Why Price Should NEVER Be Your #1 Factor For A Wedding DJ

 

Thanks for taking a moment to read this article. I hope it helps you in determining how you’ll select the best DJ for your wedding.

First, a few stats to consider:. This data comes from The Wedding Report (A national survey conducted with brides each year). The data is also for the local counties we service in MD, WV and PA:

 

  • $593 – DJ Pricing – No Specific Experience in Weddings
  • $1187 – DJ Pricing – Average with experience in weddings
  • $1582 – DJ Pricing – High End With Experience in Weddings

 

One mistake that many people make (whether choosing a wedding DJ or any other type of service)… is to assume the lower price will deliver the same quality and service as the higher price.

It’s a bit ironic. Here’s an example…

Let’s suppose you were shopping for a new TV online. You look on Amazon, Best Buy, Sony, etc. Most places you search, for the same make and model, you’ll find them all to have a similar price tag… give or take a few dollars.

Then, you find the exact same TV on another site for 50% less. What do you immediately think?


“WOW! I lucked out! I found the exact same thing at a much better price!”

 

Nope. Most everyone has been burnt on something like this. The “great price” quickly fades when you realize it wasn’t the exact same product/as good/ the same as what others were offering.

More than likely, your first thoughts are:


“What’s wrong with it? Why is it so cheap?”

 

It’s like the old saying… “Price, Quality, Service – Pick Two.”

The same logic truly applies when you’re looking to choose the DJ for your wedding. When a price is much cheaper than the averages, something has to be sacrificed.

 

A Nightmare Story

I’ll share with you 6 great factors to consider before price, but first I want to show you a recent example of the above. It’s something our DJ service was recently involved in.

I was looking at a recent request I received from a service that provides opportunities to DJ’s (the low-ballers notoriously congregate here.). Take a look at the comment the person submitted:

 

DJ Request - Lowest Bidder Wins

 

I quickly declined the offer to bid on this wedding, and went about life as normal.

2 months passed by, and I was suddenly tagged on a post in Facebook.

When I went to check it out… it was the same person who submitted the quote request above. Here’s what they posted:

 

Trouble Brewing For The Bride & Groom

 

Wow – what a tough spot to be in. I knew we wouldn’t want to be part of this mess (with no time to plan or prepare.) The groom explained that the DJ they hired cancelled on them – the day before their reception. No reason given – just an email.

My guess is either A) The DJ forgot about it, B) had another higher paying gig come up, or C) something else came up that was more important than the couple dollars the DJ would have made. The lower the price, the less important it becomes to the DJ as well. Lesson learned.

Here’s the irony of it all…

Even when the groom was in the worst of spots without many options… he still asked me if I would “Match the $200 price quote from the DJ he originally hired.”

No thanks. I gave him some online references to help planning things on his own, and wished him the best of luck.

 

 

The Reasoning Against Low-Priced DJ’s

At Fired Up! Entertainment, we feel we deliver the best quality, and highest services levels for a wedding DJ (so do others – check out a few of our reviews here). Best of all, we do this at a very fair price.

To do this, we had an initial investment of nearly $10,000. We purchased high-end equipment, music, backups, lighting, etc. This gave us the ability offer great quality.

With the average wedding, we invest an average of 12 hours of our time. This includes the time of the ceremony/reception… as well as the pre-planning time, travel, setup, breakdown, etc. The extra time that we spend in planning/preparation is what gives us the ability to offer great service.

Now, let’s look at the low-end DJ who buys 2 speakers, and steals some low-quality music off of YouTube (or streams it – I’ve actually seen this before. Can you say “buffering” and advertisements?). He’s cheap though – only charges $400.

So let’s think about that. For our company to offer that same type of price for our service, we’d have to:

 

  • DJ 25 weddings – just to cover our initial investment into our business.
  • Give up every one of our weekends, for half of a year.
  • Work 312 hours – for no pay – to do those gigs.

This assumes that we’d get a gig every weekend, obviously that’s unlikely. It also doesn’t account any of our monthly costs for the business itself.

Now, let’s assume we keep getting a wedding gig every weekend of the year (after we’ve paid off our initial investment into the business). What happens then?

 

  • Still give up every one of our weekends
  • Earn about $15 per hour.

 

Additionally, this doesn’t factor in equipment replacement costs. If we needed a new set of speakers, for example, we’d have to work for 6 weeks to pay for them. Again, making no money during that time.

Does that sound like the type of business you’d want to start?

 

6 Factors To Focus On Over Price

Price obviously is a factor for most people. However, you shouldn’t expect a Mercedes for the price of a Civic. You’ll be let down more than you’ll want to admit.

Your DJ plays a major part in the success of your evening, regardless of your budget. Instead of price, here are a few factors I’d recommend considering first. I’ve also included what to expect from a low-price DJ if they lack on the factor.

 

#1 – References

Yep, they matter. Look at the references your DJ can provide (view ours here) – but also research them online. Try to find comments on review sites and social media sites. Not able to find anything on them? That may be a warning sign.

What The Low Price DJ Gives You: Anything and everything. Any references will likely be for other things (they’re a great Karaoke DJ at the bar). You’ll basically have to “take their word” that they’ll do what they say, and deliver what you expect.

 

#2 – Planning

Question their process to planning the wedding ceremony and/or reception.

Here’s a great insider tip. If your DJ will be involved in the ceremony, ask what they do if the song runs out before your wedding part completely enters. “It won’t”, or “I’ll play it again” are the answers you do NOT want to hear.

“We’ll rehearse timings with you at your dress rehearsal, to prevent this problem.” is the answer you’re looking for.

What The Low Price DJ Gives You: At best, an online “worksheet” program that lets you fill in some details on songs, but that’s about it. No true planning. Expect your reception to go the way “they do it”… or for the DJ to interrupt your evening to ask if you’re doing a cake cutting, and when?

 

#3 – Music Library

Question how the DJ keeps their music library up to date. You’re looking for an answer that mentions a “music subscription service”. This is what a DJ pays for monthly to have access to new music, as well as specific songs needed for your wedding.

If the DJ says they download music – ALWAYS ask “From where?” Music ripped from YouTube videos, for example, will sound HORRIBLY flat… even through the highest quality speaker system

What The Low Price DJ Gives You: They may not have the music you’re looking for. They may be streaming music from any online service (so buffering is always a concern – especially if your venue doesn’t have a wide-open WIFI connection). Remember, even the subscription-level services on Pandora/Google Play/etc. still have commercials.

 

#4 – Experience/Background

 

Ask your potential DJ the types of events they most often perform at. “Weddings” should be one of the first things they mention. Why? A wedding is simply harder, and more complex, than doing karaoke at a bar, or playing at a party. A DJ who mostly performs at weddings can easily “downgrade” to the level of DJ needed for a party or event. A karaoke DJ cannot “upgrade” their skill levels in the same manner.

What The Low Price DJ Gives You: Many of the local bars/taverns will pay a DJ between $150-300 to perform for an evening. So, to the DJ accustomed to that, $400 seems like a great price for them – and for you. However, as mentioned above, the wedding DJ has a completely different skill set than that of a bar DJ.

 

#5 – Equipment

 

You don’t have to be an audiophile, or tech geek, to know if your potential DJ uses high-quality equipment. The internet helps a ton here. Simply ask the DJ for the manufacturer names of the equipment they use. Then, Google that name along with the word “reviews”. You can find others in the industry who give their insight on the quality of products. As a general rule, “quality” products will be easy to find reviews on, and most always have a 4+ rating.

What The Low Price DJ Gives You: Anything from great equipment, to pawn shop buys. In most cases, they do not understand the logistics behind equipment quality. They’re buying based on their budget. Sometimes, however, they may simply have some money and buy good equipment. It’s a crap shoot, in my experience.

 

#6 – Backup Plans

 

I saved this one for last, for a reason. Backups have absolutely no value to anyone whatsoever… until something goes wrong. Then, they are the most important things your DJ can have for you.

Ask the DJs you interview what backup plans they have if something goes wrong. Surprisingly, 25% of the DJ’s you speak to will not have an answer. Automatically cross them off of your list.

Next, ask what happens if one of their specific backups fail? For example, “What if your backup speaker cable is broke as well?” The best, most prepared DJ will have an answer for that question as well.

What The Low Price DJ Gives You: Really? You expect them to have backup plans?

 

In Closing…

I hope this article has been helpful and informative. Price certainly is a factor with most everyone. In the end, I hope you’ll remember this one important quote. Price, Quality, Service – choose one.

Cheers!

– DJ Salty D

 

Posted by DJ Salty D

DJ and co-owner of Fired Up! Entertainment

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