Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A new year and a new career - PLUS, weddings in 2019

Things are changing - just a little...

For the last 19 years, I've worked as a professional DJ. The first 10 years were part time and jobs were few and far between. Since then, I've turned this into a full time business, providing DJ, photo booth and lighting services for weddings, corporate events, birthdays, school functions and more.

Now after 19 years, I'm going to be scaling back (just a little) and focusing on my new career as a Physical Therapist Assistant. I'll still be available for events on Friday and Saturday, but events taking place Sunday through Thursday will now be booked only if my associate, DJ Travis, is available for that date. 2019 will be the last year I offer slide show services as it seems to be on a down trend, having only had 3 requests for it in 2018 and the entire process is very time consuming.

I do not have any plans to retire from DJing as of yet, but when I do, it will be a 3 year exit strategy and everyone will be aware of it when I make that decision. I don't foresee this happening until at least 2023 (I have a school loan to pay back) and I enjoy what I do.

Enough about me, let's talk about weddings in 2019...

One of the things I need to address (for newlyweds) is the large amount of amateur DJs out there that put a price tag ahead of anything else. I know cost is a huge factor when you're booking vendors and I know you have a budget. But did you know that entertainment is ALWAYS in the top three most remembered things about a wedding? Take a look at this discussion:

Knowing that, do you really want to spend the least amount on the entertainment?

Here's a recent price list of what the average (mid-range, meaning reliable and decent) cost of each wedding vendor is in the USA. https://www.theknot.com/content/average-wedding-vendor-costs?fbclid=IwAR2lEpH-MziXYBSF6k8OEP2tBwRdB9-NuuOgFFc2vlKmCD6B64AdDSODIjk

If you didn't read it, the average cost of a DJ is $1231. That's far more than I charge for my entry level package.
I even found out recently that someone was using MY business name with a dollar amount in front of it to lure in couples who were looking based solely on price (please never do that, you won't be happy). He ended up raising his price (and changing the dollar amount on the name) because you CANNOT run a business for those prices. Shortly after, he stopped showing up for weddings with no warning. NEVER EVER choose a vendor based on a low price because it WILL end up ruining your wedding day.

There's another trend I'm seeing of DJs grouping themselves together (sometimes in different states too) so that they can split inquiries coming in. They generally charge more under this "made up company" to cover their additional expenses. Chances are, you can find those same DJs through their own individual companies for a lower price. Nothing wrong with that, but just be aware that you might be paying more for the same exact service and DJ.

Lastly, today's generation prefers to text. I realize that and I understand it's easier for you. The problem is that today's generation is also very visual. I get that because I'm the same way. I'm always more interested in a product I can see. Texting just doesn't work for this reason. I can send an email that has photos, details, pricing and answers all kinds of questions in just a few minutes, but it's impossible to send all that by text. Over the past two years, I noticed a trend of emails going ignored or ending up in spam folders. I now initially respond with both an email and text stating that I have responded by email. It seems to be working well so far.

One more thing I fogot to mention... I'm putting on the 4th Annual Valentine's Bridal Show at Chemung Hills Golf Club on Sunday, February 10th, 2019 from noon to 3 PM. Admission is free with online registration at www.michiganwedding.info

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Making Magical Memories

Well this is something I didn't expect to be blogging about in my business blog. I recently took a family vacation and went to Disney in Florida. I had heard about the guest experience before and how it can seem magical at times, which is part of the appeal to going there. Being in a service industry where guest experience is so important, I decided to see if I could pick up any ideas from the people who have been creating this experience (at least in Florida) since 1971.

We went to Animal Kingdom on our first day and I'm really glad we did. This was a magical experience from beginning to end. Guest service was off the charts. I had made a character dining reservation for lunch and the restaurant was running a bit behind. The hostess asked if we had been to Disney before (I had only been to Magic Kingdom about 40 years prior) so she gave us buttons that allowed other cast members to see this was our first visit and we received some special treatment (mostly my daughter) in the form of free stickers and other items as well as cast members wanting to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. Our hostess came back and checked on us several times and assured us it wouldn't be much longer. The food was excellent and the characters gave my daughter lots of attention. A cast member also gave us a great tip to catch the later, end of night show to get a better seat without waiting in line. We ended up get front row!

We experienced a similar situation in Hollywood Studios when my Disney Experience app wasn't working on my phone. This is how you book fast passes and dining (so you don't wait in line). We went up to guest relations and the lady that helped us was AMAZING. She couldn't fix the problem as it was a service issue that affected all users, but she made reservations for us and handled everything in a way that made us feel like we just won the lottery. To top it off, her real name was Ariel and she smiled the whole time like a real princess.

Not all of our experiences were great... Magic Kingdom was the least magical of our experiences and some cast members were just outright rude. We found a lot of them were not educated on the park or in the ways of "Disney guest relations". A simple question of where the nearest bathroom is, would have led us walking halfway down the street, when there was a bathroom no less than 20 feet from where we were standing in a nearby hallway.

We didn't let that ruin our vacation though. I simply took that as learning point for what I can do to make our client experience better. Making sure that you have a magical experience should be the same whether it's from one of our DJs or one of our photo booth attendants.  I'm planning a short training session on this soon, though I think most of our staff already does this.

This was a much needed trip and a revitalizing one as well. Let The DJ Guy make your day magical!

Give us a call at 517-404-0418 or visit us online at www.thedjguy.info to plan your big day!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Lights, Camera - SPEECH!

Giving a good speech can be difficult and stressful. Trust me, I speak in front of large crowds every single week and it isn't something you master quickly. I can tell you that after years of public speaking, it just comes naturally and I barely even think about it these days.

Standing in front of a room full of people, with a photographer and videographer can be very intimidating. Don't let get to you. In fact, don't even look at them! Look past them at various things around the room. If there are lighting fixtures on the wall, look at those and focus on what you're saying and say it clearly.

As for writing your speech, what to include or not include... take a look at this article from Brides magazine:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Why the dollar dance is fading away...

The dollar dance (or money dance as it's sometimes called) is a tradition that originated in Poland. The newlyweds would dance and guests would pin dollars to their clothes while they dance. This tradition has changed quite a bit over the years and now guests can give their dollars to the best man or maid of honor (to collect for the couple) as they get a chance to dance with either the bride or groom for 20-30 seconds.

So, why is the “dollar dance” sometimes considered to be tacky? In cultures where the tradition isn’t a normal wedding reception practice, it can be viewed as a public way of requesting a cash gift. After family and friends have already spent money on wedding gifts, shower gifts, and possible travel costs, some find the dollar dance to be in bad taste – even if it is optional. On the contrary, in some communities the tradition is not only accepted, but it’s also encouraged. Like the majority of social customs or cultural practices, what might seem tacky to one group of people may be incredibly significant to another. (excerpt from Southern Living)

In my experience, the dollar dance is often viewed by guests as a good time to leave for the night. In some cases, the dollar dance can last up to 15 minutes if the lines are long and guests are over-staying their 20-30 second dance time allotment. Playing slow songs for this long can result in a lull for the reception and is often viewed as "the reception is winding down".

Many couples only insist on the dollar dance because they feel they will get rich from a few dances. The fact is, most couples will only give $1 for the dance and even if grandma or grandpa give you $20, the most you'll end up with is about $150-175. Is that enough to risk ending your reception early? Most couples don't want to chance this as they've spent thousands on their special day and would hate to see it end prematurely.

The dollar dance will most likely, never fade away completely, but it is far less common today than it was 15 years ago. Whether a couple decides to do it or not is completely up to them. After all, it's their day and The DJ Guy will make it happen they way they want!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Four reasons you need a photo booth at your wedding

As you're getting ready for your big day, you probably have a few key things at the very top of your to-do list: venue, photographer, catering, etc. But what you might not have considered yet is something that could add loads of fun to your reception: a photo booth!
If hearing the words “photo booth” make you think of those drab, cramped boxes at the arcade that take blurry, unflattering pictures, think again! Modern photo booths are sleek, open, and hi-tech. It’s like having a mini photo studio at your event, featuring high definition cameras, complete with awesome props.
From a black tie affair to a rustic gathering, a photo booth can fit in with any theme. If you’re debating whether a photo booth is a good fit for your wedding, consider these four reasons why you should spring for one:
  1. Capture Unique Memories
Certainly, your professional photographer is going to capture those special moments from your wedding: your first look, first kiss, and first dance. But nothing beats the photos taken when you and your college friends grab a pair of Kanye sunglasses and a mustache-on-a-stick, and jump into a photo booth! The pressure to get into just the right pose comes off when the purpose of the photo is to be whacky and fun. Some of the most amusing and genuine moments of the night will be captured on the little strip that pops out of the printer.
  1. Entertainment Variety
Great DJ? Check. Open bar? Check. Sounds like you’re on your way to planning a good time! But chances are, everyone isn’t going to dance for the entire reception. And we all know what happens when someone spends a little too much time at the bar. What else is a guest to do? A photo booth adds variety and makes for a great activity for guests bouncing between the dance floor and the bar. Taking a break after the Cupid Shuffle for a quick photo shoot is sure to entertain!
  1. Socialize
Some aspects of a wedding reception can be very structured, particularly seating charts and buffet lines, all of which can cut into the opportunity for guests to socialize with people they haven’t met yet. There’s something about a photo booth that really brings people together! Aunt Janet and Bill from the office might discover a mutual love for 80’s rock while waiting in line for the photo booth, and that’s just priceless, isn’t it?
  1.  Easy Favors
We’ve all been to weddings where the thank you gift has been a shot glass, a bag of stale yogurt covered almonds, or something else that soon gets tossed or forgotten about. Thank your guests for coming in a far better way by sending them home with a personalized photograph or two that serves as a constant reminder of how much fun they had at your wedding. Don’t be surprised to see that photo hanging on their fridge when you stop by to visit, even months later! Prints from a photo booth are customizable, and can include your names, wedding date, and can even match your colors and theme, making them the perfect keepsake.
Ready to book some fun?  Why not give us a call or send an email.  We would be happy to help you book a photo booth for your big day!  We even have packages that are all-inclusive with our DJ services.
Ecobooth by The DJ Guy • http://photobooth.thedjguy.info/ • 517-404-0418

Friday, April 7, 2017

Don't fall for gimmicks and dishonesty!

We've all seen offers that seem too good to be true.  Well, as the saying goes, it probably IS too good to be true.  Recently, offers are popping up for "free this or that" for your wedding.  A good example is this facebook ad recently pointed out in a forum of photo booth professionals I'm a part of.

Let's be honest... no one is giving away a free photo booth.  How do they get away with saying this? Simple - by raising their DJ pricing and lowering the amenities offered with the photo booth in order to get you to add things in order to bring it back to the original price.

For example: They could cut the hours down, not offer printing, no scrapbook, no graphic design on the photo strips, no props and no digital copy of the images.  This diminishes the "wow factor" of the photo booth.  It's supposed to be fun and enjoyable for your guests, not tacky and cheap.

Another dishonest tactic is... 

Groupon is great for restaurants as they have a lot of room to work with on their pricing (in most cases).  $10 for $20 worth of food at a Mexican restaurant is still a profit for them.  If Taco Bell can do it for $5 and make a profit, so can they.

The big scam on Groupon is when you buy a discount photo booth service and the company doesn't even OWN a photo booth!  That's right, they subcontract EVERYTHING!  You never know who is going to be at your event or if they'll even show up.  This has happened countless times and I've seen a lot of articles about this.  I've even been contacted by some of these people, desperately trying to find someone to fill a date (usually within a week's time) and offering considerably less than what our cost is.  You can't get into a business if you don't understand it and know the costs involved.  On an average four hour booking, we're spending more than they charge!  We have employee costs, travel, media for the printer, insurance and much more.  I've even heard of companies that tried subcontracting for these people and then not getting paid!

How can they possible offer this for $199?  Simple.  Cut corners.  Which ones?  ALL OF THEM!
You'll get a subpar product that won't look good and will leave guests disappointed (if someone even shows up).

DON'T fall for these gimmicks and dishonest marketing!  The DJ Guy is ALWAYS honest about pricing and what's included.  We don't even offer a package that doesn't include basics like: props, custom graphic design, prints and flash drive copy of all images. Why?  Because we believe the experience is important.

Give us a call to book your event today!  517-404-0418 www.thedjguy.info

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cheap DJs aren't good and good DJs aren't cheap...

There are plenty of amateurs DJs out there. If you're paying under $100/hr, you might have one. Here's an article on the costs involved and this doesn't even begin to detail everything. I chose not to use any of the ones from actual DJ sites (there are plenty of them) because part of our job is to educate clients so they don't end up without a DJ at their reception or one that does a poor job. I don't want to sound like I'm selling something, it just bothers me when I hear about some amateur giving our profession a bad reputation. This is why I chose an article from an unrelated source. Take a look at that list and the final amount and just tell me how you would pay bills and cover costs charging $50 an hour. It cannot be done without cutting a LOT of corners and possibly resorting to illegal activity.

Here's a few examples of some minor issues with amateur DJs. This is the least of your concerns, but it may affect the image your had in mind for your reception.
Problem: lights on the table instead of being mounted, wires exposed and sloppy This DJ wouldn't even have a properly skirted table if the venue hadn't provided one for him!

Problem: no table skirt, wires running everywhere, everything exposed and sloppy Is this your home office or a wedding? No one wants to see all your junk piled up on the table, hide it!

Here's how things SHOULD look. Clean, no exposed wires and appealing to the guests.

The saying you get what you pay for is true. I get calls all the time from frantic brides and moms because their cheap DJ (or photo booth) cancelled or didn't show up.

PRIME EXAMPLE: Last week I got a call and the photo booth company they hired, cancelled on them the week before their wedding. Fortunately, I had the date open and was easily able to exceed their expectations (they actually got a much better package from me).

While the article below talks about startup costs, it doesn't mention annual costs and one very important cost - investing in your business. When we don't stay up to date with the latest trends and looks, we become irrelevant. Take a look at Kmart. When was the last time you were in one? The store hasn't been updated since the early 80's. They didn't invest in their business and soon they will be gone and out of business.

Here's the article...