James Donnan

(07867) 508804

james@jamesdonnanmusic.co.uk

 

 

How much? 

 
"How much do you charge?"  It's usually the first question I'm asked - probably because I’m often told by customers that they didn’t have a clue how much they would have to pay for a DJ. You might get quotations ranging from £100 to £1000+! - so how much should a DJ cost, and how do you choose one?  
 
Well, firstly, there is more demand for DJs on some nights of the week than others, and on certain nights of the year. The venue may be easy or difficult to get into, and the required hours (both on the day and beforehand) can vary dramatically, too.
 
But some people will quote more than others for the same job. Starting at the bottom end, you've got Sixty Quid Sid (although he's more likely to be Hundred Quid Harry these days, due to inflation!). Generally, I would be very cautious about booking a Sid, or a Harry. Why are they willing to spend their evening working for considerably less than the average? They’re obviously not getting much repeat business, or work from recommendations. Do they have the skills to choose the right music / say the right things / have enough equipment, of the right quality? Will they dress appropriately? Do they understand the feel of an occasion and have the ability to help to move it along in the right direction? Do they carry spares of as much equipment as possible in case of emergency?

 

I would also be nervous if your prospective DJ says that they are only cheap because they are just starting out. We all had to start somewhere, but I think most DJs learn something every time they play – I certainly do! – and so I think experience gained over years of regular work has got to improve a DJ's performance at your occasion.

 

The cost of a DJ is a pretty small part of the overall outlay for most functions, and yet they have a pivotal role in the success of the evening. A professional DJ will have public liability insurance, their equipment will be portable appliance (PAT) tested, they may be DBS (formerly CRB) checked for their suitability to work around young people, and may have other licences appropriate to the venue, the occasion and/or their equipment. Many venues nowadays will insist on everything being in order here, and will demand to see certificates as proof before your DJ is allowed to start setting up.  If he or she is sent packing, it’s going to be a much quieter evening...!

 

It’s a natural assumption that you get what you pay for, and it's true up to a point - but I'd also argue that the most expensive options aren't necessarily the best ones for everyone.

 

For example, there is a big difference in the amount of equipment required for different-sized venues. If your occasion is in an average-sized function room and your DJ is entertaining up to a hundred of your friends and family, that generally requires a different set-up of sound and lighting equipment than a huge hall that holds several hundred. But the DJ with more equipment has to pay for it, and probably pay for a large van to carry it around as well; this will be reflected in their quote, even if three-quarters of their kit sits outside in the van during your party.

 

DJs who charge the highest rates may believe that they're worth it, but I reckon that some quote for their services based on what they think a customer might be prepared to pay. They only get away with it because (a) people may not know the going rate locally, and (b) for a big occasion, there is a tendency for customers to think “I’m only doing this once” and turn a blind eye to the cost. 

 

For 2018, my charges start at £180, but depend on the type of occasion, the approximate hours, the travelling and loading-in time, and the amount of preparation work involved. As every occasion is different, please contact me and tell me what you're looking for, and I'll give you a fixed price before you agree to anything. I don't claim to be among the very cheapest, but I want to offer great value for money.

 

How should you choose someone?  Well, recommendations are always useful - you can see some of mine on my Twitter feed and my Testimonials page.  After that, talk to your prospective DJ about your forthcoming occasion: who's going to be there; what would you all enjoy?  Listen to their responses and you should get a good idea of whether they can deliver for you - personally, I'm very honest about my strengths, and I've no hesitation in letting people know if I think someone else could do a better job for them.

 

If I can offer you any further information or advice, with no obligation… please get in touch.