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!
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We've taken our decades of experience and compiled it into a few helpful articles, to help you plan your wedding or event!