When Should I Collect Payment for my DJ Services?

July 19, 2016 by Jason Rubio

Let me say one word that everyone in the world knows and values in some way or another: Money! If you’re providing a service, such as a DJ, photo booth, photographer, videographer, or whatever, you are in business to get paid. We all invest so much time and money into our services, and it’s not just to do it for free.

In the wedding/private event business, many people like to take a deposit, and then collect the remaining balance the day of the event. Up until this year, our DJ and photo booth company did this. It was our way of saying “we’ll be there,” since we know so many DJs in the industry are unprofessional and people are scared of “no shows.” However, last year, we came across too many problems with this method. Here are the pros and cons of this method:

Pros (that many DJs swear by)

  • “If you do a great job, you may get a great tip at the end of the night, when collecting payment.”
  • “Makes the customer more comfortable, since they have a guarantee that you’ll show.”
  • “Let’s me get paid for my service, when I provide it.”

Cons (that we’ve learned along the way)

  • Drunk couples/family members who forget they owe you money, so they have to scramble, collecting money, to pay you.
  • Couples do a send-off and leave without paying you; leaving you to have to chase someone else down to collect payment (we’ve done this).
  • People “forgetting their checkbook, credit card, not having cash, etc.”
  • Bad checks (if you accept them; we no longer do, due to this happening once).

We can write many more, but you get the idea. So my recommendation is to get paid ahead of time, every time! Put it in your contract that you require payment before the event (decide on a date/time that’s best for you). Every wedding/event vendor gets paid ahead of time for their services, so why should DJs, photo booths, or anyone else be any different? You’re a business, just like any other business. Yes, collecting ahead of time may lessen the chances of getting a tip, but we still often get tipped the night of the event, anyway. Be comfortable with you price. Tipping is nice, but not required, so set a price you’re happy with, whether you get a tip or not! Avoid problems and work smarter, not harder!

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Jason Rubio Jason Rubio (14 Posts)

Jason Rubio is the co-owner and founder of Austin’s Best DJs, a professional DJ company which provides music and entertainment for approximately 250 public and private events per year, in the Austin and central Texas area. Jason started his DJ career as a mobile DJ, at age 13, in 1991, and has since DJed thousands of events, providing music and entertainment for clubs, bars, radio, and various other events. Austin’s Best DJs currently also provides DJs for numerous major events in the Austin area, including: SXSW, Austin City Limits Music Festival, as well as Formula 1 and other events, at the Circuit of the Americas race track. Jason is also a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, as well as a Master’s of Public Administration, from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Though Jason worked in the education field since 2003, he continued to DJ public and private events, and later founded Austin’s Best DJs, with his then girlfriend, now wife, Diana, in 2012. Austin’s Best DJs now has 8 DJs, in 5 central Texas cities. Jason and Diana also created Austin’s Best Photo Booths, in 2015, adding photo booth services, and have 4 photo booth staff, providing DJ and/or photo booth services for events in Austin and central Texas. Visit us: www.AustinsBestDJs.com


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