If you're looking to hire a wedding DJ, in Austin, Central Texas, or anywhere, you definitely want to know the average cost to hire a DJ for your wedding, quinceanera, party of event. Let's be honest, price does matter! The surprising thing is, hardly any DJ and photo booth companies are still not upfront about their prices. We wrote this very popular article, 2.5 years ago, and it still remains true. (This article has received over 15,000 views).
Don't believe me? Stop reading, here, and do a quick search in Google, Bing, or whichever search engine you prefer, and search: "Wedding DJs Austin, DJ for weddings, photo booth, or photography booth, DJ near me," or whatever search terms you prefer, and look for pricing. You will be looking for a while, so come back when you're ready, we'll be here. :)
Why Don't Wedding DJ & Photo Booth Companies List Prices?
So let's discuss this a little further. First of all, why are DJ and photo booth companies so afraid to be upfront about their pricing? Why can't they be upfront with their customers? It's not like they can avoid telling you the price. You're most certainly going to ask, and they're eventually going to have to tell you.
Well, to be honest, there's a lot of literature out there that tells DJ and photo booth companies that they must "sell their customers on their value, first, so that the price doesn't scare them away." Here's a shocker: Price may scare customers away, anyway, even after hearing the long sales pitch.
The bottom line is, price does matter to nearly every customer, except for the wealthy customers and the top 1% of course. So let's answer this price question. For us, we at least list our starting prices and cannot list prices for everything, since it really varies, depending on the customer's needs, location of the event, size of the venue, number of people attending, how many sound systems we need to bring, lighting needs, etc. We cannot speak for all companies, but I can certainly give you a range of pricing, based on our most current research.
Average Price for Wedding DJs in Austin, TX
First, you can start at the lower end. You can go on Craigslist or Thumbtack, and find hundreds (literally) of DJs advertising their services on there. You'll find a lot of brand new DJs, offering low prices, simply because they want to gain experience. Well, I don't know about you, but I did not want a new DJ to learn on the job, at my wedding and I'm sure you don't want the same, at your wedding! Learning means, possibly making mistakes, so no thanks.
Ironically, one of our competitors got a recent review about this very thing happening to them! The bride complained about every mistake their DJ made, and then said that the DJ said "sorry, this is my first wedding." Though everyone has to start somewhere, they should not start at your wedding, at your expense. Even though the DJ company gave their bride a refund, it doesn't change the fact that that couple will NEVER get to have their perfect wedding that they spent countless hours planning for. As a DJ company, we know we only get one shot to make your day perfect and therefore, we do NOT hire new DJs or inexperienced DJs. It's not worth it. Many companies do, simply to pay their DJs less, and make more of a profit. We care more about our client's experiences, and NOT the profit we make. We know that doing an exceptional job is a must, and as long as we do, the profits will come. Sorry for the digression, but I can't emphasize the importance of professional, experienced DJs, enough! Back to the topic! :)
There are numerous DJs on Craigslist, Thumbtack, and even on Google Ads, using various marketing techniques, such as "Voted #1 in Austin, or Texas," or "super cheap DJ services" but you have to ask, based on which poll were they voted #1? "Super cheap" ummm... I don't know about you, but I always question the value of anything cheap. Sure, saving money is great, but if something is really cheap, you have to wonder why. The truth is, you have to do your own research on the companies or individuals you want to hire.
Next, you can simply take the time to draft an email, and email each company, individually, by filling out their contact forms, but, beware, you'll be bombarded with emails, calls, and text messages, all wanting your business. So be prepared for that. We've gotten feedback from many of our clients about this. It's surprising how high-pressure many of these sales staff can be. I presume they either get a commission, or will be the actual DJ at your event, so they really want your business. So when you send your emails, remember, it's like going to a car dealership, so be prepared. (Almost nobody likes to go to a car dealership). Our suggestion is to create a brand new email for your wedding, such as "JohnJaneDoeWedding@gmail.com" this way all those emails will go directly to that email, and not to your usual one. Just be sure to check it, often. :)
Lastly, you can also go on wedding professionals sites, such as The Knot, Wedding Wire, or Wedding.com, and you'll be able to email several DJ companies at once. This also gives you a chance to see pricing info, or at least a range, though still, many companies refuse to list their price on these sites, too, surprisingly. (Why are they hiding?)
The good thing about these sites is that they allow customers to leave reviews, so this will help you learn more about the DJ or photo booth company you're researching. This is probably your best bet. Companies that advertise on these sites, are companies that are the busiest, which means they usually have lots of experience. These sites are not cheap to advertise on (yes, we advertise on them, so we know how much it costs), so chances are, these companies will do their best to do a great job, since their reputation matters. It's a very competitive business, everywhere! There are hundreds, if not thousands of DJs in the Austin area, and more throughout the central Texas area.
So here's the bottom line: The prices can really vary in the Austin and Central Texas area. They can be as cheap as $200 for your entire wedding, quinceanera, or event, and higher, up to $4000 or more, for your event! The key is to find out what's included with your service.
The picture, above, is from the most recent research for wedding costs in downtown Austin, Texas. It lists the average price that most couples pay as between $568 - $946. It also lists the price you'll pay for well experienced professionals, as $1514 or more. We actually are well experienced professionals and charge a less than this, for our average wedding! Wow, what a great deal! :)
However, this does not give details about how many hours, or what's included with the service. If you are not having a wedding in the Austin area, you can easily find out how much the average cost is in your area, by simply visiting the cost of wedding website. Just put in your zip code and you'll see all the information for your area!
Wedding DJ Cost - Based on Number of Guests
The second picture, is a little more accurate, as it takes into account the number of guests at your wedding; however, again, it does not state the number of hours or what is included for this price. Not all DJ companies will charge based on the number of guests you have, but it does make a difference. DJ companies need to know the number of people and the size of the venue, in order to know what equipment is right for the best sound at your venue. There's a big difference between a wedding for 50 people, versus 300 people, in terms of what DJs will need to bring. Again, keep in mind, the above numbers are the "average" and you'll find some companies that charge more, and others that charge less.
Questions to Ask Your Wedding/Event DJ
Lastly, remember, you're interviewing them, so feel free to ask "Why should we hire you, versus the others?" Hint: Their answer should not be based on all their great equipment. Most people don't know the difference between DJ equipment brands, so this is irrelevant.
Questions to Ask Your Photo Booth Company
Overall, remember, you are in control of how much you spend for your event, not the DJ or photo booth company. Find out what the value is, for your money. What does the $4000 company do differently, than the $200 company, or the $1000 company? Do your research and pick the company that best suits your needs! Good luck, and as always, email us for questions. We're always happy to help everyone, whether they're a customer or not! :)
Be sure to check out our previous article on how much wedding DJs cost 2017/2018.
-Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
On any given weekend, all year, you'll find us providing a DJ and/or photo booth for a wedding or event in Austin or Central Texas. It still surprises us at how many weddings and events are happening every weekend in the Austin area! Today, however, we want to discuss Mariachis. This blog is NOT to deter your from hiring Mariachis, by any means; however, we want to be honest about our experiences with Mariachis at weddings, quinceaneras and events in the Austin area, and we want to give you some advice. Here are some things to consider, before hiring Mariachis (and any vendor) for your event.
1. Do Your Research - Research all the Mariachis in your area and get 3-5 quotes. The interesting thing about getting quotes for services, is that you'll get a wide range of quotes, some very affordable, and others very expensive. Compare not just the prices, but what you get for your money. Mariachis typically charge by the hour and are usually hired for 1-2 hours. We've seen prices range, but usually around $300 - $500, for one hour.
2. Read Reviews - This is very important. Always read the reviews about any vendor you will hire. Know that reviews are important, because these represent actual client experiences. Reviews are the new version of "word-of-mouth" advertising.
3. Fliter the Reviews - If you're looking at the reviews across the internet, see what the trend is. For me, personally, I choose companies with 4 stars or better. It's great to have all 5 stars, but in reality, it's hard to please every single customer, every time, so having less than 5 stars is okay, as long as it's not the majority of the reviews that show less than happy clients. Look at the complaints though. As they say, where there's smoke, there's fire. If mutilple customers complain about the same thing and the vendor has not responded about how they fixed (or will fix) the issues, it's most likely true, so be careful.
4. Get a Contract - Always get a contract! Make sure the contract has exactly what you're paying for, the date of your event, the cost, etc. Read the fine print, cancellation notices, etc. Find out what happens if they don't show up. If they don't show, do you get your deposit back? You should be able to! If not, RUN and don't hire this vendor!
5. Don't Pay the Entire Balance - I know this seems strange, but it's best to only pay a deposit, at least initially. Why? Well, as I stated above, if the Mariachis don't show up, you've lost all of your money, so be careful! Unfortunately, we've done many events where the client did not stay in touch with their Mariachis (and even DJs) and the Mariachis did not even show up, yet they already were paid in full!
6. Stay in Touch - If they are not contacting you as your date approaches, contact them! Contact them one month before, and as often as you need to, until your date. Definitely contact them the week of your event, to check in, too! Go over your needs and what time you expect them to arrive and any other important details. We've done numerous events where communication was an issue and the correct times were not explained. This led to the Mariachis showing up at a different time (rather than the time they were expected).
Overall, know that these tips are not only for Mariachis, but for any vendor. If you're having a wedding or event in the Austin or Central Texas area, or anywhere, all of the above tips apply! We get calls, every week, from angry clients who had their DJ or photo booth service stop returning their calls/emails, etc. Our first question is always "do you have a contract?" Most of the time, the answer is "no." Don't let this happen to you!
We have worked with nearly every Mariachi group in the Austin and Central Texas area. Many of them have done a great job and some, unfortunately, were late or did not show up. We will not bash any business, but we can recommend one Mariachi group, based on our experience with them. We personally hired Mariachi Los Toros, for our own wedding and they were great! They communicated with us, often, showed up right on time, and did a great job! They even learned a song that we requested for our first dance, which was "We Belong Together" by Ritchie Valens! Again, as we stated above, this post is not written to deter you from hiring Mariachis, but to bring awareness and help you in the process of hiring your vendors.
- Austin's Best DJs Team
So you're engaged, now what? Well, now you have to start planning your wedding by looking for all the best wedding vendors. If you're having your wedding in Austin or Central Texas, you'll have to find a wedding venue in the area, which can be difficult, if you don't plan early! You'll also need numerous other great wedding vendors that service the Austin area, such as a wedding DJ, a photographer, a wedding planner, a catering service, florist, wedding decor, cake... You get the idea.
I'm sure you have numerous questions and don't know where to even begin! Well, you've come to the right place. When it comes to Austin and Central Texas weddings and events, we've got your covered! We provide music and entertainment for approximately 200 events per year, so we know weddings, quinceaneras, parties, holiday parties and events! However, we know you need to hire more than just a great Austin wedding and event DJ and/or photo booth! So here are 8 great questions that you can ask any wedding vendor!
1. Experience - Ask, how many weddings do you do per year? Experience is one of the most important aspects of a wedding professional. The more experience the vendor has, the more skilled they will be. Don't just ask, "How long have you been in business?" That won't get you the best idea of their experience. Someone could have been in business for 5 years, yet only do 10 weddings per year, which means they've done about 50 weddings.
2. Price - How much will it cost? Most vendors have a basic starting price, so ask them for it, directly. Many vendors don't like to talk about price, but unfortunately, you need to know exactly what the price will be. Keep in mind that experienced, professional wedding vendors are most likely going to be more expensive than the Austin DJs, photographers, or catering services that advertise on Craigslist. With the higher expense, however, should come great, quality service that you're willing to pay a little more to get! You only get married once, so be sure to hire the right people to make sure your big day goes the way you want it to!
3. What is Included - Beyond the price question, find out what exactly will be included. Many vendors have basic packages, but you need to get all the details to know what you're getting. We know there are numerous vendors who may have a low introductory price to "hook you" and then charge you for everything that you'll need. For example, many of our DJ and photo booth competitors will charge a starting price, but then charge extra for things you'll need, like lighting, a microphone, set-up and break-down fee, a fee for every song you need that isn't in their music library, etc. Always find out exactly what you'll get for the price.
4. Deposit - How much is the deposit? The deposit rates vary per vendor, but we actually only charge a $100 deposit, to book a DJ for any Austin-area event. Many wedding vendors will require a 50% deposit, upfront, so be ready to pay this, if needed. After you pay the deposit, find out exactly what the payment terms are. When is your final payment due? Cash only? Check? Credit card? Ask questions.
5. Cancellation or Change Policy - In addition to the deposit, find out exactly what the cancellation policy is. Find out what happens if you cancel? What if they cancel? Ask them if they've ever cancelled on a client. Many vendors will keep your deposit, if you cancel, no matter how far out your event is. Be aware of this, when paying high deposits.
6. Additional Fees - Always ask if there are additional fees. Many vendors will add taxes and other charges, such as travel fees, or special overtime rates. Find out what exactly those fees are.
7. Liability Insurance - Ask if they carry liability insurance. Any reputable company carries insurance. If they don't, RUN! You don't want some fly-by-night company to take your deposit and run. Unfortunately, we've seen many Austin DJ and photo booth companies do this to many of our customers, and we hate to see this happen. So if they don't have liability insurance, beware.
8. Contracts - In addition to insurance, ask about contracts. The same advice applies. If they don't use contracts, RUN! A contract protects the vendor and you, just in case you need it! We get calls and emails all the time, from customers who need to book a DJ for their wedding, because another vendor took their deposit and stopped replying to their emails, changed their phone number, etc. Don't be another victim, ALWAYS get a contract!
These questions are a great start. We encourage you to do your research on your vendors. Ask around, to see if anyone you know has booked them. Read the reviews and remember, it's nearly impossible to please everyone, every time. If a company has a lot of bad reviews, well, obviously you should keep looking, but remember, if a company only has all good reviews, you have to wonder if they are all from legitimate customers? Lastly, directly ask your vendor that typical interview question, "why should we hire you?" The wedding vendor should be able to tell you why they are the best choice! If you decide on price, alone, beware, this isn't a great strategy. The lowest priced, AND the highest priced wedding vendor doesn't necessarily mean it's the absolute best choice! Congratulations, and ask always, contact us if we can help you answer any questions for you!
-Austin's Best DJs Team
If you google "wedding DJ Austin," you'll get over 21 million results. You'll probably check out page 1 and 2, maybe page 3, but how do you determine which DJ or DJ company will best suit your needs? A great way to do this is to narrow down your results and get at least 3-5 quotes from companies who meet your price range, have available DJs, and are reputable. Once you've received quotes, the next step is to ask them questions, to determine who will best meet your needs.
Here's a great list of questions to ask your DJ! This is a list of our most frequently asked questions from our customers and our answers! Feel free to use our list of questions to ask your DJ, even if you're not booking with us! :)
Question 1. Can we create our own playlist or request songs to be played?
Answer: Absolutely! We encourage all of our clients to fill out our music planning sheet that will have the genres of music you prefer, as well as a list of favorite artists and any must-play or do-not-play songs! We do not charge extra to create your playlist. We have a huge online music library that has all genres of music. We even have a helpful "popular songs" section, which provides guidance and suggestions for key moments songs, such as first dance songs, father/daughter songs, etc. This is your wedding and you should be able to decide what we play!
Question 2: How many people will be working the day of our wedding or event?
Answer: It depends on the needs of your event. We typically have two people at every wedding/event that we do, but sometimes, just one person is available. We may have additional people come early, to help us set up, but by the start time, only one or two people will be at the entire event.
Question 3: Will you need a dinner or drinks for you or your staff?
Answer: We do require a vendor meal for any wedding or event that is 5 hours or longer. We ask this because our staff will arrive 2 hours before the start time of any event, and break-down for about 1 hour, after an event, which is an 8 hour day.
Question 4: Do you or your staff drink alcohol on the job?
Answer: Absolutely not. We've seen many other DJs, photo booth staff, photographers, and other staff, help themselves to a plate of food and help themselves to the open bar, which we completely do not understand. We've seen other staff intoxicated, while on the job, and we're always amazed at how they stay in business. We're professionals and we do not do this and require that all of our staff do not do this, either. We'll gladly accept water or non-alcoholic drinks.
Question 5: Do you bring all the necessary equipment for our event or do we need to provide anything?
Answer: We've heard of other DJs and DJ companies requiring the customer to rent the sound system, which is surprising! We bring all the equipment we need for every event we provide services for. For the DJ, we simply need an 8X8 area to set up, near a standard power outlet. The photo booth also has the same requirements. We do require a 6 foot table to be set up in the area where you'll want the DJ. We will bring our own linen, or a linen can also be placed on the table. We provide our own photo booth table.
Question 6: Do you bring back up equipment, in case anything happens?
Answer: Yes, we certainly do. All of our DJs are very experienced and know how to handle a situation where they may need to make adjustments, if equipment isn't working correctly. We always check-in with our staff during set up and are available "on-call", if problems arise at any time during the event.
Question 7: Do you have other staff, available, if the DJ or photo booth attendant gets sick or has an emergency?
Answer: Yes, we have 6 DJs that work with our team and we always check-in with every DJ, the week of the event. We also check in with the DJ and/or photo booth staff 24 hours before the event and then again, 4 hours before the event start time, to ensure they're going to make the event. If a DJ or photo booth attendant is sick or has an emergency, we will notify the customer immediately and provide an experienced, professional staff for the event.
Question 8: What is your cancellation policy?
Answer: Our cancellation policy states that all deposits are non-refundable. We will, however, refund 100% of any payments made toward the balance, outside of the deposit. Fortunately, our deposits are very reasonable. Most DJ companies require 50% of the total balance to book an event and the deposit is non-refundable. We do not do this. Our deposits are $100.
Question 9: Is there an additional charge for special-requested dance floor lighting?
Answer: If there is a particular light that you request that we do not have, then we can obtain the light(s), if needed, for an additional charge.
Question 10: Do you provide an "MC" for our event, who will make necessary announcements?
Answer: Yes, we will gladly be the MC for your event, at no additional charge. Many companies charge an extra fee for an MC, which to us, is crazy. So the DJ will not say a word, unless you pay him/her? Wow. Again, we're fair and don't do this.
Question 11: Do you have bilingual DJs, who can make announcements in Spanish?
Answer: Yes, nearly all of our DJs are bilingual, and can do this. If there is another language in which you need announcements, we will certainly let you or one of your guests make any announcement(s), with our PA system. We've done several weddings/events where other languages were spoken/used, (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Hindi, ASL, etc.) and clients designated a person to make announcements for guests, in addition to our announcements.
Question 12: How long does it take set up and break-down your equipment?
Answer: Depending on the needs of your event, the set up can take anywhere from 60 minutes, up to 2 hours or more. Most weddings and events that we've done in venues in Austin and Central Texas, take about 60 - 90 minutes, to set up. Break down takes about one hour (or more if using multiple systems).
Question 13: Is set-up/break-down time included in the time we purchase or charged separately?
Answer: We do not charge extra for set up; your time starts when the music starts, not when we arrive to set up. You are also not charged for break-down time, either. Exception: if you need us to set up earlier than 2 hours, or break-down later than one hour after the event ends, there is an additional charge. Example: wedding ceremony starts at 5 pm, and we'd normally arrive at 3 pm, to set up, but you need the DJ or photo booth to set up at 12 pm. Many companies do not include set-up/break-down time and charge additional fees for this time. Again, we do not do this, unless it is the above exception.
Question 14: What do you typically wear?
Answer: We always dress appropriately for the occasion. Our staff will wear slacks and a button up dress shirt. For outdoor, summer events, we have company Polo shirts we typically wear, with slacks. If we need to dress more formal, please let us know and we certainly can do this.
Question 15: Is there a minimum amount of hours to book?
Answer: Yes, we require a two hour minimum for DJ and/or photo booth services.
Question 16: Will the DJ take requests?
Answer: Yes, we can certainly take requests. We will do our best to play all requests, given that we have the song and there is enough time to get through the written playlist and must-play songs. We ask all our clients to let us know if requests are okay and ask for any restrictions on requests, such as: "Yes, play requests, but no rap, metal, etc."
Question 17: If the crowd is shy or not dancing, do you motivate the crowd to dance?
Answer: We rarely have to do this, but yes, we certainly can. We do numerous weddings and events, all year, so we know what people like and want to dance to. We play great music and people will dance!
Question 18: Can you assist me in finding music for our ceremony or reception?
Answer: Yes, we'll be glad to assist you in planning your ceremony and reception music. We also have numerous planning tips on our blog! Click, below, to visit our blog!
Austin's Best DJs Wedding & Event Planning Tips & DJ Blog
Question 19: Do you provide any other services for weddings or events?
Answer: Yes, we certainly do! We provide: photo booth services, uplighting, monogram lighting, sound for live ceremony performances, custom music mix/mash-up, projector, projector screen and more!
Question 20: When is the final balance due?
Answer: The final balance is due 3 weeks before your event. We'll meet in person, or via phone, 3-4 weeks before, to go over your planning forms, answer questions, and collect/discuss the final payment. Many customer also opt to pay payments, and if they do, we send a new invoice, reflecting the payment and remaining balance, each time.
Question 21: Do you take breaks during the ceremony/reception?
Answer: Though most bands will take breaks at events, we do not take breaks.
Question 22: What if my DJ becomes ill or cannot make it to my event?
Answer: We have several DJs that work with us, and one of the owners is always open, in case this happens. Fortunately, this has never happened! We require our DJs to let us know as soon as possible, preferably at least 5 days before the event, if they cannot make it. If this happens, one of the owners will personally DJ the event. We will review all of the wedding documents, to be sure we have all the music and ensure that all the event needs are covered.
Question 23: What time will you arrive to set up for our event?
Answer: We arrive approximately 2 hours before the start time of any event, to set up our equipment. If the 360 package is booked, we will usually arrive 2.5 - 3 hours before the start time of the event.
Question 24: How does it work if I have a band playing and only need you to play during the ceremony, cocktail hour, and for the band's break, later on during the night?
Answer: We base our rates based on the time we start and end any event. If we start the ceremony and then stop playing since there are live musicians, we cannot technically be on "break," since we're there at the event and cannot leave. So we will charge based on the total amount of time we're there, from the time we start until the time we end (we don't charge for setup/breakdown time).
Question 25: How will you decide which of your DJs will DJ my event?
Answer: During our initial conversations, we'll discuss the music you want for your wedding or event. Based on your music choices, we'll select the DJ that best fits your needs. Although all of our DJs are very familiar with all genres of music, we have some DJs who really love certain genres. We'll do our best to match you with the best DJ for your event. All of our DJs are very professional and experienced, and have done hundreds of weddings and events. They're all sure to do a great job!
We certainly hope this list of questions has been helpful for you. As always, if you have additional questions, feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to help!
- Jason & Diana
Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Austin's Best DJs
We've taken our decades of experience and compiled it into a few helpful articles, to help you plan your wedding or event!