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DJ Tips – How To Get Paid More Money

by Matt · 0 comments

in DJ Gigs

Need some DJ tips on getting paid?

If you’ve done a free DJ gig or two before, now may be the time you should start to think about getting some money for your work.

After all, DJing is essentially an art and a business. 

And if you’re any good, you’ve already read my DJ tips and played your famous first DJ gig and it went pretty well.

Now you’re starting to think you’re worth something. A bit of cash maybe. Thinking of getting paid?

How do I know how much I’m worth?

At this stage, let’s remember: the plan is not to get as much money as you possibly can.

You’re still trying to build your rep as a DJ around town. So asking for too much cash is a massive turn off. Just getting paid a normal amount of money for a DJ is recommended.

Even you’re a pro at getting money out of people (and some of you are) then don’t overdo it. The guy paying you may not say so, but there’s a good chance you’ll piss him off doing that.

Having said that, it’s important you get what you deserve. And I mean, what you deserve. No more, no less.

DJ Tip: agree on what you’re getting paid

Before the gig, on the phone or however it is you communicate with the organiser, ask what the rate is. This is a perfectly normal question and you should be relaxed about asking it.

Unless they ask you first what you want for your night (which they sometimes do) then wait for them to say what they offer.

Now, some guys try to go low and see if you accept a lower amount than normal. Actually, loads of people do that. They’re just trying to cut costs, which is understandable.

If what they shoot over to you seems a bit low, then you can always counter offer them.

For example:

You: So err, what’s the rate for Thursday?

Owner/promoter: Oh, we pay 60 bucks for DJs here

You: Ok right. Is that for everyone?

Owner/promoter: kind of.

You: Because my rate is 90 bucks. But I guess I could meet you half way?

Owner/promoter: OK let’s say 70 for you then.

You: Sorry, did you say 75? Hahaha (make a joke). I’m bringing loads of friends who drink. And girls too. My friends will pay for my what you pay me by getting drinks at the bar in the first hour alone!

Owner/promoter: Um, ok look, let’s say 75 then. But you’d better be good!

Now, you may have only got 15 dollars more than he was suggesting, but it’s better than nothing.

And next time, you can ask for a little bit more. He knows you’re not a pushover. But don’t push it too hard, this is really your first paid gig.

Stay on good terms and don’t get all serious about the money.

Get what you deserve, but don’t be greedy.

For the first year or two, it’ll be about getting gigs anyway.

And if you’re the warm up DJ, which you may be, then don’t be expecting to be getting a suitcase of money.

DJ tips: learn from my experiences of getting paid

Of course, these DJ tips wouldn’t be complete without some little story about my experiences in getting paid for gigs.

I’ve always been paid honestly, as far as I know, fairly every time.

Obviously, I haven’t always seen the bar receipts so I can’t be 100% sure and I do think that a couple of times, I was given a bit less than I should have been.

As for when I bill people directly, I’m paid very promptly every time.

Also, you can get some drinks free from the club or bar you’re DJing at.

Just one time, some douchebag barman deducted the cost of my drinks from my pay. What a muppet. I got the money back but anyway, make sure it’s clear about the drinks being free or not before the gig. At least some drinks should definitely be free for you.

Other DJ tips about getting paid

Make sure you know who’s paying you.

If it’s the bar staff who give you cash from the till, if you see the promoter or owner later on, or if you simply send a bill to their office for your service.

Get a name before you do the gig and make sure you understand the amount you’re being paid as well.

Drinks are almost always included and in some places, food too. Make the most of it.

Some places will pay you according to bar takings. This is not always easy to follow up so most times you’ll just have to accept what they give you.

Whilst many bar staff are totally honest, others aren’t. They might cream off some of your pay and keep it for themselves. After all, in some clubs there’s so much cash floating around that this is very simple to do.

Nightclub and restaurant owners get staff pocketing their cash all the time.

Maybe you can get to see the bar takings though. You can ask to check them out and see how they react.

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