James Donnan

(07867) 508804

james@jamesdonnanmusic.co.uk

 

 

How much?!

 

I’ve often been told by customers that they didn’t have a clue how much they would have to pay for a DJ to play at their occasion, and if you look around the internet, prices do seem to vary dramatically. In fairness, many things can affect the price that you'll be quoted - but clearly, some people quote more than others for the same job. So I thought it might be useful for me to write something explaining the difference...

 

Starting at the bottom end of the scale, you'll find Sid. Sid’s full name is Sixty Quid Sid, his original price range, although he's more likely to ask for £100-£150 for an average evening function these days, due to inflation! To be honest, I would be very reluctant to recommend anyone books a Sid, no matter how tight their budget. Why is Sid 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? Will they even turn up?? And in many venues, if they can’t show proof of their public liability insurance and their equipment’s portable appliance (PAT) testing, they’ll be sent away anyway.

 

The next group are the rank-and-file DJs who set their pricing based on what they think everyone else in their area is charging. They’re a step up from Sid, but price is their only selling point against their competition, so they are obviously not offering a stand-out package. Perhaps their equipment is not the best. Or they themselves are unreliable, or not the nicest people to deal with. Or maybe 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 experience gained over years of regular work has got to improve a DJ's performance at your occasion.

 

Finally, the professionals will be experienced, capable of managing a dancefloor with many different genres of music to suit their audience. They will have excellent sound and lighting equipment. And they will be easy for you to deal with and for your venue to work with, both beforehand and on the night. They charge more than the rank-and-file DJs because they are in demand due to recommendations / testimonials, and are not being chosen solely on price. 

 

At most functions, the cost of a DJ is a pretty small part of the overall outlay. According to a July 2018 article in the Independent newspaper, the average cost of a UK wedding is now over £30,000. The majority of professional DJs charge a tiny percentage of that, and yet they have a pivotal role in the success of the evening.

 

So, you get what you pay for? Usually but not always, in my opinion, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, different DJs cater for different markets, and some may have much more equipment than is required for an average function room. They have to pay for it, and probably for a van to cart it all around as well; this will be reflected in their quote, even if three-quarters of their equipment sits outside in the van during your occasion. I also reckon that some DJs who quote the highest rates for their services (I know of some charging over £1000 per night!) do so based on what they think customers might be prepared to pay. They only get away with doing so because 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.

 

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I consider myself to be a professional, but I want to offer great value for money. My charges for 2019 depend on the approximate hours required for preparation beforehand, travelling, loading in and setting up, and playing at the occasion itself. As every occasion is different, please contact me and tell me about what you’re planning, and I'll give you a fixed quotation before you agree to anything. You have my word that for any given scenario, you'll pay the same as anyone else.

 

Thankfully, many of my previous customers have been kind enough to recommend me to potential future customers (see my Testimonials page). But I'm very honest about my strengths and I've no problem with telling people to look elsewhere if I think someone else could do a better job for them. 

 

If you’d like any further advice with no obligation at all, please get in touch and I’ll do my best to help.

 

 

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