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Jim's Blog

How Much Do You Charge?

July 31, 2014

It is the first question 90% of all couples ask. They are on a tight budget and they want to know what the dreaded entertainment is going to cost them. How much is it going to cost them to keep their guests entertained, laughing and dancing and singing for 4-6 hours?

 

And my answer is simply "Not Enough".

 

Bear with me here for just a few minutes. While I'm sure you can read this elsewhere on my website, I want to address it here once again.

 

I have been in business since 1985. Most likely that's longer than you've been alive. A fair estimate is that in those almost 30 years, I have played in front of more than half a million people. I have experience but more importantly, I have knowledge.

 

I KNOW what I'm worth. My clients KNOW what I'm worth.

 

The key to remember here is I'm not just pulling a number out of a hat when I give you my cost. I am a professional and I have sat down and figured out what it costs me to do business.

 

It's a simple plan really but you have to follow along.

 

First I add up all the costs of my equipment that I bring with me to your party. I add it all up and you pay 5% of its total cost. The reason being, that's what all companies charge to rent a sound system and after 20 parties, I always have to replace at least one thing. So this actually supplies me the income to buy new equipment when it's needed.

 

The equipment I bring with me is as follows, Laptop, mixer, protective cases, speakers, speaker stands, all cables, the software needed to DJ properly (Virtual DJ), the dance floor lights, the microphones, surge protectors and a facade to hide all the equipment. The total that all this costs me is $4600. You pay 5% of that or $230.

 

So that's where the first $230 of your money goes to ... the sound system itself.

 

My actual services are next. Having 30 years of experience with a stellar 5.0 average review from my clients, I charge $100 per hour for my services. I perform an average of five hours so that's $500. I also have pre-services which include meetings with my clients, phone calls with my clients, emails with my clients, consultations, writing the Love Story, the agendas, forwarding the agendas to the other vendors, correspondence with the other vendors ahead of the date to make sure there are no questions as to how the reception will go. There are meetings with the other vendors at times, visits to the reception site ahead of time and plenty more that goes into your day before the day arrives. I charge $15/hour for these services and spend a conservative 20 hours for each wedding (usually much more) So 20 hours at $15/hour is $300. Added to my services for actually DJ'ing that's a total of $800.

 

So the total of my services ($800) plus the sound system rental ($230)  is now already at $1030.

 

Before we actually go further, please note that my services are the only profit that I make as it's the only non-tangible item that you're paying for. That $800 is what I use to pay my bills, my mortgage, my son's school, etc.

 

Are you with me so far?? Just a little further to go.

 

In order to make it to your event on time and without trouble, I have to have a working vehicle. I drive a 2012 Kia Sorento. If I drove a '82 Chevy Astro, there's a real good chance I wouldn't make it to your wedding reception thus ruining your day. So I HAVE to drive something reliable. My car payment for this vehicle is $450/month. I break that down over four weeks (four weeks to a month) so you pay my car payment, gas and maintentance on my vehicle for your day. A conservative figure for that is $150 per party.

 

($1030 from above plus $150 for vehicle is now $1180).

 

To put your mind at ease, I have liability insurance for my business. If a speaker falls on someone and hurts them, I am covered for up to a million dollars. It's a low cost, $200 a year. Broken down over 52 weeks (one party each Saturday), Insurance only costs you $3.85.

 

I have to pay for my music and DJs are required to use music subscription programs. Once or more times a month, I receive CDs and MP3s with not only the new hits, but several old hits as well. I subscribe to Promo Only ($800/year) and BarBangerz ($400/year). I also buy individual songs that my clients need that I may not have. Those run $1.29 from Amazon and iTunes. Some brides want these independent artists songs that are written specifically for special wedding dances and those are normally $10.00 per track. There's no exact figure on how much I spend on music from year to year, but a good estimate is $1200/year. Broken down over 52 weeks, it's $23.07 for music.

 

I also pay Constant Contact to send out emails to each of my brides, my business license, and my marketing costs to advertise with wedj.com, gigmasters.com and weddingwire.com. This all equals roughly $45 per week.

 

Now this DOES NOT INCLUDE the DJ conventions that I must attend in Las Vegas each year to help me stay at the top of my game. That comes out of my own pocket. This doesn't include the $100 DVDs that I buy to teach me new and exciting trends to use at your wedding reception to make it the most memorable reception that your guests have ever attended. This doesn't even include the new tuxedo I buy every year so I look my best at your wedding day.

 

I just gave you a lot of numbers that will help you not only understand why I charge what I charge but what I'm going to charge you when you call me. I hope it makes sense to you and that you have a better understanding of where I'm coming from when I quote you your price.

 

Keep in mind, I'm not getting rich doing this. I do this because I love working with young couples to insure that their dream day turns out just like they wanted it to.

 

Oh ... and I'm darned good at it if I say so myself!

 

 

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