More often than not we are contacted by prospective clients who just want to know, “how much do you charge?” Unfortunately, that is not as simple of an answer as you may think. There are far more details that go into giving an accurate price for a DJ for any type of event. We’re not saying that pricing isn’t important, because for obvious reasons it is extremely important, but when is the right time to ask?
Most Bride & Grooms are getting married for the first time and have never done this before. So they are ignorant to the actual responsibilities and worth a DJ, Photographer, or Cinematographer has to their wedding. There is a lot more that goes into DJ Services for a Wedding rather than just pushing buttons. The DJ/Entertainer is Solely Responsible for the Great Time, or the Crappy time, your guests are having.
There are many, many other Qualifying Questions to ask to see if the DJ is in fact a Professional or a Hobbyist. When we hear you ask the question “How much for a DJ or Photographer or Videographer?” What we are hearing is, “Give me the Cheapest option you have. I don’t really care about Quality, but only finding the Cheapest Price like a Blue Light Special at K-Mart!”
Now you may be reading this and scared to ask “How much?”, Don’t Be! Just don’t make that your first questions when sending an Inquiry Email or making a Phone Call.
Think of finding a DJ this way, when you call for a New Car Insurance Quote, they can’t give you a cost right away. They have to find out more about you and your history like did you have 4 accidents, and 2 speeding tickets? Well your rate is going to vary, right? Same thing for your DJ/Entertainment. If you are having an outside Ceremony, we have to bring more equipment. If you’re having cocktail hour in another room, we have to bring more equipment. You want video screens, up lighting, monograms, and more… We have to bring more equipment. Now you see where I’m going with this, right?!
Now that you understand a little more into our world and now you’re asking yourself, “So what questions do I ask then?” GREAT QUESTION!
Here are some questions that will help you figure out if you are dealing with a Full-Time Professional, or a Hobbyist that only cares about your wedding after they worked their 40-50 hour Full-Time job!
- First off, are you free for my wedding date?
- Are you able to meet my needs? (Insert the vision of your Dream Wedding Here)
- How often do you update your equipment, and what is your backup plan? (Most Full-Time DJ/Photographers/Videographers will update their equipment every year or two)
- How many people work for your company?
- How is your staff trained, and educated? (Did they just start being a DJ by learning over YouTube, or buy a Digital Camera at Best Buy and started calling themselves a Professional to get business?)
- Do you have any Recommendations, Referrals, and Reviews? (Most Professional Companies are Recommended by MANY Venues, other Vendors, and a long list of past clients)
- ***Important*** Do you have Workers Comp Insurance, and Liability Insurance, and what are your Minimums? (Check with your Venue, but most Venues require a minimum of One Million Dollars in Liability Insurance)
- What is your backup plan in case the DJ/Photographer/Videographer gets into a Car Accident, has Food Poisoning, or even a Death in the Family on the Day of my Wedding? (The company should have an On-Call Staff of Employees, not Contractors from another company, on stand-by just in case something unforeseen happens)
- Do you have Professional Written Contracts? (Not something that is written on a Napkin, or that just says “I’m your DJ”)
- Do they have an Online Planner to help with your planning process and take the stress out of planning your wedding?
- How many years have they been in business?
These are just some questions to get you on the right path. These questions will help you figure out who is legit or who is just running a game on you. Unfortunately, technology has made it easier to get into the DJ Industry and people create an easy website which may look great, but there are 2 important things they lack – Education & Training! Now a day anyone can download thousands of songs illegally and call himself or herself a DJ. But what makes the Professional’s stand out are their years of knowledge, training, and Hundreds to Thousands of referrals. So do you research, and ask more questions than just, “Hey, How Much?!”
Here are some Questions that are in Wedding Blogs that are not as relevant as you think:
- Can I come see the DJ perform at a Wedding before I make my decision
The Answer should be No. Think about this. Your needs are not this Bride and Grooms wants and needs for their day. You are going to show up to someone else’s PRIVATE Wedding wearing Jeans and a Nice Top, and stand in the corner of the room for about 10 to 15 minutes looking like creepers. You can’t get a full experience of a Wedding in 10-15 minutes! You don’t want to stay longer than that because you already feel under dressed and out of place. You walk in at the exact time the DJ is doing the Cupid Shuffle and let’s say and you HATE the Cupid Shuffle. You don’t think of anything else besides the DJ playing the Cupid Shuffle and he is for sure the WRONG DJ for me. Not thinking that this is NOT YOUR wedding, this is someone else wedding, and that Bride LOVES the Cupid Shuffle! So you now have a horrible taste in your mouth for no reason at all, because you can’t get that vision out of your head. So even if that was one of the Best DJ’s around, you are going to miss out on that because you are being close-minded.
The other option instead of going to see the DJ is to see what Venues Recommend that company. No Hotel is going to recommend a company that is going to make them look bad. The Venue obviously works well with this company and they have probably seen Hundreds of DJ’s through their doors every year. If they made the Preferred Vendor List, then they are somebody!
The Other Question and we get a lot of is this:
- Do you have a sample clip of the DJ so I can see what he/she does?
The Answer should be Maybe to No. Why you ask? Let me use the same example in the previous question. You hate a certain style of dancing, or even Line Dancing. Then we have it in the sample video of one of our DJ’s teaching the Wobble or Cha-Cha Slide. You don’t like that, and now you think that is part of everything we do, and we HAVE TO DO THAT at EVERY Wedding we perform at! Which is FALSE! Think about this… Anyone that knows what they are doing with video editing can make ANYONE and I do mean ANYONE Look Good on Video. Heck, I can make my Grandmother look like an Amazing DJ. So be Leary of what you might see, it could be all Smoke and Mirrors compensating for the lack of knowledge the DJ/Entertainer really has to offer.
We understand that pricing is very important when planning one of the most special days of your life. But starting the conversation by just asking how much isn’t the route to go. Make sure to ask more questions about the quality of services you will be receiving and if the DJ/Entertainer will be able to create the vision you have for your Wedding. Ensuring the company has the proper insurances, back up plans as well as great reviews from vendors and clients is a huge help in making the right decision as well. Think of what you are looking forward to for your Wedding before sending the inquiry asking, “How much do you charge?”