DJs rock the crowd with dance tunes at nightclubs, bars, weddings and other special events requiring musical entertainment. Some clients prefer DJs over live music because DJs can provide a wider array of musical variety than a band, which may be restricted to their familiar set list. Starting a DJ business has its perks; DJs enjoy preferred access at nightclub venues, work in lively environments and may get to set their own schedule. Learning how much it costs to start a DJ business is a big step toward developing a workable business plan.
Some DJs may spend a few hundred dollars getting their business off the ground, especially if they already own basic spinning equipment and a music library. Others may spend up to $10,000 on overall costs including DJ software, CDs and records, sound equipment and expensive marketing materials. Entrepreneurs shooting for the middle ground may spend between $3,000 and $7,000 in 2011 to get their DJ business started.
Lighting and Sound
Some venues may already provide lighting equipment, but DJs planning to do mobile work may need to invest in basic lighting equipment for on-the-go gigs such as weddings or corporate BBQs. Never assume that clients will provide lighting. Go over these details when preparing contracts to know what you’re expected to provide. DJs will also need to purchase sound equipment, including amplifiers, speakers, professional-quality amplifier and a microphone. Laptops are lighter and easier to transport than turn tables and records; many DJs are transitioning to digital files. Back-up your music with an external hard drive; these can be purchase for under $200 in 2011. Purchase cables and extension cords for powering DJ equipment. Karaoke DJ businesses need monitors and karaoke CDs that display song lyrics to the screen.
If you’re relying on social networking sites for marketing, this business element can cost very little (or nothing.) Otherwise, expect to spend around $150 per month on marketing materials including business cards, flyers and maintaining a professional DJ site with photos from gigs, free music samples and contact information.
Some businesses will require that DJs carry liability insurance when performing at catering halls, reception venues, restaurants or hotels. Liability insurance for DJs may cost several hundred dollars per year. You may also wish to purchase insurance for DJ equipment and gear, since this can be expensive to repair or replace. Discounts may be available for DJs who join professional associations.
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.