Wedding DJ cost
This blog will help you in choosing the right DJ for your event. Letting you in on the industry tricks and common pit falls of DJ hire.
As your choice of DJ will make or break your event choosing the right one is crucial to the success of the event. Finding the right service is all about finding the best value for money and not total cost. The memory of a bad experience lasts a lot longer than the satisfaction of saving a bit of money.
There is a huge sliding scale for wedding and event DJs. How do you know you're getting value for money? There is everything from cash in hand DJs who turn up with a laptop full of pirated music and a pair of tatty old speakers who work for beer money right through to full time professionals with 10s of thousands of pounds worth of equipment who could charge £1500 and above! With a potential swing of well over a grand you don't want to be caught out. Below are the options available when hiring....Choose wisely.
Before we get started, some DJs of all price ranges have big egos to the point some don't even take requests, or are at least reluctant. They think because they have been at it for years they know best and that's that. Make sure your DJ is flexible to your needs no matter what you pay. You're the boss and your big night should be how you want it.
Having said that you'll want to avoid sending your DJ a set list of music though, this can be a night killer leaving the DJ with no where to go if it isn't working.
The worst gig I've ever done was when the bride gave me a list of music IN ORDER of how it was to be played 5 days before the event. It was all over the place, 60s to now to rock to pop. I was banned from taking guest requests, the night was an utter flop. It was incredibly uncomfortable for me because it could have so easily been great.
By all means send your DJ a list of songs you'd like but keep it fairly short so they can have their own input and change things around for the best results. A good DJ doesn't need a playlist at all, they should be able to read the crowd and play to them regardless of what you've sent. My perfect playlist from a client is between 10-20 songs. Enough to give me a good idea of what you're in to with plenty of space for me to fill in myself. I've been given an 18 hour song playlist for 5 hour gigs in the past.....Don't be that guy.
These are growing, often fancy websites and loads of social media presence. Many are started up by DJs who decided to take on more people to fill enquiries they can't fulfil and away from their own stand alone business. Some can be good but some agencies fill bookings with anyone they can get hold of. Advertising on Facebook DJ pages to fill slots with anyone just to get their cut with little research in to their quailty. You could be giving these guys a fair price of up to £350+ and they pay the often young and inexperienced DJ they find to play your event maybe £180 if they're lucky, more often than not £120-£150. You may have no idea who will turn up and can be subject to change. Not the best option for your big day if you're looking for a personal service. You're essentially paying £200 for someone to hire a cheap DJ for you in many cases.
Hotel residents included with your package.
As above really. Many hotels offer package deals with a DJ thrown in these days forcing you to use their in house DJ as you get no discount if you use your own effectively paying twice. They again may charge you £350+ and then find any DJ who is available, they may even use an agency to fill their events so the hotel takes their cut, then the agency takes their cut so not much is left for a quality service. Be aware of this, insist on speaking to the actual DJ who will host your event. If you're not happy with them speak up as soon as possible. Maybe even contact them secretly and get a quote direct for a similar event to see the price difference and if you're getting value for money.
Unfortunately I speak from experience as my own wedding night was almost ruined by a DJ included in our hotel wedding package. We paid the hotel £325, a reasonable price for someone half decent. They paid an agency, the agency paid a cheap DJ described below who's equipment failed and left us in silence several times in the night prompting most of the guests to leave early. If it hadn't been for the casino tables we hired the night would have been over at 10pm. Don't assume the hotel will get you someone great. Unfortunately some are more interested on the size of the cut they skim off the top. Ask plenty of questions on the service they're forcing you to have. Some hotel residents I have met have an air of complacency about them as they get the booking regardless of how much effort they put in, often just because they're cheap.
Cheap DJs. (£80-£150)
You may get lucky with one of these guys, some are really decent but unfortunately some are unprofessional and cause a huge problem for our industry's reputation over all.
Danger signs to look out for is if they insist on cash payment, don't take deposits, don't have a website, little to no social media presence, slow to reply to messages, no customer reviews and no public liability insurance or equipment electrical safety certificates. They tend to not be a fan of paper trails for tax reasons. Likely to bring a few hundred quids worth of poor standard equipment with no back up incase of failure set up in an untidy sometimes even unsafe manor.
The amount of calls I get from poor upset people who have booked a cheap DJ that has cancelled last minute or worse just hasn't shown up is sad. It's at least one a week, occasionally two or three. Some even take bookings for low fees then if another enquiry comes in for the same date quote a higher price and if they get that one cancel the previous. A terrible way of doing things that leaves a trail of disappointment in it's wake. Imagine your DJ cancelling a week from date never mind not showing up on the day itself! Hideous behaviour and one that happens way too often.
Mid price range DJ (£250-£600)
For me, the best of both worlds. This is the category I myself fall in to. Combining excellent customer service with a great quality set up and reasonable fees.
Often these guys have day jobs so don't need to charge you the earth to pay their bills or take your booking even if they're not suitable. I only take 2-3 events a month so can be selective on what events I take on meaning i'll only ever take events I know I'll be great for which leads to a very high success rate.
These guys should take deposits and send written confirmation even contracts drastically reducing the risk they'll cancel on you. They should also have a well written website with good social media presence with listed address and phone numbers and plenty of 5 star reviews for your to read. They should be quick to respond to messages and be attentive to your needs. They'll likely have all the relevant paperwork your venue will require and all round have a professional look and feel to them with back up in the event of failure.
Still make sure you still do your homework on them. There are still expensive DJs who are not that good, high prices does not guarantee quality in this business.
Full time professional DJs (£800-£1500+)
These guys can be very expensive but also should be seasoned professionals with a huge van full of top end equipment and the skills and experience to pull off a great night. They charge high prices as it's often their only income so need your money to get by. They'll likely not turn down work even if they don't believe they are suitable as it's all about filling dates for the most money. They tend to be good sales persons and will book any gig if the money is right for them. Have a good read of their reviews, if there are none to be read they have been disabled for a reason. Meet them face to face and trust your instincts.
I hope this offered a little insight and helps you choose what's right for you. Don't book on price alone, book on value. Your party counts on it! Good luck and hope your event is a success no matter who you go with.
If you have any questions or would like advice on anything DJ or wedding related feel free to drop me a message or email found on my contact page. I'll be more than happy to help in any way I can.
Thanks for reading, Steve.