The Philadelphia Wedding DJ Market
When Cutting Edge Entertainment was launched in 1992, we (I had a partner at the time) had worked in the DJ industry in some capacity or another for almost ten years so we had quite a bit of experience as DJ entertainers, and the business end we learned later (liability insurance, contracts, web marketing, etc). Naturally we had a business plan, but our true strength was to be found in our Disc Jockey skills and certainly not in any administrative capacity… Ah the good ole’ days.
Okay so here we are just a few days away from 2009. I just booked a new wedding client on the phone this afternoon who literally blew my mind with a few of the ‘other’ price quotes he had gotten. I mean, of all people I think I should be a good barometer of what an experienced wedding DJ should cost. I also know the old saying “A fool and his/her money will always part.” Oh yeah… you’re probably wondering what was the price quote the client told me? For a two person team, on a Saturday afternoon within the Philadelphia area (King of Prussia) the client was quoted $1,800.00 for a twenty year old DJ who apparently has five years of experience doing weddings (according to this company’s website).
Now there are just so many reasons why an $1,800.00 DJ price is just wrong, but the main reason is that you can find excellent Disc Jockeys who are professional, have years of experience, and are extremely talented in the Philadelphia and surrounding area for significantly less in price, while getting a 100% better product. (Nothing wrong with sharp value for your dollar in today’s economy). And unless they are throwing in a decent lighting package (or Will Smith as your Master of Ceremonies) there is simply no justification for paying that kind of money for a wedding Disc Jockey.
Some of my competitors charge slightly more than we do while some charge slightly less, but all in all a good average would be about a thousand dollars for a four to five hour wedding reception including a cocktail hour. I know most of my reputable competitors because we belong to the same networking organizations, where we discuss trends in weddings, new technologies, popular music and much more. If I were a wedding planner, or in catering sales I would tell you the same thing. There are at least a dozen reputable companies in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware Counties that provide great quality matched with outstanding customer service. Companies with staff that are experienced professionals with hundreds if not thousands of not just weddings, but all sorts of events under their belts.
At Cutting Edge Entertainment, it has always been our goal to provide quality at an affordable price. All things being equal, here are a few basic things you might look for to qualify a Wedding Disc Jockey.
- First and foremost (and certainly biased but with good reason), make sure you book with a ‘DJ Company’. Each part of this term can and should be emphasized separately.
- DJ: The importance that the company you book with should be a company that specializes in Disc Jockeys is paramount. Don’t make the mistake of booking a service that ‘also does’ Disc Jockeys, as opposed to Disc Jockeys being the main focus of the company. This would be like going to a Sushi restaurant and ordering Filet Mignon… as if it would even be on the menu.
- Company: Booking with a DJ Company ensures that ‘God forbid’ something happens to your DJ on the day of your event, there is a backup and you wont be left in a lurch because you booked with an independent DJ with no backup in case of emergency.
- Make sure the Disc Jockey Company is reputable. They should provide references, carry liability insurance and come highly recommended at the hall or facility at which you are having your event. Search their company name on the internet and find out what they are all about.
- Ask to meet with them to learn more about their services and get a feel for what they are all about. Ask questions about what they will do for you, if they will make all required announcements and play all requested music. It’s your wedding day, it should be done your way. At the same time make sure that they will guide you through the reception and work with your Caterer, Photographer and other wedding professionals to make sure your special day runs seamlessly.
Certainly I could drone on and on with ominous cautions, but it really isn’t that complex. You will know you found the right Disc Jockey company just by trusting your instincts. Just because a DJ group was good for you friend, doesn’t mean they are good for you. You have to decide for yourself, and the best way to to that is to pick up the phone and call them. The entertainment has the biggest impact on the success of your event, and yet a DJ is only a small fraction of the cost of the entire wedding… and in today’s economy, that certainly counts for something.
I think the last paragraph is fairly accurate. I booked Cutting Edge for my wedding because I liked the people there. I interviewed some slightly lesser priced DJs but went with the people I liked best.
Great article! You know, here in the NYC area, that $1,800 quote isn’t unheard of at all! It is so refreshing to hear from an actual DJ that customers needn’t be charged so much.