Are You Really Making Money with Your DJ Business?

by Stu Chisholm

Every day, my Facebook feed is full of quotes posted by friends. They vary in terms of how profound they are since they’re sometimes quite personal, pertaining to whatever the poster is facing in life at the time.

Don’t Settle for Less

Having just spent a weekend at the CDJA Show just outside Toronto, Canada, a quote came through that really resonated with me and, I’ll bet, just about any DJ who is sick and tired of the price wars:

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.”
— Maureen Dowd

Consider the second half of that quote. If you’re prices are already at rock-bottom and then you further reduce them for family or charities, are you still making a profit?

Is Your Business “Healthy?”

Our soft economy has put a great many DJ operations out of business. In 1999, my local Yellow Pages had a full 2½ pages of DJ companies. Today there are 2½ columns.

Many of these companies went out of business by competing on price alone. DJs without a business plan mistook a full calendar for having a healthy business and literally worked their company to death. If you’re a part-timer who pays your bills with a day job, and who considers your DJ income as “gravy,” is it really?

It’s a Matter of Simple Economics

Many DJs have remarked, “It’s better to make $300.00 than nothing,” but does that logic really hold up under scrutiny? The answer is yes ONLY if the amount of income coming in exceeds the amount going out, and includes the value of your time in the equation.

To figure this out you must consider your overhead, which includes items such as health care, retirment savings, advertising, a dedicated business line or cell phone, insurance, an association membership fee, gas, business cards, gaffers tape, batteries, etc. You get the picture.

Don’t Pay for Your Client’s Wedding

Imagine how you would feel if, after running the numbers, you learned that you were actually making minimal or no profit for your DJ company. It would be aweful to realize that you just helped pay for the wedding of people you don’t even know. This is exactly what could be happening to you!

So, while I applaud “healthy” competition, if your bottom-line is sick then you need a reality inoculation that will boost your awareness of profit and loss.

My advice? Maintain or raise your rates no matter what your “here today, gone tomorrow” competitors do.

What do you do to ensure that your DJ service is profitable?

Stu Chisholm – “The Complete Disc Jockey”

Stu Chisholm of Stu & His Crew Professional Disc Jockey Service in Michigan, has has worked in several areas of the DJ Universe. He’s been a radio, mobile, club and roller skating rink DJ in the Detroit area since 1979, and done commercial voice-over work, as well. Stu has been a keynote and featured speaker at DJ trade shows in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. He is the author of the book, “The Complete Disc Jockey” and is a regular columnist with Mobile Beat Magazine. To contact him, email You can grab Stu’s book at Stu’s book, “The Complete Disc Jockey,” is now available for Kindle users at! View posts by Stu