Lost another gig to an "all-inclusive" venue

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rickryan.com

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Dec 9, 2009
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#1
This is really starting to get under my skin. A good number of the venues in this area (mostly farm venues) have started offering "all inclusive" packages, and I ain't one of those $250 DJs who are getting the gigs from it. I don't have anything in November, and just lost 11-10 to one of these situations. I hope this isn't a trend everywhere but it sure seems to be taking hold in the Nashville market. Fair warning.....................
 

djtaso

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#2
Are they able to bring in outside djs? And i dont quite get how you "lost" it. If it'S all inclusive, then why did they contact you to begin with? If they are able to bring in outside dj's and you're losing the event after being contacted, then that means you didn't do a good enough job selling. In which case I look at it as the same thing as a recommended vendor. You have to prove you have something to offer that the included option doesnt... just like uplighting... 1/3 of all venues i do uplighting at actually offer uplighting for free, or "require" you to use their vendors. I provide something that's better or that they can't replicate and they go with my option which has a higher charge. The dj service is essentially the same thing.
 

rickryan.com

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#3
Are they able to bring in outside djs? And i dont quite get how you "lost" it. If it'S all inclusive, then why did they contact you to begin with? If they are able to bring in outside dj's and you're losing the event after being contacted, then that means you didn't do a good enough job selling. In which case I look at it as the same thing as a recommended vendor. You have to prove you have something to offer that the included option doesnt... just like uplighting... 1/3 of all venues i do uplighting at actually offer uplighting for free, or "require" you to use their vendors. I provide something that's better or that they can't replicate and they go with my option which has a higher charge. The dj service is essentially the same thing.
She was originally looking at a venue where the DJ is not provided but ended up going with a venue who sells the DJ along with their services. On uplighting, I do beat out the venues, at least some of the time. When the DJ is thrown in "free", or they don't even allow anyone except their own, there's just no way to compete against that. It seems to be a trend, at least in this area.
 

djtaso

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#4
Seems a little odd that she was contacting dj's without a venue. Either way though, this seems to fall into the "these aren't your clients" category. There are plenty of venues that do that around here too... but those seem to attract "budget minded" clients. I mean literally every venue offers recommended vendors, many of who discount if they choose them through the referral. You just have to find the clients that actually really care about the quality of the services they receive, and show why you're the best option possible. I know in many venues I play at, I am typically 25-50% more expensive than the recommended vendors.
 

rickryan.com

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#5
Seems a little odd that she was contacting dj's without a venue. Either way though, this seems to fall into the "these aren't your clients" category. There are plenty of venues that do that around here too... but those seem to attract "budget minded" clients. I mean literally every venue offers recommended vendors, many of who discount if they choose them through the referral. You just have to find the clients that actually really care about the quality of the services they receive, and show why you're the best option possible. I know in many venues I play at, I am typically 25-50% more expensive than the recommended vendors.
I'm not talking about a referral list. I'm talking where venues bundle together DJ, food, lighting, planner, etc. and offer it as their own package. It's very rare that a bride is going to say, "No, I think I'll hire my own DJ and pay a lot more money." Yes, it can happen but the vast majority like the ease of having fewer contracts.
 

djtaso

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#6
I'm not talking about a referral list. I'm talking where venues bundle together DJ, food, lighting, planner, etc. and offer it as their own package. It's very rare that a bride is going to say, "No, I think I'll hire my own DJ and pay a lot more money." Yes, it can happen but the vast majority like the ease of having fewer contracts.
I agree... it is very attractive from a practical perspective and for the clients that view all dj's and all flowers and all planners as equal. Just gotta target those that don't have that viewpoint... and there are many. In reality this bride would have never contacted you if she chose the venue prior to contacting vendors, so I wouldn't be too upset about it. Like I said, plenty of venues do this here, especially for teen events... but those were never my clients to begin with. The issue only begins when it is actually required that you use their vendors... then the client is put in a tough position.
 

djtaso

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#8
There is a huge, huge difference between "Farm Venues" in the Nashville area, and serious upscale venues in N.J. that are within spitting distance of Manhattan.
What’s the difference? We have more venues but we also have much more competition. We have people charging $2000+ and then we have many many kore similar to mix. We have all inclusive venues at the same percentage rate as many others as well. There are plenty of challenges everywhere. In order to fill my schedule at the rate I want I have to travel to philly and areas in Long Island that are 2hrs away. Next month I’m traveling 3hrs to Lancaster,pa for a $3500 wedding. This isn’t a location issue.

In north jersey you have multi ops with 50k budgets dedicated strictly to bridal shows, marketing, and getting on referral lists. I’m just a single op with a marketing budget of zero working harder than all of them to stand out. Beingg a dj up here isn’t a luxury as competition is fierce. I can hardly find any single ops doing this full time and making a proper living in one of the most expensive states. It’s why most have to work for multi ops to get bookings.
 
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Handinon

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Oct 1, 2014
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#9
I think I didn't make myself clear - the difference is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$'s.
"Next month I’m traveling 3hrs to Lancaster,pa for a $3500 wedding ". If that's your fee, I thinks it is safe to assume it's probably at least a $35K plus wedding. IMHO, that's a completely different market than when dealing with an "all inclusive farm venue" using $250 DJ's. No?
 
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DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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#10
There are not many of the venues doing the "all inclusive" thing today. That was more popular in my market a few years back compared to now.

However, with that said. I travel to DC and Northern Virginia to get the money I want.

Actually, all of this month I am doing that with the exception of a Tuesday charity gig that just came in today that it looks like I am booking. No weekend Baltimore area gigs on the calendar. I had one for this Friday, but it cancelled as it was a church fundraiser, and they only sold 22 tickets.


I guess Rick is kind of limited to just Nashville as the main Urban area in his market unless he is prepared to start traveling a lot. ...I consider myself lucky that I live close enough to D.C. to do gigs in that market. ...I grew up near there, and then moved away to Baltimore market 10 years ago. Fortunate to have 2 City markets in my service area, and D.C. being the 3rd most popular wedding market in USA is also a plus. Lots of weddings in D.C. area, but also lots of vendors. Fortunately there is enough of a frequency of work that I seem to continue to book "enough" weddings to make money even though this year is a slow year for me.

I know some city markets can feel like feast one year, and famine the next year with many DJs out there.

If D.C. did not exist, or was not the nation's capital...Baltimore would be a pretty crappy market to be a DJ in. Lots of competition here, and I just couldn't stay busy with only this market.
 

DJ Ricky B

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#11
I forgot to add...If I really want to get technical about city markets. ...Wilmington, DE is a city, although a small city, it is a city, and it's only about 65 miles drive from me. I have never booked anything in Wilmington, and from what I know it's a crap market for DJs. However, I'm sure if I targeted that area hard enough, I could muster up a gig or two up there as well. ...Philly is a long drive, so I don't consider it in my service area, and lots of Philly DJs, but if I really wanted to pursue Philly area gigs, I am sure I certainly could. That would be 4 city markets in my service area at that point, plus Maryland's Eastern Shore. If I really pushed my marketing all over the place there could potentially be a seemingly unlimited amount of available work.

However, that's all conjecture, and being a bit unrealistic. ...Focusing on D.C., MD, NOVA is enough for me. But geographically speaking, I probably live in a very good spot with so many areas, and markets within a 150 mile drive. ...Maybe I'm thinking too much into it, LOL. ...My mind is certainly on "How can I attract more paying clients, and make more money" lately :scratchhead::greedy:
 

djtaso

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#12
I think I didn't make myself clear - the difference is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$'s.
"Next month I’m traveling 3hrs to Lancaster,pa for a $3500 wedding ". If that's your fee, I thinks it is safe to assume it's probably at least a $35K plus wedding. IMHO, that's a completely different market than when dealing with an "all inclusive farm venue" using $250 DJ's. No?
Money is all relevant to the areas cost of living. So while one may need to avg $2000 an event for a good standard of living in nj a dj in nashville may only need to avg 1500 for the same number of gigs. I used Lancaster as an example, because $3500 dj is NOT the norm out there, but I personally am willing to drive 3 hrs to get paid that much. And like I said, there are venues like that in jersey with the $250 dj included, and hundreds of $250 djs on craigslist. In the end, regardless of market, it's who you market to and how you brand yourself. This has nothing to do with high end or low end. I'm just simply saying look to other sources, venues, markets, etc for clients that fit your needs and you fit theirs.
 

djtaso

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#13
I forgot to add...If I really want to get technical about city markets. ...Wilmington, DE is a city, although a small city, it is a city, and it's only about 65 miles drive from me. I have never booked anything in Wilmington, and from what I know it's a crap market for DJs. However, I'm sure if I targeted that area hard enough, I could muster up a gig or two up there as well. ...Philly is a long drive, so I don't consider it in my service area, and lots of Philly DJs, but if I really wanted to pursue Philly area gigs, I am sure I certainly could. That would be 4 city markets in my service area at that point, plus Maryland's Eastern Shore. If I really pushed my marketing all over the place there could potentially be a seemingly unlimited amount of available work.

However, that's all conjecture, and being a bit unrealistic. ...Focusing on D.C., MD, NOVA is enough for me. But geographically speaking, I probably live in a very good spot with so many areas, and markets within a 150 mile drive. ...Maybe I'm thinking too much into it, LOL. ...My mind is certainly on "How can I attract more paying clients, and make more money" lately :scratchhead::greedy:
I find it funny you mention wilmington, as I do quite a number of events for that market. I literally just booked a $3700 sweet 16 there. A few of them also do their events in Philly since they're so close. I also get a number of people contacting me for that area who are interested in me, but say I'm too expensive (they for some reason are always booking at the Waterfalls in Claymont). However, they're not cheap clients by most dj's standards, and have healthy budgets of $1500-$1800 for dj and lighting or photobooth. I'm sure many on here would LOVE a client like that.
 

adj2ent

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Oct 20, 2006
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#14
It is the type of client which dictates the price not the geographic area. I am located in Long Island, NY. But I just spend a about month being mainly based out of NJ doing events in NJ & upstate NY. My company does events in NY, NJ, PA, CT, MA, NH, DE, MD & upstate NY. So far the only two states we haven't been to yet is ME & VT and anything around 7-8hr is fair game. In all cases the rate we get paid is the same in all areas except for NYC which is usually higher due to the additional cost of operating there. In NYC you can easily spend $100 on parking or $200+ for a ticket. We never get a calls from clients outside my local area looking something with budget price. It just doesn't happen that way. As I said many times before the hard part is reaching & connecting with clients in the market/price range you want to be in. When I started to make the changes years ago it required a total & complete change in marketing, pricing, advertising and networking. Personally I know my marketing and social media skills are way behind what they should. But I've seen quite a few use social media to expand & change the pool of clients they work with. If I had to make the change now social media would be the vehicle which I would use to change my market. One interesting thing that started to happen is I stopped promoting the DJ part of my business about 5 years ago and now it seems like their is a increase in people asking me to DJ.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Oct 16, 2011
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#15
Did you really lose that wedding? Such a venues aim is to make as much of a profit as they can to stay in business. You could offer your services to one of those venues. Once they find out your price, they would probably laugh you right out of their office. Your price would be way above anything they would want to pay. Without knowing anything about what they would get for that price.

Bottom line is your aim like everyone else should be to convince people to not look any further. Just book you and be done with it. Of course nobody has a 100% success in booking events. These things happen. Just keep looking at ways to improve so you get the people who will pay your rate without hesitation. They see who you are and what you have to offer and can't wait to sign your contract and give you a retainer.
 

rickryan.com

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#16
Heard back from the bride on the venue. It's a place that I used to work at a lot, but then the owner sold out to a younger couple and they decided to keep more of the pie to themselves. Not sure if the husband does the DJing or if they farm it out. All I know is that I no longer get to work there.
 

dunlopj

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Aug 14, 2008
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#17
If D.C. did not exist, or was not the nation's capital...Baltimore would be a pretty crappy market to be a DJ in. Lots of competition here, and I just couldn't stay busy with only this market.
Ricky, I can remember years ago - like in the early 90's - loading out from the Bethesda Marriott on a Saturday night and fighting with a few other DJ's and a band for a spot to pull up to and load into my car.

Nowadays, it'd be only one maybe two sound vendors....

But yeah, the Baltimore market has gotten really thin...not like it was 20 years ago...of course, what is??