Tip or No Tip?

Recently in an online forum, a fellow DJ asked this question.

“If you don’t get a tip when the bride’s parents pay you, do you wonder if they were satisfied or disappointed?”

This question isn’t as straightforward as it seems. If you are using a tip or lack of tip as a metric of judging your customer’s satisfaction, this is a flawed way of evaluating your performance at a wedding. Please consider the following as why.

  1. People who feel compelled to tip, especially for a wedding, tend to set aside your tip well before you ever play your first song. Your tip is most likely coming regardless if they are over the moon thrilled, or you merely provided them some cheap thrills.
  2. Some will never think the DJ is someone they are supposed to tip. Tip culture depends on the family and your geographical location.

Instead, use these points to judge if you had a successful night.

  1. Did the couple, as they were leaving, thank you, fist bump, high five, or say you rocked it as they left?
  2. Did you bring to fruition the couples’ wedding day/event goals?
  3. Did you deliver and exceed your promises to the client?
  4. Did you see people smiling on the dance floor and genuinely having fun?
  5. Did other guests, before they left, stop by and say I had fun thanks or something along these lines?
  6. Did they send you a thank you card in the mail?
  7. Finally, this one won’t come to light right away: Is this client singing your praises online? To their friends, coworkers, etc.? (are they sending you referrals)

Final note: If you rely on a tip to get to the rate you want and deserve, consider raising your rates to the point that you no longer need that tip. Don’t get me wrong, I do get tipped often; I am incredibly grateful for the tip. However, a tip is never something I count on or expect from a client or the payee. #7 is far more valuable to me than a few hundred in an envelope.


  • I was fortunate and made a career out of one of my passions early on in life. I started djing when I was 19 yrs old. Over time and a lot of hard lessons, a little luck, interesting life experiences, and continued life long education I have become what I am today. I strive to learn something new every day, it is my hopes you will do the same. www.indyeventdjs.com

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