Type of event
One of the biggest factors in your DJ costs will be the type of party you are hosting. As you might expect, wedding DJs cost more than a DJ for a graduation party or anniversary. But did you know that DJs for coming-of-age parties often cost more than wedding DJs? Research, culled from tens of thousands of quotes, has shown that bar and bat mitzvah DJ services can cost more than wedding DJ services. In fact, in 2015, bar mitzvah DJs were 32 percent more expensive than wedding DJs and 93 percent more expensive than the average birthday party. This is because the DJs are working double-time, simultaneously serving as MC, DJ, crowd control, joke master, and dance instructor all rolled into one. If you've ever tried entertaining a banquet hall full of tweens, you will understand.
Length of Event
DJing may seem like the dream job, but it's also a lot of work. DJs are on their feet, keeping their eye on the crowd and managing the overall mood of the party, staying one step ahead of events and working closely with the party host or event coordinator to keep the event on schedule. That's why the number of hours a DJ is hired to spin music will affect the cost of services. Many DJs offer packages that include a set number of hours, with flexible pricing to accommodate additional hours.
DJs may charge an hourly rate that fluctuates depending on the type of event you are hosting. For example, a DJ may charge $75 per hour for corporate parties and $100 per hour for weddings. Other DJs may have hourly rates that decrease the longer you book them for. The initial rate takes into account their operating costs and the time and effort required of them to prepare for your event, drive to your location and set up. If you book them for more hours, many DJs are able to offer lower hourly rates since they are already on-site with their equipment and ready to party. Here are some examples of how party length can change average service rates:
2-hour prom/high school dance: $350
3-hour prom/high school dance: $450
4-hour prom/high school dance: $500
5- or 6-hour prom/high school dance: $600
There's a reason you don't want your niece to DJ your 30th birthday party. Even if she has fabulous taste in music, unless she has professional sound equipment, your big party will sound like it's being played on a home stereo.
The money that professional DJs invest in their equipment is part of the reason they charge the rates they do. The more high-tech the sound system, the larger investment on the part of the DJ.
DJs might bring anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 worth of music and sound equipment to an event. If you want an upgraded package that includes lighting and other special effects, that requires even more valuable equipment. This is also why it's important to hire a DJ who has the appropriate insurance coverage.
When you hire a DJ, they expect you to have requests and preferences about the music you want played. Their fees account not just for the time they spend spinning songs at your party, but also for the time they spend preparing by making playlists and organizing music for your event. Requests for obscure music can increase costs — especially if it's something the DJ does not already own, requiring him or her to download the music or find it elsewhere. Don't be shy about communicating freely with your DJ about must-hear songs and the overall mood you want to hear.
The total cost of DJ services may increase if the DJ is asked to emcee the event as well as provide music. Acting as the MC can include announcing activities, keeping the event on schedule and more. Some DJs automatically include MC services in the cost of their package, so be sure to ask if this is the case. Be sure to let the DJ know if you don't want them to provide any MC services. Some DJs like to urge people to get on the dance floor or talk to the crowd over the mic unprompted. If you prefer the DJ to keep their service to the tunes, just communicate that clearly with them during the hiring process.