Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby brett » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:23 pm

If and when you rasie your rates, at the same time, revamp your marketing and imaging a bit. New business cards, update your web page. If you look like your worth $500.00 thats all you'll get.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby CJ Greiner » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:30 pm

brett wrote:If and when you raise your rates, at the same time, revamp your marketing and imaging a bit. New business cards, update your web page. If you look like your worth $500.00 thats all you'll get.


That's a GREAT idea.

Not only does it give you a new image in front of your clients... but it gives you a new image that YOU can look at to remind you of why you’re worth so much more now.

Believing in yourself is a HUGE part of being able to sell your services to clients at a higher price. If you know that you have the right marketing materials, skills and tools to do the higher-priced jobs -- you’ll be more relaxed (and convincing) when you present your services and rates to your clients.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby djmc » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:35 pm

I don't even HAVE marketing materials to speak of, and I'm approaching the magic $1k barrier.

unless you count reefer magnets....LOL

no brochure
no glossy flyer

my entire "package" is a proposed Service agreement and a magnet.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby brett » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:40 pm

please tell me its not your cheese logo? lol
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby djmc » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:43 pm

brett wrote:please tell me its not your cheese logo? lol


that logo attracts alot of high-end brides who wanna pay $995 for 5 hours playing time, and not get the obnoxious Ben Affleck DJ on SNL
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Jem-star » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:53 pm

UGH! My biggest nightmare would be to be like that!

I wish I can get my hands on video of myself in performance, but it doesn't seem to happen.

Either that or one of these days, I've GOT to get me a digital video camera to set up on a tri-pod.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby celebrationkc » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:55 pm

djmc wrote:that logo attracts alot of high-end brides who wanna pay $995 for 5 hours playing time, and not get the obnoxious Ben Affleck DJ on SNL


That 'no cheese' image is PRECISELY what many brides are looking for now.

BTW...we realized a couple of weeks ago while attending a wedding for a relative (who had a cheap cheazy DJ), that we're not playing in civic centers, VFW, Legion, Moose, & K of C halls any longer! We're booking for local venues named: Doubletree, Young Matrons, Hilton, Dear Creek Country Club, Homestead Country Club, Fairmont, Figlio Tower on the Plaza, Sheraton on the Plaza, Powell Gardens, Ritz Charles. I can get used to this!

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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Mark » Sat Oct 23, 2004 11:21 am

great discussions... guys, we are a lot like a car lot,,, everything is shiny and they all drive,, some people plunk down 65K for a Hummer and some $ 4500 for a clunker.. let the stupid, low price DJ's have all the clunker sales they can handle... there is a market for clunkers, let 'em have it..
Set up your car lot with Hummers and Escalades and let the sophisticated buyers have a test ride... find 1 decent clunker DJ in your market and send the low priced gigs to him... take a commission of course...

There are 52 saturdays in the year... once the low price guy has filled his quota, he's out of the loop... help him fill up and then the clients will have to find a better DJ... You...
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby DJStuCrew » Sat Oct 23, 2004 1:12 pm

Mark wrote:great discussions... guys, we are a lot like a car lot,,, everything is shiny and they all drive,, some people plunk down 65K for a Hummer and some $ 4500 for a clunker.. let the stupid, low price DJ's have all the clunker sales they can handle... there is a market for clunkers, let 'em have it..
Set up your car lot with Hummers and Escalades and let the sophisticated buyers have a test ride... find 1 decent clunker DJ in your market and send the low priced gigs to him... take a commission of course...

There are 52 saturdays in the year... once the low price guy has filled his quota, he's out of the loop... help him fill up and then the clients will have to find a better DJ... You...


Precisely! The penny pincher who values price over any other consideration simply isn't my client. The Rolex people don't try to cut into Timex's customer base; those are NOT their customers. I come right out and tell my customers that the hobby, bedroom and part-time DJs will always beat me up on price, but I can't help but beat them up on service. I think that line alone has turned around that small percentage of clients who CAN be turned around more than anything else. It's what sets you apart from the pack that you need to concentrate on.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby audiopulse » Sat Oct 23, 2004 2:59 pm

DJStuCrew wrote:
The penny pincher who values price over any other consideration simply isn't my client. The Rolex people don't try to cut into Timex's customer base; those are NOT their customers. I come right out and tell my customers that the hobby, bedroom and part-time DJs will always beat me up on price, but I can't help but beat them up on service. I think that line alone has turned around that small percentage of clients who CAN be turned around more than anything else. It's what sets you apart from the pack that you need to concentrate on.



EXACTLY!!!

DJ Stu, I like that one liner you have there....

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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby DJStuCrew » Sun Oct 24, 2004 2:14 am

audiopulse wrote:DJ Stu, I like that one liner you have there....

Dave


Thanks! :D
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Screamin' Scott » Sun Oct 24, 2004 11:29 am

Congratulations Don, What you didn't mention is the fact that the $1200
show is for a banquet manager. That makes it all the better. It also gets word to some pretty connected people that $1200 isn't out of line. I hope a few more of you out there take Don's lead!

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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby The Dogman » Sun Oct 24, 2004 9:19 pm

The thing about that contract is that its the first one like that for me. As I was writing it out my hands were shaking. The first step was to go on my own, and to believe that all the effort and hard work would allow me to have a rate that would support my family. Im truly looking for this client catagory now the low end.

Ive also started revamping my business cards and promo material to make it look a little classier. Ive learned a great deal from this thread and its all good stuff to help me improve the little things. Keep it up guys
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby brett » Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:12 pm

Hey Dogman,

Reardless of what anyone tells you, its the little things that make the biggest difference. Good luck with your new venture, it will be worth it!
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby The Dogman » Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:29 pm

brett wrote:Hey Dogman,

Reardless of what anyone tells you, its the little things that make the biggest difference. Good luck with your new venture, it will be worth it!


Thanks Brett. I couldnt agree with you more on the little things. This particular banquet manager first saw me when I still worked for a multi-op. I went out of my way to make the staffs job as easy as possible and if I said I was going to do things a certain way, I followed through and kept my word. That is probly the biggest thing that has gotten me in with this manager saying Ill do it then doing it. This is extremely important when you charge more your honesty and integrity cannot be lacking.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Screamin' Scott » Mon Oct 25, 2004 8:29 am

The other great thing about this price range is they tend to tip big time.
My show was out for $1,400 (because it was booked a year ago before my price increase). When I arrived, I started music at 6:00 even though I wasn't contracted until 7:00. I went to 12:30 even though I was only contracted until 12:00. It's about exceeding expectations. At the end of the night, the groom said this is for you as he shook my hand...$200.
When you charge more, you are appreciated more, you are tipped more and you get more respect because they view you as an expert in the wedding industry!

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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby FDJA » Sun Feb 13, 2005 2:58 am

Okay... I've got a dumb question when it comes to raising DJ Rates.

What's wrong with how DJs are doing it now?

I think the idea of every Awesome DJ raising their rates to some widely accepted number for bigger jobs is a great idea. This to me, is kind of like having everyone on the highway merge at the right time, so that no bottleneck is created. If you're an awsome DJ you deserve to get paid what you are worth, (no pun intended).

The trouble I see, is if this whole rate standardization gets popular and newbie DJs, or DJs without a clue start charging the same rates, because it's widely accepted.

High rates and low performance is already a problem area with "DJ Companies" who have multiple employed DJs. The client thinks they're getting the best because they're paying for the best. But what actaully happens is an under-experienced DJ shows up up at their reception with a sub-standard sound system, zero personality and about 40 CDs. It's only mid way through the reception that the bride and groom figure out that they paid $1200, but their poor excuse for a DJ is only getting $300 of it.

Just so you know where I stand on the DJ rate issue in general, I try to reinforce the cheeseburger principle. Value Vs. Price. Everyone knows they can buy a cheeseburger at McDonalds for under a buck, but it definitely won't taste as good as one from a gourmet retaurant for $6.95.

I coach clients that their entertainment is one of the most critical elements in the success of their event. They need to consider what they are receiving vs what they will spend. There's a reason some DJs only charge $75 per hour while others charge 3 or 4 times that amount!
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby DJStuCrew » Sun Feb 13, 2005 4:41 am

Well, first of all, the "magic number" you hear being bandied about was not supposed to be a goal, but the AVERAGE cost of a basic, run-of-the-mill DJ based on research. For instance, the average paid in 1985 vs. the average paid in '95. Even though the rate of inflation made the value of the dollar drop to only 70%, it was found that the average rate for a DJ remained the same. Therefore, if you were charging $600.00 in 1985, you took home $600.00. Charge the same in '95, that $600.00 was only worth $420.00.

Next, the price a DJ needs to charge should be based on a business plan, just like every other service. Trouble is, most DJ's don't think of their business AS a business! So many never put together such a plan! You can get help creating one by joining your local Chamber of Commerce, or you can do it yourself. But do it, because like the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

Part of your plan will deal with profits and losses. Now we all know about those tangible losses we take simply running our business; the gear we buy; the costs of music; maybe even the gas used driving to a gig. But there are many other costs, too. We don't just work a few hours on a weekend. We put in many hours during the week as well, meeting with couples, working on our websites, planning and placing our advertising and working the bridal shows, maintaining our gear and music libraries and on and on. I have days where I work non-stop from when my feet hit the floor in the morning until my head hits the pillow at night!

So you've got to keep track of the actual hours you spend on your business. If you add them all up, PLUS the hours at the gig, and then divide them into what you make from the one or two gigs you work, you'll see how much per hour you're making. If you're like most DJ's, you could make a better living at a fast food joint.

That's because most DJ's have a day job that pays their bills. Then they look at their DJ work as a "side job," and everything they make from it as "gravy." But they STILL need to put work in to get work out! It's my bet that most of 'em have no clue as to how much they're really making and, if they did the math, they might even be LOSING money for the privilege of being a DJ!

So the bottom line is that in 2005 America, just the basic professional DJ should be over $1,000.00. I didn't take anyone's word for that -- I went to my chamber and THEY told me the same thing I'd heard at a certain seminar! Visit your chamber or work the numbers yourself. There's really no mystery to it.

If you're full-time, then don't forget the other costs that the guys with day jobs don't have; health insurance; retirement fund; and vacation pay. Yes, when I was at GM, I got two weeks paid vacation. Now that I work for myself, I don't take vacations. Is that fair? Recently, I've set aside a small amount for vacations, bit generally spend them on trade shows and conventions. This strategy allows me to write-off the expenses at tax time.

Yes, we need to work to make our show valuable, unique and worth the client's money. But isn't that a given? Even McDonald's works to make it's food taste good. Every DJ starts somewhere, and hopefully we all get better with time. I've been a DJ for more than 25 years now, and I still am improving. (The big joke at my house it that I'll finally get it down to perfection and drop dead!) :)

So BE worth it. But FEEL deserving when you collect that paycheck. Look at all you do and then ask yourself if it would be fair to ask someone else to do all of that for less. Then treat YOURSELF as good as you would treat any other total stranger.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Jem-star » Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:18 pm

DJ Stu...

First of all, I'd just like to say that if you can speak any bit as eloquently as you can write (and I'll bet you do), then I sure would love to see you up front as a speaker at conventions.
I've got 20 years in the biz, and I swear I still feel as if I started only yesterday...That's why I've decided to take advantage of DJ Robb Smith's F.A.M.E. course, so I'll have less excuses for the way I felt about myself last night (I'll expand on this further down). Let me discect a few of your points:
DJStuCrew wrote:We don't just work a few hours on a weekend. We put in many hours during the week as well, meeting with couples, working on our websites, planning and placing our advertising and working the bridal shows, maintaining our gear and music libraries and on and on. I have days where I work non-stop from when my feet hit the floor in the morning until my head hits the pillow at night!

This is the type of stuff I need to commit to memory for every time someone (including my boss...ERRRR...my wife) comes at me with "You sit home all day and do NOTHING!" Otherwise, for some reason, my response is like, "Hum-in-ah, hum-in-ah..." She just doesn't want to hear anything I would have to say...She just wants the house clean.
DJStuCrew wrote:...most DJ's have a day job that pays their bills. Then they look at their DJ work as a "side job," and everything they make from it as "gravy."

READERS: Is this TRUE? As a FULL TIME, "THIS IS MY BREAD AND BUTTER, AND I LOVE IT" kind of 'DJ', I certainly hope NOT! And if it IS true, the notion certainly wouldn't help when it comes to justifying to the general layman public why your next statement is true:
DJStuCrew wrote:...So the bottom line is that in 2005 America, just the basic professional DJ should be over $1,000.00. I didn't take anyone's word for that -- I went to my chamber and THEY told me the same thing I'd heard at a certain seminar! Visit your chamber or work the numbers yourself. There's really no mystery to it.

Joining my local Chamber or Business Association is definately on my list of things to do. But, then again, so is purchasing wireless speakers.
DJStuCrew wrote:...Yes, we need to work to make our show valuable, unique and worth the client's money. But isn't that a given? Even McDonald's works to make it's food taste good. Every DJ starts somewhere, and hopefully we all get better with time. I've been a DJ for more than 25 years now, and I still am improving. (The big joke at my house it that I'll finally get it down to perfection and drop dead!) :)

So BE worth it. But FEEL deserving when you collect that paycheck. Look at all you do and then ask yourself if it would be fair to ask someone else to do all of that for less. Then treat YOURSELF as good as you would treat any other total stranger.

Which brings me to how I felt about my performance last night: Every so often, I'll have a wacked out performance, in last night's case, due to being distracted by my old secondary room speakers clipping out on me as folks from that room were complaining about it. EECCHH!!
The wheels fall off the wagon, but I eventually get it back up and going again, and finish with a BANG! Everyone tells me what a great job I did...The client (and her mom) are in my face telling me I'm GREAT, yet I don't receive a tip.
Sometimes I feel as if clients are not telling me what's really on their mind, and I just can't stand it. I always wish I could find someone to poll my past clients to try to weed out any un-said truths, etc, to see if there really were any. I hope I'm just being paranoid.
Last edited by Jem-star on Sun Feb 13, 2005 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby CJ Greiner » Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:41 pm

Ahhhhh paranoia -- the great motivator for self-improvement!

Jem-star -- if the party hadn't been that good, they would have simply come up to say goodnight and left (maybe not even that.) But if they really had a good time and thought that their guests did too -- then they stay a little longer to give you compliments and talk about the night.
(So, good job last night!)
Some people just don't tip -- in fact, it's a rare thing to tip a band or DJ around these parts. 8)

DJStuCrew's discourse was well-thought-out and holds a lot of truths in it that we all need to be reminded of once in a while!
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