Smart DJ Tips: How do you Handle Tips?

December 29, 2017 by Jason Rubio

Tip jars and tipping is just about everywhere in the United States. It seems like no matter where you go, tipping is almost expected. Many service businesses are now using Square or other credit card processing methods, and when you break out the credit card, they swipe it and turn the screen to you which says: “Tip 10%, 15%, 25%” or the last line at the bottom, “no tip.” Research shows that simply showing the tip option will increase your tips (obviously), but it’s sometimes a bit awkward, especially if you don’t want to leave a tip. You don’t want to be that guy/lady, who doesn’t tip; however, in my opinion, tips are a way of showing appreciation for those who do a great job and provide great service!

Should you tip the person at the sandwich shop who simply made the sandwich the way you asked? In Europe, tipping 10% is very much appreciated, but not expected. (Tips are usually built into the cost of the food/service). In the US, those who tip 10% are seen as cheap! In the DJ, photo booth, or wedding/event service business, tipping seems to always be a grey area. Some companies force people to tip, by adding a required tip amount into their contracts. This bothers me. What if you felt that the company didn’t do a great job or you weren’t happy with the service? You’re REQUIRED to still tip, according to the contract. It doesn’t seem fair, but then again, the client knew this, before signing the contract. Our company, (Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths) does not do this. We simply choose to create our pricing based on what we want to be paid with/without a tip. We pay our DJs very well, too. (We pay more per hour than any company in town). Tips are always appreciated, but not required. This brings me to my last point. The tip jar.

If you don’t have a required tip in your contract, do you bring a tip jar? Some people say it’s “tacky” to do this. We don’t do this either but have worked with others who walk away with a jar full of tips at the end of the night. Every time we see this, I admit, I always reconsider our tipping policy. At this point, we don’t have a tip jar for the DJ or photo booth. Sometimes, we’ll get an envelope with a tip (made out before the event), but not always. I once worked with a DJ who would go up to the client (usually bride/groom or parents) and say “So, how do you want to handle gratuity?” I was shocked, every time he did this. He got tipped most of the time, but this is something I could never do.

I gotta admit, tips are great. We did a holiday party, a few weeks ago, and a guy tipped $40 to hear a song. Obviously, we played that request. 🙂 So what do you do? Do you build tips into your pay or contract? Do you bring a tip jar?

Jason Rubio Jason Rubio (85 Posts)

Jason Rubio is the co-owner and founder of Austin’s Best DJs, a professional DJ & photo booth company that provides music and entertainment for hundreds of weddings and events in the Austin and central Texas area. Jason started his DJ career as a mobile DJ, at age 13, and has since DJ’ed thousands of events, providing music and entertainment for clubs, bars, radio, concerts, festivals and various other events. In addition to writing for Mobile Beat, Jason also writes “The DJ Insider,” and has been featured in Canadian Special Events Magazine, Wedding Planner Magazine, and numerous other sites and publications. 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. Contact Jason Rubio at

Filed Under: DJing Weddings, Event DJ Tips, Mobile DJ Business, Mobile DJ Sales & Marketing