Starting A Mobile DJ Business
Starting a part time mobile DJ business is not going to make you rich,
but it can really make a big difference in your life. You can use the
money to pay off bills, take a nice vacation or just be able to
purchase things that you wouldn't normally be able to afford.
As a DJ, you can usually make between $50 to $200 an hour, depending on
the type of event that you are deejaying or where you are located.
You may be asking that is it is possible to make so much money
deejaying, then why doesn't everyone do it? Good question.
Well the answer is really simple.
First most people are scared to try it because that don't know exactly
how to go about getting started deejaying. They don't know how to go
about getting customers for their mobile DJ business and they don't
know what equipment they well need to deejay with.
Second reason is that you have to be able to afford to invest in DJ
equipment, which makes it hard if you don’t have any money to spend on
the initial equipment.
These are what I call "barriers to entry". This is a good thing for you
as a DJ. It keeps other people from getting into the business.
On this site, I explain everything you need to know on how to get
customers and DJ equipment, even if you don’t have money to buy the
equipment up front to start your mobile DJ business.
If you are interested in learning how to do beat matching and "club" style
DJing, then click here to learn more.
Getting Started With No Money!
Here are a couple of ideas to get your equipment to start your mobile
DJ business without using your own money. (And yes it is legal)
(You will be surprised how little is cost to get a basic entry level DJ
package. I was able to get my first set for about $550 and it is
quality equipment. )
Don’t let the lack of money stop you from making money deejaying!
First, you can start marketing your business even before you get your
first piece of equipment. You do not have to have equipment to
talk with potential clients or even to book future events.
You can collect the deposit money that you are given for future events
and use that money to purchase your equipment. This means no money out
of your pocket!
It is customary in the mobile DJ business to receive a deposit from
your clients when they book an event in order to reserve the date. This
is the basis of my no money out of pocket plan.
I will use the wedding niche as my example. Most people planning a
wedding will be planning it several months or even a year in advance.
Most weddings at the minimum pay $350 to $500 and depending on the
demand and time of the year, $500 to $1000 is more like the norm. You
can expect to get a deposit of anywhere from $100 to half of the fee.
Let’s say you find a DJ set that you can get for $750. What you need to
do is work on booking enough events to get $750 in deposit money to buy
the set outright.
All you have to do is book a few weddings maybe 6 months in the future
and collect the deposits now. Are you following along? We are using
other people’s money to buy us equipment that we will use to deejay
their event (where they will be paying us even more money).
Equipment On Credit
You can also buy your deejaying equipment on a payment plan system
right now before booking any gigs.
Many of the equipment company have a 3 or 4 payment plan.
Then if you can book enough events during the payment plan time frame,
you can pay for your equipment with no money out of your pocket.
Lastly, if you have a credit card, you could just buy your equipment
with it and make the payments with your business profits.
I like buying my equipment on Amazon because I get better deals there.
Why do I know these will work? Simple, I have done it myself and if I
did it, so can you.
When it comes to DJ equipment, there is the bare minimums that you will
need and then there is both nicer/better equipment and the “extras”.
Speakers – There are two kind
to choose from. Active and passive.
Active speakers have the amp built in and passive require an amplifier
to send them the power/sound. ( I like active speakers.)
With passive speakers, the audio signal comes out of the mixer and goes
into the amplifier. From the amplier out comes the power to drive
I am not a big fan of these because if the amp goes out, you are done
for the night.
The advantage of these are that they are lighter than active speakers,
but beyond that, I don’t see much use for them.
Active speakers have the amplifier built into them. This mean you send
a low level signal to them and the speaker will amplify it.
Usually there are several controls on the speaker that you can use to
adjust the sound level, tone, etc.
I usually adjust my speakers to about the middle range on the amplifier
scale ( ie 5) and then control the level of the signal I sent to the
speakers via the mixing board.
I can also control the level of the signal coming out of the laptop or
iPod that I use.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to control the volume and you
have to adjust to avoid distortion. A hint is to never run anything on
it highest level.
I like the active speakers because if my mixing board dies I can still
hook it up in a way that I can produce music for people to hear.
If you are using passive speakers and your amp blows, you are done.
Also a lot of amps come as a amp/mixer combo, so if either of these
blow, you are done.
I want to make sure that I don’t ruin anyone’s event because of my
equipment failing and I feel that active speakers give me a better
chance of that not happening.
Behringer EUROLIVE B215XL 1000-Watt 2-Way Pa Speaker System with 15
Woofer And 1.75 Titanium Compression Driver .
These are active speakers but they aren’t very heavy.
I have used Behringer speakers since I started and they sound good
and really hold up.
I love these speakers but you should look at buying them in a package
like I did. You can save a ton of money this way. I recommend this
PA System With 15-In Powered Speakers & More PA
It has everything you need to get started (except speaker stands) and
it will save you money buying it this way.
Speaker Stands- These are
simply stands that hold your speakers up off the ground. (they can be
used to hold lights, too) Sturdy Speaker Stands
Mixer Board- Think of this as a
big switch. You use it to turn on and
off incoming sigal ( music or mics) and control the signal going to the
amp ( or speakers, if you are using active speakers)
Think of the mixer board as just a big switch. There are a lot of
options and most of the time you will only be using the sound board to
switch between the inputs. Most of the times all you will need is 2
inputs for music and an input for a microphone.
The big thing to look for are the inputs and output connection types,
stereo or mono, and the style of control knobs ( slider or turn knob). Behringer Sound Board
Amplifier- If you are using
passive speakers, you have to boost the
signal before sending it to the speakers. This is placed between the
mixing board and the speakers. Pyle Pro
Audio Player/Storage Device-
This is what you use to play and store
your music in. Most likely it is going to be a lap top computer, but it
can be an iPod, MP3 player, CD player. Depending on the set up, you
might be using 2 or more of these.
Microphone- There are mics that
you hook up via a microphone wire and then there are wireless
microphones. Pro Wireless Mics
Wires- You will need a lot of
different wires to connect your equipment up.
Extension cords and power strips-
You will need several of these. Go with black extension cords, they
look more professional. Here is a good 50 ft cord.
DJ Table and Stand- This will
vary, but you need some place to hold all
your equipment and make it look professional. (I have a really slick
way of doing it)
In this picture, you can see my DJ table/stand set up.
I built a box out of plywood and covered it with black automotive
I put a hinged shelf on top to hold my laptop computer and my mixing
board goes inside the box.
I just us a card table with a black cloth over it to make it look good
and to hide all of my cables.
As you can see, everything is hidden from view, which gives a clean,
professional look to my DJ table.
You can easily make this yourself for probably less than $20.
You need to make sure that you make it big enough to fit your mixing
board in and a power strip.
I cut a hole in the black cloth to run the speaker cord and the
extension cord out of.
Here are some things that you will need to add as you grow your DJ
Lights- You can spend an ton on
theses but I will show you hold to do
it for next to nothing and have a great looking light set up.
Here are the lights I use:
ADJ Products Micro Burst LED Lighting
You can fill a room with light with just 2 of these. I attach them to
my speakers or speaker stands.
The second light option you should look at getting is black lights. You
can use these a high school dances or you can offer “highlighter”
parties as part of your DJ services.
You can usually charge extra for both kinds of lights and usually pay
for them with the first gig you do with them.
Speaker Bags- These are used to
safety store and move your speakers
with. These have wheels and makes moving your equipment a whole lot
easier. Gator Speaker Bag
There are many different events yo can do as a DJ, here these are the
Wedding DJ- This can and most
like will be your biggest money maker.
You can expect to make anywhere from $400 to $1000 plus for a 4 hour
High School Dances- This can be
a great money maker too. You are
looking at anywhere from $150 to $1000 plus ( proms pay really good)
Most of the post game fund raising dances are going to pay $200-$300
depending where you are located.
Corporate Events- This can be
company picnics, social events or office
Christmas parties. This can be a real money maker for you too.
Frat/Sorority Formals- Here is
the funniest and easiest money. Many
Greek organizations have a Christmas/Winter Formal dance and a Spring
Formal. These are like high school proms where anything goes.
There are also night clubs, pool parties, birthday parties, car
shows, and events
where they just need a MC or use of PA equipment
How Much To Charge For Deejaying An Event
When you are trying to decide how much to charge for DJing an event,
you should never have your prices posted.
Every event is different and should have a different cost. You
to take into consideration the time of year, the event type, the time
of the event, how long the event is and how much equipment you
going to need to bring.
The #1 tip that I have is to never give a quote for the event before
asking the customer what their budget is.
For example, you get a call for someone wanting to book a wedding
reception. You should ask the date, location, how long it is, number of
guest, etc. Before giving the customer a quote, say something like, ”
What kind of budget do you have for the DJ?”
Maybe they say $800 to $1000 and you would have done it for $500. You
just made at least $300 extra by not giving a price first.
You would say something like, ” We can work with that budget” “I think
we could do it for $850″
You can do this for any other type of event.
Building Up Your DJ Business
Have the old fashion DJ business
cards printed up for your business and have a stack setting out on your
DJ table at any event you are deejaying at.
Before you get those cards printed, let’s do the next step first.
Setting Up Your Mobile DJ Business Website
You need to set up a business website. This will make you look
very professional if done right. I recommend that you get your own
domain and not try to get one of those free sites. They look
cheap and you can have a website at Fatcow for well under a $100
a year. Than is super cheap advertising.
On this site, you want to create a contact page and you should supply
some sort of additional free information that the people planning an
Here is an easy way to us the internet and video to get your website to
rank higher in the search engines ( which is like gettting free
advertising for your business).
You can post videos to YouTube for videos you shoot at your events and
link them back to you website in the description area. You can
also post tpicttures and videos from your events on FaceBook and
tag people in them. People will share the video with their friends and
In the internet world, this is call backlinking, SEO and social media,
all of which get your DJ business in front of eyes of potential
customers and it is basically free.
The number on tip is to name the videos something like “Wedding DJ
Anytown, New York”. This give you a “long tail keyword” which means the
when someone is Goggling “wedding Dj Anytown New York”, there is a good
chance your video comes up and their is a link sending them to your
website which has your contact information.
Next you want to list your mobile deejaying business on the local web
business pages directories. Link your website to this.
Other Ways To Find Leads
After that you need to put free ads up on Craigslist to advertise your
business. Be sure to link back to your website.
I have a few other ideas that I have used in the past to drum up more
leads for my business.
I have sent business cards to all the local high schools with a
letter to the principle asking if he would pass these along to any
groups that may be hosting school dances that school year. These
cards may end up in the trash can or they may end up in the teachers
I stop by the local bridal dress shop and leave a stack of
I contact my competitors and ask them if they want me to refer
them for any events that I can’t do and ask them to do the same for
You will find that sometimes you will get three bridal couples that
want you to deejay their wedding reception, all on the same Saturday
afternoon. You can only choose one reception to DJ and the bridal
customers will probably ask you if you know of any other deejays.
There are also times when you will book a job for $300 and then have
someone that will be paying $1000 to have their event deejayed that is
scheduled at the same time. What should you to do?? You
contact your fellow deejay and get him to cover you on the gig for
$300. You would make the extra $700 and the other DJ will pass on jobs
to you in the future.
You will soon find that you both will start to cover each others back
and you will get way more gigs this way in the long run.
Sure you will get some crappy jobs for the other DJat first, but
you pass out your business cards at those events and before you know
it, you get bookings out of the crappy jobs.
This work great!
One of the ways that you can get your name out as a DJ and to promote
your mobile DJ business is to volunteer your services for free.
There are many organizations that want or need someone to provide the
sound system for their event. This could be anything from a
Walkathon to car show.
This is also a really good way to get experience if you are just
getting started. If you make mistakes while deejaying one of
these events, nobody can really say anything because you are doing it
You will benefit from getting a chance to learn the business with more
hands on experience.
Sometimes you will just be providing a mic and loudspeakers and the
people running the event may be doing all the talking. Other
times, you may be the event announcer or just playing music.
It normally only cost you your time, maybe a little gas money at the
most and you will be giving something back to the community. Meanwhile,
the people attending the event will be walking referrals.
Remember, word of mouth advertising is the best and cheapest
advertising you can have.
I always get back more than I give and you will find out the same will
happen for you, too.
How For Get Referrals As A DJ
If you want to make a lot of money as a DJ, you are going to have to
learn how to get referrals as a DJ. You will find that you get more
business this way than advertising or a website.
It is called word of mouth advertising and it has works for a long,
long time in just about every business there ever has been.
You get referrals from good customer service and most of it come before
the actual event happens.
You have to put your customers at ease during the event planning stage.
Sometimes you have to even help plan out the event. For example, many
times I help plan the wedding reception for people that have no idea
how to plan one.
Happy customers give good referrals, which make you more money.
Remember it is not about deejaying skills but more about making people
happy and there event run smooth.
Building A Playlist For Deejaying
As a DJ, you should never just show up to an event and wing it when it
comes to song selection. I am not saying that you don’t take requests
or don’t change the playlist, but you need to a playlist that covers
the expected time frame of the event.
You should take into consideration the type of event and the length of
the event when building this list.
You should make it at least as long as the event, if not longer. You
can always skip some songs or just not play the end of the playlist.
Here are some of my ideas for building a good play list:
Don’t play any of your “good” songs at the very beginning . Thins about
a high school dance. Kids are coming in for the first 10-15 minutes, so
don’t play the current, most popular song during this time.
Don’t play the same song twice. There will be excepts to this, but at
my son senior prom, they play “Chicken Fried” three times. WTF
Play a few songs that really has people dancing, then something they
can’t dance to. People need a break.
Usually play only on song dance song at a time.
As cheesy as they are, people love to do the “group” dance songs. Cha
Cha Slide, Wobble Baby Wobble….
Your songs at the end of the night should be just like the songs at the
beginning ( throw away songs). People are tired, leaving or talking.
Nobody cares what the DJ is playing at that point ( you just want
someone to tell you to go home).
If you are doing a wedding with a dinner, you should use Jazz, Frank
Sinatra, Michael Buble or Vitamin String Quartet. Easiest money ever!
Use the same playlist for months with high school dances. Just a new
song every now and then and you will rock that dance.
If you get lots of request for songs, then add them to you playlist.
Colleges are way ahead of high school. Plan on using college request
about 6 months down the road.
Save all your playlist and you can always just que one up if you are in
Software For Deejaying
You need to download these 2 free programs.
The first one is
Mixxx. It is a free
open source program that you can use to basically
play all your music on through a computer. It will help you set up
playlists and easily control your whole music library.
program you are going to need is call Audacity. This is another
free open source program that is very popular for editing music. No
matter what style of deejaying you are planning on doing, you will have
to do some editing.
Use Mixxx DJ Software To Automatically Fade Songs Together
If you want to sound like a Pro DJ, you need to make sure that you
don’t have a gap of silence between songs. This can be a real pain if
you are manually doing this on your sound mixer and 2 different audio
The good news is that you can use the free Mixxx DJ software to auto
deejay your playlist for you. It will fade out one song and fade into
Make Clean Versions of Songs With Audacity
If you are going to be deejaying high school dances, you are going to
to make sure that you have clean versions of the popular songs.
You can easily do this yourself with the free software call Audacity.
I would suggest that you rename your song with the “songtitle”-clean,
so that you know what has been edited to the clean version and what
How Act Professionally As A DJ
You need to learn how to be professional as a DJ if you want to get
future gigs from some of the guest at your current gig (this is where
you will get most of your future business, at least that is how it
works for me).
Here is a basic list of rules a professional DJ must follow:
Arrive early to set up your DJ equipment so that
you have time to test out the set up and take care of any last minute
problems that you may have. Remember, you may be use to deejaying
events but the customer is probably nervous about the event going off
smoothly. Showing up late will only make them increase their
Dress like a professional dDJ. This can vary
depending on the event you are the DJ at. A formal wedding may require
a suit or tux ( yes, you can get more for your “tux package”).
Generally black pants and a long sleeve black button up shirt will
cover just about any event. A less formal event like a pool party would
probably only need casual attire.
Remember, you are “hired help” and not a guest at
the event. This means that you just can’t help yourself to the open bar
or buffet ( you should discuss this when you meet with your clients,
many will tell you to help yourself to the food, bar, etc.)
You need to remember that it is not about what
kind of music you like and if you are going to deejay professionally,
you need to always keep this in mind. You need to play what your client
and their guess want to hear.
You are trying to make the event as special as
possible for your clients. Your job is to set the mood or tone of the
party. This is what you are really providing to your client. Go out of
your way to make it special.
This is just a small part of what I consider basic techniques. It is
really just basic manners and a professional attitude.
Also when you are deejaying an event, you have to plan ahead for
One of the things that I always do whenever I am deejaying is to make
sure I have extra cords. You never know when one will short out.
I saw this happen a deejay at a Father-Daughter girl scout dance
several years ago. The cord from his lap top to his mixing board went
out. We were without music for about 45 minutes. Needless to say, it
put a damper on the dance.
Another problem that can happen when you are deejaying is that the
power plug in is too far away and you do not have a long enough
extension cord. I have had this happen and had to be very constructive
in my cord layout.
Other things that you might need is extra fuses, duct tape and of
course a backup device to play music on.
You do not ever want to ruin your customers event by not being
prepared. A professional deejay is always ready to handle problems.