Why You Don’t Want To Hire An Inexpensive DJ
Updated: Feb 15
So, you’ve decided to hire a DJ to handle the entertainment for your event. We think that is a great choice. A DJ has tremendous flexibility with music selections and can get a crown really going. They can also help with event planning as they have been to many events and can offer good solid advice from music selection, to dance floor location, to what order the events will be in.
The first thing you need to do it identify a budget. How much are you going to spend on your DJ. In our geographic location the cost of a DJ can range from $300 to $2000 or more. That’s a pretty big range. So why would one pay over $1500 for a DJ when you can hire one for a fraction of that price. I mean they all play music, right? Well for the most part that is true, however there is some truth to the old saying “you get what you pay for”. Now we are not saying that all cheap DJ”s are terrible, nor are we saying that all good DJ’s are expensive. There is also truth to the old saying “buyer be ware”. There are some basic economics you need to understand that factor into the price and the quality of service.
Now I’ve heard many people say, “we hired DJ X and they were awesome, and it only cost $400”. We totally agree, that can happen. But we have also heard “We hired DJ Y and never again, what a waste of $400.
So why the huge range in price. Typically, the more you pay the better the experience will be.
For an example, you decide you are fly up north for an outdoor trip. You have two options. You could fly with a well know airline or book a low-cost charter. The airline ticket is more then double the cost. In the end, both will get you up north, at least that’s the plan. But there is some significant differences between the two. When you book the airline ticket you get two certified pilots dressed in professional uniforms. When you book the charter you get one pilot, wearing jeans and a T shirt. When you fly with the airline you get to be on a state-of-the-art dual engine airliner with comfortable seats and in-flight service. When you book the charter, you fly in a single engine rust bucket plane that only seats 4 the was built in 1958 with a self serve cooler in the back for drinks. The airliner flies faster and can fly above bag weather allowing you to get there faster. The charter can’t fly as high so has to go around bad weather, or delay until the weather as passed or at the very worst, fly through the weather. At the end of the day, both will get you to your destination, however I know which I’d rather fly.
Same can be said for your DJ. Below we will examine the difference between a low-cost DJ and a higher priced DJ company.
1. Part time vs full time. Part time DJ’s only do a hand full of events per year. For them DJing is a side hustle. They have a full-time job and are dedicated to it, unfortunately not you. Full time DJ companies do DJing all the time. They are out every week, if not multiple times per week. They are 100% dedicated to you and the success of your event. When you call them, they answer the phone, when you email them, their response rate is much higher and faster. They will bend over backwards to keep you satisfied because it is crucial to their livelihood.
2. Insurance. Part time DJ’s usually do not carry liability insurance. Liability insurance is important for any business. It is recommended that a DJ carries at least two million dollars in liability insurance. This is to protect you as much as the DJ. Accidents are rare but do happen. If an unfortunate accident were to happen involving the DJ equipment, like a speaker falling on someone, for a person tripping over a loose cable and going headfirst into a wall causing a severe head injury, it reassuring to know that financial coverage is taken care of. Many venues are now requiring that the DJ has insurance, so it’s critical that you confirm this with your DJ before you pay your deposit. Most deposits are non-refundable, and most DJ’s will not refund your deposit just because you did not confirm with them if they had insurance.
3. Website – The one thing every business needs to survive is capitol (money). When a business runs out of money it dies. You could say money is the life blood of a business. One of the most important things a company should spend money on is self investing. We will continue to touch on this subject as we go along. A professional website is a sure-fire way for you to see if a DJ company is self investing. Many part-time low-priced DJ companies only use social media as their online presence. For the most part, social media is free. Any one can crate a Facebook page or Instagram page and Google images from the internet and copy and paste them to make them look bigger than they are. If a DJ company has a website, it shows they are here to stay, and if done correctly, allow you to get a better idea of what they are all about and if they are going to be a great fit.
4. Low Quality Gear – A lower priced DJ will most likely have low quality gear. This is simple economics. Good quality gear costs more. If you are only doing a hand full of events per year and you are charging a low fee, there isn’t enough money to buy better equipment. Why is higher quality gear better? Two main reasons. Better gear will sound better, especially at higher volumes. Higher volumes place grater demands on electronics and can cause distortion when they peak. This can sound terrible and chase many people out of the room. The 2nd reason and may be even more important is reliability. Better quality equipment lasts longer, is more tolerant the riggers of being on road, has longer warranties, and is less likely to fail. The last thig you want is for a speaker to start smoking or catch on fire during your first dance as a married couple because the DJ is driving it past it’s limits.
5. Backup Gear – Not only do lower priced JD’s not have high quality gear, they also not usually carry backup equipment. No DJ ever wants to have to go to a backup plan. But every DJ is grateful that there is one if things go wrong. Not only is having back up equipment available important, but having it ready to go to minimize the down time. Five minutes doesn’t sound like a long time, however it can seem like an eternity in the middle of a packed dance floor with there is no music. Being able to trouble shoot the problem and get back up a running is paramount for any DJ. Higher cost DJ’s will prepare back up plans and practice to minimize the time on the dance floor.
6. Pre-wedding consultation. A low-cost DJ will usually have one phone conversation and then show up at the event and start playing music. Rarely is this a good idea, especially for an important function like a wedding. Higher cost DJ’s will start to work with you on planning and music selection. They may even attend the rehearsal to ensure a perfect day.
7. Online reviews. Low cost DJ’s will have no or limited online reviews. Online reviews. It’s important to hear what other people are saying about a DJ. Reviews are a quick way to get some great feedback. If there are no reviews, the question has to be “why”?
8. Spends as little as possible. A low-cost DJ will spend as little as possible on there side hustle. Again, simple economics. This is everything from equipment, to cables, to marketing materials, to the look of their setup.
As you can see, to be a proficient DJ company every time they are out in front of a crowd requires money, and as with all business, the money they use to run their business comes from clients. So yes, all DJ’s play music, but as we have discussed, there is a stark difference between a low-cost DJ and a higher cost DJ.
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Starlight DJ Services is a mobile DJ and Entertainment company based in Dorchester, Ontario and services all of South Western Ontario.
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Owner & Event DJ at Starlight DJ Services
Dorchester, Ontario, Canada