Explaining How Much Money DJs Make

A recent incident focused my mind on rates DJs charge.  Yesterday, I received a Facebook message asking for my services.  I played for this person before.  This night, I would be playing from 4:30 PM to about 11 PM.   In the past, I normally charge a hundred dollars.  That was for four hours.  Because I was playing longer this time, I charged two hundred dollars.   Later that day, I received a message saying the people preferred karaoke instead of a DJ.  So, no gig for me.

Borrowed from Varietyisthespice.com

As I take that as truth, I shall point something out.  Whenever I charge over a hundred for a house party, people lose interest in my DJ services. 

Still, many DJs will tell you I’m charging too cheap.  They’re right.  For four hours, many DJs will start at three hundred bucks. 

Three hundred is what I charge for weddings.  For weddings, other DJs either start at that price or charge more.

So, here’s what a typical DJ makes in the Central Florida area.  Some receive ten percent of the bar.  At first, this seems like a good idea.  If the venue makes a crap load of money, the DJ will too.  As the years went by, I started hating this arrangement.  Lying about how much the place really made, the person paying could be ripping the DJ off.  Plus when dealing with bars that don’t make money, this arrangement definitely sucks.

Still, would you believe some cheap bars don’t even want to pay ten percent?   Nothing against free booze.  Yet, free booze don’t put gas in your car.

In some venues, DJs receive a flat rate running from forty to a hundred bucks.  For years, a friend of mine charged seventy-five bucks. 

In some venues, a DJ receives one hundred and fifty bucks up to two hundred bucks.  The most I heard a Central Florida DJ make was four hundred bucks.  Four hundred is usually a nightclub DJ.

In my humble opinion, I believe a DJ for a house party should start around three hundred.  Some DJs may argue more.  First of all, there’s gas the DJ pays for. Then, there’s the skill in trying to keep the crowd’s mood.  Yet, sometimes that’s hit or miss.  People at house parties may constantly request the crappiest music all night.  With that going on, it may be difficult to keep the mood right.  Still, trust me on this one, DJing is far more complicated than just playing music.  If you want a good DJ, be willing to pay decent money for one.

Why was I charging cheap in the first place?  For house parties, instead of a PA speaker and sound mixing board, I used a home stereo system.  I’m too broke to buy PA speakers.  Second, and the biggest reason, folks are always crying broke. 

Even if I do receive less gigs, my days of charging cheap are over. All it did was gain me other clients who also wanted to be cheap.

Hopefully, this blog explains DJ pay rates.

Other DJs are free to comment.

Explore posts in the same categories: DJ Culture, Music

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