"Only want 4 hours....no interactivity wanted"

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"Only want 4 hours....no interactivity wanted"

Postby djmc » Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:59 pm


these are the kinds of deals I used to walk away from, but when you advertise "no-cheese" (well, live by the sword die by the sword I always say)....

so I went back and forth with e-mails, then got her phone number, then I called her and spoke with her about her TRUE needs for this event!

She said:

Hi Matt,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I guess,
before even getting a quote, it would be great if you
could answer some more questions.

We're going to have a guitarist or pianist for the
ceremony and cocktail hour, so we are only looking to
book a DJ for the after-dinner dancing...probably
starting around 8:00 PM? With that in mind, when is
the typical setup time? Do you still set up before the
event? Or during dinner? Obviously, I'm a novice at
these things! Just trying to figure out how many hours
of your time we would need.

As I explained in the form on your web site, we're not
really looking for the DJ to play a big role in the
planning or coordination. We're not even sure that we
want the DJ to make announcements (like "time for
toasts" and "time for cake" etc), but if they do,
we're looking for a subtle, personality. Maybe it's
just that I've been to weddings where the DJ seemed to
overbearing...teasing the crowd, making jokes, trying
to get to much interaction. We're not looking for
that, and I want to make sure that the DJ is cool with
our preference. Is this something you would be
comfortable with? I certainly understand if not.

I don't think we want any special lighting or
anything. I'm assuming you have all of your own audio
equipment...like speakers, etc? Have you ever done an
event at the xxxxxx in xxxxxx, CA?

With regards to the music, I guess you could say I'm
sort of picky. I want to have a lot of control over
the playlist. It's good to know that you guys have an
expansive repetoire, but in the case that you don't
have a song I absolutely want, what happens? Do I
supply you with the CD? Does it have to be an original
CD or can it be a burned copy? Just wondering.

Let's see. I can't think of anything else off the top
of my head! Thanks very much for your time!

I wrote back and answered her questions, which let to more questions:

First let me say, GREAT ANSWERS! You put reminders into my head that I hadn't even thought about! I have some additional questions, so I'll intersperse them below. Look for the ">>>>"

1) even though you say you only need DJ "after dinner," this is a common
misconception. Is the guitarist/pianist going to make the needed
announcements: Your grand entrance into the xxxx xxxxxx, asking everyone
to be seated, dismissing the tables (off the microphone, one by one) for the
buffet. You still need someone to introduce the persons making
toasts/speeches, someone to direct traffic.

>>> You are completely right. I wasn't even thinking. We will probably want the DJ to play MELLOW music during dinner as well. Your timeline below looks fine, and we might even add to that! So far, there are still so many decisions up in the air! Really, the only things we know for sure are that both the ceremony and the reception will be in the xxxxx xxxxxxx. We're thinking around 100 guests...but, if everyone actually shows up, it would probably be more like 120. So, this wedding will be on the smaller side. My mom wants to involve my brothers, so she's thinking that she, my dad, and my brothers would handle most of the announcements. But -- the grand entrance...there's something I hadn't even thought about. In fact, I doubt we'll have one!

2) It looks tacky for the DJ to rush in during dinner at 7:30pm and set up
his equipment. We prefer to arrive a minimum 2 hours before starting time
(usually before guests arrive). This is all part of the "Coverage" we
provide in our package.
Having us there early provides insurance in two ways: a) we are set up
before guests arrive, and have time to change into suit/tie. b) musicians
are world-famous for their flakiness. I can't count the number of times the
guitarist/pianist or whatever cancelled on the newlyweds, leaving them
without live music for dinner. having us there as a "backup" makes even
more common sense.

>>> Perfect answer! Tacky is the last thing I want! We are thinking of having a cocktail hour before the ceremony (we're a little unconventional). So, we were thinking cocktails at 5:00, ceremony at 6:00. So, you'd need to set up around 3:00? Wow, OK. That would be a big lull between setup and start time. Is that common? Otherwise, I guess the best setup time would be during the second cocktail hour...before dinner. I don't know. Obviously, it's something we would have to discuss. I guess it doesn't help that everything is in one room.

3) We have played at the xxxxxxx no less than 20 times (me and my 2
other DJs that work with me). Its a big barn of a place with high ceiling
and concrete floor. Having a decent sound system with backup equipment is a
plus in that room!

>>> I take it that means you have this kind of equipment! :-) It would definitely ease my mind to know that our DJ is familiar the location. That brings up another question. Will YOU be our DJ? Or would it be any number of people you work with? I want to make sure that all of my arrangements and correspondence are with THE ACTUAL DJ. Just checking!

4) As previously mentioned, I started out as a "wallflower" DJ (afraid to be
assertive on the microphone). I guess its possible to revert to my "old"
ways for one night....LOL ;)

>>>> Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't want to change your personality. I'm just thinking of some of those weddings I've been to with the overbearing-on-the-verge-of-obnoxious DJs who take over the whole evening. There's a time and place for everything, but my wedding isn't it! :-) We want FUN in a classy, mellow way.

5) You're welcome to bring your own CDs in the unlikely event that we don't
have something you need. For crucial songs (1st dance, Father/Daughter,etc)
we recommend you bring original (not burned) CDs. For the rest
(non-crucial), you can burn them onto a 70 minute CD-R (not 80 min, some of
those have read errors).

>>>> Perfect.

6) Unlike most other companies, we don't place unreasonable requests on the
number of songs on your play list. Keep in mind, that in a 4 hour block of
playing time, it is only possible to squeeze 60 songs. We reserve the right
to "read the crowd," so if something isn't working, we can fade it out and
try another song. There is nothing worse than a DJ who plays entire songs
when nobody is dancing!

>>>> I completely agree. It's not like I want control the entire playlist, I just want to have more of a say over the "style" of the majority of the music...and of course make sure that my favorites are played! Other than that, I completely understand that the DJ needs the freedom to read the crowd and their mood, and you would have that freedom. How about requests from the crowd? Do you do that? See, for me, I would say ABSOLUTELY NO COUNTRY music! But, my twin brother is a country fan! So, I wouldn't be opposed to it if he requested a song or two, but otherwise, I wouldn't want it played.

7) Keep in mind that although I am completely willing to accept your terms
because we are a Music Catering service, and it is the way I started my
business (being 100% request driven). However, we cannot guarantee the same
level of energy and dancefloor success that we would have if we were allowed
to perform without any restrictions, and you understand that. You are the
boss, we are your hired help! However, it really helps us when, after the
event is over, if you're happy with our work---please post at the Knot or
make a review online at CitySearch.

>>>> That makes perfect sense. And, don't worry. I'm not as uptight about it as I may sound. I'm open, and there is time to discuss. And of course we would be willing to give testimonials wherever you'd need them after the wedding.

Based on the information you've given me, here is the coverage needed for
this event:

Setup time = 6 pm (or earlier if needed)
official starting time = 8pm (but we can make announcements as early as 7pm)
end of playing time = 12 midnight
end of teardown = no later than 1 am
pre-event meeting = one hour at the Starbucks of your choice (optional)
TOTAL COVERAGE = 8 HOURS (7 hours if meeting is not required)

>>>> Based on some things I mentioned above, it looks like we would need more time than that. But, I guess it's hard to plan because we haven't really solidified our own timeline yet. Am I doing all of this too early in the game?

About meeting. It's hard because I live in the Bay Area. But I want to book the DJ and get that off my plate. I'm thinking we may need two meetings. One to interview you in person (sometime soon!?!)...and the other, if we need it, prior to the event. Is that unheard of? Are people usually fine booking you without meeting you in person? My mother would like to meet you in person as well...or maybe she'd just be OK talking to you over the phone. Also, my fiance mentioned references. I saw your reviews online, but he was wanting to talk to a real person or two who had used you for a wedding. Is that possible?

We will call you to give the different pricing for each option. Our rate
per hour of coverage varies between $99 per hour and $120 per hour, with
yours being at the lower end of that range (no lights, no dual emcees).

>>>> Sounds good. Thanks again for all of your time!!!


Now I know she is starting to look really "high maintenance" but she calls herself "Ali" and my daughter is named "Allie"

in our phone conversation I convinced her of the need to have the DJ as a "backup ceremony source" as well as the PA microphone usage, as well as being in the building well ahead of time so there would be no disturbing the guests as we entered and set up equipment.

Here's the package we came up with: $999.00 which includes 10 hours coverage, including 4 hours playing time, 4 hours setup time, and 1 hour teardown, plus a 1 hour pre-event meeting. My interactive assistant is included if the bride requests her personally (meaning Ali to Allie phone call....LOL).

In her little Bridezilla brain, she probably *thought* she could find a $400 DJ to do her event. Yes, there are "Local Yokels" who DJ for $100 an hour and will enter in the middle of dinner. But I was able to pull a $600 upsell on her.

It just took a couple of e-mails and a 20 minute phone call.
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Re: "Only want 4 hours....no interactivity wanted"

Postby Toneman » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:44 pm

Good luck at the event......All I can say is....It sounds like she's somewhat of a control freak when it comes down to the music. I've had clients book my service because they have seen and liked my service and had a really great time at the events that I've done for there friends or family. But when they hired my service, my hands where tied because of music. They didn't want country, hard rock, or any of the traditional music like YMCA, Electric Slide, Macarena, etc. Not to many of the guest danced. After the event they questioned why there event was so different from the others. They liked what I did but was surprised about the outcome. I'm like you, being request driven, it is hard to cater to the guests when the bride and/or the groom have your hands tied in this way. I have to give it to you, ....You let her know what it is that you do and how you do it and came up with a game-plan together that fits both of you.

Let us know how this event turns out.

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Re: "Only want 4 hours....no interactivity wanted"

Postby Michigan DJ » Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:06 am


I never even thought to charge for setup and teardown time.

I don't think i could ever get it.
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Re: "Only want 4 hours....no interactivity wanted"

Postby djmc » Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:39 am

Michigan DJ wrote:WOWSA!

I never even thought to charge for setup and teardown time.

I don't think i could ever get it.

You're not "charging for setup and teardown," you're charging for EVENT COVERAGE:

meetings prior to the event are part of "Coverage"
Extended setup time for the convienience of bride and guests = coverage
longer teardown time due to difficult access to stage area = coverage

Charging for "hours of playing time" is foolish because it doesn't take into account the actual number of hours needed to perform the job.

By quoting the number of hours needed to perform the event, including the pre-event meeting, you communicate the VALUE of your services and this way it differentiates you from the pack!

(I got this from a photographer who uses similar verbiage to describe his photography packages--- each one has different amounts of COVERAGE depending on how much $$$ they paid!)
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Re: "Only want 4 hours....no interactivity wanted"

Postby Michigan DJ » Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:07 am


It is for reasons like this that I am glad other DJs, especially ones as experienced as DJMC are willing to help newbies like myself improve their way of life.
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Re: "Only want 4 hours....no interactivity wanted"

Postby alanjames » Sat Nov 13, 2004 2:39 am

Whatever rate I end up charging, I NEVER tell the client that they are being charged for set-up/breakdown time, travel time, or meetings.

Initial consultations are always "free," and then, after getting all the details, I calculate what I need to get for that job. I purposely tell the client I "don't charge" for set-up/breakdown or travel, and all meetings are at "no additional cost."

This has worked for me for 15 years because I know there are DJs out there that make no bones about stating that they charge extra for this and extra for that...you have to make the client think they are getting "added extras" without sacrificing your bottom line.
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Postby MusicDoctorDJ » Sat Nov 27, 2004 10:54 am

Her timeline cracks me up . . .

She already told you that there is to be a cocktail hour at 5 p.m., then ceremony at 6 p.m. . . .

Yet she suggested you to come in and set up at 6 p.m.!

It amazes me how some people try to nickle and dime us down when, in fact, we really should be charging them more for these types of 'tactics'!

Please be sure to let us know how this gig goes . . .
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Postby djdonny » Sat Nov 27, 2004 12:24 pm

By the way,

I hate to say it, but all I've been hearing lately is from brides who want subtle MCs, with little or no interaction, just music. I think they've been saturated by the overbearing type. I get calls for them all the time, and I'm just fine with it. Just be aware that there is definitely a market for subtle, low-key, classy DJs.
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