Budgeting

Why Do You Charge That?

cheapdjedit (2)Over the years we have been a part of many weddings, providing entertainment and planning services for couples with different tastes and different budgets.

When it comes to providing DJ entertainment, one of the questions we are most asked is why some DJ’s charge $200 and some charge $2000. I can’t explain what other people do or why they do it, but I can explain why we charge what we do.

It’s not some random number we pick out of the air. In order to run any successful business you must have a solid cost analysis of your services. You have to weigh the cost of equipment, time, labor, expenses and compensation. Because we take what we do very seriously and don’t approach one of the most important days in a person’s life as just a “job” we could not charge $200 and stay in business.

For a typical wedding we bring about $10,000 worth of equipment. We have equipment most people will never see such as equalizers and lighting controls, plus back up equipment just in case something fails. All that has to be maintained and replaced from time to time. If you were to go out and rent the equipment we bring it would cost you about $1500. In our pricing model we provide clients $10,000 worth of equipment for about $500.

Then there is the cost of music. We update our music library at least once a month. That annual cost is over $1000. That does not include the purchase of special songs our clients request. The cost is spread out between the number of DJ events we do each year. This allows us to always have to songs that are important to you.

Then there is transportation costs. All that equipment has to get to and from events. That requires time to check equipment, load and unload equipment, update new songs, maintain a company vehicle, insurance and fuel costs and time spent meeting with clients.

To maintain an office, website, phone line, liability insurance all are additional costs that must be factored in to pricing.

Then of course we have to make a living as well and we do this full-time. It’s not just us playing some songs on the weekend for a few extra bucks.

When you add it all up, we charge what we believe is the lowest price possible in order to provide our clients with the highest level of service.

 

30 Requests For Your DJ

When it comes to hiring a professional DJ for a wedding or an event there is often a conflict between perception and reality. The perception is a DJ plays music and makes the lights blink. How hard can that be? He (or she) probably sleeps all day and only works on Friday and Saturday nights. While that may be true from some out there, those are not the people you want to hire for your event. They are not professionals.

The other perception is a DJ should not cost more than a few hundred dollars. I mean really, the DJ is pressing play on songs, so why should it cost more?

When you hire a professional DJ, that person has likely invested over $10,000 in equipment. They are often the first one to arrive and the last to leave, so a 5 hour event is 9 hours or more for them. They pay thousands of dollars to update their music collection every year. They spend time reviewing new music, answering client questions, visiting venues, maintaining equipment, directing caterers, photographers and venue managers as to what happens and when. They attend meetings, send out contracts, work on timelines, deal with drunken guests and go out of there way to make sure everything goes perfectly. They need to be able to make a living just like everyone else.

Value is often forgotten and instead people look strictly at cost. You can always find someone cheaper, but you must understand what you get in return decide how important you event is to you. Here are some key questions to ask yourself of any DJ you consider:

  1. Do you get quality, professional equipment?
  2. Do you get a 2 person team that understands your event?
  3. Will your actual DJ meet you in person before you book them?
  4. Does your DJ know how to use their technology and how to troubleshoot issues?
  5. Will they set up long before guests arrive and work with other vendors?
  6. Can they adjust to schedule changes and unplanned issues?
  7. Do they know how to do introductions, tell a story and properly use the microphone?
  8. Will they be respectful to all your guests and not play offensive music?
  9. Do they prepare well in advance for your event?
  10. Do they play music from legal and reliable sources? Not from streaming or internet sources.
  11. Do they make sure their set up looks clean and professional?
  12. Do they refrain from drinking and smoking during your event?
  13. Do they dress in proper attire and appear well groomed?
  14. Do they speak clearly and naturally without putting on a show?
  15. Do they understand proper volume, tone and clarity for the entire room?
  16. Can they multi-task with music selections, announcements, and guests?
  17. Do they know how to mix different types and eras of music?
  18. Can they adjust to the crowd and bring people to the dance floor?
  19. Do they understand they are not the focus of attention?
  20. Do they value what they do and charge appropriately for it?
  21. Do they honestly answer your questions?
  22. Do they care about you and don’t consider your day another “gig”?
  23. Are they insured?
  24. Do they clearly explain what they will and will not do?
  25. Will they give you the time and attention you deserve?
  26. Do they have a back up plan should something go wrong?
  27. Do they have experience and a good reputation?
  28. Are they someone you trust and can work with?
  29. Will they promptly answer your calls and emails?
  30. How will they make your event unique and memorable?

Any professional DJ is going to have quick and honest answers to every question. Most people only hire a DJ once in their life and so many part time amatuers count on ignorance. A bad DJ can will ruin a great event. Don’t let it happen to you.

Saving Money On Your Wedding

Almost half of all couples get engaged between December and Valentine’s Day. If you are one of them congratulations. It’s an exciting time, but assuming you don’t plan a wedding everyday, it can also be shocking as the cost of your wedding celebration adds up. wedding cost

Here are a few ideas that may help you save:

Flowers – If you have the time and desire to design your own florals, you can have your wedding flowers shipped directly to you. Bridesign offer fresh cut flowers sent to you and can include a number of pre-made bouquets. You pick the colors and options and save over the cost of a traditional florist.

Rent Instead of Buy – While most brides understandably want to purchase their wedding dress, bridesmaids may not. With companies like Rent the Runway, Vow to be chic and Weddington Way offering affordable rental access to famous name designers, renting dresses may be a great money saving option.

Ebay Shopping – Check out Ebay for some great deals on everything from chair covers to favors. Look for gently used or even discounted new items on everything you need.

Groupon Planning – Deals change often, but with regular checks of the popular site Groupon you may find a deal on a photographer, transportation, rehearsal dinner and more.

Design Your Own Invitations –  You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to create fantastic looking invitations. With user friendly sites such as Zazzle, a few clicks and you can create your own wedding invitations.

These are a few of the many ways you can save money on your wedding. Decide what is most important to you and invest your funds in that area. For more ideas and links to these and other wedding resources visit our website.

Choosing a wedding DJ: When and How

I can’t tell you how many times the phone will ring a month before a persons wedding and they are just starting to look for a DJ. It’s kind of liking starting your shopping on Christmas Eve. What you end up with is what no one else wanted.

First understand how important you entertainment is. If everything else is perfect except your entertainment, your wedding celebration is a failure. That’s all there is to it.

The problem is most people don’t understand this until it is too late. So let us give you some tips to try an avoid any problems.

Let’s start with what NOT to do. Don’t just hook up your iPod and hit play. It may be fine for a backyard party, but not a wedding.

Don’t hire and club DJ. Club DJ’s are great in clubs, but not at weddings. Mixing and scratching have a place and time, but it’s a whole different skill set to be able to entertain a crowd of mixed ages and musical tastes.

Don’t ask a friend or choose the lowest bidder. You really need a pro for a number of reasons. Unless your friend is a pro wedding DJ with experience don’t ask, and that Craigslist guy that will do your wedding for $100 and some beer, well need I say more?

If you want the best entertainment for your day plan, research, and book early. We are booking weddings a year in advance if not more. Once you are engaged you need to pick a wedding date, location and DJ. Those should be your first three things.

Here are some key questions to ask when looking for a wedding DJ (and our answers to those questions):

Who will be the actual DJ entertaining on my wedding day? (We do every wedding we accept. We don’t run an agency or assign others)

Does the DJ provide a contract? (We provide a full 4 page contract that outlines everything in detail and what happens for weather, cancellation, damages, etc.)

How long will you hold the date for us? What deposit is required to hold the date? (We typically will hold a date for 5 days with no deposit. A portion of the price is required to secure the date. That cost varies depending on what services are chosen but is usually less than $300)

How long have you been in the business? (We have been doing wedding for 18 years)

Do you have other events on the date of my wedding? (We only accept one wedding per weekend to provide our full attention to our clients needs)

What differentiates you from all the other DJs? (It’s our personal approach as we strive to make your wedding unique to your style and taste)

What are the latest trends in wedding entertainment? (We constantly educate ourselves on trends and products such as led up lighting, audio advances and popular themes)

Will you emcee the wedding? (Yes. We do all your introductions, announcements and guide you throughout the night)

Can you provide custom up-lighting? (We offer full service event planning include up-lighting, Monogram lights, dance floors, rentals, etc.)

Have you performed at my venue? (We have entertainment at venues all over Pennsylvania, Ohio & West Virginia. While we have not been to every venue we would be happy to discuss yours)

What do you do if my guests aren’t dancing? (It’s our job to make sure everyone is having a good time. We always make adjustments to ensure the dance floor is full all night)

Can we do anything different for the typical wedding formalities vs. what is typically done? (We love making your wedding unique. We can offer ideas on things to do or we are always happy to incorporate your ideas and traditions)

Can we submit a “Do Not Play List” or a “Must Play List”? (Yes. While we don’t suggest you attempt to choose every song that will play, we will gladly play your requests and avoid any songs you don’t like)

These are only a few questions to ask when reviewing wedding DJs or entertainment. If a DJ or company seems to stutter at any of these requests, move on.  They will not customize your evening and chances are they have a pre planned routine that will not be the entertainment you want.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your needs please contact  us at Pierce Events 724-986-6939

Spending Wisely – Planning Your Budget

Pierce Events Pittsburgh event Planning Budget

Event Planning Budget

It’s imperative that planners do the most with the least for clients.  In our planning process we represent our clients to vendors and always seek about he best values on their behalf. We never exceed a projected budget without prior approval and we must have a darn good case to present to even ask a client to amend an agreed upon budget.  In the rare event that we do seek an increased production budget a complete explanation as to why the cost overrun exists and the benefit of the additional cost is always explained to our clients.Last year some of our national events increased in production cost for several key reasons. Rising fuel costs can have a big impact on your budget. Everything from deliveries to generators to food costs go up as the price of fuel rises.

Trust is very important in the client/planner relationship. Our client know that we explore the most cost effective options for each production and clearly understand the goals of every event. Without spending wisely, our clients would not come back to us again and again. Creating a wonderful event can be accomplished while sticking to your budget.

Often times we start of with the “Cadillac Plan” and whittle it down to the “Chevy Plan”. That’s because client like to know what the event could be but needs and wants must be sorted in the budgeting process. This is true of corporate events, weddings and any other event.

Needs and Wants are not always easily identified. A want disguised as a need can reveal itself in later stages of the event planning process. You may think you need live entertainment, but space and acoustics could limit options and push that live band into the “want” column.

Often times we must eliminate unnecessary items once the event starts to come together. Often keeping a few items on the list that can be removed without a major impact on the production provides a nice buffer for your budget.

There is always more than way to get a job done. When it comes to event services, sometimes there are non-traditional options. We have used local talent, volunteers, community groups and schools to assist in everything from entertainment to marketing.

Staying within budget requires us to value good business dealings, be cognizant of the current economic climate and understand the needs of our clients.

www.pierceevents.net