Our Guide to Working Out DJ prices
We get many emails every day asking us “How much does a DJ cost?”. We’ve now decided to add a guide to working out DJ prices for our clients. Firstly, there is no set price for DJs. In our field (clubs, bars and events) it’s not as easy to give set rates. This is because there is lots of things to consider. More about this in the guide below.
1) DJ Agency Fees
Something people forget about when booking a DJ is their agent fee. This can really raise the cost of the DJ. If you are paying £500 for a DJ through an agency, expect to pay at least £50 on top. This is because DJs usually have to pay a 10% fee to their agent. Sometimes more. So they may well top up their fee to make up for the loss. We are happy to say that our DJs do not pay us a commission. This means you only pay the cost of the DJ (nothing more). When using an agency, check if they charge commission before.
2) The DJs Rider
A DJ rider? What’s that? We get this question quite a bit. If a DJ is a bigger name they will ask for two DJ riders. Firstly they provide a tech rider (what equipment they want for the gig). Most DJs will ask for Pioneer CDJs & mixers. If your venue does not have the equipment it will cost you to hire it. Secondly, they provide personal riders (such as drinks and food). More extra costs!
If you were to hire Calvin Harris his rider may ask for:
Bottle of hand sanitiser
Gluten free snacks
This was an actual DJ rider from Calvin Harris – Credit Mixmag.
3) How well known is the DJ?
We know it may seem obvious, but how popular a DJ is will affect the cost. For example, if you were to hire Calvin Harris for a gig he’s likely to cost £200K plus. That’s the price you pay for a global name. However, the vast majority are not looking for (or can afford) such names! Anyway, back to the real world (for most of us). There are 3 tiers for DJs. Firstly, you get DJs with some local gigs under their belt. They are likely to cost you between £50-£100 for a gig. Secondly, you’ll get DJs with better experience who play nationwide. You’ll probably hire them for around £200-£400 a gig. Thirdly, DJ / producers with international gig experience. You will need to pay £500-£5000 a set. The size of your event will determine the tier of DJ you require.
4) How long will the DJ perform for?
The amount of hours you want the DJ on the decks will affect the DJ cost. Unlike wedding DJs, you will not have to factor in set up time. They will just turn up and perform. Most DJs sets are from one to four hours. A DJ will usually charge a fixed rate for the time you agree. Although some DJs will charge by the hour. If you agree a flat price – for example £400 – confirm how many hours they will play for. Otherwise you may have to pay additional costs. Get all the facts before making a booking and sign a contract.
5) Has the DJ got far to travel?
Most DJs will not charge any travel costs if the gig is local. For instance, a DJ in London will usually travel anywhere inside the M25 without extra charges. Our agency deals with lots of nationwide and international gigs. These sorts of bookings will cost you in expense fees. It shouldn’t be costing the DJ to come and play your gig! They have their own expenses, such as buying music and travel costs. Before booking a DJ for a national gig ask for their full price (including travel costs). In addition to travel costs, you will need to pay a hotel for the night. Especially if they have a long way to travel home again. If you are booking a DJ for an international gig, you will need to pay air fare. Additionally, you’ll need to pay hotel costs (and arrange air port pick ups). As above, always sign a contract.
6) What is the venue capacity and door price?
The size of your venue (and also what you charge on the door) may affect the DJ cost. Most DJs will work out a price going by venue capacity, door price and what time they are playing. If you have a 100 capacity club charging £5 on the door, a good DJ will adjust their price accordingly. If your venue capacity is 2000 and your door price is £15, expect to pay more. In addition, the DJs status at your event will impact their fee. A warm up DJ costs hardly anything (£50+) while a headliner will cost much more.
7) Is it a resident DJ gig or a one off?
Believe it or not, most DJs will charge less money if they are going to be your resident DJ. Firstly, they are getting regular work at an event. Secondly, being a resident at a successful event helps builds their name (and CV). If it’s a one-off gig, check (see above) for help working prices out.