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Thread: Mobile DJ just starting out and need some advice

  1. #1
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    Mobile DJ just starting out and need some advice

    I'm after a bit of advice...I'm taking the plunge and setting myself up as a mobile DJ...I've got a reasonable buffer to keep me going for a while what with COVID-19 based redundancy, and although now's not a great time to be a DJ, it's the only opportunity I can see me ever having at the age of 44. I have been doing this for a good few years as a hobby, and would say I'm intermediate.

    Now, the advice bit. I've been putting myself out there, doing free sets for local garden parties over the summer, firstly for family and friends, then for people I don't know so I can get experience and unbiased feedback, which has all been very good.

    Now the redundancy is coming up, and I need to start charging...problem is, I really don't know what a usual charge amount and structure is...is it per hour? Dependant on the event itself?

    For the most part, I'll be doing house/garden parties until we're allowed to do weddings and so on in large venues. Until then I have all the kit I need, and plan on hiring equipment for larger venues when the time comes (until financially viable to buy my own).

    So yeah...what should I be charging basically? I've found people pretty party starved at the moment as lock-down restrictions start easing...

  2. #2
    Truck Driver Dix's Avatar
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    Depends on where you are & the market there. I am in a rural area in the deep south. Average DJ here is in the area of about $100 an hr for basic services. Beginners here start at about $50 an hr. With about 18 years in a mobile business, I was at $125 - $150 per hr range for basic services.

    Some people charge by the hr, some charge by the package. Everyone has their own idea about the best way to price. We have several on here that charge various ways. Personally, I dont do packages. Generally, I charge a minimum for 3 hrs, then an hourly rate plus any additional equipment &/or services added beyond "basic services".

    Again, location matters. If I was in a 3 million plus metro area, I'd be charging about 2 - 3 times what I currently charge in my southern rural area.

    Good luck.....
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  3. #3
    Deez Beats! KLH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Beats View Post
    I need to start charging...problem is, I really don't know what a usual charge amount and structure is...is it per hour? Dependant on the event itself?

    So yeah...what should I be charging basically?
    That is the question, isn't it? Everyone grapples with it... pricing and a DJ name (sigh).

    In all seriousness, what I do is define the event and price accordingly. For example, if there's a dinner/dance event, I say that I'll do four hours (say 6-10) at $X and then say if you want to go longer, it's $Y per hour. From there, the discussion tends to go to musical style, lighting, and other details.

    As always, YMMV. Have fun.
    -KLH
    Visit DJF's Beginner's MEGA thread and drop by my Facebook Fan Page.

  4. #4
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    Thanks both...I'm UK based, outskirts of London...I think I may go package based...probably easier to manage and market promotions on those packages.

    As for DJ name...yes, it took a lot of time coming up with one. Ace Beats is the company name as it's more "family" friendly and marketable than what I was originally thinking. "XGen", so I took that on as a DJ name instead. Ace Beats is a bit cheesy, but is more personal than it seems, being a play on letters of my kid's names...something only I would ever notice, but still. XGen in pretty straightforward. I'm a Generation Xer. That's about as far as the thinking went with that one!

  5. #5
    Moderator DJ Bobcat's Avatar
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    I started out charging $100 per hour with a 4 hour minimum. That means I got at least $400 per event. Additional time is $100 per hour, prorated by the half hour. If the gig goes 30 minutes over, itís $50. If it goes 31 minutes over, itís $100. Thatís still how I price myself 6 years later. There are other DJís in the area who are in the price range, but there are a few who charge less. To me, itís not worth spending my time and effort to do an event if it doesnít pay at least $400. Guys get MUCH more for weddings and Sweet Sixteenís, but I donít do those events. Iím an old dude, so I cater to an older clientele.


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  6. #6
    In Greece, I am charging 100 euro per hour with my equipment, or 70 euro per hour when I am bringing just my music and headphones. Usually, I also have a minimum of 3-4 hours of performance. Next year, however, prices will probably drop 20-30%.

  7. #7
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    A local DJ posted this on facebook recently...

    A customer asked me how much it cost to DJ their event....
    I answered him: $ 1500
    He said: “So expensive for this job?”
    I asked: How much do you think it would cost you?
    He answers me: “$ 800 maximum... That's a pretty simple job right?!"
    - For $ 800 I invite you to do it yourself.
    - “But.... I don't know how to.”
    - For $800 I'll teach you how to. So besides saving you $700, you'll get the knowledge for the next time you want
    - It seemed right to him and he agreed.
    - But to get started you need tools: Music library, computer, turntables, a mixer, speakers, wires, etc...
    - “But I don't have all these equipment and I can't buy all of these for one job.”
    - Well then for another $300 more I'll rent my stuff to you so you can do it.
    - “Okay,” he says.
    - Okay! Tuesday I'm waiting for you to start doing this work
    - “But I can't on Tuesday I only have time today.”
    - I'm sorry, but I'm only available Tuesday to teach you and lend you my stuff. Other days are busy with other customers events.
    - “Okay! That means I'm going to have to sacrifice my Tuesday, give up my tasks.”
    - I forgot, to do your job yourself, you also have to pay for the nonproductive factors.
    - “That is? What is that?"
    - Bureaucratic, record pool fees, tax, security, insurance, fuel etc.
    - “Oh no!... But to accomplish these tasks, I'm going to spend more money and waste a lot of time!”
    - “Do you have them? You can do it for me?"
    - Okay!
    - I'll provide you all the gear and production you need. Truck loading is done Monday evening or Tuesday morning you'll have to come by 6am to load the truck. Don't forget to be on time to avoid traffic
    - “At 6am??? Nope! Too early for me! I used to getting up later
    ...
    - “You know, I've been thinking. Y’all better get the job done. I'd rather pay you the $1500. If I had to do it myself it wouldn't be perfect and it would cost me a lot more.”
    ——————
    When you pay for a job, especially handcrafted skills, you pay not only for the equipment used, but also:
    - Knowledge
    - Experience
    - Study
    - Tools
    - Services
    - Time
    - Punctuality
    - Accountability
    - Professionalism
    - Accuracy
    - Guarantee
    - Sacrifices
    - Safety and security
    - Payment of tax obligations
    No one can denigrate other people's work by judging prices.
    Only by knowing all the elements necessary for the production of a certain work can you estimate the actual cost.
    I did not write this dialogue, but am sharing it to support my fellow entertainers and entrepreneurs.
    ***PLEASE REPOST AND EDUCATE YOUR CLIENTS SO THEY SEE YOUR VALUE***

  8. #8
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    Somewhere on this site is a detailed pricing prototype I believe written by someone named sween...

  9. #9
    Early on I realized that by pricing myself below the market average set off red flags for potential clients. The more I raised my prices, the higher percentage of gigs I closed. I'd recommend charging as much as you can justify. You'll get better clients too.
    Bryan George
    Bryan George Music
    www.bryangeorgemusic.com

  10. #10
    Moderator DJ Bobcat's Avatar
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    Mobile DJ just starting out and need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by BryanGeorgeMusic View Post
    Early on I realized that by pricing myself below the market average set off red flags for potential clients. The more I raised my prices, the higher percentage of gigs I closed. I'd recommend charging as much as you can justify. You'll get better clients too.
    While it MIGHT be true that pricing yourself BELOW the market sets off red flags, and PERHAPS you get better clients by charging HIGHER prices, thatís much too general of a statement and may not be true for every DJ. Markets vary greatly from city to city. The market in my town is very likely quite different than yours. The other factor to consider is that in any market, the percentage of people able and willing to pay the higher prices will also be different from place to place. In most places, the percentage of wealthy potential clients will be smaller than the percentage of medium and lower income clients. If you cater to younger people, they are unlikely to be in their prime earning years, so unless they are being helped by parents, they will not be able to afford the highest prices. As someone who has worked for a number of wealthy clients, I can also attest that some are ABSOLUTE JERKS! The wealthier clients also tend to scrutinize everything in my contract and demand numerous changes. Most of my lower income clients were MUCH more appreciative and grateful to get me to DJ their events. My point is, you eliminate a lot of potential clients by pricing on the higher end. Each DJ has to do their own market research for THEIR area. Thereís gonna be a sweet spot for pricing that garners the most potential clients, then you need to SELL yourself better than the other DJís in the area. Itís not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.😊


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