The topic of a “Bottom feeder” DJ is one that tends to upset most professional mobile DJs. Many feel they are the guys that steal all the bookings by charging a lower rate than everyone else, and are hurting our industry by keeping the rate level low. It is taken for granted that if a DJ charges considerably less than others, that he is clearly “a no good bottom feeder”……or is he?
There are typically 2 types of DJs that charge lower rates:The Bottom feeder
The Newbie (Our term for a new DJ with no experience)
Just because they both charge a “cut rate” doesn’t mean they are the same.
Both start out as a Newbie
A Newbie is typically a DJ that is out on his own for the first time. He’s trying to get his business established and make a name for himself. Starting out, he lacks the experience, references & connections that benefit the higher priced established DJ. His equipment may be less than professional and his music library may not yet be adequately built. Given these limitations, he would be foolish to try and charge the same rates as those who are solidly established. In order to start building up a clientele, and earning a reputation, he will wisely charge less to attract customers.:
At this point, he can begin traveling one of two roads
The Professional Road
The Bottom Feeder Road
The Professional Road:
To choose the road toward becoming a Professional, the Newbie must be willing to continuously reinvest what he can back into his business. This is done by improving and updating his equipment, music library, his attire, and his DJ and business skills. He must also be willing to learn and share new ideas, get to know his competition, and learn to network with them and others in the field. He will run his business professionally, carry liability and property insurance, use signed contracts, and invest in backup equipment. He will always keep in mind that the client deserves personalized attention.
As an up-and-coming professional, he needs to stay competitive in his market with his rates. At the same time he cannot be afraid to charge more as the value of his equipment, performance, and service increase. In time, he will begin to attract a more discriminating and educated clientele that is willing to pay his asking rate. The referrals from past clients and years of networking will be his main source of business.
The Bottom Feeder Road:
The bottom feeder will only reinvest in his business when something quits working. He sees no reason to spend the extra money to buy professional equipment, and his music library remains very limited. He isn’t concerned with improving his skills, attire, or in learning anything new. He sees his competition as the enemy. Most of his bookings are based on his low price. He will promote that he is as good as the higher priced DJs but at a “reasonable” rate. Unfortunately, an uneducated consumer is easy prey to the bottom feeder sales pitch. Not until the actual event do they realize that they didn’t get a bargain, that in fact they over-paid! It cost them the quality of their event.
Most of the bottom feeder’s repeat clients are primarily concerned with getting cheap entertainment; the others will never call on him again. He will underbid any price just to secure the booking. He carries no insurance and little if any backup equipment. He is set in his ways, and runs his DJ business like a sideline.
The only form of advancing his business is to take on more bookings. Many times the bottom feeder will promise the client the moon to secure the gig, and then find an even cheaper DJ to whom to subcontract the event. In most cases it will be a DJ that is a Newbie or another bottom feeder. He puts his best interest above the clients needs. As long as there are prospects looking for cheap entertainment, or they are uneducated on how to wisely choose the proper DJ, the bottom feeder will thrive.
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