Pricing Competitively

As Mobile Disc Jockeys we have a lot of roles to juggle: Emcee, Event Planner/Coordinator, Music Programmer/Mixer, Audio and Lighting Technician and Roadie.

Experienced pros have the ability to “read” a crowd to ensure our music and actions are in line with their desires. What’s more, we can teach participation dances, as well as hosting games and contests.

Do the multitude of services we provide warrant a premium fee? Absolutely!

Pricing Structure Basis

The pricing structure under which mobile entertainers operate varies greatly and depends on a number of different factors. These include pricing by the competition in your market, the type of occasion you are booking, the time of year, the day or evening and location of the event, and the “extras” added to your primary rate.

$100 to $300 is the average hourly rate in the industry; however, a DJ’s profit can sky rocket by several hundred to several thousands of dollars per event, depending on lighting effects, dancers, photo booths, party props, Karaoke, and so on.

According to weddinggazette.com, the American national average cost of a wedding ranges from $17,000 to $31,000. A number of DJ and wedding sources claim that the entertainment chosen for an event is responsible for 80% of its success.

If DJs were paid commensurate with this percentage, we would average $19,200 for a wedding reception! While that is not likely to happen anytime soon, does $2,400 for a four hour booking get your attention? That’s just 10% of the average budget for 80% of its success. While $2,400 may not hold up in your market, how about $1,200?

When pricing an event, take into account not only the time you spend entertaining but also the time you spend on planning, telephone and in-person meetings, travel, set up/break-down and administrative issues.

For the Newcomer

Experience and reputation are two factors to consider when determining your pricing structure. A newly-formed business may want to consider charging less than an established business with years of experience and a solid reputation. As your reputation and experience grow, slowly increase your rates.

Peak and Non-Peak Rates

It is wise to base your prices on a three-hour minimum with higher rates during peak periods. These include April, May, June, September, October, and December. Other peak periods include New Year’s Eve, Friday evening, and Saturday day and evening, as well.

Specialty Events

Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, and some corporate events are typically booked at a higher rate than other types of affairs. It is standard to charge a higher rate than other types of bookings for functions where the entertainer has the dual responsibility of being both the DJ and the emcee.

Discounts

Sometimes a good incentive for people to hire your DJ service is to offer them a discount. Build this consideration into your pricing structure and consider offering discounts to:

  • Non-profit organizations
  • Customers willing to prepay for an event
  • Corporate clients who book your DJ services four or more times in a calendar year (apply the discount to the last job)

Overtime

You can earn additional money through playing overtime at events. On-site, about a half hour before the job is over, ask the client if they want you to play overtime. The overtime rate is typically 50% of the hourly rate you have quoted for each thirty minutes of overtime you play.

In My Opinion

If every DJ added just 10% to the cost of their existing services, the entire industry would benefit from this price increase. I am not suggesting “price fixing,” but I am suggesting creating an industry standard where there is room for low-, middle-, and high-end packages. Why not bring this idea up as an agenda item at a local chapter meeting of your preferred DJ association.

How do you price your DJ and ancillary services?

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