When organising an event, weather it’s a wedding, birthday or another type of celebration one of the main concerns is always going to be price. I understand that.

When i answer my phone to a potential customer, usually one of the first questions i get asked is, “how much are you for a wedding”? When i start asking the caller questions about their event i sometimes think that they suspect i’m stalling with the answer & possibly going to give them a sales pitch. However this is not the case.

Before i can offer a quote there are some vital questions i need answered so i can get a good understanding of time involved & other costs that i must factor in to the price.

Here are some of them.

1. The date of the event.

I may already be booked on your date therefore to continue without knowing it may be a waste of your time.

2. The venue location.

I am based in Cookstown, If the location of your venue is at the other end of the country, or possibly down south then naturally my price is going to be very different than if it was a local hotel down the street. Due to fuel prices, this just ins’t a cost i can absorb. Or the extra working time travelling to & from the location, however i dont exploit this as a way to charge unfairly either.

3. The times i am required.

As a DJ, usually performing time can be anything from 4-5hrs. I’m also working though packing the van making sure i’m not forgetting anything at 4.30pm. i’m working from i leave base, make my way to the venue and get set up. I DJ for 5 hrs at the wedding. Whilst breaking down my equipment at the end of the night, getting the van packed up again & travelling home, i am still working. I dont finish working until i’m back at base and again my van is unloaded with everything back in its place. It’s then my shift is over. So a 4-5 hr performance can mean anything from 5-12 hrs depending on location of venue & set up times. The quote i can give will vary massively depending on these factors. Not forgetting any additional time spent with initial meetings, planning playlists & consultation meetings.

4. The type of event you require.

Some people need a full on show. All of the lights, all of the sound for possibly a big wedding or a 21st birthday party. This requires extra lighting, extra speakers like bass bins and more time setting up & taking it down. Some venues might be tight for space so a more compact rig is needed. Uplighting for example is time consuming, tidying wires neatly & getting the lights at just the right angle & colour to transform your venue. If you walked into a shop & tried to hire professional equipment, without an experienced operator, the price would of course be much more expensive & my prices will reflect that.

Often i get asked can you do it cheaper than £80? It’s usually a friend that can “DJ” from down the pub and i politely reply no unfortunately i’m unable to beat that price.

So what are the secret, or hidden costs of an £80 a night DJ?

On several occasions i have had follow up calls from people that originally asked me could i beat that quote? however now their call is to ask can i do it at short notice as the £80 DJ has let them down. Sometimes the scenario is the venue will not let them play as they dont have liability insurance. Yes, hotels can & will ask to see this before they let you set up in their venue. There’s a well known quote i like that puts it simply. “If you think it’s expensive to hire an professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur” Some DJ’s might take advantage of the situation and expect a premium for the late notice, however a proper professional will charge the normal rate and go to save the day.

A legitimate business must pay tax, have correct insurance, pat test their equipment so its to a safe and legal standard. Update expensive pieces of equipment once they have reached the end of their life. Maintain a van or company vechile, tax and insure it. Marketing costs must also be factored in. The wedding fair you booked me at normally has cost around £150 for me to attend. All these costs make up a mobile DJ business and for it to be a viable business model, they must be covered to earn a profit.

Sometimes when people are obsessed with price, they dont spend the time to think about what they require or consider asking for free advise which i am only too happy to give. Sometimes they make a rash buying decision based on price. We’re all guilty of this in everyday life. Myself included. I understand in these tough times the importance and value of hard earned money.

Occasionally we do get an absolute bargian price on a quality product thats reliable, but these are usually few and far between. We know from experience that quality does cost more, but ofter not that much more than some cheap, tacky smart price budget alternative products or services.

I know i’m not alone in buying a cheap alternatives and regretting it every time i use it, providing it still worked. Or looked back at photos showing a poor budget service. Your wedding photos will be the one album that never gets lost. It will be looked at time & time again. Best to get pictures you can be proud of.

Unfortunately for DJ’s. We also fall into this line of thinking. I know from being in the industry my service is in the mid pricing point. I believe i offer excellent value for money. As a professional i know the going rate for comparable services and thus there the real question lies. “Comparable services” what your getting for your money.

I dont wing events, I plan them. I use expensive professional equipment & lights. Not cheap unreliable home equipment adapted to try & accommodate a large number of people. I take care and pride in my work. This is my sole source of income, so i rely on giving excellent customer service to generate repeat custom. This helps customers spread by word of mouth how their event with me went as their DJ.

This is how i get most of my custom and gigs, People talking to other people. Still in my opinion the best form of free advertising. People will go into detail about their experience and how i generally operate my business. That i like to visit people first, working through the details of their event. carefully plan out what is needed. supply a detailed and competitive quote based on what is required of me, And then deilvering on those promises.

So can i beat a price of £80 for your event? Put simply. No.