Starting a mobile DJ business can be a fun way to make some extra money and quite simple, providing you have the right equipment, the talent and the right contacts. With a strong plan, it's also possible to turn a small side business into a full-time career. The following are some tips to get your business off the ground, incorporate your company, make contacts, get jobs and outfit your operation with the proper equipment.
Write a business plan. Regardless of the size of your business, a solid business plan will help you map out how you will get your operation off the ground and run it in the future. A strong business plan should contain a start-up budget and a report outlining your capital needs. A marketing and advertising plan should also detail how you plan to get jobs. To add strength to your plan and the future viability of your company, including a small plan to expand will help you be proactive as your business grows (see Resources).
Incorporate your business. A mobile DJ business requires a significant amount of travel time and often the need to spend personal money on odds and ends. By forming an official business, you will be able to make purchases and write off expenses in the name of your company. Doing so will also allow you to file income taxes for the business, relieving personal tax liabilities (see Resources).
Raise capital. Depending on your desires, you will need capital to buy equipment, including sound gear and a vehicle or trailer to transport it. You may also need to secure a spot to store you equipment when it's not in use. The best way to get started in a small operation like a mobile DJ business is to find someone willing to invest in your business. Show him your plan and offer a profit on the money. If this isn't an option, apply for a SBA Loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration or your local bank (see Resources). Chances are you won't need a sizable amount just to get started. If you are unable to get financing, contact people in your area who may have equipment you can rent. A local music store bulletin board is good place to start.
Buy equipment. To get started, all you need is a solid PA system with at least one microphone, a pair of studio headphones, CD or digital music player and a catalog of music. Depending on the size of the rooms you will be playing, a 250-watt PA system may be perfect for all-around applications (see Resources). Expect to spend about $2,000 to $5,000 to start, unless you can obtain gear more cheaply. Check classified sections of your local newspapers for people selling used equipment.
Promote your business. A mobile DJ business can be good entertainment for a variety of events, depending on your catalog of music. Start with networking with bridal shops, bars and organizations, such as your local Chamber of Commerce. Print fliers and posters and ask these organizations to allow you display them in their places of business. To get wedding business, check engagement announcements in your newspaper and solicit your services by direct mail. Classified ads are also effective.
Hire a CPA or marketing firm to help you if you are unsure how to proceed with constructing a business plan.
Be fair with your fees. Research other DJ companies in your area to see what they charge for a variety of venues. Generally, you should charge more of a corporate or wedding job than you would a bar or small event. Be fair and profitable, but don't price yourself out of the market.
Name your business and hand out business cards to everyone you meet.
Contact your local government office and county tax office to inquire about business licensing and tax registration requirements before you start looking for work.
Get experience before branching out. A DJ's performance often determines whether the attendees enjoy themselves at a particular event. Work with what you have until you've gotten enough experience and confidence to expand. Bring in an experienced DJ to work with you if you are green.
Open a business checking account. This will allow you to separate business and personal funds.