After spending 14 years in the wedding / corporate industry and meeting people from many diverse backgrounds I have decided that the time has arrived for me to educate people about the importance of music / entertainment at any function.
The goal of this article is not to step on any toes as I am the first person to respect the fact that we all have different budgets and priorities or visions for our perfect function. If you read this article and still feel that you are comfortable with hiring someone cheaper, I have no objection and wish you all of the best for your function.
My one and only goal with this article is to warn you about the dangers of hiring cheap labour and to inform you why we charge what we charge. If you reject our quote / offer I really have no problem with that as we are blessed with enough work to provide for our families. I simply want you to know what you have declined.
Picture it this way. You and your partner want to go on a dream holiday, but the costs seem a little steep. You decide to make a plan and gather the funds for your dream holiday. After experiencing the holiday of a life time, you look back on everything and realize that it was worth every cent. If you declined the holiday due to the cost, you would never really know what you have missed out on until you have had the privilege to experience your dream holiday for yourself.
The opposite is also true and you might be thinking why our rates are a little less than the other quotes you have received. The answer is quite simple. Due to the high volume of functions we do on a yearly basis we are able to deliver the same quality service at a better rate than our competitors, as we do many more functions than them and it is still worthwhile for us in the long run.
Furthermore and most important of all, we simply love what we do and have a burning passion for our profession. If we charge less than our competitors, we are busy throughout the year and doing what we love. Why would you want to work less for more if you enjoy your job?
On a yearly basis we send out over 1 000 quotes, hoping that most of them will go through, however we don’t live in a perfect world and about 30% of our quotes are not accepted or never answered.
If you are one of the individuals that never reply, you should seriously consider taking a minute to reply. A lot of thought and effort goes into tailoring a quote for your needs and the best you can do is to have the decency to respond. In that way we can move forward into delivering prompt service to future clients with a better understanding regarding our availability. This is however another debate for another day.
If you are one of the individuals that have not accepted our quote, with a response such as “We have found someone else at a better price” or “We have a friend that will help us with the music” the following points are just for you:
① How reliable is the transport that your DJ is using? Are the services of the car up to date, the car in perfect working order and the spare wheel in perfect condition in the case of an emergency? This might sound simple, but our DJ’s are used to travelling long distances to and from venues and we have a clean record with regards to arriving safe and on time.
② How will your DJ conduct him / herself at your function? Will he / she have clean habits with regards to smoking, be able to handle their liquor and be dressed in an appropriate manner? We have great pride in what we do and this reflects in our image that we portray. We trust our DJ’s enough to allow them to enjoy a drink at your function, however we remain professional at all times. Imagine a DJ under the influence at your function in a tracksuit with a pair of flip flops and the embarrassment that goes along with it.
③ Please make sure that your DJ / friend is in possession of a valid SAMPRA / SAMRO license to play music in a public environment / at your function. We pay an annual fee to these institutions that give us the right to play music and receive compensation for our services. If one of their representative’s rocks up at your function and your DJ does not have a valid license they reserve the right to stop your party immediately and fine you with penalties. It is a criminal offense to play music publically without a license.
④ How many years of experience does your DJ have in reading the crowd / playing the music that is relevant to your function? How many different genres of music does he / she have to choose from and how will they adapt to the situation if the music that you had in mind does not go down well with the crowd? We have been playing music at functions forever and have a natural feel for the job. We know what we do and you can’t put a value on this type of skill and experience.
⑤ What quality equipment does your DJ use? Do they have backup equipment in the case of emergency? How is the clarity of their sound and is all their equipment in proper working order? We make use of very specialized DJ / sound gear with only the best quality and this comes at a premium. Good equipment is expensive, but makes a big difference when weighed up against cheaper options. Imagine how irritating a cheap microphone will sound with a distortion noise while you are busy with your speeches at your function. Imagine not being able to hear the minister at your ceremony while the wind is blowing on the beach.
⑥ How neat is the setup and layout of the equipment of your DJ? We believe in setting the standard in this regard and cables are presented with utmost perfection and speakers are placed strategically according to the layout and acoustics of your venue. Any loose cables are properly taped and our setup looks professional. We get complimented on this quite frequently. There is nothing worse than a perfectly decorated venue with cables lying around everywhere and a DJ who does not care much about the neatness of his / her setup.
⑦ How will your DJ handle requests from guests on the evening of your function? Will he have enough experience and healthy judgement to know how the play the right request at the right time without emptying the dance floor? And in the same breath keep all your guests happy? This is what we do for a living and we have mastered the art of this through the years. There is nothing worse than a rude DJ who refuses to take requests or someone spending more time at the bar than behind their decks / laptop.
⑧ Has your DJ worked at the venue before and does he / she know the setup there well? We have been to nearly each and every venue over the past few years and everything just runs so much smoother when your DJ knows the setup of the venue. They will know where to set up and what works and what does not work. One less thing for you to worry about and have more fun on your big day.
⑨ Is your DJ / friend a registered business or someone only doing this part time / as a hobby? We pay taxes and are a legitimate business, therefore we cannot compete with the same pricing that people are charging that are not paying taxes and trading illegally.
⑩ Will your DJ meet you prior to your function and give you advice on song choices and what works and does not work? We often end up giving our clients much more than they pay for, by giving them general advice on the function as a whole, as we have a lot of experience. Often when our clients meet us they are blown away by our expertise and all the musical elements of a function, not realizing how many things there are to think of in this regard and we take away that worry by helping you sort this out.
⑪ How organized is your DJ and are you fully confident that he / she has booked your date and will pitch up on the day of your event? We do more than 600 functions per year and have never made a single double booking. You will not believe how many last minute enquiries we have had for functions for people where their DJ’s have dropped them, because they have made other arrangements.
⑫ Be very careful of what your DJ charges per hour after 24h00. There are many DJ’s in the industry that charge good rates but when it comes to the extra hours they exploit the situation. They know that you are desperate to continue your party and charge over R1 000 per hour. We hate it when people are taken for a ride and are honest and hardworking people. We charge R500 – R750 per hour after 24h00 and feel that this rate is fair. We know we can charge more in the situation but we simply don’t want to. Also be careful of DJ’s that refuse to continue with the party when they are tired. We do not have a cut –off time and play the music until you tell us when to stop. We do not want to stand in the way of you enjoying the best night of your life.
⑬ Will your DJ arrive on the day of your event with some uninvited guests tagging along? Or does he / she understand how the industry works and that you are catering for a certain number of guests? We confirm whether we will bring an assistant along / not when we meet our clients and are transparent with our communication.
⑭ What happens when your DJ becomes very sick one day before your event and are unable to fulfil his / her services? We know that this can happen to our DJ’s as well, but we have sufficient man power / backup to help you out on very short notice. We have 34 DJ’s working for our company and never book more than 20 functions on a single evening. We can guarantee that we will find a suitable replacement on short notice if required.
⑮ There is an old saying that goes; a function’s success is determined by the food, beverages and music. After many years in the industry we can vouch for this and cannot stress the importance of this enough. Why pay thousands on décor, bridal dresses, make up, photo’s, etc. just to try and save a few hundred bucks on the music? I have met so many people saying that if they could change one thing from their function / spend a little more on one thing, it would be the music / entertainment. Sad but true.
I hope this article has meant something for you. This article is not just relevant to music / entertainment at functions. The same goes for any other service providers in the industry. You will get what you pay for. Be careful and do your homework thoroughly before choosing your service providers. But most of all remember to have fun.