Wide Angle on Wedding Add-Ons – By Josh Yawn

October 31, 2011 by Dan Walsh

Mobile DJing has evolved into such an amazing place over the past decade. Ten years ago, we were looking with eager eyes at the possibility of making extra money by renting these then-newfangled devices called chocolate fountains. The thought of increasing income on a DJ gig without even having to DJ was foreign, but exciting. Many embraced this concept and successfully increased their income.

As one thing lead to another, and new trends and possibilities began to appear, so did our opportunities to double and triple our cash flow on a single event. Today, what were previously known as “DJ services” are now often found to be full-fledged event production companies. That is extremely good news for our business. DJs have redefined their market’s perceptions of what a DJ company can provide and have set new standards in options and service.

One of the best sales tips I ever received was, “Sell what they’re already buying!” That profound statement could never be more applicable to the mobile DJ than it is now. Today, uplighting, custom gobo lights, photo booths, and even photography and videography are allowing DJs to reap the benefit of being a one-stop shop for important services a bride is either already looking for, or would love to have. Now is time to take advantage of the mighty add-on.

UPLIGHTING

If you aren’t already offering uplighting, we’ll hold a spot on the bandwagon for you. Uplighting has quickly become a staple in the services mobile DJs offer. It’s an easily executed add-on that requires a relatively small investment with a potentially large return. The advances in LED technology have made uplighting equipment affordable, and companies are now designing units with rubber feet, dual brackets and even battery options specifically for this application. Plenty of DJs are still using LED par cans though, because of their continuing ability to double as truss lighting. Expect to pay somewhere around $100 to $250 for your uplighting fixtures. With a possible average increase of $300 to $500 or more for the night, you can quickly pay off your investment.

CUSTOM GOBOS

Custom gobo lights are another add-on that provides a substantial value increase to a wedding. The “wow factor” in seeing the bride and groom’s names or initials in lights makes it a worthwhile service to consider. After purchasing your projector or light, your only real overhead is in your gobo for each application. But, with the rise in amazing services that provide same-day turnaround and templates for your design, all of the legwork has been removed. Most DJs are catching an average of $150 to $300 additional income for providing custom gobo lights.

PHOTO BOOTH

Photo booths are hot right now, plain and simple. DJs are heavily increasing their income by renting or contracting photo booths for weddings. The recent surge in popularity has proven the worth of this soon-to-be staple. And photo booth rental definitely has the legs for longevity in the DJ/wedding industry. A photo booth will cost you a pretty penny, but the investment is made up with rentals bringing in anywhere from $800 to $1,500 a night.

PHOTOGRAPHY and VIDEOGRAPHY

Many mobile DJs are even beginning to offer photography and videography these days, making their companies a nearly all-inclusive “wedding services central.” You know that a photographer is going to be present at every wedding, and that a videographer will be present at most. These are services the bride will absolutely pay for anyway, so why not with you? Why not relieve the bride of all the headaches that come with searching for vendor after vendor? Even if you contract the service out to a photographer or videographer you trust and work well with, the benefits are still there.

MAKING THE SELL…THE UP-SELL, THAT IS

Up-selling a bride can be difficult. Being a salesperson in respect to DJ services alone can be difficult enough as it is. DJs agree though, that the best way to sell a bride on your add-on services is through the use of visual aids. An iPad or notebook computer will be your best tool in showcasing the incredible environment you can create with your add-ons.

Create a brief visual presentation with before-and-after photos of your uplighting and custom gobo effects. Show people having fun in your photo booth. Have a portfolio of your photography and videography work (if applies). Take advantage of the fact that these up-sells are all visual.

CONTRACTING

Contracting can be a great way to offer some of these add-ons without actually having to invest in them quite yet. For example, many DJs stock a certain number of uplights and then either contract or rent if they need more. We personally contract out our photo booth service. It has allowed our smaller company the means of offering a big add-on, while also helping a fellow wedding vendor get work. It’s been a win-win.

Many shy away from contracting work, usually for good reason. If you choose to contract work to someone else, make sure it’s someone you have history with and have worked with before. They must understand that even though they have their own company, they’re representing your company on these gigs. You can work out with your individual contract worker the specifics of whether you’ll allow them to split the bill and use their company name, or, if they’re obligated to operate essentially as an employee of yours for the night.

As far as paying your contract worker, you must first decide if you’re going to charge a fee on top of theirs, so that you still make money off of booking their services, or, if you’re going to break even because you see value in simply offering the service. And different states have different laws and regulations on contracting, so make sure you’re familiar before you set out on this path. In some states, charging a fee on top of theirs makes you technically an “agent,” which has additional requirements one must abide by. Your contract workers should be responsible for their own insurance and tax reporting if they are not your employees.

OPPORTUNITIES KNOCKING

In summary, the timing is right and the opportunities are ripe for these add-ons to increase your wedding revenue. Never have there been so many options available for mobile DJs to branch out. The trends are growing…brides are buying…and DJs are growing their businesses through providing these amazing services that help turn special days into dream days.

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Josh Yawn is a television host and producer as well as mobile DJ and author. He is the creator of the Mobile Beat DVD series DJ Crash Course and author of the upcoming book Hosting for DJs.

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