Winning the Battle: How to Beat the ‘Package DJs’

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DJ Bob Carpenter of Main Event Weddings in Greenville, R.I., recently said that he might just eat at McDonald’s from now on.

“After all, they’ve served over a billion people, customers are happy with the food, and they have more reviews than any of your favorite restaurants with the best quality,” theorized Carpenter.


“And that’s the logic most potential wedding clients apply when hiring the best wedding vendors: ‘I guess the wedding vendors with the most reviews must be the best.’ And they later wonder how they ended up with McDonald’s food. Nobody ever stops to think of the obvious—the best aren’t out to serve the most.

“Stop the insanity,” says Carpenter. “Stop going with the package DJs, the ones who promise uplighting, photo-booth and a vacuum cleaner for one low, low price.”

Case in Point: DJ Robert Lawrence, in Saginaw, Mich., recently lost an uplighting job to a package-DJ company that offered a mobile DJ, a photo-booth and uplighting for less than what Robert Lawrence Entertainment had quoted for the lighting alone. Lawrence had actually provided lighting for the family’s other daughter when she had gotten married, and said the DJ at that earlier reception was pretty bad, “though the room sure looked great.”

Says Carpenter: “I rarely ever lose DJ jobs to package DJs, and regularly get three- or four-times the market rate just to DJ. In this case, I simply lost the lighting gig to someone who found it elsewhere cheaper.

“It’s no different than if someone went to buy a Cadillac and then realized it wasn’t a good fit, so they went out and bought a Cavalier instead. It happens because it’s the nature of the business. Some people are just not well informed on what they’re buying.”

The issue of package DJs (and other companies that undercut professional DJ-entertainers) is a very hot topic right now, so we contacted mobiles from throughout the country to find out how professional DJs set themselves apart.

During the DJ Expo 2015 at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Jerry Bazata of DJ Jaz Music & Entertainment in Ogunquit, Maine, gave a seminar on this very topic.

“The trend for brides recently has reversed direction, and one-stop shopping no longer seems to be the status quo for brides looking to secure wedding vendors,” says Bazata. “Similar to the retail industry, the average consumer is more enticed to shop on Main Street for that specific item, and forgoes the hallowed halls of the mega shopping malls.

“Of course, the bride with a specific and limited budget can benefit from the one-stop wedding vendor that can offer a DJ, photo-booth, uplighting and photography. Conversely, however, those brides who want to personalize their wedding and have the flexibility in their budget are much more inclined to book wedding vendors on an individual basis.

“The problem comes when certain mobile-DJ companies offer to provide all the services a bride could possibly want at a drastically low price, yet offer poor quality for each of those services rendered.”

Bazata says that, during consultations with prospective clients, an oft-repeated concern he repeatedly hears is that a bride will like the DJ, but not the photographer (and doesn’t even need uplighting), but feels she is being forced to purchase an entire package.

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