Why A DJ costs What They Do.
If you have hired a DJ, KJ or combination of the two, you might notice the discrepancy in pricing and wonder why one is so cheap and one can cost more. It is not just an arbitrary number on pricing that DJs come up with, but reasonable pricing based on a number of factors for your wedding or event.
Two costs to a professional DJ are staffing and labor. In order to have a number of DJs who are experienced, versatile with a nice personality that clients will like, a certain amount of compensation is required. My Vancouver DJs have the skill to be able to handle any type of event from a wedding, high school dance to a club gig and they can do it in a professional, amicable style.
From answering the initial contact all the way through contracts, consultation, any prep work and performance of the event, there is a lot of labor that goes on to have the musical part of your event run smoothly. Most people see the DJ spinning the music, guests dancing and nice lighting leading them to believe that is all the DJ does. Rarely does anyone realize the costs of running internet, phone, lights, heat, paper, ink and all those large and small office costs that come into play. Clients also don’t realize the physical labor of loading equipment into the van, back out again into the venue, setup, take down at end of night, back into the van and then out again upon return to home base. That is a lot of work! Sometimes, that labor is intensified even more when a venue does not have an elevator and equipment must be hauled up stairs. There can be lots of physical issues in getting equipment into a venue including parking issues as well.
Time is also another factor. For a wedding especially, a client will want to meet with the DJ at least one time before the event. So, the time it takes for the DJ to get to and from the meeting plus creating a checklist and play list for the dinner dancing and possibly the wedding ceremony can take several hours. You add on even more time for preparation if you are asking your DJ to do master of ceremony duties. On the wedding day, the DJ must travel to and from the venue plus, as previously mentioned, load in, setup and load out times can add to those hours. Technically, the client may be paying only for the hours of performance for their wedding or event but there are a lot of extra hours that go into making that happen smoothly.
In addition, you DJ must purchase and maintain good equipment so that at every event, the equipment runs flawlessly. All the components that make up a decent DJ setup do not come cheaply and extras such as laser lighting, projectors and screens, portable battery powered equipment for our door wedding ceremonies, wireless microphones, etc., can really add up. Equipment must also be maintained or replaced. This can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to operating costs a year to a music provider’s operating costs.
Speaking of operating costs, as of this time of writing, gasoline was a $1.70 a liter! Add to that business car insurance, which just went up another 6% even for five star drivers, and these factors alone will definitely add to the costs of operating and maintaining a well conditioned, reliable vehicle to travel to meetings and events with. After all, you do want your DJ to be arriving at your nicely appointed venue in a presentable vehicle and not a taxi or a rundown car that might or might not make it to your wedding or event.
Music costs are better than they used to be but having thousands of songs available and the costs of having a streaming service to add additional music choices for weddings and events are still significant. If you consider the costs of karaoke music at $1.99 a song, and a large library of 100,000 songs or more, than the costs are quite high to obtain and keep that level of service available to clients.
These are just some of the costs that a DJ like me, in a city notoriously expensive to live and do business in, runs into. So next time you are quick to dismiss the pricing of a well reputed and reliable music service company, please keep in mind the costs associated with them obtaining and maintaining their high level of service that you want to have at your next wedding or event.