what do wedding djs charge?

What does a Wedding DJ cost in Maine?

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Let me guess, you’re sifting through websites for wedding DJs and you’re wondering: what does a DJ in Maine charge for a wedding?  One of the first questions I’m always asked is about price. I get it, let’s cut to the chase, right? But, why does one DJ charge $500 and another $3,000? Like any product you buy or service you hire there will be a range of talent and pricing. And the old adage you get what you pay for often rings true. But, what differentiates one DJ from the next? Is it the equipment? The music? The planning process? When I’m talking to couples, I always emphasize one thing: value.

When I hire a contractor to work on my house or when I buy a new vehicle for the business I always think about reputation, quality, experience and the features. When I collect bids from contractors it’s natural to have a wide range of prices for the “same job.” While the $500 contractor might complete the scope of work, surely there’s a different between their work and a $2,500 contractor.

I stress value because I think it’s the combination of experience, features, reputation and quality. And, to me, value is the driving factor in determining “is it worth it?” I may overspend on a work vehicle because I spend more time in it which forces me to cut back on my personal vehicle. But, I see value in the upgrade because it’s what I deem a priority.  In your search for a wedding DJ, you are probably considering: budget, reputation and quality. And only you can determine how much of a priority you will place on the entertainment, how much budget you want to allocate towards the party and how much value you place on that portion of your day.

So, with all of that in mind, there are a few things you need to consider before hiring your wedding DJ.  Let’s dive in.

Sifting through DJs can be stressful

First and foremost: planning a wedding is a lot of fun!  But, as you can imagine, it will come with moments of stress.  In my experience, two of the biggest stressors are: budget and finding the right vendors (if you want recommendations, this is a great resource of Maine Wedding Professionals that provide amazing value).  Initially, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. After-all, setting your budget and finding your wedding professionals happen very early on in your planning and it can seem a bit defeating.

With the right approach, you can target your search and have a lot of fun along the way. There are so many talented wedding professionals here in Maine that when you surround yourself with the right team, your wedding day is stress-free! So, I think step one, and what your initial goal should be, is to determine which DJ services are true professionals.

The value of a professional DJ

So, what makes a DJ a true professional?  Well, let’s start with their online presence. Do they have a website? If so, does it look like it’s stuck in the 1990s or do they look like someone you can relate to? Check them out on Instagram. Find videos of weddings they’ve done on YouTube. Do a google search for the company name or the name of the DJ and see what their online presence is like.

For me, when I hire a contractor to work on my house, I want examples. I want to see firsthand the jobs they’ve worked on and what the quality of their work looks like. If they don’t have a website, if they don’t have reviews, if they aren’t on social then I’m not interested. Call me crazy, but I don’t want someone working on my house if I don’t know what to expect. Your wedding is one of the most memorable days of your life so you should hold your vendor team to the same standard. Before sending an inquiry, you need to determine if that company is even someone you want to hire. First impressions are everything and is a great indicator of how they operate their business.

Full Time DJs vs. The Side Hustle DJ

So, what else should you consider when determining if a DJ is a professional? Ask them if this is their full time career. Why is this important? If your wedding DJ is splitting their time between a full time job and DJ’ing, where do they dedicate the majority of their time? It’s not on their wedding clients.  In addition to having a full time job maybe they have kids and obligations outside their job that also require time and energy in the evening.  Then, think about the fact that on the weekend they are out DJ’ing. So, where is the time for customer service? For practicing their skills as a DJ? When do they work on planners or develop resources to help their couples plan? How do they incorporate time to research new wedding trends or the latest equipment?

I’m only 37 years old but I’ve been a DJ for 23 years. I’ve been full time Maine DJ for the past 11 years. So, when I speak to the side-hustle DJ, keep in mind, that I did it for a long time. Back in my teen years it was a hobby and I didn’t care about making money.  In college, I realized I could actually make money and put myself through school if I took on the additional work.  After college, I worked in the corporate sector for 4 years and DJ’d on the weekends. I made it work but I barely slept and I wasn’t able to offer my clients the experience I thought they deserved.

Ultimately, I made the decision to make my business my full time career and everyone benefited from that change. So, I know firsthand that there is a huge quality difference between the full time DJs and the side hustle DJs. No disrespect to the DJs pushing hard to chase their dreams. I get it. But, when I made the leap to being full time I was able to offer my clients more value. They get more of my attention and I’m able to dedicate more time to improving all aspects of my business and to my skills as a DJ. So, if that is important to you, then finding a DJ that operates full time should be one of the first considerations.

quality is key

Apparently, I like the analogy of contractors working on my house, so let’s stick with it. A side hustle DJ is the equivalent of a hiring a handyman to work on your house.  At the end of the day, the job will get done. Is it going to be as good as hiring someone who specializes and devotes all of their time to a specific trade? No.

I feel strongly that this full time vs. part time conversation is the biggest differentiating factor when looking at the price of a DJ. If your DJ does this full time as their career then naturally they’re going to charge more than a DJ doing it part-time. A career DJ devotes their weekday to fine-tuning their craft. Practicing. Understanding music and building routines that crush dance floors. They also have the ability to help you plan and work on timelines and planning guides. I firmly believe that a full time DJ offers a completely different experience to their couples when compared to a DJ that does it on the side.

Pricing Guide for Maine Wedding DJs

With over 20 years experience in the wedding industry, I’m also very familiar with the pricing trends. In addition to knowing the price ranges, I know many of these DJs personally. I think you will find that I speak pretty candidly about pricing and what you can expect. Don’t take my word for it though; I encourage you to do your own research.  Talk to the DJs you are considering and keep everything I’m outlining in mind during those conversations.

Let’s get to it.. what does a Maine DJ cost? Well, I’ve put together this amazing resource to help you make an informed decision. I say informed, because it’s not meant to sway you in one direction or another. Instead, the goal of this article is simple: I want to help you feel confident in the choice you make when hiring your wedding DJ. Every couple has different priorities and each couple is working with a different budget. Regardless of where you fall in those two categories your goal should be to get the most value and the best experience that your budget allows.

Of course, if you are interested in getting information on my pricing and packages please be sure to contact me about your upcoming wedding.

DJ Pricing

Let’s be clear, I’m not painting everyone in these categories with a broad brush. Do your research and determine: are they professional, do they fit my budget, and am I getting the most value? At the end of the day, budget and priority are going to determine which tier of DJ you’re able to hire.

$800-$1400: In Maine, these will be your entry level DJs. At these price points, nearly all of these DJs will be working full time careers DJ’ing is a part-time job for them. Be sure to ask DJs in this price range what their availability is to help you plan your event. Where do they find the time for their side-hustle and how much time can they actually devote to it? Not just from a customer service standpoint, but more importantly in the day of experience for you and your guests.

Some DJs in this category will have years of experience under their belt but their body of work has never elevated enough to warrant price increases. These DJ’s use cheap equipment and they play music off a playlist. Think Spotify, for example. From an Emcee standpoint, it’s going to be very basic. They might make announcements but it’s not going to be a polished delivery. And, at the end of the day, these DJs aren’t going to create an amazing experience that your guests talk about years from now. The opposite might be true, towards the lower end of the pricing spectrum you tend to find the DJs that struggle through events. Feedback on the microphone. Equipment failures. Introducing the wrong people during introductions. I’ve heard so many horror stories in my career and they stem from inexperienced, cheaper DJs.

$1,400 – $2,000: Here you will find a more refined DJ. You’ll likely find someone who is pretty well-spoken and can handle the emcee duties with more grace. In my experience, these DJs have made investments into their equipment and are offering clients a more reliable experience. You start to eliminate the horror stories when working with DJs in this price range. Many of the DJs in this category have started to beat-mix music but it’s a new skillset and they’re still fine-tuning their craft. There are DJs in this category that are full time and are in the process of establishing themselves in the $2,000+ category. And there are others in this category that work full time or part time jobs and DJ’ing is a side hustle. The overall experience is solid. You may have a DJ that creates an amazing experience you may have a DJ that was good but not great. Either way, I think it’s a safe bet if you want your wedding to run smoothly.

$2,000+ These are the top DJ companies in Maine. All of the DJs I know in this pricing tier are full time DJs. They spend their weeks working on their mixing, establishing new DJ routines, helping clients plan, working on planning guides and working to improve the overall experience for their couples. All of the DJs in this category can mix, they can read a crowd, they build sets and give your guests an experience that they’ll be talking about for a long time. These DJ’s specialize in creating a medley of hits and if a song falls flat, they can get out of it quickly drawing on their experience. Whereas DJ’s in the other categories may struggle to keep a dance floor packed. The DJs in this category are using quality equipment and offering great customer service. And, while more expensive, they offer the best value and overall experience.

Last considerations before booking a DJ

One final consideration before booking a DJ company for your wedding: are they owner-operated or are they a multi-op? If they are a multi-op, what is their operating structure?

Owner-operated, which is what I am, simply means that when you book my services you work with me. From the first email inquiry to the last song you have my attention and my years of experience to draw on.  I help you plan your reception, I answer all of your questions and most importantly, I am the one there the day of your wedding.  It’s my company and my reputation. As such, I want to put my best foot forward at all times.  This ensure I’m providing the best experience for my couples and that my company is being represented the best way possible for any future business.

So, what is a multi-op? There are two forms of multi-ops: employee based and subcontractor driven.

An employee based business is just like what you’d envision. The owner of the DJ company has hired full time employees that are on his payroll and those employees rely on their job to pay their bills. The DJ on the job site has the best interest of the company in mind because it’s directly related to their livelihood. Employee based DJ companies tend to compensate their DJs more fairly when compared to a subcontracted DJ. To my knowledge, there are no DJ companies in Maine operating as an employee based DJ business.

The second form? Subcontractor agreements. This means that you hire a DJ company and then the owner of that company finds another DJ company to complete the job. So you pay Bobs DJ services $2,000 but they pay Pauly P’s DJs $1,000 for your wedding. They keep $1,000 for finding you a DJ and you end up getting a $1,000 DJ for your event.

To go back to my contractor analogy: when you hire a general contractor the GC may have employees who handle the job and everything is under the same company. Or, you might hire a general contractor who then hires a dry wall guy, a roof guy, a tile guy and a flooring guy.

Depending on the general contractor, those subcontractors might be incredibly skilled and well compensated. Maybe the general contractor only takes a small percentage for putting all the pieces together to complete the job. That’s fair, no problem. But, maybe the General Contractor doesn’t communicate with the subcontractor what the real payday is and the General Contractor just wants to find the cheapest guy to do the job so they can keep the majority of the paycheck. If you don’t ask the right questions you might never know the real answer. There are many DJ companies in Maine operating as a booking agent that simply hire cheaper DJs (in the $800-$1400 price category) that work full time and can’t fill their own calendars. Just keep in mind with a subcontractor you might pay the General Contractor $8,000 for a roof, but he might hire the cheapest sub available and only pay that guy $3,500. So, in reality you’re getting $3,500 worth of value.

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& evenings by appointment

FRI – SUN
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