“How much do you charge?”
This is a pretty standard question we are often asked in the initial inquiry e-mails sent by potential clients. However, there isn’t really a standard answer, as our rates will be influenced by a number of factors (please see below) which inevitably vary from event to event. Thus we do not have a set “rate sheet” available or any type of “standard packages” – every event we handle is slightly different, so we custom tailor the quotes we send out to our potential clients.
Here are the various factors that will influence our rates / pricing:
1. Location of the event – If traveling a long distance from the central Bay Area, there may be a travel fee, and we may need to apply an additional load in / setup fee for venues with particularly difficult access. Providing the city and specific venue your event will be taking place in will help in providing you with a meaningful quote. Events located more than 3 hours from the Bay Area are generally considered overnight events, and lodging charges will apply as well. Airfare charges will apply for out of state or Los Angeles / San Diego area events.
2. Length of the event – Rates will vary depending on how long service will be needed for. Please specify the time frame you’ll need DJ service for by noting the start and end times for the DJ coverage. For wedding events that involve ceremony coverage, please note the time you have slotted for guest arrival rather than the start time for the ceremony itself. This is important to note as all setup activity should be complete by the time guests enter the facility, and most clients will want ceremony prelude music playing prior to the ceremony as guests are being seated.
3. Event logistics (IMPORTANT – PLEASE NOTE!!!) – A common oversight by a client is to want to hire a DJ for only the dance portion of the reception (perhaps they have live music covering the cocktail and dinner hour), but not think about the fact that the DJ will need to be set up up prior to the event start as not to disturb the event while underway. If we’ll need to have our setup completed before we actually start playing music, there will be a charge for the “wait” time between setup completion and the time we will be taking over and playing music.
4. Equipment needs – We may charge additional equipment fees if multiple sound systems will need to be set up to cover different parts of the wedding (ie the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception will be held in three separate areas of a venue). PLEASE NOTE that we always insist on setting up separate speaker arrays if we will be covering multiple areas in a venue. Having speakers moved from one area of a venue to another while the event is underway is extremely disruptive to your guests, will result in tons of awkward time with no music playing, and is generally a poor strategy for a successful event. If you are pricing DJs and have an event where multiple areas need to be covered, BE SURE to ask the DJs you are speaking with if they plan to set up separate sound systems in each area, or if they are planning to move their speakers from one location to the next. Unless you are fine with gaps in the music coverage and noisy equipment setup taking place while your guests are trying to have conversations, we advise avoiding any DJ who cannot offer to provide independent sound setups for each distinct area.
In addition, some events in large spaces (such as the Julia Morgan Ballroom, the Palace Hotel Garden Court, Casa Real + Palm Event Center in Pleasanton or the Claremont Ballroom at the Claremont Hotel) require fairly large sound arrays to adequately cover the space. In our proposals, we will clearly detail out what equipment is being provided (and include this detail in the body of our service contract). Make sure any DJ you speak with does the same – many DJs who lack the proper equipment to cover larger spaces (or a suitably sized vehicle to transport more than a simple 2 speaker system) will attempt to cover weddings with 250+ guests in a huge space with nothing but a pair of small powered speakers. Make sure you know EXACTLY what will be provided or you might be disappointed with the sound coverage / quality. Also, when comparing quotes, you will be well served to take the equipment factor into consideration to avoid making an apples to oranges comparison!
5. Please note that you will be responsible for any applicable parking fees incurred (this applies to most San Francisco hotels and any venue that lacks free parking or reasonably accessible non-metered street parking).
Hopefully, points 1-5 will help give you an idea of the information we are looking for in order to provide you with an accurate quote.