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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
613
953
95
45
#1
lol...weird title i know... but do you guys ever give away a free show for any reason? and if so... list the them?

The reason i bring this up....is...i moved in may...and desperately needed help from my buddies... normally that wouldnt be so much to ask... except i had just asked their help moving a few months prior to that... and ...let me just say....my wife is a bit of a pack rat....so we have way too much stuff... so that being said...i felt i needed to sweeten the deal....

So i told them....anyone who helps gets a free party.... now i look at it this way... i probably would dj any of these guys parties free anyways...or at a greatly reduced price (might as well be free instead of the awkward money conversation)...i mean...these are my boys....they were also in my wedding.... so all these little reasons keep adding up to a free party for them anyway....but i used the prospect of a free party to get the help i needed....and it worked.... and so far...no one has cashed in...lol

cc
 

scgstuff

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 30, 2017
584
1,071
95
Central Texas
garrisentertainment.com
#5
I offer significant discounts to several charities. I have 3 new people I am training and thought about offering a free event to the school where they could run it with me in standby mode way in the back to help as needed. 2 have been on the board at events with me, so curious to see how they do by themselves.
 

Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 7, 2016
1,486
3,384
115
#6
I do one charity event each year for a scholarship fund that goes to under-resourced kids at the high school I went to. It was set up in the name of a friend of mine that passed away, and his family is running the foundation.

I also set up gear at a house party with my friends about a year ago for a party that we were having. There were a couple DJs there, so we jammed a bit taking turns. But it wasn't really work... I did that just for fun. I was very much a guest at that party, not a vendor.
 

Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 7, 2016
1,486
3,384
115
#7
Specific to your situation though... what makes me uncomfortable about that is the ambiguity on the date. If I want to give an unbooked date away in a slow month... that's cool. But if they called asking about September, October, April, or May... I'd feel like I was giving them a $X,XXX (Insert your top bookings here) sized gift. Which probably would have just been worth it to pay for movers.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
7,376
1,006
115
60
#8
Myself I've done a bunch for my best friend. We've been best friends for 50 years. So no biggie because I call him my brother and besides when I first got started back he let me store my first setup in his basement for free and I got to practice.
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
14,994
11,059
115
54
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
#9
The situation you described is a bit different than what most are discussing here. YOU made the offer to give them a free party, they didn't approach you, looking for the buddy discount. They obviously are friends enough to have helped you out, even without the free party offer. Those people are golden. You need to find some way to pay them back, IMHO.
 
Likes: ittigger

Valerie Hicks

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 21, 2006
2,665
2,053
115
48
Eastern South Dakota
www.squareonesd.com
#10
Most recently we did sound for a concert for an event at a youth camp that we support. They had a community concert--free to the public--with 3 artists. We provide staging, sound, lights & of course us, free of charge. They are about 100 miles away, so transportation was a significant donation as well. The camp is a non-denominational christian camp geared towards native american kids.

Rick is right, there is a difference between being asked and offering. We offered our services for this type of event at their camp--actually a couple years ago. It took a while to develop the concept and get artists lined up, etc. If someone calls asking for free services we will evaluate the organization, the event, past history, future potential, etc. We like to have an event or two a year to donate to, but it has to be something we otherwise would support. A few years ago we did an annual fundraiser for a local organization. We finally decided that their agenda didn't really match our own values. They insisted on continuing the event in a too-small facility (which limited how well we could do our job for them), they were not interested in growing the event, and the final straw was the last event we did for them, and a comment that we heard throughout the night by the organizers. When soliciting bids for an item, baby cribs, they kept saying how they would help these women who found themselves in the unfortunate situation (of having a baby). Another vendor at our table during the dinner/auction commented they know how this happens, maybe they should be giving out condoms instead of cribs. The next year we bowed out respectfully. It just wasn't a match for us.
 
Last edited:
Likes: ittigger

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
14,994
11,059
115
54
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
#11
Most recently we did sound for a concert for an event at a youth camp that we support. They had a community concert--free to the public--with 3 artists. We provide staging, sound, lights & of course us, free of charge. They are about 100 miles away, so transportation was a significant donation as well. The camp is a non-denominational christian camp geared towards native american kids.

Rick is right, there is a difference between being asked and offering. We offered our services for this type of event at their camp--actually a couple years ago. It took a while to develop the concept and get artists lined up, etc. If someone calls asking for free services we will evaluate the organization, the event, past history, future potential, etc. We like to have an event or two a year to donate to, but it has to be something we otherwise would support. A few years ago we did an annual fundraiser for a local organization. We finally decided that their agenda didn't really match our own values. They insisted on continuing the event in a too-small facility (which limited how well we could do our job for them), they were not interested in growing the event, and the final straw was the last event we did for them, and a comment that we heard throughout the night by the organizers. When soliciting bids for an item, baby cribs, they kept saying how they would help these women who found themselves in the unfortunate situation (of having a baby). Another vendor at our table during the dinner/auction commented they know how this happens, maybe they should be giving out condoms instead of cribs. The next year we bowed out respectfully. It just wasn't a match for us.
That's noble of you guys. You're obviously very high-quality people. As for myself, I'm afraid I've just gotten too jaded. Anytime I've donated my services, or given a heavily-discounted price, it ALWAYS ends up with me being treated poorly. It's been my observation that if your service doesn't cost them anything, they'll never value what you're giving them. Same thing goes for discounting. The more I charge clients, the more they tend to respect me and value what I'm providing to them. I've come to hate that feeling and I want no part of it any longer.
 
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DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
4,633
3,448
115
36
#12
I don't do any free events, but I am sure there may be a time in the future when I do for some reason.


I am proving some free up lights to a family friend who is getting married next month. I am a guest at the wedding. My sister is their wedding planner, and she asked me if I could set up some up lights for them, and I obliged. Not a big deal to bring 8 Up Lights with me and set them up. The Mom watched the bride when she was a baby and a toddler, and they were very close family to our family growing up. I also know the bride and groom do not have a lot of money.

I wouldn't deejay it for free, but providing some up lights for free when I'm already a guest at the wedding isn't hard to do.
 

scgstuff

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 30, 2017
584
1,071
95
Central Texas
garrisentertainment.com
#13
That's noble of you guys. You're obviously very high-quality people. As for myself, I'm afraid I've just gotten too jaded. Anytime I've donated my services, or given a heavily-discounted price, it ALWAYS ends up with me being treated poorly. It's been my observation that if your service doesn't cost them anything, they'll never value what you're giving them. Same thing goes for discounting. The more I charge clients, the more they tend to respect me and value what I'm providing to them. I've come to hate that feeling and I want no part of it any longer.
I always give them the actual price, and then quote the discounted rate. Then, on an invoice, will list the actual rate, show the discount and the total due. I want to ensure they know what they are getting.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 
Likes: ittigger

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
14,994
11,059
115
54
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
#14
I always give them the actual price, and then quote the discounted rate. Then, on an invoice, will list the actual rate, show the discount and the total due. I want to ensure they know what they are getting.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
I've tried that as well, didn't make a difference in my experience. If people don't have pay you, they won't value you.
 

adj2ent

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 20, 2006
485
796
95
58
Long Island NY
#15
My official position is I don’t do any event for free. If your organization books a many events per year on a recurring basis maybe we have something to discuss if it’s a fundraiser. Usually it’s the ones that’s never use your services which will want something for free for the publicity. However I may volunteer to help out, discount or comp if I feel it is something worthy.
 
Jun 26, 2018
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#16
I think discounting can actually do your reputation more harm than good in some cases, and I would agree with others on here who say there isn't any appreciation.

A few years ago a large charitable organization dedicated to cancer research came to me for a quote. I discounted my rates approximately 50% off for them. I personally worked that event that year, and ended up getting some sort of regional contract with a rep to do more of these types of events. At that point it worked out well for me, with the exception of a few things:
1) Scope creep - client signed a contract for a Dj service, and ended up needing all sorts of sound reinforcement for performers, extra microphones etc. which was previously not disclosed or in the contract. As an act of goodwill, since I carry many of these items, I provided them and casually mentioned that I need to know if these types of things will be needed in the future.
2) Lack of respect for equipment - I did not appreciate one of the volunteers trying to use my $600+ wireless mics for a game of "chubby bunny" as people would spit marshmallows into them, or the fact if I turned my back, they would hand my mics over to whoever (extremely disabled people who could barely hold on to the mic, toddlers, 16 year old punks who think it is cool to 'drop the mic' as seen on TV etc.). Additionally, during a big storm when water was blowing into my tent, volunteers were getting pissy with me for trying to protect my equipment rather than servicing their needs immediately. If I looked away for a second, volunteers would be trying to plug their phones into my board.
3) Clear contract violations - I shouldn't need to carry and run hundreds of feet of extension cord when my contract says 15-20'. Oh...and I got to tape it all down too.
4) Burnout - My body can't handle up all nighters the way it used to be able to.

The next year, they renewed their contract, and their largest event was moved to the first Saturday in June - one of my peak wedding dates. I personally kicked off the event, brought a second person with me who did great, and ducked out to go to my wedding. That year I ended up getting into verbal altercation with a volunteer. He had a box van which was illegally parked and blocking our trucks - posing the threat of making me late for my next event. He refused to move it. When he talked to me with clear disrespect, I stated he had his choice of me calling the police or a towing company. My response to him did not go over well. Additionally, I bought/brought cheaper mics to the event. The volunteers complained about the range and some of the static and dropout.

The next year, they renewed again. Nothing noteworthy happened except, I think I lost an amplifier or two to heat. Some of the leadership and volunteers began to change over. I wised up to some of the scope creep by this point and bought a snake, some DI boxes etc. and ran them into a limiter so people could just plug in whatever they please. At some point after this event, I was asked to attend some of the committee meetings which I could not make as it conflicted with other obligations I have.

The next year they renewed again - on my busiest day of the year. My assistant Dj I had brought with me years past was unable to make it. I formatted a playlist in Mixmeister and sent one of my photobooth operators who had previously run sound for bands to work the event when I left in the afternoon. I figured it was straightforward enough - just adjust the channels for the mic, snake and computer as needed and do what you're told by the volunteers. One of my Djs who was working a graduation party would relieve him when he gets off. Big mistake. While noone complained directly to me, I heard through the grapevine that people were walking in front of speakers with microphones etc. and the feedback and lack of polished quality was a poor reflection on my company since noone was there "coaching" people and actively coordinating. A singer/performer showed up without the proper adapters and nothing could be done to patch them in (they were supposed to call/email me in advance, or arrive early in afternoon for a sound check, or supply anything needed to tap into the snake which I painfully documented what was needed). Last, allegedly, some of the cheaper mics also went out causing my sound operator to become short with the volunteers who was riding him. I heard this all from the Dj who relieved him - noone complained directly to me, even when I followed up. I didn't make any money off the main event that year between labor and equipment costs. Proceeding in this condition was not sustainable for my company at that price point and was potentially doing more harm than good.

This year they didn't renew - they didn't even come to me for a quote. I saw an inquiry on the event's Facebook page looking for a Dj. Their entertainment committee changed over - I no longer know who is on it. I know they reached out to a competitor and were going to book but it did not go through. They ended up using someone recommended on the Facebook page. The person they used just started their "Dj company" this year and "specializes" in this particular event - doesn;t appear to do weddings or anything else. I briefly stopped up at that event and I am pretty sure it was one of the previous years' volunteers who thought she could do better with a laptop, 2 Peavey powered speakers and a Behringer sub sitting on the floor in the tent. If it's about the cause, and she's going to be there anyway, then I suppose it makes sense. The minute she has a speaker go out or a mic that isn't working I wonder if she has extra out in her minivan, if it is sustainable for her to just go out and replace whatever is broken on the fly, or if they will be calling myself or another Dj company in the area for a bailout in events to come.

Throughout my four year run with this organization, a lot of people complimented the music formatting when I was personally running it. Some of the veteran performers appreciated the improvements and accommodations I had made for them (the snake/dis etc). We gave out quite a few cards, yet, these events generated 0 quality leads. The people that called in were looking for low cost things for fund raisers, graduation parties etc. I falsely thought there was value in the publicity. Not having that contract stung a little bit this year, as this was an extremely slow summer, but I couldn't go on doing this at the rates I was charging.
 

Valerie Hicks

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 21, 2006
2,665
2,053
115
48
Eastern South Dakota
www.squareonesd.com
#18
That's noble of you guys. You're obviously very high-quality people. As for myself, I'm afraid I've just gotten too jaded. Anytime I've donated my services, or given a heavily-discounted price, it ALWAYS ends up with me being treated poorly. It's been my observation that if your service doesn't cost them anything, they'll never value what you're giving them. Same thing goes for discounting. The more I charge clients, the more they tend to respect me and value what I'm providing to them. I've come to hate that feeling and I want no part of it any longer.
We've been there. I will say, even the event that we dropped, we were treated ok (other than the refusal to move to a larger, more suitable location to allow the event to grow and allow room for us to provide our services better). But, we only do events we truly want to support. Not just to have it on the books as a freebie, but truly something we want to do to help. In return, we give the event our all, and in nearly every case they are super appreciative. The camp event I mentioned above, they inquired after the event what that should have cost them, because they'd like to develop it into an event that CAN AFFORD TO PAY US. Those are the types of people and events that we WANT to help.

In nearly every case I provide a contract showing the full price & the discount. For 2 reasons: #1 our insurance requires we have a contract. Without a contract, we have no liability coverage. #2, it shows the client the true value. I write in the discount as a personal description....I had a wedding one time that had a discount line indicating because the groom is an army man and your (bride's) family rocks. Something that shows that we want to help and makes them feel special. In turn, we are treated well and appreciated.

In the future I'd like to move more to they pay full price and we write them a check as a donation equal to the amount of the contract. Since it's difficult to write off services as a deduction, it translates to a deductible contribution for us. It also makes the value more real because they wrote a check for it. And lastly, it makes our contribution value more real a second time when our name is on the books from a cash donation. I will have to experiment with it and see how it's actually received. Maybe next time. ;-)