DJ / MC Jeffrey Evan Mufson; Photo by Tungsten Photography

Why Is It So Darn Hard To Get A Simple Straight Answer Rate Quote From A Wedding DJ?

Professional Disc Jockeys from across the nation chime in about the rampant Sticker-Shock that not only still prevails today,
but worsens as the Economy follows suit, making the task of educating the consumer more and more problematic.

DJ Billy James of Phoenix, AZ says,

"What Do You Charge?" That's the first question many brides ask when hiring a DJ for their wedding reception... The question they should be asking is: What Am I Getting For My Money? If you're just looking for a disc jockey or deejay to show up for a few hours with a box of CD's or an iPod and some speakers, then you should probably shop around for the least expensive DJ you can find because, honestly, it doesn't take much talent or experience to plug in some speakers and press play. But professional wedding disc jockeys do so much more than that. A common mistake brides make is to treat the DJ as a product and not a service. It is most important to realize that your wedding DJ is a service provider and, as with any service, what you get is only as good as the person who provides it."


Thunder & Lightning Sound & Lighting Mobile DJ Service of Des Moines, IA says,

"Shopping for event entertainment? You may have noticed that most DJs don't have a very customer focused approach when it comes to their pricing. If you're shopping on the internet, you're usually lucky to find any pricing information at all, much less an accurate quote for your particular event. And, if you do manage to get a quote, you'll probably find that it falls into one of two categories: 1) a nightly, unlimited time rate or, 2) a rate for large blocks of time. While this works great for the DJ companies, the problem for you is, that in either case, you'll almost always be paying for service you don't want or need. Furthermore, most DJs don't offer much in terms of customization of their services to your particular needs."


Got Music Entertainment of Houston, TX says,

"Most DJ companies avoid putting pricing on their websites... Why? Most of the time, the customer sees a price but does not understand what exactly that price includes. Some DJ's charge upwards of $2200 for a wedding package and hype their service up to sell you on that enormous rate."


Eric Godfrey of Starz Entertainment, Tempe, AZ says,

"How much for four hours for a DJ?"

"This question evokes negative reactions (from DJs) because it feels insulting that nothing matters except price! But is this truly the situation? That person (asking the question) does not understand the DJ's services, their livelihood or business. They do not know what questions are proper to ask. It is the DJ's obligation to help them and educate them. We need to make them understand what is important. First and foremost, contrary to many popular magazines, the DJ is not JUST the music.

The first step in the (prospect) education process is that DJs shouldn't just throw out a price and start into a standard list of reasons why they should be hired... Would they care? ...They'd end up with a list of names and prices... without any opportunity to discuss (learn the DJ's benefits) in the proper context."


DJ/MC Jeffrey Evan Mufson of Tampa, FL says,

"OK... After researching the entire internet, no one seems to think it's a good idea to publish an answer to this question. Therefore, in the spirit of the idiocy that I must be portraying for doing so, here's the answer as I perceive it based upon over 20 years of experience:

FIRST OF ALL: I am (well... have been) completely GUILTY of engaging in this tact of withholding a price until a relationship has been built between seller and prospect (Yes... A la the slimy used-car salesman with that tacky plaid jacket).

But, there's a reason for this that I hope you appreciate:

Too many misguided people are searching the web looking for the least expensive DJ the same way one would look for insurance rates or air fares... PEOPLE! STOP IT! IT DON'T WORK THAT WAY!

Because you don't know of what you would be getting, how can you ask for a price?
Do you call car lots and ask them "How much do you charge for your cars"?
Of course you don't.

Sure... All of us DJs may all look, sound and smell the same... For the most part we are all professional, use professional equipment, have tons of music and provide excellent service... except for one glaring important difference between us all:
Our personalities; Our STYLE; HOW we like to entertain you. And it's not diversity in the entertainer in general, but how their style pertains to YOU in concert with the personality that YOU are.

That's what makes shopping for a DJ/MC/Entertainer DIFFERENT from hunting for a lawyer, plumber or insurance rate.

You don't know me... You've never heard my voice... You don't know my attitude or individualism.
Why accept a price without knowing what (or WHO) it's for?

Sure, you might be turned away by a price quote that may be out of your budget...But, alternately worse, you may end up BUYING from me without the proper information. THAT would be a crime. I could never sell you (or buy) anything sight-unseen (or heard)...without enough data. AND (believe it or not) I would never wish to over-charge you either.

It would be unfair to BOTH of us if we concluded on a price without a thorough conversation first.

Tell you what... If you must know right away, I'll enlighten you right here and now:

"THE BALLPARK"
WEDDING / MITZVAH: $1200 HOLIDAY: $800 SWEET 16 / CORPORATE: $700 ANYTHING ELSE: $300-$600

You still with me?

Yet, there are so many variables that go into an accurate wedding quote: Time of week, day or year (season); will you want more than what's conventional (and THAT is not even well-defined); more time, lighting/FX, personnel, equipment...and, yes... DEMAND. All of these factors could raise OR lower this price point.

But, this I know you already realize."

According to the American Disc-Jockey Association...

Disc Jockey rates vary based on talent, experience, emcee ability, service, coordination, equipment needed, music knowledge, mixing ability and personality.

Rates for the DJ industry vary greatly, ranging from $350.00 to over $5,000.00 with an average of $1,200.00 for a 4 hour booking. The best price is not always the best deal, especially if you are planning a wedding. As a matter of fact, surveys conclude that nearly 100% of brides would have spent more money on their entertainment and made it their #1 priority in hindsight.

A full-service disc jockey company will normally invest 12 to 30 hours to your special event but it may appear that you are only paying for "4 hours". Consultations, music purchasing & editing, preparation, set-up and tear-down, education and other business related endeavors add up to the overall success of your special occasion.

TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION IN A NUTSHELL:

Why Is It So Darn Hard To Get A Simple Straight Answer Rate Quote From A Wedding DJ?
Here's a short list of the most popular responses I've received from talking to fellow DJ / Entertainers thru out my years:

  • Because no one should walk away with the price of something before they have any idea of what they would be getting

  • Because needs have not been established yet

  • Because one has to have a chance to educate the buyer first

  • Because one doesn't want to scare folks off with what may be at first be perceived as a high price

  • Because it is necessary to build a relationship with the shopper before "springing the price"

  • Because a fisherman has to make sure that the fish has got his hook before he yanks up his rod

  • Because some of us are actually not price-focused.

  • Because we've seen too many brides get burned by amateurs

  • Because Because Because Because Because... Because of the wonderful things he does

  • Because maybe we're all just a bunch of egotistical jerks

  • Take your pick of any of the above.


Doust We Defendith This Price?

Oh my gosh... You're still here reading? I'm flattered, impressed and yet... confused.

OK.

So much can go into a wedding or mitzvah celebration that it usually boggles the mind of the uninitiated. As a full-time Entertainment professional, this is ALL that I do.

You've heard the saying before: "DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!" Well, it's true... No matter how easy you think it may be... To "push a button"... "Oh God, a MONKEY can do it!"... to "download an mp3 and play it in an iPod as entertainment for your wedding reception"... I've heard too many horror stories from brides who admitted to the mistake of trying to do it themselves or hire someone (usually a friend of the family) for only $200, who either never showed up on the one day that meant more than anything in the world, or screwed it up worse than it could have been without any music or entertainment at all.

Let's not forget to mention that public speaking is STILL an American's number one fear.

We (full-time professionals) charge a professional customary price for a professional service. If one cannot afford a professional, then what can one do? We can't all be Donald Trumps (err... BEFORE he became President). But, if we wish to gamble our hard-earned money on a well-defined risk on what is supposed to be the most important day of our life, then that's fine... As long as that's what we desire, and as long as we go educated with the true knowledge of the possible scenarios that may occur.

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