Back to Business Ideas

How to Start a Mobile DJ Business

Written by:

Edited by:

Published on January 12, 2022

Updated on August 12, 2022

How to Start a Mobile DJ Business

How to Start a Mobile DJ Business

Mobile DJ services are becoming increasingly popular for all sorts of events as an alternative to bands. A mobile DJ can provide a wider variety of music in a smaller space at weddings, corporate events, or parties of all types.

If you have experience as a DJ or even if you don’t, a mobile DJ business could be an opportunity for you to make money and have fun at the same time.

Starting any kind of business, however, takes a lot of work. The key is to have the knowledge that you need before you start so that you avoid common mistakes people make when starting a mobile DJ business.

Here we provide a comprehensive 13-step guide to help you build a profitable business.

Fast Facts

Investment range

$4400 - $28,800

Time to build

1-3 months

Industry trend

Recovering

Profit potential

$24,000 - $189,600 p.a.

Commitment

Flexible

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Thoughtful businessman

Starting a mobile DJ business requires time and effort. Before you jump in, you need to fully understand what is involved before you decide if a mobile DJ business is right for you.

You will be taking a risk, so educating yourself if critical before making the decision to launch your business.

Pros and Cons

Every business has its pros and cons. You will need to weigh these factors to decide if starting a mobile DJ business is your best choice.

Here are some basic pros and cons of starting and running a mobile DJ business.

Pros

  • If music is your passion, you’ll be doing what you love.
  • Flexibility – you will be in control of your own hours, and you don’t need an office.
  • Profit potential – you can make a fair amount of money per event.
  • You can start with a relatively small investment and invest more later as you grow.

Cons

  • Competition – you will face direct competition from other DJs, and indirect competition from bands.
  • Marketing expenses can be significant to break into the market.
  • It will take time to start making significant money.
  • You’ll have to be great – people want their events, particularly weddings, to be perfect.

Industry trends

The wedding services industry is expected to increase over the next five years, and mobile DJ services for weddings are a trend as an alternative to live bands.

One indicator of how the mobile DJ services market is doing is DJ equipment sales. According to 360 Market Updates,[1]https://www.360marketupdates.com/global-dj-equipment-market-17940028 as reported by WBOC,[2]https://www.wboc.com/story/44120085/dj-equipment-market-size-2021-with-a-cagr-of-66-top-companies-data-report-covers-market-specific-challenges-brief-analysis-and-application-growth-by/ the global DJ equipment market size was $465.9 million in 2019 and is expected to grow to $732.3 million by 2026.

The industry was severely impacted by the pandemic as weddings and other events were cancelled but is recovering in 2021. The industry is very sensitive to economic fluctuations, decreasing during economic downturns due to lower consumer budgets for their events.

How much does it cost to start a mobile DJ business?

The start-up costs for a mobile DJ business can range from $4400 – $28,800. It will depend on the quality of the equipment that you want to start with. You could purchase basic equipment when you are first starting out, and then buy more professional equipment later as your business grows.

  • Setting up a business name and corporation $200
  • Business licenses and permits $200 – $300
  • Insurance $100 – $500
  • Business cards and brochures $200 – $300
  • Website setup $1000 – $3000
  • Initial marketing budget $1000 – $2500
  • Laptop $500 – $1000
  • DJ equipment and lighting $1000 – $20,000
  • Music $200 – $1000
  • Vehicle for transporting equipment $0 (if you have one) – $30,000

How much can you earn from a mobile DJ business?

Your profit will vary depending on:

  • How many events you can book per month.
  • How much your expenses are on an ongoing basis.

The cost to DJ an event is minimal, around $100. DJs can charge between $400 to $2000 per event, the average being $1000.

When you launch, if you can book 3 events per month, you will make gross revenue of $36,000 and a gross profit of $32,400. Your ongoing expenses for insurance, marketing, new music, fuel costs, and equipment maintenance could range from $400 – $1000 monthly, with an average of $700, assuming that you have no employees to pay. This would leave you with a net profit of $24,000.

As your brand gains recognition and you begin to get referrals and repeat customers, you could get to a level of up to 12 events per month just working by yourself. You could also start to charge a higher price. If you have 12 events per month at $1500 per event you will make $216,000 in gross revenue, and $201,600 in gross profit. If your monthly ongoing expenses increase to $1000, your net profit would be $189,600.

What barriers to entry are there?

There are very few barriers to entry for a mobile DJ business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Standing out from the competition. The market is very saturated with mobile DJs, so you will need to try to differentiate yourself.
  • You will spend a lot of time and money marketing yourself before you start to make money.

Step 2: Hone Your Idea

Now that you know what is involved in starting a mobile DJ business, you need to hone your idea further in order to be able to enter a new market with tough competition.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Since you will have no track record in the business, you need to find a way to make yourself stand out from the competition. First of all, you need to be entertaining, rather than just play music. Practice your skills by having your own party and entertaining your family and friends. Get their feedback and take it to heart.

To start your marketing process, make a video of yourself DJing at your own party. Post it online and listen to the feedback that you will inevitably hear, both positive and negative.

You also might want to consider having a different “look” to make yourself stand out. Watch videos of other DJs and take note of how they look and how they entertain, and then build your own persona to use as a professional DJ. Again, try it out on your friends and family to get more feedback.

What? Determine your products or services

You are not just playing music – you are providing an experience and a show. Think about what you can offer during your show, such as sing a longs or dance competitions. Again, research other DJs and what they provide during their shows.

Make a list of what you can offer to your customers and consider if any of those things can allow you to offer upgraded service packages. You may be able to upcharge for certain services.

How much should you charge for mobile DJ services?

When you are just starting out, you may have to charge a lower-than-average price until you have a track record. Average prices range from $400 – $2000 or more for experienced DJs with a larger following. You will need to make a name for yourself to command a price that is at the higher end of the range.

Research other DJ services in your area to determine what prices are in your local market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will be people who plan to host events, or who host events on a regular basis. A great source of business could be wedding planners who can give you referrals. A good first step to find customers might be to call local wedding planners to sell yourself.

You could also call local companies that have corporate events and offer your services. The challenge will be getting to the right person within the company who makes those decisions.

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages of your business development, you can operate your business from home as it will help you keep your overhead expenses under check.

However, as your business grows and operations intensify, you may hire workers for various job roles. Then you may need to rent out an office.

You can find to-let office premises in your desired area on Loopnet, Instant Offices and Square Foot.

While choosing a commercial property, you need to make sure that it meets the following requirements:

  • It is situated at a central location which is easily accessible through public transport
  • It is flexible so it can be extended as your business grows
  • It does not require any major modifications, renovations, and repair work
Should you start a mobile dj business

Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name

Your business name is the identity of your business, so you must choose one that can represent your objectives, services, and mission well in just a few words.

Creating a business name is a very important part of starting a business. When thinking of a name for your mobile DJ business, you’ll want something that is easy to remember and catchy, since a lot of your business will come via word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas to brainstorm a business name:

  • Make it short, unique, and catchy so it can easily stand out.
  • Make it relevant by choosing a name that creatively encompasses what you do.
  • Make it easy to spell and say out loud so it’s easy to remember.
  • Make it scalable so it grows with your business.
  • Survey your family and friends, asking for their input and suggestions.
  • Have the word “mobile DJ” or other related keywords in the name to improve your SEO.
  • Make sure the name is unique to your business. You don’t want to get caught out by copyright laws!
  • Avoid location-based names if you can, as this may hinder expansion in the future. But if you decide to include a location, there are ways to change your business name with a little bit of extra effort.
  • Brainstorm a lot of ideas and then choose the best one. Tools like the Step by Step Business name generator are perfect for this.

Once you’ve got a list of potential business names, run them through websites like NameChk to see the availability of domain names and on the USPTO website to check if they are available for trademark registration.

If any of the names on your list pass your screening, you can proceed to using it as your social media usernames and registering it as the domain name for your website. Using “.com” or “org.” domain names will increase your website’s credibility, so try to use these as much as possible.

And if you’ve exhausted all your creative juices but still don’t have a business name, don’t stress! Instead, you can check out our business name generator. All you need to do is type in your chosen keywords, hit generate, and choose from the ideas it gives you.

Step 4: Create a Business Plan

Every business needs a business plan. This rough outline helps guide you through the process of starting up and running your business, and also gives potential investors and partners what they need to know about your company before they invest:

  • Executive Summary: Provide an overview of the entire business plan over 2-3 pages. This should be written at the end, once the rest of your business plan is complete.
  • Business Overview: Provide an overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership and corporate goals.
  • Product and Services: Describe the company’s products and services, and classify them into a handful of segments.
  • Market Analysis: Assess the market trends, demand variations, industry prospects, and target market segments, and do a SWOT analysis.
  • Competitive Analysis: Analyze your main competitors and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Also provide a list of your competitive advantages.
  • Sales and Marketing: Prepare your USPs, sales, marketing and promotional strategies.
  • Management Team: Provide an overview of the management team and describe their individual roles. You should also create a corporate hierarchy for the company.
  • Operations Plan: Lay out the company’s operational plan, including procurement, location, business hours, facility/office management, equipment and other logistics.
  • Financial Plan: Create three years of financial planning for your company, including start-up cost requirements, break-even, profit and loss, cash flow and balance sheet.
  • Appendix: Provide monthly financial statements, as well as any other supporting documents for the business plan.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an important step because it is a prerequisite to raising capital, opening a business bank account, paying taxes, and other steps to get a business up and running.

This can also be a big step and make it all feel official! It’s definitely an exciting and important step in creating your mobile DJ business.

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is an important decision because it can affect your taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register a business in the state they live in, but if you are planning on expanding it, you might consider looking elsewhere.

Consider where a good place is to open a mobile DJ business, and if you’re willing to move, you might be able to really maximize your business!

Choose your business structure

There are different ways to structure a business, and each has some pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your business will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your personal liability.

Here are the four main options:

  • Sole proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the company which means you get to keep all the profits, but you’re also personally liable for any debts.
  • Partnership – Similar to sole proprietorships, but in this case set up by two or more people. Again, they keep the profits, but are personally liable for any losses.
  • Corporation – In this structure, the business is a separate legal entity from the owner or owners, and therefore the owners are not personally liable to cover any debts. They take their profits through shareholder dividends rather than directly.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
Business structure comparison infographic

Step 6: Register for Taxes

At this point, you’ll want to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can file for your EIN online, by mail, or by fax. Visit the IRS official website to learn more about how to apply for an EIN.

Once you have your EIN, which can be applied for via the IRS website, you’ll need to choose your tax year. This means you either operate on a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, which is a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle and when to pay. The structure of your company will also determine what taxes you need to pay.

All tax information is available through the IRS website and taxes can be filed online. It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing your funds is your next step and there are plenty of ways you can raise the capital.

  • Bank loans: This is the most common means entrepreneurs fund their businesses. However, getting approved will require you to have a very compelling business plan and credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: If you get rejected by the bank, you can try to have the SBA as a guarantor. An SBA-guaranteed loan can help get that elusive bank approval.
  • Government grants: There are plenty of government financial assistance programs that you can explore and apply for. Just head on to Grants.gov to see which one you’re eligible for.
  • Venture capital (equity and debt): You can try to approach high-net-worth individuals and offer them a percentage of business shares in exchange for funds. Just keep in mind that this option will give investors some degree of control over your business.
  • Crowdfunding: The low-risk option that most business owners prefer. Through crowdfunding, individuals will pool their funds as support without asking for shares. Crowd funders are usually repaid through tokens or gifts.
  • Personal: You can self-fund your business by taking a portion from your savings, liquidating underperforming businesses, selling a property, or raising support from family and friends.

Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits

To start a new business, you will have to obtain a number of licenses and permits from the local, state and federal government.

Federal regulations, licenses and permits associated with starting a mobile DJ business include doing business as (DBA), health license and permit from OSHA, trademarks, copyrights, patents and other intellectual properties (IPs), as well as industry- specific licenses and permits such as licenses to use the music that you play.

Additional permits may be required by your state to allow your mobile DJ business to function legally, such as a general business permit and basic business license. The license requirements and how to obtain them may vary from state to state. Hence, you should check your state’s official site or contact the appropriate person to enquire about licenses and permits that you need to run a mobile DJ business.

Your city, town or county may also have legal and compliance requirements for a mobile DJ business, such as sign permit, fire department permit, building and home occupation permit and planning and zoning permit. You should speak to the designated representative of your local government and enquire about the licensing requirement for your business.

Failing to comply with the legal requirements enforced by the federal, state or local government can result in hefty penalties. If you are doing it by yourself, you may consider using the SBA guide to identify licenses and permit requirements in your state.

If you feel inundated by this step or don’t know how and where to start from, we recommend you hire a professional aide to help you fulfil the legal and compliance requirements. You may consider buying the license compliance package from a filing company such as MyCorporation and MyCompanyWorks or hire an attorney through Avvo or FindLaw platforms.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

In order to begin trading you will need to have somewhere to keep the money you make, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your mobile DJ business’s finances separate from your own personal account makes it easy to track how your company is doing, and keeps things simple when it comes to filing taxes and a profit and loss statement when the time comes, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your business as a sole proprietorship.

Opening a business bank account is not very difficult, and is similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks will offer business account options, so you can inquire at the local banks to understand the different rates and features.

It’s important to look at a few options since they can vary quite a bit in what they offer, and you will want to get the best rate.

Once you decide on the right bank, you just need to bring your EIN (or a Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), and your articles of incorporation or other legal documentation showing that your business is registered.

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business Insurance Concept

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked but is vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from those unexpected events that can have a devastating effect on your life and business.

Here are some of the different types of insurance to think about and consider whether it is right for you and your business:

  • General liability: This is the most important type of insurance that acts as a catch-all for many things that should be covered. If you’re only going to get one kind of insurance, this is it! It protects you against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies as part of your shaved ice business.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing your equipment that has broken down due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees who are injured on the worksite.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, food truck, or storefront.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects you against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

As you approach your opening day, there are a few ways to get prepared for the launch! These are some of the last steps to take to ensure you are ready to get started.

Develop your website

Developing a website is an important first step because it is how you will promote your business and clients will use it to learn more about your services.

You can create your own website using services like WordPress or Squarespace. This route can be very affordable but requires a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to make a website. If you aren’t confident with technology, you can hire a web developer to create a custom website just for your business.

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur can mean taking on a lot of different roles and functions, from marketing to accounting. It can get overwhelming and difficult to manage so many diverse activities! Luckily there are a lot of excellent software programs and tools to help you with specific business tasks. We have broken them down into different categories below.

Marketing

While a lot of your business will be walk-by customers, you should still spend time marketing yourself! Especially as a new business, it’s important to get the word out so that customers are aware of you.

Social media is a particularly good way of promoting your business because you can create posts that advertise where you are setting up your mobile cart or truck for the day.

  • Facebook: Facebook is a great platform for paid advertising as it allows you to target specific customer demographics.
  • Instagram: Instagram offers the same benefits as Facebook but may reach different target audiences.
  • Website: Your website is the key marketing tool because that’s how potential customers can learn more about your business.

Accounting

Note: If you are unfamiliar with basic accounting and bookkeeping, you may consider hiring a professional to complete your accounting, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be very significant, so it’s important to be accurate.

Equipment

You will need to procure a number of different items to successfully launch a mobile DJ business. Here is a list of things to get you started:

  • Laptop
  • DJ equipment
  • PA equipment
  • Lighting
  • Microphone
  • Vehicle

Step 12: Build Your Team

You may not need to hire any employees if you are starting out small from a home-based office. However, as your business grows, you will need to recruit full-time employees for various job roles. The potential employees for a mobile DJ business include:

  • An office manager – Duties would be setting appointments, ordering supplies, general office duties.
  • Transport helpers – To help move and setup your equipment
  • Other DJs – If you have too many bookings to handle, you may want to add more DJs. Be careful with this, however. They have to be as good as you are and represent your brand. If customers are hiring you for you as an individual performer, you will probably not be able to add more DJs.
  • Customer service representative – Duties would be to answer questions and solve customer issues with bookings or billings.
  • Marketing assistant – Responsibilities would include social media marketing, SEO, content creation, and any other marketing efforts for the company.

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include publishing a job post on LinkedIn, the company website, Facebook groups and classified sites.

Alternatively, you can try premium recruitment options, including advertising job posts on LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter.

You may also consider engaging the services of a recruitment agency to help you find the right talent.

Step 13: Start Making Money!

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or in short USPs, are the unique characteristics of your product that sets it apart from the competition.

Customers are inundated with the magnitude of buying options, so they want to quickly understand what’s novel and different in your mobile DJ business and whether it fulfils their wants.

You need to ensure that your USPs pop-out on the website or other marketing collateral, stimulating the buyer’s desire to buy from you.

USP venn diagram

Kickstart Marketing

Your marketing will start on social media platforms. Videos of your events will be critical to your marketing efforts, and you can post them on all your social media sites. Your first goal of marketing will be to get a following on all platforms.

Your website will also be a critical part of your marketing. Get it up and running quickly, and make sure that you link to your social media sites and vice versa.

Niche Your Market

You should consider creating a niche market for yourself at first by specializing in certain types of events, such as weddings or corporate events. This will jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing within your niche market. As a mobile DJ, however, you probably will not want to stick with one niche for long. You’ll want a more diverse market.

Build Affiliate Relationships

Affiliate marketing is advertising in which you compensate third-party publishers, who are your affiliates, in order to generate traffic to your website.

You will develop long-term relationships with these affiliates so that they are helping you to generate traffic on an ongoing basis.

Mobile DJ Business FAQs

How much do mobile DJs make?

Your profit will be dependent on how many bookings you can get and how much volume you can handle. If you can get and manage 12 events per month, you can make north of $180,000 in profit per year.

What equipment do mobile DJs need?

You need DJ equipment, lighting equipment, and a laptop. You can buy these things on a budget or spend more for professional equipment.

How much does it cost to start a mobile DJ business?

You can start for as little as $4,400 or spend as much as almost $30,000 depending on the equipment you choose to buy.

Do I need an LLC for a mobile DJ business?

You can choose any business entity type that you want to fit your specific needs. An LLC offers much flexibility in terms of management and taxes as well as personal liability protection.