As you are planning your wedding and have come across some prices of DJ’s you are probably asking yourself, are you kidding me? Why do they expect to make so much for such a short amount of time? If you are booking a DJ for a wedding in the US, the average cost is $1,200. So you ask, what justifies this amount of money?
It’s way more than you see at the wedding itself. Here are the breakdowns of operating a DJ company so that you can better understand why a professional DJ charges what they do. This will help you from flipping out when discussing pricing for your wedding.
Roster and Labor Cost
The best tip when finding a DJ is finding the “right” one for you. Do you vibe with their personality? Is this a person you can trust? Ultimately DJ companies demand a lot from their DJ’s. There typically is at least one meeting before your wedding, communication via phone, text or email with the clients within a specific amount of time, and all the work that must be done before your DJ arrives to set up the equipment for your wedding.
Labor cost is typically the most expensive cost in any business. With that said a majority of the pricing for the DJ may go toward not only the DJ but the staff that ensures the business operates like a well-oiled machine there aren’t any issues with communication, billing or the schedule.
State of the Art Equipment and Upkeep
Do you want to hire a DJ with 1980’s looking equipment? Probably not. State of the art equipment cost THOUSANDS of dollars. “Dead Air” can take a reception from a 10 to 1 in a matter of seconds. Faulty equipment only ups the percentage of “dead air” happening.
Equipment includes computers, speakers, mixers, amplifiers, subwoofers, lighting, microphones (wired and wireless), microphone stands, XLR cables (for the speakers, mixer and microphones) power cords, and cases to put everything in so they don’t get all banged up being moved in and out.
Once the equipment is purchased, it has to be maintained, just like your car. Not to mention having backups on hand. Because a professional DJ would have a backup computer just in case theirs’ crashed. State of the art equipment is expensive to maintain and fix when needed.
Yes, your DJ pays for their music. And a great DJ has TENS of THOUSANDS of songs. And if they don’t have it, in their library, they need access to it on the fly. Being able to cover the songs you want and the songs your guests requests cost $$$. Your DJ may have created a mix or a medley of songs for specifically for your wedding which is more time which means, more money.
Time is Money
When you go to work, you are being paid for your time. The same thing goes for your DJ. Keep in mind that you will most likely meet with your DJ before your wedding, and they will generate a “playbook” so to speak along with a list of songs designed to your taste of music in advance. Your vendors are going to come to the DJ to know when to do what. That not only takes coordination and communication but it takes precision.
Getting the bridal party lined up so they can be announced, pronouncing the names correctly. If there are hard names to pronounce in the wedding, which takes time to get correct. You know how hard some names are to pronounce while being able to add personality so that it keeps people entertained but not obnoxious or cheesy.
Coordinating the “playbook” and “playlist” takes a several hours even before they show up. On the day of your wedding the DJ travels with equipment, sets it up, performs, and then breaks everything down. So yes you are paying for the time your DJ actually performs at your reception but there were several hours of work that you don’t even see.
Set Ups like the one below is an upgraded set up. Trussing, intelligent lighting, up lighting, with the translucent covers in front of the DJ equipment is not only state of the art but super expensive.
In order to keep a business running, whether it is big or small, it cost money to do so. Think of the obvious cost like renting office space, running a website, business licenses, insurance and utilities. You will want to make sure your DJ is insured because if the DJ’s equipment is damaged during your wedding or if someone gets hurt because of the DJ’s equipment, someone will be held responsible. It may be you or your venue or both. Plus you have to advertise and create marketing campaigns to attract customers in the first place.
So when you are selecting your DJ, please keep this cost in mind. There is a lot of time and money that goes into making sure you have the best entertainment experience possible for your wedding. Now that you see the cost involved, would you trust a DJ that cost only $500 now?