This question has been asked more and more recently so I thought I would share some reasons in order to help with your next DJ search.
1. Equipment Investment
Some DJs use lower end versus high end equipment. There are many grades of audio gear and professional equipment for your special event comes at a price.
2. Music Investment
This is the amount of music purchased and updated on a regular basis. Unless downloaded illegally this is a major cost factor. The larger a DJ’s library the more money has been invested.
3. Business Operating Overhead
A legitimate DJ company has expenses such as website, phone, insurance, advertising, vehicle, and equipment repair/replacement to name a few.
4. Type Of Event
What type of event you are having? Not all events are created equal. Weddings take more time to prep and generally require specific equipment needs. This increases the cost over a simple birthday party.
How far is the DJ from your event location? Travel time increases the total time commitment a DJ must make for an event, not to mention the transportation costs.
How long is your event? Just like a regular job compensation is based on hours worked.
7. Day Of Week
What day is your event on? Most mobile DJ work happens on the weekend and a majority of that work lands on Saturday. So naturally Saturdays tend to be the most expensive day of the week.
8. Backup Equipment
Most professional DJs will bring some type of backup equipment to your event. If they do then this investment has to be taken into consideration.
Does the DJ carry liability insurance? Just like car and health insurance plan costs vary and is factored into the cost of doing business.
How much experience does the DJ have? Just like any performer they are paid what they are worth.
11. Client Needs
How simple or elaborate are your needs? Do you require lighting? Do you need sound in multiple locations? The more equipment needed for your event the more time it will take to setup and teardown... in addition to the cost to acquire all the equipment.
Sample Breakdown Of Costs
Most DJs require "minimums" in order to make the event worth their time and effort. Just like any other service professional DJs have costs of doing business.
As an example, here is a breakdown of costs for the average wedding...
• 5 hours of performance.
• Approximately 90 minutes round trip drive to and from the event location.
• 1 hour combined to pack/unpack equipment from vehicle before leaving for the event and after returning from the event.
• 1 hour to setup.
• 1 hour to teardown.
• 2 hours of meetings, emailing and talking on the phone with client to go over details, logistics, etc.
• 2 to 4 hours finalizing and prepping music, equipment, timelines and logistics prior to the event.
From this example you can see that a DJ is already invested well over 13 hours of their time.
A typical DJ setup can range from $5,000 to $10,000 (including backup equipment). An average DJ company can charge 5-10% of this amount.
DJs also need to charge enough to market, replace/repair/update equipment, update music and pay for business expenses.
The Bottom Line
There are many factors as to why one DJ will charge differently than another.
As a general rule, the cheaper a DJ is... the less experience that DJ has, the less money that DJ has invested into music/equipment and the less monthly out of pocket expenses that DJ has.
I recommend not going with the absolute cheapest DJ but also don’t feel like you have to choose the most expensive. Some of the pricier DJs charge more because they include "one price fits all" pricing that usually comes with a bunch of extras that you may not need. Some of the cheaper DJs charge less because they can’t justify charging as much as a DJ who has been doing it longer with more experience. Some DJs don’t have as much overhead so they can offer better rates. Some DJs don’t spend the extra money on backup gear, liability insurance and/or they may get their music illegally. Some DJs use lower end gear instead of high end professional equipment.
Just like cars, there are many makes and models of DJs and not all features are included standard. If you find a good DJ that you connect with at a great rate who offers everything you need then that will most likely be the right DJ for you. Just take the things I mentioned above into consideration when shopping around and make sure to understand as much about each DJ as possible to narrow it down.
DJ Bambú Entertainment will be happy to discuss your event needs and provide you with a fair quote.