Hiring an average New Zealand mobile DJ to entertain at your wedding in early 1986 (when I started) typically cost around $400.00. According to the Reserve Bank’s inflation calculator, $400 in wages would be the equivilant of $1,286.13 in quarter 2 of 2018. This means that based on inflation alone, any mobile DJ providing the same meagre level of service should now be charging around $1,250.
Of course the level of service and the expectations of clients have increased considerably. I remember working for a multiple operator DJ company at that time. We DJs would be told a week or two before the wedding date the name of the venue, the first names of the couple, the amount of money to collect and the start time for performance. Sometimes we’d have the first dance title in advance as well.
We would turn up (usually during the meal or speeches), turn on and sound check the gear that had been set up earlier in the day by the owner of the DJ company, and when the MC (usually a family member) announced the first dance, we would start to play for 4 or 5 hours, then pack down the gear and leave it ready for pick up and drive home.
That’s right- no consultations with clients, no planning, no detailed introductions into the room, no ceremony sound or music, no cocktail hours music, no wireless microphones, no MC work, no back-up equipment, no intelligent controlled lighting, no personalised elements to the night and no attempt to make the night any different to any other night.
That basic level of service, based on inflation alone, is now worth over $1,200. If you’re getting quotes below that amount from DJs for your wedding, you’d have to wonder why wouldn’t you? What is it that they aren’t offering? Why do they feel they are worth less than I was worth in 1986 with the bare-bones sound library, inexperienced service, untrained (professionally) and poor equipment I was offering then? It sure makes you wonder.