I'm new and it shows

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DJ FML

DJ FML
I recently started FML and it has been a fun but taxing experience. I have had two gigs so far but they have both been charity events. I am having a hard time figuring out how much to charge. I get really nervous when talking to potential customers and just can't bring myself to say and stick with a certain price point.

I know I want a good second income that not only pays for the equipment rental but also throws a little extra coin in my pocket. Should I go by the hour or event? Should I commit to digital or stick with CD's and some records? I do enjoy spinning the old school way but clearly see the potential in digital as well as the ease of carrying an Ipod in to the gig.

I hope to get a good pulse on the DJ world from this site as well as some clear ideas to build from. Thanks in advance for the help and comments.
 

bill_smith

MobileBeat Moderator
Staff member
Welcome. You'll get a lot of advice.

Insofar as what to charge, I think that you should determine the type of events you are targeting. Most will tell you that Weddings are by far tyhe most lucrative in terms of potential, but done right, also involve a larger degree of effort to execute.

What do you see yourself gravitating towards in terms of the type of events you really think you'd like to do?

define that, and the advice will become much more targeted and applicable.
 

DJ Dr. Drax

Active Member
Gary,

Join the ADJA. NOBODY offers you more education & coaching to help you to succeed. Please feel free to call me anytime.
 

hippydog

wuz here when it was Red.
Give us some more back ground,
are you starting off completely new?, or do you have prior experience? (from working for someone else, etc)

How many other DJ business's are in your area? (IE: who's your competition)

What kind of shows are you doing? (or planning to do)
 

RobbyRob

Member
as you may or may not know "FML" has negative connotations online and with "internet speak" meaning "F#@K My Life". You'll see it on Facebook when someone has a bad day. May not be a good idea, as a business to go as DJ FML. go with Full Music Live! :)

just my .02 as that was the 1st thing i thought of when i saw your name. If i thought of that, the younger, "hipsters" would probably catch that too :)
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
Gary, Join the ADJA. NOBODY offers you more education & coaching to help you to succeed. Please feel free to call me anytime.

Gary, welcome dude! Great to have you here. There's one rule you need to follow when you're new at an endeavor such as this...Stick With The Winners. Joining the ADJA is one of the best moves you can make. It'll put you in touch with the top jocks in your area. It's been my experience that amongst the Connecticut ADJA jocks there's tons of cooperation, collaboration, and collegial good will, an virtually no competition. There's more money to be made working together than there is working against one another. Imagine being schooled and be-friended by the top jocks in your area. Your acceleration into the ranks of the big boys will be miraculous. The fee to a newbie may be more than you're making per gig right now, but again, the Return On Investment the membership will bring you is so great it's almost impossible to fully calculate & appreciate.


Most will tell you that Weddings are by far the most lucrative in terms of potential, but done right, also involve a larger degree of effort to execute..
A-Hem, William, Oh William, I respectfully beg to differ with you on that point, kind sir ;). The accuracy of Weddings "taking the cake" really depends on where you & your biz is located. In areas where there is a high concentration of our friends of the Jewish persuasion, I would say the average tab for a Bar & Bat Mitzvahs is at least double that of the average wedding. Our company has chosen to focus on the Mitzvah market, albeit not to the exclusion of everything else. A $3000.00 tab is very easy to get to and I would say is medium price for the packages purchased from us. Why? Simple, people will spend on their children what they won't spend on themselves. However, if you ain't in an area with a lot of Jewish Brethren, weddings are likely the way to go for the dough.
 

DJ FML

DJ FML
Well it's a little too late to change my name now! Besides already having my business cards, roll out banner printed, I have already paid my web designer in full! I doubt the youngsters will actually pick up on that. Thanks for the suggestions so far, I will doing my best to keep growing my ideas and business.
 

hippydog

wuz here when it was Red.
I am having a hard time figuring out how much to charge.
If you join the ADJA maybe Drax will get you help on how to write up a business plan?
A business plan will help you in not only knowing how much to charge, but will help you hold your price untill you get better at sales.

I know I want a good second income that not only pays for the equipment rental but also throws a little extra coin in my pocket.
what you want is a business that can support itself AND give you a fair profit/wage..
Anything else can turn into a hobby where you "think" its making you money, but in reality your making less money then a gas attendant..
Should I go by the hour or event?
by the event.

Should I commit to digital or stick with CD's and some records?
that depends on what you mean by "digital"..
What we do is a form of entertaining.. if not, then we are nothing but glorified jukeboxes..
Go with the way that can provide your customer with the highest levels of Entertainment..
 

Jason Cathcart

New Member
Well it's a little too late to change my name now! Besides already having my business cards, roll out banner printed, I have already paid my web designer in full! I doubt the youngsters will actually pick up on that. Thanks for the suggestions so far, I will doing my best to keep growing my ideas and business.

Does anybody else feel like we're being trolled?

You don't think the 'youngsters' will pick up on DJ FML = 'F*ck my life' instead of 'Full Music Live'. Who do you think came up with FML?
 

bill_smith

MobileBeat Moderator
Staff member
Gary, I've checked your site. I've some comment. Take it for what it is.

From your site;

I checked out other DJs on the internet. I want to be different, so here's what I've done:​

  • no contract = no legal fees to pass along to you​
OK. This is probably the dumbest thing you can do. Why? You are guaranteeing that someone will screw you for a lower price. a contract helps you and a client. Legal fees are valid only if you don't do what your contract states you should do. not having one pretty much guarantees that if you show up and someone else is playing your gig, you have no recourse.
  • plan your event on a postcard I mail to you which makes sure I have all your event details​
I'd like to see how a large bridal party and a full itinerary will fit on said postcard. A post card isnt very good to network with other event professionals, but email is. Find ways to grow your business, not confine it.
  • "watch out" whistle helps school dances run smoothly​
Well, no. So You blow this whistle and stop everything, and that is a smooth show?
  • 1/2 hour setup... I load in and out quickly​
Good for you. What makes you think that this is a competitive advantage?
  • my personal email is available to you at anytime (djFML@live.com)​
So you are gonna answer an email while you are at a show? Every email is available to anyone at anytime unless they've shut the sender off for spam or have a full mailbox.
  • toll free numbers aren't free... YOU pay for them. I'm located in Alsip, IL and want to focus here so I don't need a toll free number. I pass along that savings to you.​
No, toll free 800's are paid for by the person who owns them.

charity begins at home. I support our local group Share Your Soles and other local charities.​
  • I beat their prices or you get a Full Music Live gift card.​
If you really think that these things will sell you and make you more requested and booked, I am afraid you are in for a large fall and may contribute to FML...or FYDJL.
 

bjojade

New Member
You are setting yourself up for failure. Being cheap is one thing, but being less than half the price of your listed competition is a huge red flag to many clients. It tells them that there is a reason that you are so much cheaper, and that's not a good thing.

You have a total of 2 events under your name and you say it's too late to change it? Yeah, you may have some costs associated with your name already, but there is a huge negative connotation to your name. The expense to change it now will be minimal in comparison to the jobs you WILL lose with that name. If you don't believe it, randomly ask 25 people what FML stands for. You may be surprised.

Chicago is a HUGE market. If you want to make decent money as a DJ, you certainly can. All you need to do is ask for it.
 
The first thing you need to do to figure out a reasonable price is figure out what your costs are to leave your house to do a gig.

I am talking about everything from the driving to get the rental gear and return it, to the cost of insurance, to the cost of music. Lets not mention that your time is worth something too. I used to think that I could rent gear and make it work - and I found out that after I talked with the brides and determined what they wanted and they hired me cause I was cheaper, I would go to rent the gear and find out that they wanted almost as much as I was making to rent what I needed to be able to rent what the bride expected me to rent, plus backup gear.
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
Gary, don't get discouraged. We were all new at some point too. The guys are reaching out and just trying to be helpful. No one's knocking you or trying to put you down. Look at it this way, people pay big bucks for business consultants. You've got a collection of experts right here. The only down side is that given that our advice is free, it may not always be given in a way that's ginger or easy to hear ;).

Here's something based on my experience that hopefully you'll find helpful. The 2 counties in which I do business (Westchester & Fairfield) are among the wealthiest in the country. With some clients, if I'm not charging enough, I'll get turned down out of hand as being Busch league. Now, some clients are budget sensitive, while others are not. The trick is knowing what you have in front of you. That's a whole other discussion. The point being, once you earn your branding as a budget service, it's very hard to change it. It's better you have a slower start now than get dependent on the income and have to face lean times while changing your branding and image later on. I'll add that I'm a jock whose income isn't dependent on just on DJing. That allows me the luxury of turning down clients who can't meet my price. If you have that set-up too, make the most of it.

Here are 3 solid resources that can help you build a solid business:
  • The Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov They've got amazing free info & tools on their site.
  • SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) http://www.score.org/index.html these are CEO & CEO type retirees who've got nothing better to do than share their wisdom & experience with you for FREE! I used them when putting another business together. They ROCK!
  • Entrepreneur.com or Entrepreneur Magazine; just reading the advertisement will start to clue you in on there's so much you don't know that you don't know.
-Z-
 
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DJ FML

DJ FML
Bill, I don't think you understand what I'm saying...if I buy a 1-800 number then I am just going to have to pass the expense along to the customer. I need to keep people within budgets and keep costs as low as possible. Being a low cost DJ puts me in the high interest category.
 

waasta

Account Closed
Being a low cost DJ puts me in the high interest category.

Totally agree with you there. I've gone through more than you will know to defend the 'inexpensive DJ' on this board. So charge what you feel comfortable charging.

That being said, there was some great advise from Bill tucked in that post. You mentioned that you paid a website guy--I hope it wasn't for your current site. The lack of information is staggering. It's great that you are comparing yourself to others in a simple chart for brides, but you also need to expound on what you, as FML, are going to provide your clients.

Also, I'd highly, highly, highly recommend buying an actual domain for your company. They're cheap (70 bucks a year for mine including hosting) and it legitimizes your business more than you know. Plus your SEO (search engine optimization) will never reach its full potential if you aren't using your own domain. You'll always be buried way back in search results, especially in the market you are competing in.
 

bjojade

New Member
I agree with what Byron has to say. Yes, there is a market for low cost DJs, and it is very easy to book jobs at under $500 a crack. However, when you compare yourself to $1500 DJs and say you are just as good, customers are usually smarter than that, and it can cost you bookings. Customers will see that there has to be a reason that you are so much less expensive than the average, which usually means corners have to be cut somewhere.
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
The lack of information is staggering. It's great that you are comparing yourself to others in a simple chart for brides, but you also need to expound on what you, as FML, are going to provide your clients..

Byron, dear sir, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you a little bit here. The guys whose business plan(s) and subsequent success, that I most admire here don't give rat's @$$ about their competitors because they are way too busy doing their own thing...and even if they did, they'd sure as hell never even come close to admitting it by publicly acknowledging their competitors, much less making a comparison to them is their marketing. It's one thing to have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) it's totally something different to make the fatal mistake of letting your marketing rest on comparing yourself to someone else, but being better because you're less expensive. The top of the food chain never markets themselves by comparing themselves to those lower on the food chain. Only the wannabes do that. -Z-
 

waasta

Account Closed
Byron, dear sir, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you a little bit here. The guys whose business plan(s) and subsequent success, that I most admire here don't give rat's @$$ about their competitors because they are way too busy doing their own thing...and even if they did, they'd sure as hell never even come close to admitting it by publicly acknowledging their competitors, much less making a comparison to them is their marketing. It's one thing to have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) it's totally something different to make the fatal mistake of letting your marketing rest on comparing yourself to someone else, but being better because you're less expensive. The top of the food chain never markets themselves by comparing themselves to those lower on the food chain. Only the wannabes do that. -Z-

OMG I lost Steve on sarcasm! There's a first!! Though I re-read it and I didn't see what I actually meant either, so I can't blame you for not seeing it if I couldn't see it. ;) Fist-bump for calling me out. Honestly I totally agree with what you've said. I was looking for positive reinforcement for Gary, you know, the happy sandwich. Happy, bad, happy. Though I obviously failed to accomplish my goal.

Gary, what Steve is trying to tell you in Layman's terms is not to post what others charge. Or what they do or don't do. Don't make that a focal point of your website. Sell yourself, brother.
 
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