Some days you want to bang your head against the wall.

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Jason Cathcart

New Member
Last Monday I had a phone call from a wedding planner that I've worked with before practically begging me to be available for their client on September 14th. Luckily I was available and she asked me to send over the paperwork, and to pencil them in until she could get it signed, as it was a done deal. The only other DJ she trusts wasn't available, and she needed my MC skills to pull the night off. In addition to that, there are plans to have a Celtic Rock band play for a couple hours, for which I'd need to provide the PA, since I'd be playing before and after the band as well as during set breaks.

I gave her a general quote, just under $2000, without knowing exactly what the band would need.

I hadn't heard back from anyone, so on Thursday I made a call to the planner and left a voicemail.

Today I got this email.

Hi Jason,

I'm sorry I didn't return your call from last week! After reviewing the budget, your fees are a little too high to fit into our budget. I'm sure you do a fantastic job, but at this time it's not going to be a good fit.

I apologize it's taken me a few days to get back to you on this one!
Argh. This is why I prefer meeting with my potential clients - and aside from working with some planners I always do. But some of these wedding planners are so protective of their clients that you can barely get the names out of them to put on the contract. These contracts rarely turn out as well as they could have.

Oh well... maybe I should raise my rates again. That'll teach em!
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
What's going to be funny is when this planner tries to pull things off on a budget less than what you quoted. I think your price was very reasonable.
As an aside, on the heals of his triumphant New Jersey wedding, Byron just posted on his FB that he's got a 09/14/13 wedding in the Calgary area. Maybe you boys can meet up :rolleyes:. -Z-
 

hippydog

wuz here when it was Red.
I gave her a general quote, just under $2000, without knowing exactly what the band would need.

!
Myself, I would have responded:
"thats too bad.. I probably could have fit in your budget but you never gave me any details, and it was last minute, so I had to quote high to cover incidentals.. From now on so we dont waste each others time, I've decided not to accept 'penciled in' dates if all details have not been agreed upon"
*evil*
 

MBM

New Member
The more money you charge the less there is left for them to charge, seen this a couple of times. I have a couple of planners I work with around here, that I like, but some others, will nickel and dime you to death to get you to cut your rate, so they can keep their rate higher.
 

jimeppes

New Member
I am lucky so far in my area.

Only myself and a big production company have the good led lighting equip.

I'm sure it is a matter of time before the low renters buy the crappy led's and undercut the price. Then it becomes of a matter showing the difference as it is with my entertainment service.

Someone can always come along and do something cheaper, crappy-er and try to put it past Brides who don't know better.

lil i refuse to lose jimmy
 

maestro

Well-Known Member
Two, no make that three things...

1) From what you wrote, she obviously checked with the OTHER DJ first; red flag.

2) This scenario would have never happened in BC. The minute I would have quoted 2 grand, they would have hung up. It wouldn't matter that Weddingwire has me ranked as the number one guy in the province, it would have been an immediate disconnect.

3) I've got to move to Alberta. My house assessment just came in at $960 grand and I pay more than $5 grand a year in property tax (with water / garbage); it's just too darn expensive here now. Got any overflow bookings? :)
 

Alexander

Member
2) This scenario would have never happened in BC. The minute I would have quoted 2 grand, they would have hung up... it would have been an immediate disconnect.
If you quote prices like that over the phone without an indepth consultation then I might agree with you. I say might, because I have booked 2+ grand events when doing an phone consult with destination weddings. I have also booked a number of weddings over $2000 and as high as $3200... all locals... in BC...
 

maestro

Well-Known Member
I've gotta move, way too much cut-throat here on the mainland. Besides, my wife would love it if we were further away from my mom and my brothers' families... Lol... Alex, for two grand plus, are you including a photobooth?
 

Alexander

Member
maestro - Some include the photobooth but most of my $2000+ weddings include a full ceremony setup or a combination of booth and ceremony.
 

maestro

Well-Known Member
Prices on the mainland if you are good is 1000 for a 7 hour reception and 200 for the ceremony if it's at the venue but let's say out in the garden. PB's are going for 800 to 1200.
 

Jason Cathcart

New Member
Two, no make that three things...

1) From what you wrote, she obviously checked with the OTHER DJ first; red flag.

2) This scenario would have never happened in BC. The minute I would have quoted 2 grand, they would have hung up. It wouldn't matter that Weddingwire has me ranked as the number one guy in the province, it would have been an immediate disconnect.

3) I've got to move to Alberta. My house assessment just came in at $960 grand and I pay more than $5 grand a year in property tax (with water / garbage); it's just too darn expensive here now. Got any overflow bookings? :)
That's kind of funny - a client I just booked on Sunday (for $3500 with a PB and 10 uplights) - told me he wants to move back to Vancouver because Calgary is too expensive. Of course, he's living downtown and paying $5000 a month in rent - I live in the south and have a house with a yard & shop for $1500.

As for your other two points - she did check with the other DJ first. He's her first choice and he's local to area - I'd have to travel - but he wasn't available, it wasn't a cost thing there. I know this for a fact since he passes quite a few gigs my way when he's not available. He's also my CDJA Chapter VP, and a member of this board :)

As far as rates are concerned - I hear the same things you've said about rates from guys here. But my rates start at 1299 for a DJ and are posted on my website, and it's very clear whats going to be required to guarantee myself at your wedding. The phone keeps on ringing. I couldn't make a go of this at $1000 a wedding. Take a leap of faith and go for it! You might book less gigs, but it won't be so many less that you're making less money.

But hey, if you want to move to Alberta, I can probably put you to work right away!
 

Ausumm

Active Member
Being in the concert production biz as well as being a DJ...
I thought your quote was TOO LOW!
Letting a band use your PA requires a LOT more than just them plugging into your mixer...(as you probably know)
So I'd be taking my normal DJ rate and practically doubling it to accommodate the gear the band needed.

Of course, I'm not living in your neck of the woods.
 

Jason Cathcart

New Member
Being in the concert production biz as well as being a DJ...
I thought your quote was TOO LOW!
Letting a band use your PA requires a LOT more than just them plugging into your mixer...(as you probably know)
So I'd be taking my normal DJ rate and practically doubling it to accommodate the gear the band needed.

Of course, I'm not living in your neck of the woods.
I completely agree - way too low. My rate was discussed with the planner as being under the assumption they know their own mix, have their own mixer, and all I need to do is plug them into the speakers; anything more would be extra.
 

maestro

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the thorough reply Jason. I forgot about the part about letting a band hook up. I worked live sound before for years, growing up playing in bands it's part of the course. With that being said, I will no longer let any band hook up to my system. Reason being, I have done that in the past and it has been nothing but trouble. None of the bands knew what the heck they were doing which made it a MAJOR pain in the butt, not to mention hazardous to my gear.

A couple more questions for you Jason...

With your rates starting at 1299.00, do you include MC'ing or charge extra for that?
Do you guys have a multi-op with over 15 systems / DJ's like our famous Garry Robertson?
Wow, I just checked out your pricing and see that you charge 1799.00 for yourself... Are you able to get that? We have to add 12% tax to our rates in BC, fortunately that should be going down to 5% in April.

Feel free to email me back if you'd like to keep this private. steve@musicmaestrodj.com

Thanks!
 
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Alexander

Member
Steve - It boggles my mind to no end that no one in the GVRD (with a population of over 2 million) can command $1200+ on a regular basis. My population base on the south end of the island is around 350,000 and my wedding rates start at $1400 (no MCing). Corporate is lower because we virtually have no corporate market.
 

maestro

Well-Known Member
Alexander, have you seen how many low-baller companies we have on the mainland? We have a friggin' cornucopia of McDonald's style DJ companies. I really wish we had some kind of AVLA enforcement here or even hotels insisting on liability insurance. I have over twenty 5 star reviews on WeddingWire, waaaaaay more than any of these large companies and it's still about price; it's a Vancouver thing, bunch of tight a55es... And no, I don't work at low-end venues but rather some of the nicest around with personal recommendations from the venues. I may just raise my rates to 1299.00 for the heck of it... Fortunately, word about my MC skills seems to be getting around because of Swan-e-set (one of the venues that exclusively recommends me) keeps mentioning it to people as they are tired of dealing with drunk 'Uncle Bob' type MC's... I get $1200 including a garden ceremony with sound and 9 hours total music on a pretty regular basis, both systems set-up ahead of time so there is no down time between the two events. I've even been 'nickel and dimed' clients by couple who have booked the Capilano Golf Club. For those of you who don't know, it is located in the British Properties, one of our wealthiest areas. IE, Phil Collins Ex wife lives there... Kelowna couples on the other hand, which is just four hours away from Vancouver and has less than 300,000 peeps, tends to pay their DJ's much more $$$. I checked with one DJ I know back in 2009 and he was consistently getting $1500 for an 8 hour reception package plus $100.00 extra to emcee and $300.00 extra for a ceremony!
 

Jason Cathcart

New Member
A couple more questions for you Jason...

With your rates starting at 1299.00, do you include MC'ing or charge extra for that?
Do you guys have a multi-op with over 15 systems / DJ's like our famous Garry Robertson?
Wow, I just checked out your pricing and see that you charge 1799.00 for yourself... Are you able to get that? We have to add 12% tax to our rates in BC, fortunately that should be going down to 5% in April.
MCing is extra. I do include some announcements, and we'll do the grand entrance, first dance, etc., but not a real MC, persay. As for my Signature package - yup, its booking out nicely now. I did have it at $1999, and was including MCing, but around here there still aren't too many people looking for an MC. So I dropped it to $1799, removed the MC stuff from the description, and it's booked more now in 2013 than ever before. If the clients want an MC, I'll still do it, but I'm not advertising it for now. I'm going out to Winnipeg in July for a seminar with Mark Ferrell and I'll start offering it as an add-on to the Signature package after that.

We've got 3 or 4 big multi-ops around here, but for the most part I don't seem to be competing with them for Wedding business. One of them is owned by a good friend of mine and he live just a few blocks away from me. He's got his business, I've got mine, and rarely do we end up talking to the same clients.
 
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