How Tough Financial Times for Schools Can Impact Your DJ Business

by Matt Ryan

With talks of cuts on government spending sweeping the country, public schools are being forced to evaluate how they spend their resources.

As a business partner to schools, you depend on their ability to hire you and pay for your services year after year. But what happens when schools must drastically cut their operations in order to simply provide the essentials to their students?

One may not think it would impact a school’s ability to host a dance – an event that generates more than enough revenue to cover its expenses – for their students, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for several reasons.

Supplemental Contracts

First, supplemental contracts are some of the first on the chopping block when schools are forced to make cuts. The staff that hires you and runs student councils or other co-curricular student groups that host dances are paid under a supplemental contract. When their contract disappears, there is no longer an adult in charge to organize the dance and the group itself often fizzles out as well.

Closed Doors

Next, even if the ability to organize the dance is not changed, the facilities might not be available after hours. Schools will often reduce their facility available to strictly school hours to save on utilities and custodial staff. It is not unheard of schools “locking the doors at 3 pm” to all non-curricular activities.

Let Them Off The Hook

Sometimes these cuts are put into place after you’ve already got a signed contract for an event. When a dance adviser approaches you with the news of their lack of ability to hold a dance, my advice is simple. Let the school off the hook without any penalty whatsoever.

By imposing any cancellation fee on the school, already in financial trouble, will absolutely eliminate the possibility of being hired back when the tides turn a year or two down the road. Save yourself the future business by being understanding today!

Matt Ryan – School Dance Pro

Matt Ryan is a multi-op DJ business owner, radio personality, developer of School Dance Pros and educator.

He has been entertaining at school and many other types of functions since 1996. Matt Ryan Mobile DJ Entertainment performs at approximately 250 events per year, nearly half of which are school and teen dances and proms.

Matt is a well-known on-air personality at WNCI 97.9, a Top 40 radio station in Columbus, OH. He is also a middle school teacher and coach.

Matt is able to provide unprecedented insight to other DJs about how school dances are organized.

His “School Dance DJ Marketing Toolkit” is available at To contact Matt, email