This article is for the DJ who wishes to earn some more money as a wedding DJ. It might also be interesting to get some ideas if you are looking to book a wedding DJ
Become a wedding DJ and sell additional services. A wedding DJ will earn a good amount of money and has the ability to upsell his services. Make sure you bill the extra hours you play and offer some good, additional services to get some extra money in.
Become a Wedding DJ
It’s not easy to earn money as a DJ. Unless you’ve created a hit single or you had a tremendous amount of luck, playing in big, fancy and well-payed club isn’t for you.
You can rather stay a bedroom DJ, playing for yourself or friends, or you can move where there is high demand and start making money as a Wedding DJ!
Let’s have a look at the details to get more money as a wedding DJ
Bill Extra Hours and Over-Time
First, you’ll need a contract. The customer is going to pay for your services to play music for a defined number of hours. Don’t make the mistake in not specifying how many hours you will play for the agreed sum.
Clearly, mention in the contract how much you will charge extra for every hour you are doing overtime.
I am not too strict about this. Exceeding 10 to 15 minutes, so we can end the Wedding in style and not charge extra for it, I just consider good service.
But if I see it is getting 4 a.m. where I was supposed to stop, but we’re nowhere near the end of the party, I’ll talk with the customer, asking if I should continue at the additional rates as agreed in the contract. They will almost always do, which brings in some extra money.
Buy your Own Gear
It’s ok to rent a full sound system and lights and maybe even your DJ booth if you are just starting out, but it’s wise for a wedding DJ to buy your gear as soon as possible.
If you have to rent speakers, lights, amplifiers and DJ gear each time you are playing a wedding, you will lose a big cut to the company who’s putting the gear. The sooner you have your own stuff, the sooner you can stop sharing the earnings.
You don’t have to make a huge investment all in once. Even second-hand gear can be good to start with. Don’t make the mistake in buying the most expensive gear from the beginning. You can build it up over time.
JBSystems make decent stuff to start with. It’s not Pioneer and it won’t last for yours, but it is for sure a lot cheaper and it gets the job done.
Don’t forget you’ll need transportation big enough to put all the gear in.
Don’t let anyone else play music on your gear
Sometimes people will ask you if their brother or friend can take over at some point. Mostly late in the night after you have finished your agreed contractual hours. This ensures them you won’t charge any overtime but the party can continue.
It’s like going to the bakery and ask the baker if you can make your bread while you are there, using his equipment. It’s the same mindset.
Also, if you need to take the gear down after the party, you are stuck there anyway until the party is over.
If it is not your DJ gear, it will be difficult to ignore this. However, if you play on your own gear, do not agree on it.
Simply tell them you are not allowing people you don’t know to touch your gear as it is expensive. You are not lying. If they want more music, they will have to pay you the extra hours.
Have an Additional Sound System to put in the Garden
Dance parties that are happening in the evening and will be inside (depending on where you are and how the weather is). But in most cases, the party will start outside in the garden.
Only towards the evening people will go inside for dinner and dancing afterward. If the DJ has set up his gear inside, there isn’t going to be music inside.
I’m bringing 2 complete sound systems. I set one up inside to have the party going until late in the night, and I have an additional one to put in the garden, to handle the first part of the party.
The one for outside isn’t that powerful, so you won’t need that much. Two active speakers, some extra cables and a decent DJ controller are fine. I just use the same laptop for inside as well as outside.
Even the controller you could re-use, but I don’t like doing this as switching locations might have to go fast. You also don’t need any party lights, the sun will do the work for you.
Taking it down: It is extra work because you have to set up twice and drag extra gear around. Also, you will have to take the system, installed in the garden, down when people are inside. You don’t want to leave it outside on its own until the end of the party, ready to become wet, abused by drunk guests or even stolen. I usually take it down and load it back in the truck when the guests are eating and a playlist with dinner music is playing.
So if you can afford the extra investment and you have some additional space in your car, it’s a very nice way to earn some extra money. I charge $200 extra for this and it sells like hot cake.
Have a Partnership with Other Wedding Businesses
This should be a no-brainer. Reach out to other businesses in your area which is active in the Wedding sector and ask if you can work together.
You can recommend each other services so you will have more work. You can also agree on a percentage of 10 or 15% fee if you can bring work in. Of course, you will offer the same to the other person in case they can book you.
There are some options out there: wedding photographers, florists, close-up magicians… Introduce yourself as a wedding DJ and ask if you can work together to get more customers and more turn over.
If you are talking to customers, drop the name of your partners and ask if they need any other services. If so, recommend your partners.
You do want to check their work upfront. You only want to recommend companies and people you believe in. If they deliver bad service, the customer will look at you.
Start A DJ Agency
Only a small mention on this starting a wedding DJ agency here, because it is a huge topic. If you have a successful business and way too many bookings for yourself, you could consider starting an agency where you manage a team of wedding DJs.
Be careful with this, because it’s a big responsibility, a lot of headaches and it can go bad in many ways. But it can be a good business.
I will write an article about this in the future and update this place with the link.
Have a Solid Contract
The following things should be in your contract to get more money out of it if needed.
We already discussed over-time which is a big one, but there is more.
Walking distance to unload/load the car: Put in your contract the maximum distance where you can park your car from the place you have to set up the gear. Trust me, you don’t want to walk a few hundred feet over and over to unload (and load) the gear from the car. If there is no way to park close by, make sure you are compensated for it.
The same story with stairs. If I am not on the first floor and there is no elevator I can use, I’m charging $75 extra. Yes, it’s a lot more work, but at least I’m getting money for it.
Highly in demand nowadays is a Social Wall. Buy a white screen, projector and old laptop and connect them at the venue. Guests can take pictures and share them immediately on Instagram (or any social media you want) and view it on the big screen. It’s a lot of fun.
You can offer this as an extra service and easily ask $150 for this.