How Much Does It Cost To Hire A DJ – A 3 Part Break Down

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A DJ – A 3 Part Break Down

When it comes to determining average pricing for DJ Services, I feel like finding the “right” answer to this question is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack. Considering that many service providers don’t list their prices on their websites, and that Gig Salad

, Thumbtack, and Wedding Wire, etc. will really only show you average price ranges, it can be difficult to determine if having a DJ for your next event is going to even fit into your budget. Frustrating. I know.

So in this article, I’m going to try to give you a better understanding of how much it costs to hire a DJ. We will look at how the pricing spectrum differs between different professionals, how Event Type makes a difference in pricing, and how Event Timing, Location, and Equipment Needs all factor into determining price when booking a DJ for your next event.

1. Different Professionals Will Command Different Prices. This is a really important concept to understand. Much like any market, there will be products and services of the same type that have a lower price point and products and services of the same general type that will have a higher price point. It’s the difference between a Kia, a Toyota, and a Mercedes. All are Cars. Each represent different price points in their shared market. Such is true with Djs.

Let’s imagine that you really want Calvin Harris to do a DJ Set at your birthday party. I’m sure you can imagine that his price is going to be significantly different than having local Radio DJ, Jaime Ferreira dj your party, and it will likely be different still if you choose to hire DJ Mark from Breezin Entertainment to play your birthday. Maybe even different still if you get DJ (insert random dj name here) from craiglist to be your DJ. Each of these entertainers would be providing DJ services for the same 4 hour event, but like the Kia, Toyota and Mercedes, they’ll all have different price points for the same service.

I was pricing out brand photographers for a photo shoot here recently. And much like Djs, I found one professional who was priced at $2500 for a 4 hour sessions with 10 edited prints and another that was $400 for a 4 hour sessions with all of your edited prints. As with anything, more in price doesn’t necessarily mean better. The $2500 photographer might have a bigger name or run a more expensive business, but maybe they shoot me equally as effectively as the $400 photographer. Or they may be higher in price due to experience and demand. Either way, prices will vary among professionals.

To give you just one final idea on this topic – when I first got into the professional circuit, I charged $300 for my first wedding. $300! For Ceremony, Cocktail, and Reception! That same service today, 5 years and several thousand dollars of investments in my business later, starts around $1000.

Just a few notable differences too:

    • In 2013, I was new into the professional circuit and had no experience with weddings
    • In 2018, I’ve been Djing full time for 5 years, and have done around 40 weddings and have thousands of performance hours under my belt.
    • In 2013, I played on lower end equipment and didn’t carry insurance.
    • In 2018, I play on high end, industry standard equipment. Today I walk in the door with a $10,000 setup and with $2mil in liability coverage.
    • In 2013, I didn’t know how to blend or mix music. I played one song and then played the next.
    • In 2018, I’m highly skilled at both mixing and blending music across multiple decades and genres.
    • In 2013, I had limited experience hosting and speaking on a microphone.
    • in 2018, I’ve had experience speaking in front of thousands, have been booked to emcee shows for high end brands like Nordstrom and Salesforce, and also have a weekly talk radio show on 99.1fm. (Check out some of the replays HERE)

As you’ll see, as my experience, personal investment, demand, and the cost of running my business has changed, so has my own pricing. So, as with any service, when booking a DJ for your next event, first consider your budget, and then research to find your best-fit vendors at that price point. (If you’re not sure about where to research, check out my Hire Your Next DJ Like a Pro Guide HERE)

2. Event Type Can and WILL Influence Pricing. I’m brought back to my recent experience with the photographers. Many Photographers do post their rates on their websites, and while rates vary widely, there’s always one thing in common across all brands. Different types of shoots have different pricing. For example, a head shot session is going to be a much lower investment than an 8 hour wedding shoot. The reason for this is because there’s a higher investment of time and labor for the photographer when shooting a wedding vs. shooting some head shots. Again, the same is absolutely true with Djs.

Simply put, a wedding is one of the most involved and time-intensive things that you can hire me to do. It’s also highly sensitive, with only one chance to do it, and several marks to hit and get right. (No one will be happy if you play the wrong song for the first dance) I’ve got to plan out and coordinate the entire entertainment flow of your special day. That’s a lot more work and a lot more stress than showing up and playing for 4 hours at a birthday party or night club.

It’s similar for Promotional / Corporate events where I’m required to host the event and play music. I’m happy to do both, but there’s a lot more work involved in that scenario than there is in just standing in a store-front playing songs for 4 hours. And aptly so, the pricing is different.

To give an example:

  • For a night club, I average around $250 for 4 hours. (about $50+ an hour)
  • For a private event (birthday party, anniversary party, corporate event) I average around $500 for 4 hours ( $125 an hour)
  • For Wedding, I start at $800 for 4 hours (around $200 an hour)

Keep in mind that these are averages. Each event is a little different and will have different needs and requirements which will also impact pricing. (As we’ll discuss more below) Your takeaway here is that you should be expecting to pay different prices for different types of events. Also worth noting: Night Clubs get different prices because those gigs are recurring, among many other factors. With private private events (birthday parties, anniversary parties, holiday parties, etc) you should expect pricing to range from upwards of $100 – $200 / hour between local professionals.

3. Event Timing, Location, and Equipment Needs Will Also Impact Pricing. Before quoting an event to my clients, I always ask about date/time, location, and expected number of guests in order to get a better understanding of what the investment will need to be on my end. For example, a Saturday afternoon gig that’s in Orlando with 500 guests will be priced differently than a Sunday afternoon gig that’s local with 75 attendees.

Let’s Look at Why:

  • Saturdays are a high demand day. Depending on the timeframe, an afternoon gig in Orlando (about 100 miles away) is going to make it so I cannot book a PM gig that night.
  • 100 miles of drive time to orlando (200 miles round trip) costs me additional time, wear and tear to my vehicle, gas, and as mentioned above, also makes me unavailable for certain bookings on my schedule due to time and travel.
  • The equipment needed for adequate sound coverage for 500 is significantly different than what’s needed for 75, especially if the venue is open or out doors. Additional equipment will often mean additional cost for me as well as additional labor in setup.
  • Sundays are a lower demand day, so I’m in more of a position to cut a deal.
  • I don’t charge for travel / labor for local gigs unless the labor is excessive (I did an event on the 4th floor with no elevator. That was definitely excessive labor to load in and out)
  • I can service 75 people easily with the sound I already own and have access to. There should be no additional charges for me.

It really comes down to the amount that it’s going to cost me in time, travel, and expense that makes the difference here. Higher demand days and times (Friday / Saturday) will always have a higher ticket price than lower demand days (Sunday – Thursday) Investment of travel will incur additional charges. If I’ve got to fly, drive, or stay over night because of timing in order to play your show, your charges will reflect accordingly, and finally, if I’ve got to bring in additional equipment in order to play your event, there will be charges to compensate for cost and labor.

For me personally, a standard setup looks like this:

  • 2 Speakers (2000 Watts of Sound) – Good for events with 100-200 guests
  • Turntables, Mixer, Microphone
  • 6 foot Table and Linen
  • Cables and Extension Cords (Supports Placing sound up to 50 feet from the DJ booth setup)
  • 1 Chauvet 4 Bar Lighting Setup (basic lighting)

Additional Charges Would Be Added For The Following:

  • Power Generator / Battery Pack for Location with No Power (Beach Weddings,Remote Destinations)
  • Additional Sound Coverage (More than 2 Speakers Tops / Sub Woofers) – Needed for Larger Outdoor Events and Events with 200+ guests
  • Additional Speaker Setup – Adding extra speakers in additional locations. (Weddings with 2 setups, Corporate Events, Promo Events)
  • Additional Lighting – Dance Floor Lighting / Up Lighting (Often used at weddings, corporate events, promotional events, and high end birthday parties)
  • Additional Microphones – Needed for multiple people to talk at the same time.
  • Custom Monograms (Often used for weddings, high end birthday parties, and corporate events)
  • Travel (Outside of my normal 50 mile service area)
  • Hotel / Lodging Cost (for travel which will also require over night stay)

If your event will need any of these add ons, in most cases, you can expect an additional charge.

With so many factors impacting pricing for services, and with event entertainment being an industry where you’ll naturally find a difference of price between different professionals, it’s easy to see why so many people would be confused about the pricing of hiring a DJ. Hopefully this article gave you a bit of insight into some of the things to expect when checking into pricing for hiring a DJ for your next event.

Hey! Before you go! If you know you need to hire a DJ for your next event but not really sure what else you’ll need, make sure you check out this post to help you get clear! Click Here to read more!

Also, make sure you stay updated with these and other helpful blog posts by becoming a Shannon C Insider.
Click Here to make it happen!

Happy Eventing!