Anybody here a DJ (not radio -- parties)? Some questions about starting a business.

A couple of months ago I talked my way into being a DJ at a company cookout. It’s the company’s gear and my music. It went over very well and since then I’ve dj’d at two more company picnics and have been asked to do more. I’ve also had at least a half-dozen offers to do it privately at parties. So far I’ve been saying no because I’m basically lazy, I certainly wouln’t quit my day job, and haven’t given it any thought.

But I dj’d again today and have come to realize just how MUCH I enjoy doing it, and that I have some big advantages advantages in starting this type of business. The biggest is that I work at a hospital and I work around or with a pretty large number of well-off baby-boomer phyicians who host parties or are getting remarried or whatever, and a good number of them will witness what I do right on the job. And a lot of them seem to like it. Plus I have a very good collection of rock & roll dating from the late 60’s to the mid-80’. I did a 3 hour show today (one 15 minute breakin there), I don’t think I used more than 4 cuts off any given CD, and I went through about a quarter of my collection. And I figure I can buy the necessary gear for under 2 grand (under 1 on the cheap), and I already have a car that can haul it.

So I’m thinking about it, and I was inspired by Lynn Bodoni’s thread about buying a bookstore. My risks are much lower, of course, as the capital investment is small enough that I could buy the stuff tomorrow.

So here are some things I’d like to learn before leaping in at this:

  1. How big a CD collection do I realistically need to maintain a party business? Besides what I mentioned above, I have a smattering of jazz and blues, mostly collections of various artists, maybe 5-10 CD’s worth. Same with soul, and a few 50’s colections with Buddly Holly, Fats Domino. etc. I also bought this big bargain set of classical – something like 25 CD’s for 40 bucks.

  2. Can I do this without a personality? I mean, at the company things, I have absolutely no emcee role. I just play the music, sing along a bit, chat with people. I plug in a mike through which I never speak for somebody else to make any announcements. I’ll just stop and start the music as necessary. Would this be a barrier?

  3. Anybody know what the going rate for a wedding DJ is?

  4. Some equipment advice:

a) I own or have access to several models of DVD and CD players, and haven’t found one that works well indoors and out (I want at least one of the two playback units to be DVD because I have a modest collection of 30-30 music DVDs. The lit displays gets washed out in the sunlight, the unlit ones aren’t visible enough in dim lighting. Suggestions?
b) The system I use has separate speakers on stands that I place depending on the space. And that means running a lot of cable around, and taping it down, or stringing it over doorways (as we did in the city park shelter today). Is that kind of flexibility really necessary? I could save a lot of labor by having everything in a single cabinet.
c) Stereo vs mono – I personally prefer a mono sum of the music when I’m playing to a noisy, or large envoronment. Most people aren’t in a proper position for a stereo effect, to put it mildly, as a lot of them aren’t in position to hear one of the two speakers. With some music, hearing only one channel of a stereo mix is quite unenjoyable. On the other hand, if I have a single cabinet, there won’t be much of a stereo effect anyway.

IANADJ, but about 75% of my friends are, let me see if I can help.

Not very big, if you DJ for about 2 hours, you’re talking maybe 25 to 30 songs. I know plenty of people that play the same “set” almost everytime they DJ, and as long as the people are different, you’ll be fine. A wedding is a good example, different people every time.

Not one bit.

I had a neighbor that did it, and she made some crazy money, like $1000 a pop. I’m sure there’s a huge variation though.

A tiny maglight?

Nope, you definitely should go with 2 speakers. You mentioned that people aren’t in a positition to hear one of the two, but this is a good thing. I bet that one position to hear the music gets filled up pretty fast. :stuck_out_tongue:

Kudos on going for it (the DJ thing), I wish you the best of luck.