It’s happened to all of us countless times. We’re at a gig and one of the guests approaches us claiming to love music and be good on the microphone. The wannabe then usually declares what a great DJ he’d be.
If you are like me, you begin to cringe as you think about a polite response to these words. After all, just because you’ve painted a room in your house doesn’t make you a professional painter. Right? Are you a qualified mechanic because you changed the oil in your car? I think not.
After responding to wannabes too many times and knowing the polite and professional response of “It takes more than just an interest in music and a good voice to be a DJ” was not working, a dose of common sense was needed.
I put together a very simple cost analysis that I now share with those who want to see what it costs to get started in our profession. In most cases, he/she is looking for the cheapest way to get started, and often is looking for a “DJ in Box” package they can purchase on line or from a retail store. Talent and experience aside, here is the dose of reality I give them in terms of startup capital needed to become a professional Mobile DJ.
Computer with two back-up external hard drives $2,500.00
Complete Powered Speaker system. $4,000.00
Controller and Mixing Board $1,000.00
Up lighting Package (12 LED w/battery power) $3,500.00
Basic Dance Lighting with Truss $2,000.00
Wireless Microphone and Lavaliere Microphone $ 500.00
Speaker Stands and assortment of cables/wires $ 500.00
Subscription to Music (Promo Only, Xmix, ERG) $1,200.00
Website Design and Hosting $2,500.00
Marketing Materials (Business Cards, Rack Cards, Banner) $ 500.00
Advertising on Wedding Search Sites (Knot, Wedding Wire) $2,000.00
Local Print Advertising $ 500.00
Insurance (business property and liability) $ 800.00
Phone, Fax, Office Computer and Office Supplies $ 1,500.00
Membership in the local business chamber $ 250.00
The total cost for equipment and other necessities to start a professional DJ service is about $25,000. This does not include travel, automotive and other expenses. Yes, starting a company for less money can be done…but not if a person wants to be truly competitive in todays marketplace.
As a commercial banking lender for over 20 years I know that the leading cause of business failures is the lack of capitalization and a realistic understanding of what it take to be profitable.
The sobering facts cause many would be DJs to quickly rethink their uneducated notion of entering our profession. So, the next time you are hard at work and a guest approaches you (martini glass in hand), and comments: “ I bet I’d make a great DJ”, put down your headphones and with a smile on your face, politely share the information in this article with him/her. You just might be helping our industry keep another bottom-feeder from entering our ranks.