New equipment… does the client even care?

February 2, 2012 by Arnoldo Offermann

Who are you designing the show for- your clients or other DJs?

This comes as a topic of discussion, debate, and many other colorful words amongst DJs. “Well, you need to invest in this and this and this to make your show better.” I hear this phrase a lot. How often do YOU struggle with equipment purchases.
To make your life easier, ask yourself “Does the client notice and care?” I’m not saying go cheap with purchases, but there IS such as thing as overkill for various applications. Will the client notice if you use Tomcat or Global or Applied? Only YOU will notice the difference and know what works best for your application.
To give you an example. Let’s say you have $8000 for some NEW scanners and you want a nice bright LED series. You find the perfect scanners for around $1000 each. Would the client notice the difference between your new scanners and old ones? Maybe. What they WILL notice is that the hotel at their prom/dance is not charging as much for power. You’re happy because you got a nice new upgrade that BENEFITS your client. You share this with another DJ who tells you “you should’ve gotten these other scanners or even moving heads at $2000 each.”
You feel like crap because you didn’t impress your DJ friend. Well? Who cares? If you went with his recommendation you have 4 scanners as opposed to 8. Which show will be more impressive to the client? If you lose one scanner, do you want to be 25% less of a show or 12.5%?
Think about this for all purchases. Everyone wants to have the latest and greatest, but purchasing overkill or a total miss can hurt your business. This is especially true in the school market where being on the edge counts! As 4SchoolsOnly EXPLODES in growth, we always face the dilemma of what to purchase next. We’ve come up with a thought process and I want to share it with you!
* Again, does the client care? Will they notice a huge difference?
* Is it modular? If you need to do multiple rigs (if you’re a multiop), are you spending your money evenly amongst both systems?
* Are you getting the best deal? I don’t mean on price, but in value. Are you ordering from a vendor you can count on?
* Is it the best bang for the buck? Look at LED floods as an example: are you spending money for an outdoor unit when you only do indoor dances?
* Will it have ROI? Meaning will the item EARN you money? Are you getting it JUST for the sake of getting it? If the latter, make sure you can afford it!
* Are you ready to marry it? You don’t want to spend a chunk of change on something that you’ll throw out within the year. It’s like buying a car, you want to use the item until it’s obsolete or completely gone from so much use.
* Is there something better? If you’re upgrading your light show, but have NO floods or (if your area allows it) no haze– then why not start there first?
Do your research. Read and watch reviews. Mobile Beat Magazine always has great reviews, and you can find more on YouTube or even your DJ friends. This may sound common sense, but the debate happens too much. Remember that it’s YOUR business funded by YOUR clients. Impress them, not other DJs. Be a market leader with great equipment and sharp skills; but don’t compete with yourself so much that you’re replacing equipment every 6 months.
When in doubt, do what I do. ASK YOUR CLIENTS! I show my clients future ideas, setups, and other options and ask for their thoughts. Their input is not only super valuable but has stopped us from making terrible decisions just because we wanted to impress ourselves.
Arnoldo Offermann Arnoldo Offermann (40 Posts)

Arnoldo Offermann is the president of 4SchoolsOnly, a national phenomenon in school dances. In a market where DJs cry about $500 school DJs, 4SO sees 10-20x that price tag per event. Arnoldo is also the creator of Master School Dances, the leading educational tools for DJs wanting to get into this great market. He is a sought-after speaker, reviewer, and DJ tech-writer. You can learn more at

Filed Under: Lighting for Mobile DJs