How To Start A DJ Business: Tips and Tricks

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How To Start A Mobile DJ Business

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Starting a DJ business can be an exciting and lucrative venture for those with a passion for music and a desire to entertain. Whether you’re looking to start a full-time career or a part-time side hustle, becoming a DJ can provide you with the opportunity to showcase your skills and make a name for yourself in the industry.

To get started, you’ll need to invest in the right equipment, including a quality sound system, mixing board, and headphones. You’ll also need to build a music library that includes a variety of genres and styles to suit the needs of your clients. Once you have the necessary equipment and music, you can begin to market your services and build your brand.

One of the keys to success in the DJ business is building relationships with clients and networking within the industry. By providing exceptional service and creating a memorable experience for your clients, you can build a reputation as a top-notch DJ and increase your chances of securing future bookings. With dedication, hard work, and a passion for music, you can turn your dream of starting a DJ business into a reality.

Why do you want to be a Mobile DJ?

Mobile DJ

Money

It can be well paid, with a good hourly rate and a per-gig amount once you’re established. Just remember everybody has to start somewhere – some people do their first gig or so for free, or at a reduced rate to get the experience.

You also have to consider how much you ‘need’ to make. Is it to replace your full or part-time job or more of a paid hobby? Can you afford to wait until you can make it full-time?

Passion

If you have a passion for music and think you just wanna earn money for doing what you love, think about how this will be in reality. Think about what kind of music you will be expected to play for a 21st or 60th birthday party, a wedding, or a christening.

Performing

Some people love the idea of being the DJ that stands in front of a huge crowd, shouting on the mic and thrusting their hands in the air. A mobile DJ is not quite like that. You might play to a room of 70 people in a village hall, half of whom don’t even dance however good you are. Whereas, club DJs are more likely to play to a larger, younger crowd, who are there to dance, to a certain genre.

Late Nights

Unless you plan to do children’s parties, the chances are you will be playing from 7 pm until midnight, or thereabouts. I arrive at least an hour beforehand to set up and am often there for 30-45 minutes afterwards packing down. Add the travel each way and you are doing a good 8+ hours on a Friday or Saturday night while your friends are out enjoying themselves.

Friends/Family

If you know someone who is a mobile DJ and you fancy giving it a go, ask them these questions and find out what it’s like. Better still, ask if you can join them at a gig or two to see for yourself before you commit. You could even get paid to be their roadie – help them carry their equipment, set up and pack down.

Research and Planning

Before starting a DJ business, it’s important to conduct thorough research and planning. This will help you understand the market, identify potential customers, and create a solid business plan.

Market Research

Market research is a critical step in starting any business. This involves gathering information about the industry, competitors, and potential customers. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Identify your target market: Who are your potential customers? What are their needs and preferences?
  • Analyze the competition: Who are your competitors? What services do they offer? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Determine pricing: How much do other DJs charge for their services? What are the factors that affect pricing?
  • Research industry trends: What are the latest trends in the DJ industry? How can you incorporate these into your business?

Business Plan

A business plan is a roadmap for your DJ business. It outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. Here are some key elements to include:

  • Executive summary: A brief overview of your business, including your mission statement and goals.
  • Market analysis: A detailed analysis of the DJ industry, including market size, trends, and competition.
  • Services: A description of the services you will offer, including pricing and packages.
  • Marketing and sales: A plan for how you will market and sell your services to potential customers.
  • Financial projections: A detailed financial plan that includes startup costs, revenue projections, and cash flow analysis.

Starting a DJ business can be profitable, but it’s important to consider the costs and steps involved. Conducting thorough research and planning can help you create a successful business that meets the needs of your target market.

Equipment and Setup

Choosing Equipment

When starting a DJ business, choosing the right equipment is crucial. You want to make sure you have the necessary tools to create a great experience for your clients. Here are some things to consider when selecting equipment:

  • Budget: Determine how much you can afford to spend on equipment. You don’t want to overspend and put yourself in debt, but you also don’t want to buy cheap equipment that will break down easily.
  • Type of DJing: Decide what type of DJing you will be doing. Will you be a mobile DJ or a club DJ? This will affect the type of equipment you need.
  • Brand: Research different brands and read reviews to find the best quality equipment for your budget.
  • Features: Consider the features you need, such as sound quality, portability, and compatibility with software and other equipment.
DJ Equipment

Some essential equipment you will need to start your DJ business includes:

  • DJ controller
  • Laptop or computer
  • Speakers
  • Headphones
  • Microphone
  • Cables and adapters

Read Next: 2023 Wedding DJ Equipment Checklist: 10 Must-Have Items

Setting Up

Once you have chosen your equipment, it’s time to set up your DJ business. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Create a dedicated space: Set up a space in your home or office where you can practice and store your equipment. Make sure it’s a quiet space with good acoustics.
  • Organize your cables: Keep your cables organized and labeled to prevent confusion and save time when setting up for gigs.
  • Test your equipment: Before every gig, make sure to test your equipment to ensure everything is working properly.
  • Be prepared: Bring extra cables, adapters, and batteries to every gig in case of emergencies.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on your equipment, especially when you are starting out, but you can expect to pay anything from around £500 – £5000 ($700 – $7000) for a decent setup. I started with around £500, and bought most things from eBay and cheaper brands, and then upgraded the more gigs I did.

Starting a DJ business can be challenging, but with the right equipment and setup, you can provide a great experience for your clients and build a successful business.

Read: Wedding DJ Equipment List

Starting a DJ business requires careful consideration of legal and financial matters. Here are some key factors to keep in mind.

Contract

Licenses and Permits

Before starting your DJ business, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits. This varies by location, so check with your local government to determine what is required.

Insurance

Insurance is an important consideration for any business, including a DJ business. Here are some types of insurance you may need:

  • Liability insurance: This protects you in case someone is injured or their property is damaged as a result of your business activities.
  • Equipment insurance: This covers your DJ equipment in case it is lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Vehicle insurance: If you will be transporting your equipment in a vehicle, you will need insurance for the vehicle.

Accounting and Taxes

Proper accounting and tax compliance are crucial for any business. Here are some key considerations:

  • Record keeping: Keep detailed records of all income and expenses related to your business.
  • Business structure: Decide on a legal structure for your business, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC.
  • Tax obligations: You will need to pay taxes on your DJ business income. Consult with a tax professional to determine your obligations.

Starting your own DJ business can be a rewarding venture, but it’s important to take care of the legal and financial aspects to ensure your success.

> Read: 5 Things That Should be in Your DJ Contract <

Marketing and Networking

As a DJ entrepreneur, marketing and networking are essential to building your business. You need to create a brand that stands out and promotes it effectively to attract clients. Networking is also crucial to finding new clients and building relationships with other industry professionals.

Branding and Promotion

To create a brand, you need to consider your target market and what sets you apart from your competitors. Your brand should be unique and memorable, with a clear message that resonates with your target audience. You can achieve this by creating a logo, website, and social media presence that reflects your brand’s personality and values.

Promotion is also essential to building your brand and attracting clients. You can use social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to showcase your work and connect with potential clients. You can also create business cards, flyers, and brochures to distribute at events or to leave at local businesses.

Read Next: 8 Tips for Marketing Your Wedding DJ Business

Networking and Client Acquisition

Networking is essential to finding new clients and building relationships with other industry professionals. You can attend networking events, such as music festivals, industry conferences, and local DJ meetups, to connect with other DJs, event planners, and venue owners.

You can also reach out to potential clients directly by sending emails or making phone calls. When reaching out, be sure to introduce yourself, explain your services, and provide references or samples of your work. You can also offer discounts or promotions to new clients to incentivize them to work with you.

Here are some of my top tips to earn your first and future gigs:

  • Practice, practice and practice some more
  • Get an online profile – Social media, website, music streaming sites
  • Record your mix and upload it online
  • Get feedback and share it
  • Do smaller and/or free gigs – Charity events, School Discos and promote yourself
  • Get some Business Cards printed and always have some with you
  • Ask local venues if they need a regular DJ for events.
Disco

In conclusion, marketing and networking are crucial to building a successful DJ business. By creating a strong brand and promoting it effectively, you can attract new clients and stand out in a crowded market. By networking with other industry professionals and reaching out to potential clients directly, you can build relationships and grow your business.

Expansion and Growth

Expanding your DJ business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it can also be challenging and requires careful planning and execution. Here are some tips to help you grow your DJ business.

Hiring Employees

As your DJ business grows, you may need to hire employees to help you manage the workload. Here are some things to consider when hiring employees:

  • Determine the job roles and responsibilities: Identify the specific tasks and responsibilities that you need help with and create job descriptions accordingly.
  • Look for relevant experience: Look for candidates who have relevant experience in the music industry or event management.
  • Conduct interviews: Conduct thorough interviews to assess the candidate’s skills, experience, and personality.
  • Train your employees: Provide your employees with proper training and guidance to ensure they understand your business goals and expectations.

Scaling Operations

Scaling your operations is critical to expanding your DJ business. Here are some things to consider when scaling your operations:

  • Invest in equipment: Purchase additional equipment as needed to accommodate more gigs and events.
  • Streamline your processes: Streamline your processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs. For example, consider using software to manage bookings and contracts.
  • Expand your services: Consider offering additional services such as lighting and sound systems to increase your revenue streams.
  • Build a network: Build a network of industry contacts such as event planners and venue managers to increase your exposure and find new opportunities.

Remember, expanding your DJ business takes time and effort. Take a strategic approach and focus on providing excellent service to your clients, and you will be on your way to success.

Where do DJs get their music from?

Music Records

DJs, particularly mobile DJs will need a fairly extensive music library to cater for the various gigs and age groups they will be playing music to. But this could be expensive, right?

Well, in a word – ‘yes’. But there are some ways to keep the costs down.

Where Do DJs Get Their Music? <

  • Record shops – Whether new or used, you can find some great bargains to build your music library from a traditional music shop or online store. Look out for compilation albums, like ‘Best of the 80s’, ‘Best of 90s Dance’ and ‘Now 100’, for example.
  • Apple/Amazon Music – There are many places to buy music online, either single tracks, full albums or compilations. They can vary in price so make sure you shop around.
  • Record Pools – Probably the most used by working DJs are record pools, which are basically a subscription service. Usually, you pay a monthly fee, and the available music varies depending on the supplier. You can get the latest charts in various genres, or have access to a whole catalogue:
  • DJ-Only Download Sites – There are a number of music download sites specifically for DJ use. Here you can find similar to what you would see in a record pool, but also albums full of music for a particular genre or occasion, such as 80s Night, Halloween, Wedding, etc. Some of these sites will provide radio-friendly, clean edits of tracks so you don’t have to worry about playing to families and children.

Booking Software

DJ Calendar

I am sure you will want to start as you mean to go on and be a professional business owner. So to make each booking run smoothly I recommend investing in some booking software.

It could be as simple as setting up Google Docs to share your T&Cs, send and receive booking contracts and more, or you could subscribe to a DJ booking service, that allows you to manage the whole process from enquiries, requests, booking contract, T&Cs to even managing your equipment inventory and cashflow. I use DJ Event Planner.

Conclusion and final thoughts

Starting a DJ business can be a great way to turn your passion for music into a profitable career. While it may seem daunting at first, with the right preparation and mindset, you can achieve success in this industry.

Throughout this article, we’ve covered the key steps you need to take to start your DJ business, including:

  • Defining your target market and niche
  • Building your brand and online presence
  • Investing in quality equipment and software
  • Networking and building relationships with clients and industry professionals
  • Developing your skills and staying up-to-date with the latest trends

Remember, success in the DJ industry takes time and effort. It’s important to stay committed to your goals and continuously work on improving your skills and building your business.

By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can set yourself up for success and achieve your dream of running a profitable DJ business. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does it cost to start DJing?

The initial cost for a mobile DJ is in the equipment setup, which can be anything from $500 to $15,000. 

You will need a playout system (Turntables & Mixer, CDJs or Controller), Laptop, Speakers, Lights, Headphones and Microphone as a minimum.

How do DJs start off?

To become a DJ there are a few things you should do. First, see if you like it by learning to mix using a friend’s equipment if possible. If you enjoy it buy some equipment – Turntables, CDJs or a DJ Controller. Practice lots! Record your mixes and upload your best ones online. Offer to play gigs for free or cheap until you get some credibility, then start taking bookings.

How do DJs get paid?

A DJ can make around $50 – $100 per hour (USD) on average for a 4-5 hour gig. 

A mobile DJ will often take payment upfront from their client – a deposit on booking then full balance before the event.

If a DJ is working as an employee for a venue or booking agent, they will normally have to invoice after the event and then wait up to 30 days for payment into their bank account.

What equipment does a beginner DJ need?

A beginner DJ will need the following equipment;

  • Turntables and Mixer or DJ Controller
  • Laptop
  • DJ Software
  • Speakers
  • Headphones

A mobile DJ will also need lighting and some kind of table or DJ stand for their playout system.

What licenses are required to start a DJ business?

The licenses required to start a DJ business can vary by state and country. In general, you may need a business license, tax ID number, and liability insurance. You should research the specific requirements for your area to ensure that you are operating legally.

Is starting a wedding DJ business different from other types of DJ businesses?

Starting a wedding DJ business may require more specialized equipment and a different approach to marketing and networking. You will need to have a good understanding of the wedding industry and be able to create a customized experience for each couple. However, many of the basic skills and equipment needed for other types of DJ businesses will still apply.

What should be included in a DJ business plan?

A DJ business plan should include information about your target market, competition, marketing strategy, pricing, and financial projections. It should also outline your business goals and how you plan to achieve them.

Where do DJs get their music?

Most DJs buy their music in digital format (MP3) either from a download or streaming service, such as;

  • BPM Supreme
  • DJ City
  • Digital DJ Pool
  • Promo Only
  • Amazon and Apple Music
  • Beatport
  • Juno Music
  • Soundcloud

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