I often field questions along the line of “Dave, what — exactly — do you include in your base wedding DJ/MC pricing?” I also find that there is a general mis-trust in the mobile DJ world that, whenever a “high priced” DJ might share what he or she charges for a wedding, it is often met with a fairly high degree of skepticism.
Without much for context or details, most DJs are simply left to wonder if the DJ actually books work regularly at that price. (Actually booking weddings is much different than simply quoting on weddings). Other thoughts that often follow are things such as:
If they can actually book a few weddings, how often are they actually out working events…really?
Or, maybe they are only working a few weddings per year, because they have another source of income to prop up their DJ business and actually pay the mortgage.
There is nothing wrong with any of these questions, nor is there anything wrong with almost every possible answer to them.
For my part, as a follow up to my first For The Record blog post, here are my answers to the above common questions.
Telling you about the frequency of my work is a short and easy answer. I am hired for between 20 and 25 weddings per year. (Remember from my earlier For The Record, I don’t live in a large metro area.) After adding in a small handful of corporate work during the holiday season, fundraisers throughout the year and something we Manitobans call “pre-wedding socials,” my average annual event count is usually around 40 events. My goal is to bring this total down to between 30 and 35 events per year, without compromising overall gross revenue (six figures for three years now).
As for what people get when hiring me for their wedding, following the initial inquiry and sales consultation, this is an outline of what comes with my base wedding fee of $4000 + travel + tax.
- Audio equipment: two speakers (or more, if required), pair of wireless microphones, and DJ controller/mixer.
- Lighting equipment: one pair of moving heads on totems and 8 – 10 par uplights for dance floor ambiance (only turned on for the dance, not earlier in the night for decor purposes).
- Video equipment: one projector and screen (if venue has none) with standalone computer for playing slide show (no discount provided if this is not used/required).
- Planning and personalization: planning sessions and idea generation completed through a variety of in-person/email/video chat communication, timeline creation, pre-wedding communication with all vendors, parents and all people sharing toasts and speeches, audio edit or special activity creation, access to planning forms and music request system through DJ Event Planner.
- Wedding day: morning setup of equipment, full MC and DJ performance, coordination as required for my MC role, tear down of equipment (typically between 1:00 AM and 3:00 AM).
- Miscellaneous: bring my own 4’ table for DJ booth setup (no facade, just a white or black Scrim King fitted table cover) and no employees (just me, the guy that does everything!).
(Obviously, all of this is subject to change, pending specific wedding requirements, but this represents how the majority of my work is completed.)
In addition to a wedding ceremony add-on (additional fee of $600, separate equipment, extra planning time, production, etc.) I have three other add-on production items. Those items are Dancing on a Cloud ($275), Custom Monogram Projection ($150 – $450) and Decor Uplighting ($750, limited to the 20 basic fixtures I currently have). These options are only mentioned in passing at the sales consultation because my goal is to have them book my basic services, with the add-on items to come up later. Admittedly, I don’t do a great job of selling my production add-ons, but typically, I will bring them up during our first planning session.
With the exception of some rare circumstances, my production items are never included for free, just to try and make a sale.
That’s it. That is what people get when they book Dave Ternier for their wedding.
I hope this helps to better understand the context from which I share here on aDJthought.com and elsewhere online (such as my new series of memes on Facebook or my DJNTV show with Jeremy Brech, Wedding Chat).
Secondly (if this matters to you), I hope this adequately illustrates that I am indeed, an active and working, full time, mobile DJ. Should the frequency of my work begin to dramatically rise or fall, I’ll be sure to update this post accordingly.
Now…go and have a kick-ass day! Read a little more, watch a little more, learn a little more and keep hustling toward your own version of success.
You define success according to you and answer to no one but yourself. I am only one of your many cheerleaders, along for the ride.
That’s me, For The Record, part II. (If you missed it from earlier in the year, check out part one of For The Record.)
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