Does size really matter?

As a wedding vendor, I often run into the perception that the size (guest count) of a wedding should matter, or make a difference, in the base rate a DJ would charge for a wedding.

While it’s definitely the case that pricing can and should reasonably go up with significantly larger crowd sizes, the fact of the matter is that size on the lower end of the scale really doesn’t matter, and isn’t really a factor in pricing at all.

To understand why, we need to look at different types of vendors and services that are usually used for weddings, we need to understand what makes them fundamentally different.

There are things that go into your wedding whose final price does depends almost entirely on how many guests you have, and hence “how much stuff” you need to rent or purchase.

Obvious examples of this are the total cost for meal service, costs for flowers, chair cover and linen rentals, etc.  All of these are things that are based on a quantity of hard goods rented or purchased, or are consumable/disposable items that cost to produce, and that are gone once they are delivered or provided.  These types of items that vary based on the “size” of your wedding are not at all analogous to DJ services, because we aren’t renting you “things,” and you aren’t purchasing single-serving-sized portion-packs of good times and fun.

What ARE we providing then, and what ARE you getting?  Most accurately and succinctly, you’re hiring a talent-based creative and consultative service that culminates in a talent-based (hopefully, right?!) performance.  Someone who consults with you to design and create a wedding day timeline and a flow that has several specific goals (“FUN” being among them) in mind.  The time, talents, and experience required to do this, as well as executing the plan the day-of, do not vary based on the number of people who will be there having said fun.

Let’s look at it this way…  Would your hairstylist or makeup artist charge differently if there are going to be 50 people looking at their work on your wedding day, versus 500? Chances are they won’t.  And they shouldn’t!  Why?  Because you want to look just as fabulous for a small crowd of 40 friends and family as you would for a larger crowd of 200!

It’s all about the results, and we should be thinking of our DJ along these same lines.

As always, take the time to compare apples-to-apples in considering your services.  Sure, some services will likely offer discounts or lower pricing for smaller-sized weddings, but these providers aren’t focused on giving you the time and attention your wedding day deserves, and are instead offering a bare-bones minimum of in just about every aspect of their service (“just music and some announcements”).  Anyone offering more, and bringing more to the table to ensure the overall success of your wedding day for you and your guests, is going to have a minimum service rate that doesn’t drop once your guest count dips below a certain number.

Do you really want to sacrifice quality of service and the experience you want all your guests to have simply because there are fewer of them?   That’s not a choice or reasonable compromise at all, really, but that’s what you’re going to end up with if you hire a service that drastically lowers their rate because you have “a smaller crowd.”

Of course, there are different sound and lighting options, etc. that will change based on guest count, how big your room or space is, what you would like for your event, etc., but we’re not talking about those types of “extras” here.  Those things, understandably, make rates go up.

We’re talking about “FUN,” and until they find a way to vacuum seal that in handy, individual plastic pouches that we can hand out as favors at your wedding, we shouldn’t expect our professional DJ to charge any differently for 50 people than they do for 150.  Because regardless of how many people you’re sharing your day with, every one of them should have the same great, uncompromising experience!

Sacramento Wedding & DJ Costs

Sometimes it can be hard to know how much to budget for different aspects of your wedding, let alone for the entire wedding itself.  Chances are you’ve already had to adjust some of your initial expectations and ideas when it comes to budgeting for certain things, and if you haven’t had to already, trust us – you will before you’re done!

However you came up with it, you probably had a number or range you wanted to stick to when you started your planning.  Sometimes though, it’s hard to know if these budgets are realistic as a whole, or when it comes to certain vendors, or services.

It’s important when considering each and every aspect of your wedding to make sure that your financial expectations for vendors and services are realistic for the area you are in.

If you have a budget set for a certain category, service, or vendor that is not realistic, you may find yourself unknowingly searching for and/or ending up with services or vendors that are sub-par, and your event, including the overall experiences of you and your guests may end up suffering because of it.  These vendors may be newer and less-experienced, or they may be cutting corners in the way they run their business, or in the type and quality of services they offer.  We know it’s important to you that you find vendors that are not just hobbyists, and who are professionals in the way they conduct themselves, the way they run their business, and most importantly, in the way they service their clients.

So what’s the kicker in all this?  You guessed it…  Professional vendors charge professional rates for their services!  It does seem obvious, and you might even be thinking “no, REALLY?!”   But let’s be honest with ourselves.  As obvious as it seems, it isn’t always something we really want to remember when we’re the ones footing the bill, is it?  That we’re going to pay a little more for higher-quality, professional service providers can be a harder pill to swallow if we’re stuck in the mindset of “the lowest price” is the “best deal.”  We know this isn’t really the case when it comes to most things in life, and wedding vendors are no different!

So what do you do now?  Well, it’s time to see if your preliminary budget, or the one you’ve been operating on so far, is realistic for our area.  Think of it as a Wedding Budget Reality Check!

Here is a great site showing average wedding costs across the country.

http://www.costofwedding.com/index.cfm/action/search.weddingcost?zipcode=95661

It’s important to note that these figures are based on actual couple spending in each area, and not just on vendor or venue prices.

So what does it say when it comes to spending trends for Sacramento wedding DJ’s?

When we run it for Placer county, where we are based, we find the following breakdown:

Entertainment

Average Cost Spending for Well-experienced Professionals
DJ $621 – $1,035 $1,242 – $1,656+

We can see that pricing for well-experienced DJs and entertainment professionals doesn’t have to break the bank, and when we keep in mind that this is an investment in the success of your wedding, these figures seem very reasonable indeed!

It’s important to remember the real role a true entertainment professional plays both before and during your wedding.  They wear many hats and make many investments in time, money, effort, training, and planning before your wedding so that what you see and get during your wedding is exactly what you wanted – and so much more.

It’s because you want to ensure the success of your wedding celebration for yourself, your family, and your friends, that you want to be sure your budget expectations are realistic.  This is true not only for your wedding entertainment, but for every aspect of your wedding day.

If you haven’t already, check out our Packages page to see our all-inclusive ceremony & reception offerings.  We’re sure you’ll agree that we’re a great value all around!

That Wedding DJ Last Night…

Wow, just WOW!  If you’re looking for a DJ for your wedding, PLEASE, please PLEASE watch this video!

So you see, Brian’s family member *thought* he was getting a really “great deal” on the DJ, but instead, got a big disappointment!  Brian ends the video with a subtle, yet powerful reminder that we’d like to pass along as well – that VALUE is FAR more important than price when considering DJ entertainment for your big day.

We’d love to talk to you about this video and the missed opportunities, and how our proactive approach to event planning and coordination will help your event run smoothly and avoid the types of mistakes and missed opportunities that Brian witnessed at this wedding.  This wedding doesn’t have to be YOUR wedding!

Looking for wedding djs in Sacramento?  Give us a call at 916.223.4508, or contact us via our website.

 

Brian S. Redd is a very remarkable DJ, and is a very prominent and well known industry professional who is known very widely by those in the industry for his Vlogs on DJ’ing in general, DJ equipment and product reviews and more.  His YouTube channel can be found here:  http://www.youtube.com/user/briansredd

Music Subscription Services for DJs – Why they matter to YOU

Here is a cool post from our Music Subscription service from their Facebook page on the benefits of having a music service to help with keeping a music library up-to-date.

The article is written to explain some of the benefits of these services to DJs, but we wanted to share it with you because we think it makes some great points about some of the differences between professional DJ providers who use these types of services and other, less professional providers who don’t.

Many (not all, but many) DJ services and DJs who don’t pay for music subscriptions download their songs illegally, or purchase them from illegal sources, or get files shared from friends and other shady DJs, etc.

We know this may not seem like a big deal on the surface.  You might think “its ‘just’ music right?  Sure, he may be stealing it, which I don’t support, but how does it really matter for MY party or wedding…?”  If you think about it though, there are lots of pitfalls here that could affect YOUR event when hiring these types of services.

Quality – Even across legal purchasing music sites and services, the quality of the music files themselves can vary and come in different formats, and sample (“bit”) rates.  And that’s LEGAL sources.  Now think about songs the DJ got off a file-sharing site on the web. How do they know that the files they have are 1st generation “copies” of the original lossless files and haven’t been degraded by multiple compression runs or encoding across different formats?  How do they know there weren’t any errors (pops, clicks, distortion, dead-air) etc. in some of the files they downloaded.  If they’re illegally downloading gigs of music at a time, or buying a hard drive full of tunes, should we really believe they are conscientious enough to LISTEN to EVERY track they downloaded to make sure they are okay?  Not likely.

DJs who use professional subscription services are able to deliver consistent quality in the highest-quality formats available for all of their current music.

YouTube is NOT a music store – ’nuff said.

How Current? – How current can these providers stay music each and every month?  Are they likely to have the songs you and your guests want at your event?  Will they have them BEFORE they have topped the charts?  Probably not since keeping up with the charts is how they are likely to do their updates.

How Clean? – A lot of music, especially hip-hop and urban tracks contain explicit content, “foul” language, etc.  How confident are you that all of the selections they have are CLEAN (radio-friendly) edits?  Not all legal online avenues carry clean versions of every song that they get before it has charted.

How many Genres? – How many genres can they stay relevant on?  Even a great DJ with an incredible passion for music can only keep their “ear to the ground” for everything happening across all the relevant musical genres that they might need for an event.  You may get a DJ who specializes in (or just likes) hip-hop and House music, but doesn’t have a lot of Country.  Or vice-versa!  A subscription service is invaluable for helping providers keep their libraries current and relevant across DOZENS of genres on a monthly, weekly, and even DAILY basis.

All of these sacrifices above may mean you get a “better price” on a DJ – Most often, the real “bargain basement” DJs, or the ones charging the “best price” are providers who do not have many of the real-world business expenses that go into running a legitimate business, and the cost of maintaining a professional subscription service for music is one of those expenses that these DJ’s most often “go without.”  So while you may be getting a “better price” on these DJs, is it REALLY a BETTER VALUE if you have to risk sacrificing in all of the areas above?  And if a DJ is cutting corners on the MOST IMPORTANT tool he has, his MUSIC, then what other corners could they be cutting, and how could those potentially affect your event as well?

Just some things to consider.

In the end, go with a service that invests time and money into their business, and who takes steps to offer you the highest-quality musical library they possibly can for the enjoyment of you and your guests.

Here’s the article:

The value of a music service for DJs

by PrimeCuts on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 2:21pm

Most DJs subscribe to a promotional music service, like PrimeCuts, for their new music needs. However, some DJs don’t see the value in a music service. We’ll show you how a music service for DJs is worth considerably more than you think.

The actual cost of updating your music

Let’s use 25 songs a month as an example to see how much it really costs you in money & time for updating your music on your own

Cost to download 25 songs: $24.75

Cost for time spent researching: $48 ($12 an hour for 1 hour per week)

Cost for time spent downloading & tagging: $12 (1 hour a month spent downloading & tagging)

Total cost: $84.75

Number of songs you get: 25

Total cost for PrimeCuts MP3: $51.45

Total number of songs: About 200

As shown, with PrimeCuts MP3 you would get 200 songs a month, all tagged and ready to go. They show up in your mailbox–no need to spend all kinds of time researching. While most DJs don’t need 200 songs a month, it’s up to you which songs you put on your hard drive. You can even choose specific genres or songs to copy to your computer if you’d like. The whole process should take all of 3-5 minutes a week. The best part is you get at least 5 extra hours a month to work on your business. Now think of all the things you could accomplish to help make you more money with those extra 5+ hours a month. Not only did going the download route cost you more money, but you also lost time you could’ve spent to working to bring in more money for your business.

How did we come up with those figures?

Let’s say you only download songs that chart top 10 for Pop/Top 40 and songs that chart top 5 for a few other formats (maybe a few Country, Adult Contemporary and Urban—or whatever genres you use the most). For estimation purposes, we’ll say that adds up to 25 songs a month. Pricing amongst downloads varies, but we’ll go with $.99 each. So, that comes out to $24.75 a month.

Now, how will you determine what to buy? Well, you’ll need to spend some time looking at the charts. Since they change from week-to-week, you’ll probably want to check them weekly to make sure you don’t miss anything. Let’s say you’re pretty fast and can look at the charts in about an hour to figure out which songs you need. That’s 4 hours over the course of the month.

Once you’ve determined what songs you need, you spend another 10 minutes downloading. That’s about 40 minutes a month. After you’ve downloaded the songs, you’ll need to edit their ID3 tags to fit your needs. That’s about another 5 minutes a week. So between downloading and tagging, there’s another hour a month.

So, you’ve spent 5 hours a month downloading your music. How much do you think your time is worth? Let’s shoot low at $12 an hour. That means you spent $58 worth of time on your music. Add to that the hard cost of the songs, and your cost is about $84.75 a month. What did you get for your $84.75 a month? 25 songs….and a lot of time lost that you could’ve spent focusing on bringing in more business.

Save time, make more money for your business…subscribe to a promotional music service for DJs like PrimeCuts!

Prime Cuts Music

The High Cost of Hiring Low Price DJs

Some food for thought when it comes to hiring entertainment for your wedding day.

http://www.bestlongislandweddings.com/reviews/music-to-your-ears-/5a8350b61528951e/page1.html

http://www.ripoffreport.com/directory/Music-To-Your.aspx

It is definitely hard not to feel sorry for all of these people, who tried their best to hire quality entertainment for their events, but who did not know what to look for.  The common denominator for many of these reviews is what a “good deal” these folks thought they were getting on a DJ.  The mistake in all of these cases was the decision to shop for quality entertainment based on price alone.  The assumption was made, even if unconsciously or unknowingly, that all DJs are created equal, or that they all offer “pretty much the same thing.”   “After all,” it is reasoned, they’re all ‘just playing music and making some announcements’ right…?”

Once we think that all DJs are “pretty much the same,” we start to think its okay to shop for them like we would, say, a tube of Crest whitening toothpaste.  At that point, price does seem to be the main, or even the only, real consideration left.

The only thing you can really compare to that tube of Crest whitening toothpaste is another tube of Crest whitening toothpaste, and once you do that, you can search around for a “better deal” at another store.

The problem here is that DJs are not tubes of toothpaste. No two DJs are the same, and no two have the same personalities & philosophies, talents, approaches to event planning and organization, musical programing, etc.  While there are millions of tubes of Crest whitening toothpaste, there is only ONE ME, and to try to assume that someone is going to get anything resembling me and what I offer my clients for $300, $400, or $700 less (or more!) is just silly.

The key is to MEET with all of the DJs you are considering for your event first to get a feel for their services, personalities, styles, and approaches before you even think about price.  First find out what is available, and start to understand what it is you want.  A quality provider will take steps to not only learn about your vision, but will help to enhance and solidify it for you as well.

We know we need to “get some quotes” to “DJ a wedding,” but do we really know and understand what it truly means to “DJ a wedding” successfully?   Do we fully understand everything that a quality individual does behind the scenes to facilitate a streamlined, steadily flowing, highly charged, and memorable celebration?  If we don’t know or fully understand all of these things, how can we honestly say we would know a “good price” for these services if we heard it?  Certainly if you’ve been to celebrations and events like the one I just described, it might have looked like it was “easy” for the DJ involved.  It might’ve even looked like they weren’t really “doing much” at all!

The reality of the situation however, is that the more awesome the celebration was, and the “easier” it looked for the DJ/MC performing it, the more likely it is that he was charging a LOT more than just a “few hundred dollars” for a “few hours of his time” to DJ that event.  Many years of experience, many dollars and a lot of time and effort went into their business, and their ability to make it all “look so easy,” and many hours of planning and preparation went were invested before that same event to make it’s execution as seamless as it was.

There’s so much more to a successful event that just playing music and making some announcements, and when you meet with or talk to a quality service provider, chances are you will start to realize how much more they bring to the table from the second you start talking to them.

On the other hand, if you talk to a service provider who is just trying to sell you “music and some announcements,” (often with a price to match) chances are that is all you will get at your event, and there will more than likely be very real ramifications from that as lines of communication at your event get crossed, or don’t exist at all between your DJ and your other vendors, venue staff, etc.  The result will be a very reactionary approach on the part of a DJ where they appear to be just stumbling through your event from one thing to the next and are left reacting to things that “just seem to happen” rather than proactively guiding the entire celebration from beginning to end.

We’d like to do our best to help you avoid these types of nightmare experiences with your wedding entertainment, and we hope that whether you hire us or not, that our website, and this blog will give you some food for thought, and will help you determine what is, and should be, important to you in hiring DJ and entertainment services.

Since we know that the “best deal” isn’t always the best deal, we are left wondering…  what is?  Why do some wedding DJs charge “so much?”  How do I know when I’ve found a great value at any price point?  These are the questions we need to be asking, and we learn a lot in our search for the answers.

Here is a great read on wedding DJ prices, and on some of the differences between more amateurish and unprofessional providers, and those who invest serious time, passion, and resources into providing you with the best service possible.

http://theflirtyguide.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-much-should-your-wedding-dj-cost.html

Stacie Tamaki’s point in her blog post above is itself priceless.  She urges folks to not just think about how much they “want to pay for DJ services,” but to instead answer the question:  How much would YOU pay to avoid having an experience like the ones we started off with above?  For just a brief second let’s leave what various DJs charge for their services out of the equation altogether.  What is important, and what you need to consider is this:  How much is the success of your celebration worth to YOU?

On a similar note, do you want to get a bunch of quotes for “a wedding,” or is this your wedding we’re talking about?  Do you want your DJ to treat your wedding just like every wedding they’ve ever done?  More to the point, do you want YOUR wedding to be just like every other wedding you’ve ever been to?  My guess is not. :)  This is why it’s so important for your DJ and Entertainment provider to understand your needs and wants before they can nail down “a price.”

Asking a DJ “how much do you charge for a wedding” is like calling a mechanic and asking “how much do you charge to fix a car?”  There’s so much additional information your mechanic needs to come about a price, and chances are they will have you bring your car into the shop (think free consultation with your DJ :)) so they can really get to the bottom of things and see EXACTLY what services are needed, how they need to be performed, etc.

Let your DJ, and ALL of your wedding vendors for that matter, have just a few minutes of your time to properly understand your needs and show you how they can best tailor their services to meet the needs of your special occasion.  While they’re doing this with you, you might just find yourself learning that the vendors you’re talking to are actually bringing far more to the table than you initially thought.  Along the way, you might even find yourself thinking more about results than cost, and realizing that “price” is almost never as important as value.

Please take the time to browse our website and blog to learn more, and feel free to contact us about our offerings.  We’d love the opportunity to meet with you and see how we can help you realize the best value in entertainment for your wedding.

Thanks for reading!