Prom price?

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TinyTim

Active DJ
Nov 2, 2017
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#1
Hello y'all. So for those of you that have seen my previous posts, I am a complete noob to the DJ game and am just really getting started. Well, I just got asked if I would DJ a local prom and what I would charge?! I don't even know where to start!!!!

The prom is supposed to run from 1900-2330 so that is 4.5 hours. What kind of price range should I give them? I'm completely lost! The few small gigs I have done up to this point we're unpaid for friends or family. HELP!!!!

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rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
14,389
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Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
#3
Being perfectly honest here, if you're a noob, I'm not sure I'd take a prom at this point. First off, it takes some pretty serious firepower. Second, most are fairly high-end events and can be a handful, even for an experienced DJ. Are you sure you're ready for this?
 

TinyTim

Active DJ
Nov 2, 2017
108
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#4
Being perfectly honest here, if you're a noob, I'm not sure I'd take a prom at this point. First off, it takes some pretty serious firepower. Second, most are fairly high-end events and can be a handful, even for an experienced DJ. Are you sure you're ready for this?
The more I'm thinking about it, I really don't think I'm ready for something that big! I don't even have any lights yet. As of now, my set up is sound only! I have already told the person that asked me the same thing.

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rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
14,389
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Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
#5
The more I'm thinking about it, I really don't think I'm ready for something that big! I don't even have any lights yet. As of now, my set up is sound only! I have already told the person that asked me the same thing.

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My opinion, it's okay for a newbie to take on a smaller school dance, but proms are a much bigger event and you can't skimp on it. Schools are always sniffing for el-cheap options ($300-$400) but the kids have expectations. In the case of a prom you really need to have some miles under your belt.
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
5,603
8,487
115
Oklahoma City
#7
Hello y'all. So for those of you that have seen my previous posts, I am a complete noob to the DJ game and am just really getting started. Well, I just got asked if I would DJ a local prom and what I would charge?! I don't even know where to start!!!!

The prom is supposed to run from 1900-2330 so that is 4.5 hours. What kind of price range should I give them? I'm completely lost! The few small gigs I have done up to this point we're unpaid for friends or family. HELP!!!!

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
Price is one of those things we debate here all the time. I don't think there's a RIGHT answer. Some of the guys on this board have been DJing for decades, so they are established and have their rates pretty well set. I'm more of a noob too. My rates are somewhat on the lower side for this area, but not dirt cheap.

IMHO, rates are very much dependent on the area you're serving. NO DJ I know of in Oklahoma charges what some of the guys in NY, DC, and that area are charging. I know guys in Alabama and Louisiana who charge similar prices to me. What I did, was check out the local competition to see what they charged, and what services they included, then I set my rate just a little lower, since I lacked experience. Now that I've got some gigs under my belt, I could probably raise my rate a little, but have not done so yet.

As for proms... you're a LOT younger, so you can probably do them, but like Rick said, the expectations for that kind of event are VERY HIGH! I would not want to do one for one of my first gigs. I don't do school dances or sweet 16's because it just looks creepy for an old dude like me hanging with teenage kids. Plus there's certain types of music I won't play, and it's mostly the type teens want these days.

Price can also be affected by the clientele you're trying to cater to and the types of events you do. I do Christian events, and they usually don't pay well (but there's other less tangible benefits). But I also do a lot of office parties and corporate events, which pay much better. I also do a number of private parties at local country clubs, which pay well.

I hope that helps a little... maybe I just confused you more?
 

TinyTim

Active DJ
Nov 2, 2017
108
76
30
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#9
What sounds system are you working with? AS everyone has said, price is a huge variable between all of us and between regions. Anyway to find out what they paid in the past?
That is one of my biggest concerns. My set up right now is no where near adequate to play a prom. I have two harbinger tops with a mixer and a laptop. I plan on picking up a subwoofer here soon but I still don't think I will have enough wattage to be up to a task that big!

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tunes4046

DJ Extraordinaire
Jul 24, 2008
3,892
5,564
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Fennimore Wi
#10
That is one of my biggest concerns. My set up right now is no where near adequate to play a prom. I have two harbinger tops with a mixer and a laptop. I plan on picking up a subwoofer here soon but I still don't think I will have enough wattage to be up to a task that big!

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Last prom I did I used 8 QSC HPR181i subs and 4 QSC HPR153 tops
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
5,390
2,887
115
#14
S T O P !

You're collecting all kinds of advice and warnings from people (based on their events not yours) and you haven't even determined the specific details of this event. Calling it a "prom" tells you almost nothing about this event save but the age of the attendees. "Cafeteria" also tells you virtually nothing except that the budget is not large enough to move the event off campus.

How many kids will actually be attending? 50? or 200?
What other things besides a DJ does this event include?
What resources does the school already have? Speakers, Lights, etc?

There is nothing in any of your posts thus far to indicate that what people think is required - would actually be needed. Small budgets are indicative of small groups (Fewer students/families = less money raised. Expensive private schools = smaller enrollment.)
No one can speak professionally about how to approach this event unless and until you define the parameters of the problem to be solved. Investigate first - plan second.

The room is not important. It's the number of people in it and what they are doing that matters. Your prospect has not indicated that anyone wants or expects lighting. Perhaps they are decorating the space for a certain theme and don't really want any flashing lights?

One step at a time. The person who tapped you for this event is probably already aware of the level at which you are operating. Start from there and see what you can build from it.
 
Last edited:

TinyTim

Active DJ
Nov 2, 2017
108
76
30
33
#17
S T O P !

You're collecting all kinds of advice and warnings from people (based on their events not yours) and you haven't even determined the specific details of this event. Calling it a "prom" tells you almost nothing about this event save but the age of the attendees. "Cafeteria" also tells you virtually nothing except that the budget is not large enough to move the event off campus.

How many kids will actually be attending? 50? or 200?
What other things besides a DJ does this event include?
What resources does the school already have? Speakers, Lights, etc?

There is nothing in any of your posts thus far to indicate that what people think is required - would actually be needed. Small budgets are indicative of small groups (Fewer students/families = less money raised. Expensive private schools = smaller enrollment.)
No one can speak professionally about how to approach this event unless and until you define the parameters of the problem to be solved. Investigate first - plan second.

The room is not important, it's the number of people in it - and what they are doing that matters. Lighting is something you are concerned about but, you have not indicated that anyone wants or expects lighting. Perhaps they are decorating the space for a certain theme and don't really want any flashing lights?

One step at a time. The person who tapped you for this event is probably already aware of the level at which you are operating. If they were looking for the Chicago Night Club experience they would be looking elsewhere.
You make some very valid points. The school is one of the smaller schools in our district and is in a small rural area that has a heavy agricultural influence (They have one of the larger FFA groups in the area). If I remember correctly, this particular school does a "red carpet" entrance for thier prom, and last year several of the couples were dropped off at the top of the red carpet by large tractors! Lol

I will get more details from the asst. Principal that contacted me. I work with her husband so she saw where I had posted on Facebook, asking friends and families opinions in a name for my business. That was why she originally asked me to begin with. I will ask her about theme and expected attendance and maybe go walk through the cafeteria one day this week and get a feeling for the size of the room.

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steve149

Urbane Legend
Sep 26, 2011
19,802
27,802
115
Prospect, CT
#18
I searched through the Yamaha sound reinforcement bible and I couldn't find the term "wazoo", please explain?
I believe it was in the Alto Sound Reinforcement Pamphlet ..
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
2,649
1,608
115
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Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
#19
That is one of my biggest concerns. My set up right now is no where near adequate to play a prom. I have two harbinger tops with a mixer and a laptop. I plan on picking up a subwoofer here soon but I still don't think I will have enough wattage to be up to a task that big!

This prom is going to be in a cafeteria but pretty much the same concept. I had briefly thought about renting gear but it would have been cost prohibitive!
You just include it in the price you quote them.

I'm curious on prom prices too - a typical school dance here is $300..or less. BUT we don't have dances of 400 kids either - 200 is about the biggest. Proms can be bigger and expectations are higher, and teh DJ is paid for as part of the ticket.


Last prom I did I used 8 QSC HPR181i subs and 4 QSC HPR153 tops
Last prom I did had 80 kids TOTAL at it. That would have been total overkill. DId a dance for them also - in the lobby of the gym...I don't think all that gear would even fit in that space! LOL
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
5,390
2,887
115
#20
You make some very valid points. The school is one of the smaller schools in our district and is in a small rural area that has a heavy agricultural influence (They have one of the larger FFA groups in the area). If I remember correctly, this particular school does a "red carpet" entrance for thier prom, and last year several of the couples were dropped off at the top of the red carpet by large tractors! Lol

I will get more details from the asst. Principal that contacted me. I work with her husband so she saw where I had posted on Facebook, asking friends and families opinions in a name for my business. That was why she originally asked me to begin with. I will ask her about theme and expected attendance and maybe go walk through the cafeteria one day this week and get a feeling for the size of the room.
The important thing is not to get wrapped up in other DJ's egos or preferences.

For example, people may immediately jump to the conclusion that you need two sound systems - one for the red carpet entrance (announcements), and one for the cafeteria which could be entirely false. Perhaps the school has a PA system of it's own - perhaps the very first thing they do upon arrival is prom photos, and then dinner - so, you have time to move a speaker or PA system back into the cafeteria after the entrances.

Don't assume that every event needs to be a major production. Find out what the customer needs and then decide if it's within your ability to do it.