Why the $200 DJ is a bad idea…

Let me begin by saying that if you have a $200 DJ budget, you’ve really got 2 options.

  1. Don’t hire a DJ (perhaps an equipment hire instead?)
  2. Get more money, so you can afford a decent one

There have been too many people I’ve known who have paid this much for a DJ, only for them to pull out last minute, or turn up without knowing their way around a mixer, or have equipment that looks/sounds like they picked it up from Aldi on the way there.

Why is this happening? I think the main reason is because $200 for an average 5 hour gig really isn’t much. If you include the setup and pack-down, which would be around an hour each side, that ends up being approx. $33 an hour. This isn’t bad for a day of physical labour or night of bartending, but for a DJ who is also expected to provide a high standard of equipment (often worth thousands), who is playing gigs that generally fall at the same time everyone else is out partying or relaxing, it really isn’t great at all. Put into perspective like that, it’s no surprise when the DJ turns out be no good.

Do DJs deserve more than this? I think they absolutely do. Not only is each gig contributing towards paying off their equipment, but you’re paying for a professional skill set too.

Maybe you’re one of the $200 DJ’s reading this, and if you are I urge you to either either up your skill set, upgrade your equipment or be more reliable, hence being able to justify the higher pay bracket.
Or…if you’re competent, versatile, and of a professional standard, charge yourself out fairly. If not, you’ll be undercutting the industry, and making it harder for everyone else to get paid as they deserve.

As is in any case, there are of course some exceptions i.e. Gym classes, publicity gigs (music festivals, high-end nightclub slots, etc), family/friend functions, and so on. Just don’t let “mates rates” cut too much off your fee.

I hope I’ve made it clear why the $200 DJ concept doesn’t work. If you disagree, or have something to add, please leave a comment.

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