I hate it when my mobile rings on a Friday evening. I know the conversation that is coming and it’s never pleasant. “I’m getting married tomorrow and my DJs let me down. Can you help us, Dave?” Last week I had one such call 40 minutes before the ceremony was due to take place. Yup – saddle up, the cowboys strike again.
I won’t take on last minute work but I know a few suppliers who do and when I mention their fees to the worried bride to be the truth comes out. “Oh, I haven’t got a budget for that much. I was only paying my DJ £150.” That’s why your DJ has suddenly gone ill/had a car crash/suffered a family tragedy (delete as appropriate). The truth is that this cowboy has been offered a gig that pays £20 more and has no compunction in dropping their old client like a rock.
Who is to blame for this? Sure the cowboy DJ is a professional hazard for us professionals but they also help with perspective. You’ll have heard the saying ‘pay peanuts and get monkeys’ and this is certainly the case here. My job isn’t just a few hours of music on a Saturday night but all the planning, preparation, administration, rigging, de-rigging etc. Professionals charge more than most because we give more than most. So am I more expensive because I’m on the radio? No! I’m more expensive because of my attention to detail and quality of service.
How much is too much? Here’s a rule of thumb that I use with potential clients. With an evening reception for 100 people the hotel/caterer is likely to charge you around £7.00-£8.00 per head for an evening buffet. Put this same rule of thumb to your entertainment and a cheap DJ is worth £1.50 per head to your guests. Let’s get the balance here – how many receptions have you been to where the bacon sandwich at 9 o’clock is more talked about than the music, atmosphere and entertainment? The entertainment is worth far more than the snack and this must be borne in mind.
Perspective is what’s needed here. If anything is cheap it’s cheap for a reason. If it’s good it’s worth paying for. If it’s brilliant then surely it’s worth even more? After all big days deserve amazing nights.