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Author Topic: Just starting out - How much to charge?  (Read 12656 times)

Canute J. Chiverton

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Re: Just starting out - How much to charge?
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2013, 10:34:19 pm »

Hi All,

I realize that money is always a touchy subject and some might be hesitant to share how much (or little) they really make, but I hope that we can have a candid discussion and I can become more educated on this topic.  I appreciate your patience and reading of this long post.  It's a long post b/c I want to describe my entire situation and what I'm trying to do.

First some background on me.  Age shouldn't matter, but suffice to say I'm "40+."  I have a full-time job unrelated to the DJ/music/entertainment industry.  However, I play bass, know how to run a PA (definitely "amateur rank" but have very good working knowledge) and have always been involved with "live sound" to an extent.  I've always wanted to have a "DJ Business" on the side, as I love music and enjoy entertaining people.  And frankly, I've seen DJs at parties and events with crappy gear that's set up wrong and crappy attitudes on top of it pulling down $200+ for a few hours of work; I think I can do a much better job and make money on the side.

I realize that how much money you can ask for is related to your reputation, "overall package" (lots of lights, etc) and other factors.  What I want to do basically is be a "content provider" as opposed to a "DJ." I would either just play whatever playlist the client asked for, or stick to a genre of music depending on the event.  Of course, I would interact with the crowd but it would be limited to "Wishing John a great birthday!" or egging people on to do the Chicken Dance.  I don't scratch, remix EDM or anything like that.  I know how to beat match and fade one song into another and I'm good with people as that is part of my day job.  I have enough PA for 200 people, easily.  I will invest in some cheap lights (cheap, for now) and a truss to mount them on.  My equipment is all flight-cased for protection as well as a professional appearance. 

To sum it up: I am good with people, own a PA, with setting up and running PA but zero experience as a DJ both hands on and the business side of things. 

I plan on starting my business as a proper LLC, getting a tax ID number, paying tax and all that jazz. I also will be insured both for equipment loss as well as property/people damage/injury.  I'll do the website and business card thing.  I realize that I will start out with backyard birthday parties and word of mouth will be key. I'm good with that as this will be a side gig and not what puts bread on the table.

All that said, how much should I charge for a gig?  Hourly? Flat rate?  How about this scenario:  What should I charge for a 4-6 hour indoor event, providing music and lights for 100-200 people?  $50/hour?  $75/hour? Flat rate?

Thanks for your patience and sharing your experience.
i am sorry that I am late to the Party. I am based in Houston, Texas.  I have been in the DJ business professionally since 1978. I get Gigs by Referrals, Knocking on Doors and the use of a Professional Entertainment Agency (Not a Multi op). I charge based on the Following Criteria:
Location and ease of access to the Facility.
Duration of Event.
Size of Event (Hall Size and Amount of people)
Amount of Equipment needed.
Lights are extra
Karaoke/Video is extra.
Anywhere from $500.00 for the smallest and most basic Gig to $2,000.00 average Gig up to 400 people.
My Agent gets 20%.
I do not do a Quote or Gig without a site visit before the event and pricing.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Just starting out - How much to charge?
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2013, 07:51:10 am »

Actually, the venue is responsible for the licensing, not the person playing it (e.g., DJ). However, it's still damn wise to pay for that license. It's actually not that expensive and if you're going to be DJ'ing it's a wise thing to do. Ascap/BMI/etc. might not sue you directly, but the venue might feel obliged to come after you in one form or another.
The way the law reads, at least for the US, is that any party that benefits from a public performance may be held liable.  Talking with representatives of several of the rights licensing organizations and some attorneys it seems that it is not necessarily the venue's responsibility to obtain licensing, however for a number of reasons they are the party most likely to be pursued in relation to any copyright infringement and thus the party that most needs to protect themselves.  That has lead to their most commonly being the party to assume the responsibility to procure public performance rights.  The important thing is to make sure that someone is addressing performance rights whenever they may be applicable.
 
There are also other copyright issues potentially associated with making copies of music, especially if not for personal use, modifying the music or songs and so on.
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Kyle_Jay

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Re: Just starting out - How much to charge?
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2013, 12:30:02 am »

Hi All,

All that said, how much should I charge for a gig?  Hourly? Flat rate?  How about this scenario:  What should I charge for a 4-6 hour indoor event, providing music and lights for 100-200 people?  $50/hour?  $75/hour? Flat rate?

Thanks for your patience and sharing your experience.


Okay, So i see that many gave their opinions. When i was starting out, i wanted a simple answer. This is about as simple as it gets. Every area/market is different. I DJ in California, Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Texas. California has more money than Idaho (and a lot more people) which makes it easier to charge more. As a wedding DJ in Idaho, i charge $100/hr minimum of 4 hrs. For an event that you might want to do, but need extra encouragement, charge more. If they want more equipment, charge more. It is always better to CHARGE MORE and GIVE DISCOUNTS. That is what makes the "sale" happen. Try being a salesman, not just the DJ.

Starting out, you will need to charge less, until you feel comfortable telling the customer that they really do owe you $500 for the last 3 hours. (Which it is a good idea to get at the beginning of the night/event for multiple reasons.)
For a regular gig, such as a club DJ, you will get paid less. Much less, unless you have built up your name and reputation.

There are many other thoughts i could add, but ask another specific question and i will try my best to answer without any extra BS.

Thanks,
Kyle
whitenoiselive.com
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Just starting out - How much to charge?
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2013, 12:30:02 am »


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