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  • Ken Prentice, C.Tech

What Should You Pay for Your Wedding DJ?

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

Why average DJ price is misleading, it doesn't tell you anything about the quality which is biggest problem in Stratford, Waterloo and Kitchener.

This is a topic most DJs avoid talking about, but many brides wonder. If you ask the question to a group of brides you’ll get answers that typically ranges from very low to what some would consider exceptionally high. A bride recently posed the question of the cost of a DJ on a FB group in the KW area (Kitchener,Waterloo), and it didn’t really clarify much other than it’s a big range which went from roughly $325 - $4000. The average price ended up being around $957 or $1081 with taxes, based on 46 comments. The misleading part about average is that none of the 46 prices aligned perfectly with the average so every single DJ is either above or below it. For the most part comparing on the basis of an average price is a misguided ideal that fails to account for what is involved or included. Are you getting an experienced DJ or someone new, and do they have the proper equipment? If this was a different purchase such as buying a home you would investigate it more by qualifying it beyond just the price. Chances are you would want to know the answers to questions like; is it a good neighborhood, is the home in disrepair, is the home big enough or is this a custom home built to your specifications?

Admittedly hiring a DJ and buying a home are different, however, the value and the price are both arguably subjective. The worth of a home is exactly what someone is willing to pay for it when it goes on the market. Each home is a little different even if the same builder was responsible for the whole neighborhood. That same logic applies to DJs, since they’re not all the same and neither is the price. This doesn’t mean the most expensive DJ equals the best since it still doesn’t explain what goes into determining the price. If the DJ’s price is more or even less than average you should at least investigate why that is. If the price is below average would it be acceptable if the quality is low or is that what you should expect with a low price? Is it acceptable that because the price was lower that the DJ has little or no wedding experience? So what you get and what you don't get for the price is a good question and to be fair it will vary.

There's a lot of factors that go into determining the price, but one consideration with a legally operated business is that 20% - 30% goes to taxes. The real way to get to a low price is to simply eliminate costs and/or forgo investing in the company. If it is not a legitimate business then they won’t worry about taxes, legal music, licensing or insurance, and there’s almost no chance they invest in paid training or backups. The only cost the DJ or company can’t avoid is equipment costs, but even those can be lowered. Instead of buying premium quality they can buy the cheaper lower end units or used equipment that’s past its prime. Lowering equipment costs can result in 70% reduction or more. Many will also completely ignore other areas that would involve the quality of the DJ or added security, such as training or having back ups in place. This year (2018), alone in Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph and Stratford at least 51 brides had their DJ canceled or disappeared before the wedding.

Although there’s no formula with pricing that can be applied to give a predictive outcome with your wedding there are red flags that you should be aware of. A price below the average will almost always come with other conditions such as risk. Average is average, it certainly shouldn’t be categorized as an indication of being safer and normally doesn’t equal having backups. A high price is just that a high price, there could be a good reason then again maybe not. Any price without knowing what goes into that price is meaningless in terms of quality. Determining the quality and worth requires brides to do research even if that sometimes means asking for proof. If the DJ is truly experienced their name should be found on reviews, no reviews for an experienced DJ is a major red flag. Trust is a big factor, you’re trusting that the DJ will enhance your wedding experience so make sure they’re being honest from the start. So what a DJ is actually worth and what your wedding experience is worth is totally subjective. Keep in mind with DJs there’s no exact duplicate because just like people and your wedding they’re all unique.

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