If DJs Charged Like Well Drillers…

December 12, 2017 by Robert Lindquist

When you live outside the service area of the municipal water supplier (as I do), having a well is an accepted part of life. Without good water, life in the country can begin to quickly lose it’s charm. So, where am I going this is? Long story-short: We have a piece of land that we’re thinking of developing, I needed a well, so I called a local driller to scope it out and give me an estimate.

As this particular company has sunk most of the wells in our area, they have a thick log book with all sorts of well depth and water quality data. It took him less than 10 minutes to stake out a location.

Just as he attached a flag to mark the spot, he turned to me, with a very matter of fact look on his face, and said… “Now, the cost..”

“The minimum charge is $1800, plus $50 per foot we drill.” He continued, “If the cost per foot exceeds the $1800 then we drop the minimum charge. In addition, it’s $20 per foot of pipe, $60 for the shoe, $50 for the cap, and $25 for each bag of grout, the number of bags depends on how deep the well.” The dollar amounts here aren’t important – in fact, these aren’t the actual numbers. But I got to thinking, what if DJs charged like well drillers (and similar service businesses).

I think it would go something like this for a basic five hour job:

“Our minimum charge (just for showing up) is $2000. we then charge $41 for each song we play. If the cost per song exceeds the $2000, we drop the minimum. In addition, we charge for $20 each time the DJ opens the microphone to make an announcement. Requests cost $30 each—$60 if they are actually played. Cables and cords are considered expendable so we have a cables and cords charge of $120. You may keep these after the event. Time spent tearing down is billed at a flat rate of $50. There’s a charge of $30 for wear and tear on cases, $25 dollars for gas to get home and $15 for a burger and fries after the job”.

So let’s assume you average 15 songs per hour and finish up with an hour of overtime. The minimum is $3690, plus 10 requests that you actually played ($600) and all the other incidental charges. The total bill would come to around $4730 (assuming you made 10 announcements during the event). Not bad for an evening’s work, and this doesn’t include additional things like up lighting, or meeting with the client prior to the event. That runs into real money.

So, if you’re not making a good living as a DJ, maybe you’re pricing structure is all wrong. Maybe it’s time to stop charging by the hour, and start charging by the services rendered. 🙂

Robert Lindquist Robert Lindquist (39 Posts)

Robert Lindquist has been involved in the DJ profession since 1967, when he built a make-shift sound system from spare parts in order to provide music for a birthday party. From that point on, he supplemented his day-jobs in radio, TV and advertising by DJ’ing in clubs and for weddings and corporate events. In 1987, he was encouraged to share his DJ experience in writing, which led to the release of “Spinnin’” at the initial DJ Times Expo in Atlantic City.Recognizing the need for a publication dedicated to Mobile DJs, he created Mobile Beat “The DJ magazine” in 1990. In addition to still being a sound tech and DJ/MC for weddings, he is a producer of video content writes for several audio publications and blogs. He is also a partner in Las Vegas based Level 11 Media, which maintains several Web sites and digital publications for musicians and touring sound engineers and is an IMDb listed actor and voice talent.


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