I'm trying to justify (to myself mostly) charges for a private party. Average for a club here is about $150. for 4 hrs. now for PP's I hear $75 to $100 an hour. When I got married we financed it ourselves and no way could we afford $300 to $600 but $150 maybe.
How do you justify charging so much more for a party? I know that it is a one time job but maybe if we charged a more resonable price we could book more.
I'm doing a luau for the friend of the club owner today at the club rate but I get to eat and drink and MC the wet "T" shirt contest (hopefully worth the price of admission)
Bar/Tavern = Open entry, your friends/fans can come out to play - open entry also means more exposure for repeat / new business. You R the Host so you (and the bar manager) run the night= control your own fun.
Private Party = Invitation entry, You don't know who will show up; reduced 'public' exposure; The person/group that booked you, in all likelyhood, will want more control of the show...Father of the Bride pulls rank and get's cousin Joe into the rotation every 3 songs, ("'cause he almost went to nashville , ya know")
PP Pay better because they 'can' be a big pain in the A$$.
I look at i this way. At a club, you STAY set up anywhere from 3 to 5 days. Also, you usually "club" locally. For private parties YOU are the entertainment (You know the other entertainment at bars). Also you have same day set up and tear down. My labor is worth something. Plus, I agree with the other responses; I just want to add to them Posts: 102 | From: Vacaville, Ca. | Registered: Jun 2001
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What! you can work more than one nite at a bar? So far mine are both one niters and most of the KJ's I know well work at least 3 different places a week, it would be great to be at one place for a couple of days.
As far as music, can you buy DJ CD's with mixes of music or do you just buy regular CD's (I like the collections you see on TV)
You can get premixed/dance mix CD's for DJ work. There is even a subscription service that will send you the TOP 20 dance tracks every month, and at least one company has a DJ startup library (sorta like the 'Foundations'). If you can't find what you need, eMail me and I'll search my contacts from here.
weddings are an entirely different thing, and we are worth no less than $500.00 PERIOD! the national average cost for a wedding is 17,000 to 20,000 dollars. We are the reason people stay past dinner. There are only 2 services that can make a reception bad, that's the dj and the caterer. The Photographer usually gets well over $600.00 and a good videographer is usually over $1,000. are we worth any less ... NO!!!
Dj's like me are wedding experts, i have been doing them for 10 years and have over $100,000 invested between my three systems. we only use the best equipment and have the best selection of music in our area. We would never work a wedding for less than $500, but a grad party or something like that i'll charge around $250-300.
------------------ DJ Mad Maxx Karaoke at it's finest!!
Hey Bob,k-wolf and madmaxx are on the right track. One shot deals cost more, second the market in our area works entierly to cheap. When I started in this biz, we were getting $450.00 a night. Now you have better equipment more songs and make less money, go figure.If you can show me a band that has the song selection I have and that can do a show with less dead time than me and will work for $150.00 I'll kiss your ass.Kenny Wayne Baker, Thunderbolt Entertainment
Posts: 1 | From: memphis,tn usa | Registered: Jun 2001
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Don't be mad Maxx (couldn't resist), I understand from reading posts here how important a wedding is for someone and since you are in charge of the party that you really do need to be an expert. I kinda want to stay away from them for now until I get more DJ music and some more experience.
I did a company Luau over the weekend and for most of the night I just played background music (nobody danced and no wet "T" shirt contest like I was promised) They just did karaoke the last hour or so and only a couple of people sang. If I had one of those carousel players I could have just hit random play and snuck off to the hot tub.
So I guess my query is more for company picnics and Christmas parties.
I have tried to keep my system very portable I don't have subs or a huge amp but I have a very nice clean sound and my Peavey 358's have a solid base but I can't "thump" like someone with subs.
If I don't bring the tv and song books to just play music and not sing it's one trip on the cart and I can unload and start playing in 15 min. Thats why it is hard for me to justify 75 to 100 bucks an hour for a nonwedding event,50 to 60 seems more fair.
A question for Maxx: you have just played for my sons grad nite and you charged us $250 now my daughter is getting married this fall, how do you explain twice the cost for what I (someone not in the KJ/DJ biz) percieve as the same service.
I'm sure you have to deal with this all the time esp when cousin Jimmy brought his stereo and his CD's to someone's neice's wedding and charged 75 bucks.
Bob Dog said it. You are the entertainment. You are the one who is going to keep people dancing and happy. Around here if you want a good band you will be paying well over $1000.00 So $500.00 to D.J. a wedding is considered cheap.
Get your foot on the floor and it will probably open one more door, maybe more.
Don't think of it being shrewed. If I was going to hire someone for a wedding and I seen they only wanted $150.00 I would think no way. They can't be that good if that's all they want. Mama told me you always get what you pay for and mama was right. Stacy
like i said, a wedding is an entirely different kind of gig, that requires a special talent that isn't required at the average grad or beer party, they are paying for my expetise and for my duty as Master of Ceremonies. a girl can go to a dress shop and buy a nice dress for $100.00 but when she gets married the appropriate dress can cost her over a $1,000 you can buy a cake at the store for $10.00, but a wedding cake can cost $500.00 a photographer uses the same kind of film that you can buy and pays the same for developing, but they can charge up to $1000.00 as well. these are just a few examples of why we can charge more, and actualy i'm one of the cheapest pro wedding dj's in western PA, if you go to the yellow pages the average dj is getting $6-800.00 for a 4-5 hour gig, i always give them unlimited hours and the full blown show everytime.
------------------ DJ Mad Maxx Karaoke at it's finest!!
i just did a high school grad party last thursday where the parents had rented out a hall, bused the kids in directly from the graduation ceremony, and provided catered food & island luau decorations (including a 15'tall smoking volcano!).
the time-frame they wanted for our karaoke segment was from 8:30pm-11:00pm. afterwards, a hypnotist would take over for an hour, then another dj/live band would perform from midnight until 4:00am.
we were ready to begin at 8:30, but the grad ceremony lasted much longer than the parents thought it would. thus, the kids didn't arrive until 9:45pm. we played some dance music for them as they descended to the buffet table. while eating, they were just content to dance.
an hour later at 10:45pm, the kids were ready to start singing, but the parents wanted to stick with the original schedule. so, we announced to the kids that the hypnotist was coming up in 10 minutes and that we will play dance music till then.
we never got to do any karaoke at all, and we weren't originally asked (or expected) to do any dance/dj work, but we still got paid our $300.00 for barely an hour's work.
and certainly, if this had been a wedding reception, we would have charged them way more than $300.00.
Weddings are an entirely different ballgame than other private parties. My standard rate for private parties is $75/hour.... minimum two hours, whether just regular dj music or karaoke. These types of parties usually are pretty straight forward.
Weddings, are alot more work. First of all, you have to get to know the families, and the couple, and their musical preferences. This requires your time up front way before the wedding. You must learn to pronounce every weird name in the wedding party correctly. You need to not only provide music, but in most cases, you are the master of ceremonies at the reception as well, keeping the flow going for the traditional reception. In most cases, you will need formal wear, which is a cost. In certain cases, you may even need to purchase special one time music that you will never use again. If you take all this into consideration, you cn easily seem how easy it is to justify 600 or more for a 5 hour reception.
Thats what I was looking for from Maxx. For someone planning a wedding you go to the videographer they show you how they can make your wedding look like a hollywood production and you get to keep the tape. The photographer shows you pictures of how they can capture special moments and you get to keep the pictures. When it comes to the reception, the perception is that you (or me) are just playing music and anybody can do that.
I am trying to learn from the best (you guys) so I ask what appear to be dumb questions but it keeps me from making dumb mistakes.
Hey if you don't like the video guy can you turn him in for recording the bride&groom singing endless love off your SC disc and not paying fees for copyrights?
I'm gonna add my two cents in on this one, as we have re-hashed the subject from last year.... While I am all for making a good profit in a job that I love, there are other things to consider; I may seem to "stick it" to company picnics and private functions, but I always, ALWAYS charge a cut rate for weddings and charity events...and here is why:
Weddings have become expensive monstrosities, and I for one want to give these newlyweds a break, and let them focus on their honeymoon or whatever. Charity events are the same way, and I have often found that these work out as one of my best advertisers! -RC
Bob There is no such thing as asking a dumb question. Every question you ask will get you one step farther. Trust me as being an adult returning college student a couple years ago you wouldn't believe how many questions I asked and look where it got me. I'm pretty young and I have a great fulfilling day job and we're an ESOP corp which means I am one of the owners I never thought I could have all this so keep asking. When I first started KJ'ing I asked several questions on this board and several KJ's here in my area and I think I'm doing very well. Stacy Good luck!
Posts: 798 | From: Wisconsin | Registered: Mar 2001
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Bob Remember the old saying "The only dumb question is the one you don't ask". You need to set your prices the way that make you feel comfortable. As you see different situations come up, you will make future decisions based on those situations. You will find that private party and wedding jobs will be more demanding than your regular weekly jobs. So you should ask at least $200-$300 over you regular gig price. Bob Prosing/Sound Escape Productions
Posts: 206 | From: Clearwater, Fl | Registered: May 2001
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For a wedding, THE reception and related very special personal events look to making an impression on the guests/participants. People come to these expecting 3 things (or at least 2) . . . 1) Good food 2) Good Entertainment 3) Drinks, Champagne, etc. (optional)
People pay BIG dollars for these, but sometimes try to beat the entertainer out of the money. A resume of past gigs with contacts is helpful (most computer programs have one to create like MS Works. Keep it simple to the point.
Basic Fees: $500 minimum up to 3 hours $ 50 set up/break down fee/local travel 1/2 Deposit Required(nonrefundable-few exceptions)
WHY does the entertainer deserve their fee?
In my case here is what they get.
I have a large library, provide expert sound.
I work with the bridal party discussing what they want and cues as to when (down to the music, songs they want and when).
They want to know that their special day has the utmost professional to care for their every need on this their SPECIAL day. Provide a CDR of snippets of your sound, a brochure with pictures (software available at any computer store), and you business card.
I do clubs and yes they pay less than the private event, but not really! Clubs are bread and butter money since they are dependable paydays week in and week out you can count on. Over time, say each month, the club gigs pay far more over time than a single private party of a few private parties. The club gig also allows people to see your operation and selection.
As a person who until recently had a "real" job making 8 something it just seems outragous to earn 75 to 100 an hour for something I really enjoy doing. I realize that I have a huge investment and part of what the client is paying is for that investment but it is hard for me to accept that my time is so valuable for something that is so easy (not weddings). I did a BBQ last Sat. and all I did was play background music, got to eat all I wanted and got to drink all I wanted... and got 200 bucks.
I also don't want my feelings on values to adversly affect any one else, there a couple of guys here in my town that are on this board that we haven't heard from yet. I don't want to be the a**hole charging 100 bucks for a party when they have been getting 300 and screw it up for everyone.
RC: for charities depending how you keep your books, invoice them for the maximum tou charge and show your discount as a donation if they are a legit charity you can deduct he donation.
It never ceases to amaze me, this GUILT that some people seem to feel when they ask for a fair price for their services. Check around and see what it would cost to RENT a sound system comparable to the one you own. Then add the cost of picking it up, taking it to the site and unloading it, setting it up, running it for 4 hrs, tearing it down, loading it up and returning it. AND that doesn't figure in the cost of a DJ library of over 1000 discs of music from 1920 to todays latest songs in all genre of music. Now add karaoke to that. I have over 12,000 songs on CD+G discs, with a value of over $14,000.00. Remember that the bottom line of any busi-ness is PROFIT. NOT WAGES! The fact that you enjoy doing it does not make it worth any less. If you are doing it to have fun as a hobby, please remember that there are many of us out here to whom it is a full time business. We pay our morgages and doctor bills and feed our families with the income from our businesses. Those of you with full time jobs and paid medical and sick leave and vacations, who dabble in our profession for fun, please think what it would feel like if someone came along and made it difficult for you to make a living at your chosen profession. What we do, when done right, is worth much more than you imagine.
Posts: 37 | From: So Cal | Registered: Sep 2000
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Whether it seems like it or not, doing karaoke or dj jobs is work... despite the fact that you enjoy it. The fact that you do get so much enjoyment of it should be considered a bonus. Many people spend their whole lives in a job they hate, so consider yourself lucky that you have found something to do that you really enjoy!
All that being said, the above is NO reason to offer cut rate prices. That is the easiest way to go out of business. Alot of people who are new to the business forget the hidden costs associated with doing private gigs... For example... How long does it take you to get your equipment in your vehicle and transport it to your location (round trip)? What about the gas? What about the wear and tear on the vehicle? All these are examples of costs you may not have considered. But subtract them, as well as the obvious costs, from your $100 price, and you may not have alot left.
Its the same sort of issue when my band goes out to play... While we all love music and performing, we wont do it for free, because we treat it like a business. It takes alot of time to pack up, transport set up and break down at the end of the night (not to mention countless rehearsals). All these things have to be figured into the price. There may be bands that will do it cheaper, but we stand by our quality show, and charge accordingly.