A common request I get is if there’s a possibility for a discount when playing in conjunction with live entertainment usually Mariachi or Banda and sometimes both. The short answer is usually no. The client’s point of view is generally that they need someone to push play on filler music in between the entertainment’s sets and so therefore during the live entertainment’s 30-45 minute sets we are on a break and therefore are not earning our pay. I can whole heartedly see the clients’ point of view and if they still feel that way after I explain what I do in my profession then they are more than free to look for DJ entertainment elsewhere. Allow me to elaborate on what earning pay means to most DJs with a GOOD reputation.
I have some paid advertisement but generally my bookings are through word of mouth and that’s honestly the best form of getting your name and reputation out there. If they are inquiring about the service then usually it’s through a referral and thus it must be a positive referral in essence you wouldn’t book someone who has negative reviews. The investment on a client’s event begins as soon as the inquiry is made about the service which is usually followed by a no obligation consultation meeting. We are at about at an hour and a half mark on time invested. If they don’t book the services then it was just an hour and a half of your time and hopefully the client has left with a better picture of what to look for in booking the entertainment.
If they book then automatically there is up to a 12 hour investment the day of event (with the “El Chingon” package it’s a 2 hour set up and 2 hour take down & usually receptions can run up to 8 hours). We are at the 13.5 hour mark and there’s still the 2nd meeting to wrap up event details, 3rd meeting might be necessary to check out venue, exchange of emails and/or text messages, and the preparation of music, agenda, and research which I’ll say on average is about another 6 hours. At a conservative 18.5 hours later which may vary a little depending on venue location and package selection, that time is invested regardless of other entertainment lined up for the day.
I use to offer a discount but I started to realize a few things.
I can say no, they can potentially go with someone else, it never hurts my feelings. I always want what is best for the client and in the busy seasons of the year there has up to 10 different potential couples wanting to book the service for the same day.
I don’t sit back and wait for someone to come to me and tell me what’s next on the agenda which is a reactive approach. I take on a more proactive approach. If there are a Mariachi and a Band then I work with both to schedule certain agenda activities on their breaks so there isn’t dead air and the client gets the most bang for their buck out of all vendors.
My commonly used example is: you have a caterer (likely has a 4-6 hour contract), a photographer (likely has a 6-10 hour contract), and a Mariachi (likely has a 2 hour contract with one 15 minute break) and your toast doesn’t automatically happen and run smoothly. There are behind the scenes steps to make it a success. I take it as my responsibility to make sure your caterer knows at X time the toast is happening and the pouring should start 15-25 minutes beforehand, I cue the photographer to make sure they have ample time to set up the perfect shot, and we work it in during the Mariachi’s first break, so that it’s a win/win for all parties involved.
I emphasize to them the value of stressing less about the reception schedule of events and enjoying their special day versus having to run back and forth figuring out what happens when and with whom. The devil is definitely in the details. I offer my wireless mic to the mariachi so that the main voice is heard throughout. If the band has no lightshow I orchestrate mine to work with their set. If your photographer is done at a certain time I make sure we get all the memorable shot activities taken care before they have to make like a ball and bounce. The vendors are a representation of you that day. They are your voice, eyes, ears, and if you hire a great team you will feel the stress-less streamlined flow.