Is Your Wedding DJ Being Down Graded
Updated: Jun 24
Every DJ company that has more than one DJ has some form of an A, B, C and sometimes even a D option. The company may want to match you based on your needs, but that depends more on what DJ is available at the rate the company pays, rather than a DJ that perfectly aligns with your wants. The A options are the DJs with lots of wedding experience and solid reviews. Most established companies will have a couple, but some could have none, especially since many left due to the lack of work. The B options are those that will have some limited experience but are still developing their skillset. There’s normally an abundance of DJs in the C category. These are the new DJs with no experience and no reviews. Last would be the dreaded D category, which is reserved for the companies that over book, or pay too little to retain DJs, so they’ll take anyone they can get for the wedding.
Highly qualified DJs or A category DJs are now harder to find because covid hit the wedding industry very hard. For many DJs, it was particularly bad since the majority of DJs are really subcontractors. As such, they only work and get paid when there is work. Having zero or a drastically reduced income from DJing has resulted in more A and B quality DJs selling off their equipment and leaving the industry. Overall, there’s no doubt in my mind that the wedding industry will feature a ton of new DJs with no wedding or DJ experience. When you can’t find a review mentioning the name of the DJ assigned to your wedding, they’re most likely a C (new DJ). If there’s no name mentioned in the contract then it is more likely your DJ falls into either the C or D category rather than A or even B. Having a DJ with experience is now a luxury, so it would be used as a selling point. If a company mentions the experience of their DJs then a name should be written into the contract.
There are few ways you can end-up getting either a C or D option for a DJ, and often price is often the first indicator. There’s too many unverified, independent prices for a wedding DJ that are published online. Most of these are either dated or apply to the US/markets outside of Kitchener, Waterloo or Stratford, Ontario. This creates an expectation that you can find awesome DJs around $1000 or less which is possible, however, in terms of finding an A or B quality of DJ that’s not usually the case. It doesn’t help that some DJ companies and DJs make some very liberal claims in terms of their wedding experience and what they provide. When the price falls below the average it should raise a few questions with couples. The average price has been published at $1442 by the Better Business Bureau of Ontario which is a far more credible independent source for information.
Booking based on a low price without understanding exactly who or what you’re getting is what leads down the path of option D. A large DJ company might explain they can accomplish a below average price based off of scale or volume. But, an A or B quality DJ is not working for a reduced rate during the wedding season. Any DJ can just as easily take another booking that pays more if one comes along, and that happens often. This leads to these DJ companies contacting DJs using the same story every time, the DJ is sick. This should not be a problem since everyone says they have backups, but having a backup DJ is rare so this goes on throughout the wedding season. These last minute requests would require a premium in any other industry, however, the DJ companies seek out a DJ that costs the least amount of money, which has nothing to do with who’s the best option for the couple.
No DJ company is going to say that this happens, but we’ve received enough messages from other DJ companies over the last 7 years to tell you it absolutely does. The big business approach to weddings can place more importance on a company’s sales and marketing to couples than the weddings. In these situations, the DJ(s) is only a minor part of the solution and often seen as a replaceable part, so you can be matched with just about anyone. As a DJ and a small business owner, I’m opposed to this position because this does not offer any value to couples. It only offers value to the company. Without knowing who the DJ is there’s just no way to tell if their qualifications match with what you’re being told. There’s typically a direct correlation to price and the level of experience a DJ has. An experienced A DJ will generally cost more than a C DJ, and you won’t even know if you’re getting a D level DJ until your wedding day, unless your contract states the name(s) of the DJ. For a wedding, couples need to equally research the company and the DJ assigned if the party and celebration is important.