Last year, we wrote a blog discussing the average cost to hire a DJ for your wedding, quinceanera, party of event in the Austin or central Texas area. That blog has been read over 10,000 times! This year, we thought we'd update it, to reflect new prices for 2017 and 2018 events in our Austin and central Texas area. So here's the new info and changes for wedding and event DJ costs.
First of all, price still matters! If you're searching for an item on Amazon, how frustrating would it be if none of the prices were listed for your product? Would you take the time to email every seller for more information, or would you just buy from a seller that has prices listed? Yes, it's slightly different, but even Amazon does have services that you can purchase and yes, their prices are listed. Surprisingly, this still has not changed for the DJ & photo booth services business! Very few DJ and photo booth companies at least list a starting price or price range. Do a search for "Wedding DJ Austin, DJ for weddings, Quinceanera DJ, Austin photo booth," or whatever terms you prefer, and look for pricing. It's not easy to find.
This year, the price ranges are similar to last year, with the lower priced DJs listed on Craigslist. You'll find hundreds of DJs advertising their services on there. You'll still mostly find a lot of brand new DJs, offering low prices, simply because they want to gain experience. If price is your main concern and you only want to spend a few hundred dollars or less, this is your best bet. Just know that you're not likely to find many professional DJs or DJ companies on Craigslist. You'll get a great price, but at the risk of possibly having a bad experience at your wedding or event. We get calls all the time, about DJs who took a deposit and vanished, and we hate to hear this!
So if Cragslist doesn't work for you, you can simply search for a DJ on Google or whatever search engine you use. Take the time to draft an email, and copy/paste your email to each company, individually, by filling out their contact forms, but, be aware, you'll be bombarded with emails, calls, and text messages, all wanting your business. Ironically, we experienced this first-hand, when we got married, last October! We didn't want to hire our own staff, since we wanted them to enjoy our wedding.
Lastly, you can always search wedding sites, such as The Knot, or Wedding Wire, and you'll be able to email several companies at once. This also gives you a chance to see pricing info, or at least a price range, though still, many companies don't list their prices on these sites, too, surprisingly. These sites allow customers to leave reviews, so this will help you learn more about the DJ or photo booth company (and any wedding/event vendor service) you're researching. You'll definitely find professional companies on these sites, since it's not cheap to advertise with them (yes, we advertise on them, so we know how much it costs). Most of the DJ and photo booth companies will do their best to do a great job at your wedding or event, since their reputation matters and you can easily leave a review! It's still a very competitive business and there are even more DJs listed now, in the Austin and Central Texas area, than last year!
So the bottom line is: Prices can vary in the Austin and Central Texas area. They can be as cheap as $150 for your entire wedding, quinceanera, or event, and as much as $4000 or more, for your event! We've done our research and these are current 2017/2018 rates. The key is to determine what's included with your services for your price.
Questions to Ask Your Wedding or Event DJ
We took the time to create our frequently asked questions section, on our website. These are the most frequently asked questions and our answers. Feel free to use these questions to ask any DJ you may consider hiring. Just copy and paste them (and erase our answers, of course) or print them out and take them to your meeting. Here is the link:
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions to Ask Photo Booth Companies
What type of equipment do you use?
What type of printer do you use? (This is important, since your printout quality will be determine by the printer used. It should be a sub-dye printer).
What's included in the price?
Is setup or breakdown free?
Are printouts free?
Am I limited to a certain amount of printouts?
Do you have a contract?
Are props included?
Will there be a photo booth attendant?
Can we get an enclosed photo booth or open-air (backdrop type)?
Will we get all of our pictures from that night on a flash or via email?
How many pictures will guests receive?
Are copies of pictures allowed?
Overall, remember, you are always in control of how much you spend for your event! Find out what the value is, for your money. What does the $4000 company do differently, than the $150 company, or the $1000 company? Do your research and pick the DJ and/or photo booth company that best suits your needs! Good luck, and as always, email us for questions. We're always happy to help everyone, whether you're our customer or not! :)
-Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths Team
Whether you're having a wedding or event in Austin or central Texas, or anywhere, you have already found out how expensive it can be. If you've done your research, than you've already noticed that the costs to hire a DJ, photo booth, live band, or any entertainment, can really vary. You may have seen some DJs on Craigslist, for as little as $150, and then you may have even received a quote for up to $4000! Yes, you read that right, $4K for a 4 hour DJ and they're in no way any type of celebrity DJ!
We've done our research and we know that this is the range of pricing in our Austin market. One question you may keep asking yourself is why? Why do DJs cost so much? So here is an inside look at the DJ business and why we charge the rates that we do. Though we cannot speak for all DJs and DJ companies, we will speak for our company and from our experience. So here's the breakdown.
Anyone can buy DJ equipment, now. It's now more affordable than ever, and with YouTube and the internet, there are plenty of resources discussing "how to DJ." However, merely having the equipment and watching how-to videos will not ensure anyone can be a great DJ. Experience, skill, customer service and professionalism are all a must for anyone who works with us. In fact, our least experienced DJ has 10 years experience! We want to ensure that we provide exceptional service and therefore, we only hire exceptional staff who meet our high expectations!
The type of equipment a DJ has can truly vary and the cost for that equipment varies, as well. DJs need: microphones, lighting, speakers, cables, turntables or controllers, a laptop, protective cases, speaker and lighting stands, etc. Depending on the type of equipment a DJ chooses, the cost can vary from as little as $1000, up to $20,000 or more! Additionally, photo booth setups can cost $2000 - $10,000 each and we have 3 setups. It's expensive!
Any DJ who is serious about his/her craft, knows that you have to have great equipment that not only looks and sounds great, but performs great and is reliable. Entry level equipment will give you an entry level sound and experience. So overall, a DJ has to invest in great equipment, which is a factor in their prices.
One thing every DJ has in common is music. DJs must have an extensive music library to have the right music for every occasion. There are literally millions of songs out there. DJs have to have hours and hours of a variety of music. The music isn't free, of course. Whether a DJ uses a record pool or buys songs individually, the music cost can really add up to thousands of dollars!
Additionally, a DJ has to store the music and have backup files, as well. This means a large hard drive on a laptop, as well as additional external drives, cloud subscriptions, flash drives, etc. Without music, a DJ will not be in business, period!
Time & Preparation
One thing that we all wish we had more of, is time. It takes a lot of time to prepare for just one wedding or event. From the initial email to the week of the wedding or event, we must ensure that we have every song you want and that we have every detail covered. We spend an average of 25-30 hours per week, providing customer service, communicating with our clients, preparing for the weekend events, updating music (new songs come out weekly), meeting with clients, etc. This does NOT include providing DJ and photo booth services on any weeknight, or on weekends!
The day of an event is also time-consuming. For a 5 hour event, we arrive two hours before the event to setup, and stay 1 hour after the event, to breakdown. This is an 8 hour day (not including the time we spend loading and unloading our vehicle and driving to/from the event) for events where we provide a DJ only. If we have a DJ and photo booth event, special lighting, etc., it takes additional time to setup and breakdown! On any given weekend, we may have up to 8 events in one day. This means we also must check-in with our staff the day before and the day of the event, to ensure everyone is prepared and everything is covered! So all in all, we easily work 50 or more hours, weekly. This may not be the case for all DJ companies, but it is for us. Therefore, we have to factor our time into how much we charge for our services.
Marketing & Advertising
As you have already noticed, there are literally hundreds of DJ companies in the Austin and central Texas area. There are hundreds more solo DJs, as well. This means one thing: competition. DJing today, isn't like the days when many of our DJs started, in the 1990s. At that time, there were literally a handful of DJs and technology was vastly different. There was not many competitors, since there were not many DJs available. Today, with laptops and DJ software, it's much easier. I remember the days of carrying 10-15 heavy record crates to every event, every weekend! I don't miss those days! :)
So again, there is much more competition and therefore, DJs have to advertise, maintain a website and social media accounts, etc. Advertising easily costs hundreds of dollars per month. Also, if a DJ has liability insurance and a commercial space, the lease and bills must also be paid. All of these things are factored into pricing, as well.
Overall, this is just a snapshot of the costs and details involved with professional DJ services. There are many other factors to consider, but these are the main factors that determine pricing. We hope you found this helpful. Now, you have a better idea of why DJs cost so much!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
If you're reading this, you're most likely planning your wedding, quinceanera, party or event, and most likely in the Austin or Central Texas area. As you already know, having a wedding or event is expensive! So, here's a few tips to save you some time and money!
Make a Playlist
Playlists are easy to make on iTunes, Windows Media Player, Spotify, or whichever player you use. Create a list of the songs you want to hear during your event and label it for whichever moment you'll play it, such as: Cocktail Hour, Prelude, Dinner, etc. Be sure to create the list for a little longer than your planned time, to allow for wiggle room. For example, if you plan for an hour cocktail hour, make this list for an hour and 15 minutes, just in case it takes a little longer than you anticipated, to take pictures. Do this for any time of the night, since most often, your evening will not go exactly as planned. Always allow a 15 minute window. Sometimes people may eat slower, speeches may last longer, more people may arrive than you planned for, which causes dinner to last longer, etc.
How to Use it
Making a playlist is the easy part. Now, you'll need a way for it to be heard. If you want to save money, find someone to bring a small PA setup, or rent one. We often refer our clients to Rock N Roll Rentals, located in Austin, TX. Here's a link to their wedding PA systems: http://rocknrollrentals.com/t-WeddingEventPackages.aspx
We've been a customer with Rock n Roll Rentals for over a decade. They have great products and the staff will show you how to hook up everything, if you ask!
Once you have a portable speaker or PA, you'll need to get the correct wires to hook up your laptop, or even phone, to your powered speaker.You can ask the Rock n Roll team for the correct wires, or you can easily order a 3.5 mm to RCA cable, 3.5 mm to 1/4" cable, or 3.5 mm to XLR cable. Here's a link to some of the wires we use, on Amazon:
3.5 mm to RCA
3.5 mm to XLR
The smaller, 3.5 mm headphone plug will connect to your phone or laptop, and the other end (RCA, 1/4 " or XLR) will connect to the speaker input. Once it's hooked up, simply power on the speaker, adjust the volume, and you're good to go! Keep in mind, prelude, cocktail hour, or dinner music doesn't need to be super loud, so you won't need to rent a huge, super loud speaker. Any 200 watt (or more) speaker should work, depending on the size of the area where you'll need music.
How You Save
When you use your own playlist for prelude, cocktail hour, or dinner (or all 3), you eliminate the need for a DJ/band to play the music for you! Ironically, I'm telling you how to spend less on hiring a DJ. :) We're very open and honest with our clients and we want to give you great advice that is useful, too. Even if it means we may make less at your event. If you use your own playlist for these moments, you'll only need to hire the DJ for the dance portion of your event. So if your event is 5 ours, and 2.5 hours is for ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner, then you'll only need the DJ for 2.5 hours, versus 5 hours!
We hope you find this useful. Feel free to email us and we're always happy to help, even if you're not our customer! :)
- Austin's Best DJs Team
If you're currently planning to have a wedding in the Austin or central Texas area, then you have already realized that the expenses can add up, fast! Chances are, you're using the internet to do your research, and you should certainly start by doing just that. We included the above infographic to show you the average cost of a wedding in Austin, Texas. The cost of your wedding can vary, depending on your needs and your budget. So let's talk more about our specialty, wedding DJ and photo booth services.
As you may have already noticed, the price for wedding entertainment can really vary, depending upon where you're looking. In general, bands are more expensive than DJs. As you have seen, however, some DJs/DJ companies can charge just as much as bands. Our advice is simple, do your research. Check out reputable sites, such as The Knot or Wedding Wire, and even Facebook, for reviews and to see what actual customers are saying about the DJ and their quality of work. The good thing about the wedding sites is that you can easily compare companies, side-by-side; however, that can also be a problem. This is because if you compare these companies, many of them sound like they're pretty much the same. So how do you know who is best for your event? Here's our advice.
1. Determine a Budget - How much are you comfortable spending for entertainment? Will you spend it all on a DJ, or are you wanting a DJ and photo booth? Choose what's best for you and your guests.
2. What's Included - Start comparing what is actually offered with the price you're paying. This is where the true differences are. Some DJs start with a great price, but it only includes a limited amount of hours, like 3 hours. They do this, knowing you'll certainly have to purchase more time. Don't fall for it! Do they include everything you'll need? Some companies will not include a microphone, or even "MC" services. Surprisingly, you'll have to pay more for those things with some companies.
3. Ceremony Music - If you need the DJ for the ceremony, find out if they will provide ceremony services, and how much it will cost. Many companies will charge several hundreds more dollars for this, so find out what's included with the ceremony addition.
4. Custom Playlist - Find out if you're able to choose songs for your wedding. Are you limited to what they offer you, or can you choose other songs? We've seen some companies limit their clients to their library and even seen others charge $1.00 for each song that the couple specifically wants played. That can add up, so definitely ask about a playlist.
5. Lighting - Find out if the DJ company will include dance floor lighting. Surprisingly, many companies don't include dance floor lighting. They'll charge you more to add it. Many venues can be very dark at night, so lighting is usually a must!
6. Other Options - Always ask about other options. Do they offer uplighting? A monogram? Photo booth? Projector? You can often save money by getting all of your options from one vendor, as opposed to hiring several vendors. We recently did an event that hired an outside company for the sound system. For some reason, they were unclear that we already included this with our services, despite us telling them. That company charged thousands more, and honestly, their sound system was terrible in comparison to ours.
Overall, there are numerous things to consider when hiring a DJ for your wedding in Austin, Central Texas, or anywhere! This is a great starting point, but certainly do your research and ask as many questions as you need to, to be sure you're hiring the best company for your needs. Here's a link to a great website that will allow you to find out the average cost of a wedding in your area by simply typing in your zip code! Here's the link to the average cost of wedding in Austin, Texas. Simply copy/paste the code to get detailed info, which is a great starting point to know how much you should be paying. Don't get gouged!
Check out the average prices. If you're having a wedding in a different city/zip code, simply change the zip code. We hope this article has been helpful. As always, feel free to email us with any questions and we'll be happy to help!
- Austin's Best DJs Team
If you're looking to hire a wedding DJ, in Austin, Central Texas, or anywhere, you 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 upfront about their prices. Don't believe me? Stop reading, here, and do a quick search in Google, Bing, or whichever search engine you prefer, and search: "Wedding DJ Austin, DJ for weddings, photobooth, or photography booth," or whatever terms you prefer, and look for pricing. You will be looking for a while, so come back in about an hour, we'll be here. :)
So let's get in the "Mystery Machine," and solve this mystery! First of all, why are DJ and photo booth companies so afraid to be upfront about their pricing? (All of our pricing is on our website, just in case you're wondering). 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.I cannot speak for all companies, but I can certainly give you a range of pricing, based on our research.
First, you can start at the lower end. You can go on Craigslist 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 think you want a new DJ to learn on the job, at your wedding or event. Learning means, possibly making mistakes, so no thanks. There are numerous DJs on there, 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 you voted #1? "Super cheap" ummm... I don't know about you, but I always question the value of anything cheap. 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 dealer, so be prepared.
Lastly, you can also go on wedding professionals sites, such as The Knot, or Wedding Wire, and you'll be able to email several 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 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 $3000 or more, for your event! The key is to find out what's included with your service.
Ask all of these questions for DJs:
Why are they charging the price that they charge? How much experience do they have? How long have they been in business? How much experience does the DJ who will be at your wedding or event have? What type of equipment do they use? Do they have contracts to guarantee they'll be there? Will they help you with planning the ceremony or reception (DJs)? Do they offer day-of coordination, if you don't have a day-of-coordinator? If so, is it free?
Ask all of these questions for photo booths:
What type of equipment do you use? What's included in the price? Are printouts free? Am I limited to a certain amount of printouts? Do you have a contract? Are props free? Will there be a photo booth attendant? Can we get an actually booth or open-air? Will we get all of our pictures from that night? How many pictures will guests get?
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 $3000 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! :)
-Austin's Best DJs Team
p.s. We've written a new, updated version of this, with 2017 pricing and info, read it, here: www.austinbestdjs.com/wedding-tips-dj-blog/category/dj-for-hire
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!