k will do the job?

Personally I want that $2k difference in MY pocket rather than someone else's pocket.
- No one asks these things, not because they don't care... but bc ultimately it is the end result that matters. Can your $400 laptop do serato video... probably not (trust me I tried). But if you have a client that wants them, you'll need it.
- No one will care where you get your music, but they'll care what music you bring, and where you get your music may impact your awareness of certain music.
- They may not care about your controller, but will you be able to provide them the quality of mixing they expect. A higher quality mixer makes those transitions, loops, overlays, samples, quickmixes, much easier.
- No one cares about wires, but if your speakers are crackling, staticky, and overall not producing a pure sound... it'll get noticed.
- No one will ask you what your suit is... but they'll appreciate it when you show up dressed sharply, as you're a representation of the couple.
- No one cares about the lighting you use, but they will care if you ruin their photos with lasers, have strobing lights during dinner, and an overall lighting atmosphere thats not fitting in with the moment. If there is lighting they expect it to be appropriate for the moment, and enhance the visual atmosphere. When paying for lighting they don't care how it's done, but that it's done properly.

Can you get away with providing proper results with cheaper options... yes. But typically, the better quality options allow us to produce more desired results.

You're biased in your beliefs based on your own personal experiences. If you're not getting these discussions it's often because you don't represent this level of quality. If I know I'm looking for a lambo or something of equal quality... why would I check honda. If I'd check my competitors it would be ferrari, aston martin, or mclaren. We determine the clientele we receive based on the product we put out for others to see. If I saw two photogs, one in a fitted suit... one with baggy pants, a polo, and black sneakers... who would APPEAR as the better and more successful photographer. If I saw trussing and a nice facade compared to an exposed system or bare bones setup... who would APPEAR as the more expensive dj. If I saw a DJ actively mixing and adding creativity to the music being played, vs one who plays out the entire song... fades instead of beatmaches... who would be perceived to be a more skilled dj. If I therefore was looking to spend money... who would I call from the above options.

I can't begin tell you how many times I've been complimented on my appearance. I can't tell you how many times people say my lighting is absolutely beautiful and perfect for their atmosphere. I can't tell you how many times my dj setup has been said it's the most modern/classiest/luxurious set up people have seen. I can't tell you how much my mixing is appreciated and how I literally have guests staring at me instead of their date watching me mix or recording me and in awe that I "actually mix".

While one can say they saved $6k in their pocket one time by going with basic lighting that cost $2k ... I can say I spent $8-$9k in lighting, but as a result I'm making on avg an extra $700 per event for around 50 events a year (that's a whopping $37,500 in LIGHTING ADD-ONS)... can the guy that invested $2k get that? Highly unlikely. I have close to $100k in equipment... but my numbers tell me I'm quite profitable. I could spend less... but I'd have to work 2-3x the number of gigs to make the same level of income. I'd rather invest 2-3x in equipment than my competitors, and work less and make more. It's an investment. The more you invest... the higher the potential return. Just like in anything else, you have to invest wisely.

Of course it's not just physical appearance... it can be branding, websites, social media and more. Could I do a $500 website... sure... but I doubt it would be as nice as my $2000 one. Can I post random photos of events... sure but it wouldn't be as nice as the professionals I hire to capture my events. Can I post 8 min cell phone videos of my events with no care for what it shows... or can I post attention grabbing 1-2 min videos that keep a viewer engaged and wanting more.

I was the $800 dj I was the $1200 dj, I was the $1750 dj, I was the $2000 dj, and am now a $2500 dj... I would never be able to get $2500 for what I was doing when I was $800. Investment matters. In equipment. In marketing. In Personal Appearance. In Online Appearance.... and most importantly... in your skillset.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
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There is a unique and abiding pleasure that comes with buying and using the best gear. It is an end in itself. Plus, good gear is much more reliable and will not fail you in a pinch. A $400 laptop simply cannot be reliable. It will fail you. You will be unhappy. Your client will be unhappy.
I almost put a like to your post except when you talked about using a $400 laptop. First it depends on what you plan to use the laptop for and what's inside the laptop. My main laptop I use to DJ with cost me less then $50. It's an old Lenovo that still works great! The laptop needs enough processor speed to run VDJ which it does. I don't put it online or use it for video to show at events. Nowadays you need at least 4 gigs of ram to use for a DJ software program so it doesn't skip or buffer. Even then that may not be god enough depending on what you use the laptop for.