How much does a DJ really cost?

What Determines DJ and Professional DJ prices?

Written: 19/02/2019

Maybe you have never booked a DJ before and the thought scares you but it needn’t be scary! 

We want you to make the right choice for YOU, Even if that isn’t us. 

You may already have a few questions for prospective DJ’s and if not, There is some you should definitely be asking!

DJ Mixer and Headphones - How Much does a DJ really Cost?
Always ask for a quote when booking a DJ and ask what their price includes!

The process of obtaining quotations and choosing between them may seem daunting but you absolutely must ask for a DJ quotation to ensure you get a price for the type of service you require.

How do you compare?  Product or Service?

Products such as a tin of beans are much easier to compare as they are a commodity item.
Lets take a tin of branded beans. The beans will be the same regardless of which shop you buy them from. It might cost more in one shop than another, but in the end the PRODUCT is the same.

Services are more challenging to compare, Particularly when it comes to DJ’s as the Experience, Technical skill, Services offered and how ‘polished’ their service is will vary from DJ to DJ.
By ‘Polished’ we mean, how much pride the DJ takes in their equipment, How impressive their equipment sounds/looks, how competent the DJ is in their performance, interacting with your guests and so forth. 

Don’t forget every tradesman (not just DJ’s) will VALUE their own work differently to other tradesman. (Remember that word… VALUE as we’ll talk about it later in the article)

Using a builder analogy, Imagine you contacted a few builders to provide quotations for a new conservatory. 
Before providing a written quotation a builder may make an verbal ESTIMATE on the telephone. 
An estimate is a rough ‘ball park’ figure. The builder is testing your interest but at the time does not know the costings of the job yet so is being cautious not to provide an exact figure.

Advertised DJ prices are much like estimates, They ASSUME many factors in that price. The DJ doesn’t know anything about your event, what your requirements are or even where your event will be!
Always check the terms and conditions of an advertised price as it may be a promotion, Have limitations or even hidden costs such as travel.

ALWAYS ASK FOR A QUOTATION!

What determines the price?

We’ll try and keep the factors brief as possible but some do require a little elaboration.

Type of Event

Weddings, Birthdays, Engagement, Anniversaries…
This is an important factor in the level of work involved for the DJ.

– A Child party with games will require an active DJ to vocally interact, run around and entertain the children.
– An Adult Birthday party will require a particular skill set, Dynamically changing the music to the ebb and flow of the dance floor.
– A Wedding not only requires exceptional attention to detail with regards to the setup, how it sounds and looks but there is usually six months to two years communication, consultations and meetings in the run up to the big day. Your DJ should invest more time in a wedding than ANY other type of event. 

Venue

Where is your chosen venue located?
– How far does the DJ need to Travel to get to your event?
– Does the DJ even cover your area? 

– Parking – How much will parking cost? Can the DJ park close to the function room?
Access – Is your function room on the ground floor? Will the DJ need to carry equipment up stairs?
Function room size –  How much room is there? This can determine the size and amount of equipment required.

Guests

Number of expected guests + Age demographic?
The more guests there are, the bigger the sound system and lighting required.
High guest numbers bring a diverse age demographic. The DJ must call upon his experienced skill set to cater for everyone at your event.

Performance Time 

Stating a start and finish time will allow the DJ to work out how long they will be working for.
Perhaps you want five hours of music, Starting at say 7pm with a Midnight finish.
The DJ needs to load their van with equipment, Drive to your venue, Unload and setup before your guests arrive.
He/She will then be on their feet for those five hours entertaining you and your guests.
After your guests leave, your DJ needs to pack up the equipment, Travel home and unload the van.

Note: Its not unreasonable to expect an hour to setup the equipment with the same to pack away.
Add in loading, unloading and travel times to/from the venue and the DJ is working more than eight hours, Possibly without a break.

Date of event

The date of your event could effect the price but even more importantly, It effects availability.
Some dates are more popular than others and consequently these get booked up months or even years in advance!
Bank Holidays are excellent examples, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday being sought after Party Nights.

Its worth noting that DJ’s charge extra for; New Years Eve, Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.
Quotations for these dates will likely reflect the extra fee’s charged.

If however you are planning a mid-week celebration then you could potentially negotiate a discount.
Generally there is a lower demand for mid week events. 
Send us a message for details on mid week discounts..

Amateur DJ or Professional DJ – Whats the difference?

When you look past the fact that both play music…. the similarities sadly end.
This section is more detailed as these differences play a MAJOR factor in the prices you should expect to pay.

Amateur DJ’s

An Amateur DJ is likely to be ill equipped, Use budget equipment and only bring with them what you see. If something fails…its party over!
Their music knowledge will be in its infancy. Ill judged music selection could land you with unimpressed guests.
To make money on the low fee charged, Amateur DJ’s are unlikely to be paying taxes on their earnings and worryingly they may even forgo the purchase of Public Liability Insurance or equipment PAT testing.
A venue would be perfectly within their right to refuse the Amateur DJ entry without these credentials = Party over.
Also if an uninsured DJ caused personal injury through poor practises or fire, You, The Venue and Uninsured DJ are all LIABLE for the damage!
And finally ask yourself ‘Will the amateur DJ still be a DJ when my event comes around?’ (Here today – Gone tomorrow)

Professional DJ’s

Unlike the Amateurs, Professional DJ’s have chosen to make a PROFESSION or career from being a DJ.
Its likely the professional DJ has no other income. They dedicate themselves 100% to their DJing.
They will invest substantially more time and money into the business.

Professionals will use high quality audio and lighting systems. Resulting in a superior experience for you and substantially increased equipment reliability for the DJ.
An Amateur DJ’s setup may cost as little as £1000 where as your Professional DJ’s system will be in excess of £10,000 and that’s just one system. We can guarantee your Professional DJ has several systems and chose the most appropriate one for your event.
Professional DJ’s will have a back-up plan in place. With high quality systems, failure is unlikely however they will bring Spare equipment such as a laptop, Speakers, lights and cables. Should the worst happen, A few minutes disruption and its party on!
The ‘Pros’ will have excellent music knowledge, Reading the room and playing the right music to keep the dance floor full. They will also engage with your guests over the microphone to make them feel part of your event.
Professionals will have all the legally required credentials such as Insurance and PAT safety testing and will likely be a member of a professional trade body.
Reliability – The pro’s do not let their clients down, Their reputation is at stake!

Decision Time

If your having a house party or small event and you just want some music. Hiring an Amateur DJ is a great way to save some money.
Generally they value their services in the sub £200.00 area. Not all Amateur DJ’s will charge the same so its worth asking what they include in the price and look for some recommendations, check out their online presence – Social Media is always a good start.

If however you are planning a memorable celebration, you really should consider a Professional DJ.
The Experience, Reliability and Professionalism will really make your celebration one to remember… for the right reasons!
Professional DJ’s will place a higher value on their work, not only because of incurred costs, but due to the quality of service they provide.
You are unlikely to find a professional DJ for less than £200.00 but it does depend on their business model and costings.
Again, ask them what the quoted price includes, Read testimonials and check their online presence.

With all tradesman, not just DJ’s you should do your research and remember if it seems to good to be true, it probably is!

Ask us for a Professional Quotation

Read our Testimonials

(All testimonials sourced from the below websites:  Click the relevant site to view)
Facebook, Trust Pilot, Google and Bridebook.

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