Of course they are. Just like every actor is the same. Every NFL Quarterback is the same. Every lawyer is the same. I mean, they are, aren’t they? they all do the exact same job right? So how come some actors spend their life making TV commercials while others go on to make multi national block buster movies? why do some Quarterbacks sit on the bench as relievers while others win championships and make millions?
Obviously not all DJs are the same. So obviously, not all DJs will charge the same. But what they charge usually depends upon what type of DJ they are. And believe me, there are a lot of them out there. with today’s technology the way it is, everyone who gets the itch can go down to Best Buy, pick up a laptop and a pair of powered speakers and instantly they are a DJ. That is actually the way many people think. Well I have a garage full of tools, but that doesn’t make me a mechanic. Yet some of these people will go out and offer their services for house parties and Quinceaneras and receptions. They charge very little because they offer very little. I call these DJs the amateurs. Nothing wrong with that. We all had to start somewhere. with enough practice and experience, many of these DJs graduate to the next level. I call them the weekend warriors. they have a regular daytime job and pick up an occasional weekend party for extra money. If they stick with it then in time they become what I call “Part Timers”. They still have their day job, but they work fairly regularly on the weekends. This group makes up the majority of DJs that you find on most any google search. Some are quite experienced and skilled, and could probably hold their own with most professionals. some of these will take the plunge and become professional. So now that we have identified the different types of DJs ( and i am not including club DJs here, that is for another blog), let’s get into price.
I am sure everyone is familiar with that old proverb, “You get what you pay for”. Well think about it. it is not meant to be sarcastic. It is actually a very wise statement. There is a reason that a Lexus costs more than a Toyota. Even though they come from the same company. Higher quality and greater experience comes at a higher price. This does not mean that you won’t find a great deal once in a while. but you are always going to have to balance quality with cost. If cost is your only consideration, then buy the cheapest that you can. But you have to figure out what is important to you. We have all gone to the discount store and picked up a cheap pair of shoes. No big deal. but would you were those shoes to your wedding, or a funeral or to a job interview? Do you look for the cheapest Doctor, or Attorney? Or a DJ? Ok, maybe you do. It all depends upon what is important to you. but let’s say for arguments sake that your party or reception is important enough to hire someone good. but why are some DJs so much more expensive than others?
First experience. Experience is very valuable. Think of a pilot. A newly licensed pilot is certainly qualified, but the experienced pilot has seen it, done it, overcame it hundreds of times. Personally, I have been performing for over 35 years. That is longer than many DJs have been alive. Don’t expect me to come at the same price as the guy who was in grade school the last millennium.
Second would be reputation. reviews are a wonderful and terrible thing. Nothing is more satisfying than getting a glowing review from a satisfied client. And nothing is more destructive than getting a bad one. This is an area that the professional takes very seriously. Unlike a part timer, a professional makes their living as a DJ, there is no day job to fall back on. They have to make sure that the client is happy or their income will dry up and there is no day job to fall back on.
I have had potential clients mention that they have found other DJs who charge as little $50.00 per hour or less. All I can say is I do not know how they make a living on that rate. Let me explain. If I were billing 30 to 40 hours a week of performance, then I could live like a King on that hourly rate. But I average perhaps 8 to 12 hours a week. Less during the off season. Of course, most of the DJs who charge this rate are part timers who work a regular daytime job and perform on the weekends for extra cash. But this is my day job. This is how I pay the rent and put food on the table. Because of that, the 5 hour performance my client paid for came with 30 or more hours of preparation, consultation, and rehearsal. the kind of professional preparation that the Part Timers normally can’t provide. As a professional, I have to charge more than most part time performers. if I don’t, I won’t be here next year. but I also have to make sure that my clients are happy to pay my price and happy with the service I give them. because if I don’t , then I won’t be here next year.