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.
Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Starting a mobile DJ business requires time and effort. 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 is 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Mobile DJ industry trends
One indicator of how the mobile DJ services market is doing is DJ equipment sales.
The industry was severely impacted by the pandemic as weddings and other events were canceled but it started to recover in 2021.
Industry size and growth
Trends and challenges
Trends in the mobile DJ industry include:
- Increasing use of wireless technology in a DJ setup
- People’s tendency to hold lavish parties to celebrate landmark events is driving demand for mobile DJ services
Challenges in the mobile DJ industry are
- The industry is sensitive to economic fluctuations, declining during economic downturns due to lower consumer budgets for events
- High level of competition
What kind of people work as a disc jockey?
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.
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:
- DJ equipment
- PA equipment
|Start-up Costs||Ballpark Range||Average
|Setting up a business name and corporation||$100 - $300||$200
|Business licenses and permits||$200 - $300||$250
|Insurance||$100 - $500||$300
|Business cards and brochures||$200 - $300||$250
|Website setup||$1,000 - $3,000||$2,000
|Initial marketing budget||$1,000 - $2,500||$1,750
|Laptop||$500 - $1,000||$750
|DJ equipment and lighting||$1,000 - $20,000||$10,500
|Music||$200 - $1,000||$600
|Vehicle for transporting equipment||$0 - $30,000||$15,000
|Total||$4,300 - $58,900||$31,600
How much can you earn from a mobile DJ business?
Your profit will vary depending on how many events you can book per month and how much your expenses are on an ongoing basis.
DJs can charge between $400 to $2,000 per event, the average being $1,000. Your profit margin would be down to about 65%, considering your ongoing expenses for insurance, marketing, new music, fuel costs, and equipment maintenance.
In your first year, if you can book 3 events per month, you will make annual revenue of $36,000 and a profit of more than $23,000. Your bookings could increase to 5 per month in your second year, bringing in $60,000 in annual revenue and nearly $40,000 in profit.
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 $1,500 per event you will make $216,000 in annual revenue and around $140,000 in profit.
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.
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
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 with 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. Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the 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 finding 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, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
- Central location accessible via public transport
- Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
- Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
- Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
- Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
- Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
- Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
- Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
- Including keywords, such as “mobile DJ” or “music”, boosts SEO
- Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Jim’s Bakery” over “Jim’s Cookies”
- Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
- Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
- Executive Summary: Brief overview of the entire business plan; should be written after the plan is complete.
- Business Overview: Overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
- Product and Services: Describe your offerings in detail.
- Market Analysis: Assess market trends such as variations in demand and prospects for growth, and do a SWOT analysis.
- Competitive Analysis: Analyze main competitors, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of the advantages of your services.
- Sales and Marketing: Examine your companies’ unique selling propositions (USPs) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
- Management Team: Overview of management team, detailing their roles and professional background, along with a corporate hierarchy.
- Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes procurement, office location, key assets and equipment, and other logistical details.
- Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, profit and loss estimates, cash flow, and balance sheet.
- Appendix: Include any additional financial or business-related documents.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist at Fiverr to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to mobile DJ services.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your mobile DJ business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
- Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
- General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
- 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.
- C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
- S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just needs to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
Step 6: Register for Taxes
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
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 financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
- Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
- SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
- Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
- Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
- Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
- Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a mobile DJ business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.
Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits
Starting a mobile DJ business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.
If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.
Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account
Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your mobile DJ business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
- General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
- Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
- Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
- Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
- Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
- Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
- Professional liability: Protects 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 the above insurance types.
Step 11: Prepare to Launch
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
You may want to use industry-specific software, such as Event Master Pro, DJ Intelligence, and VirtualDJ, to manage your bookings, track sales and expenses, mix components of your tracks, and more.
- Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero.
- If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Some of your business will come from the casual passerby or online visitors, but still, you should invest in digital marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as it’ll boost customer and brand awareness.
Once your website is up and running, link it to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a great tool for promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products:
- Facebook: Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area.
- Instagram: Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
- Website: SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Book Now”. This can sharply increase bookings.
- Google and Yelp: For businesses that rely on local clientele, getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be crucial to generating awareness and customers.
Take advantage of your website, social media presence, and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include:
- Signage – Put up eye-catching signage at your store and website.
- Flyering – Distribute flyers in your neighborhood and at industry events.
- In-Person Sales – Offer your services at local markets and trade shows.
- Post a video – Post a video about your mobile DJ services. Use humor and maybe it will go viral!
- Start a blog – Start a blog and post regularly. Change up your content and share on multiple sites.
- Seek out referrals – Offer incentives to generate customer referrals to new clients.
- Paid ads on social media – Choose sites that will reach your target market and do targeted ads.
- Make a podcast – This allows you to make a personal connection with your customers.
- Testimonials – Share customer testimonials about how your services helped them.
- Create infographics – Post infographics and include them in your content.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your DJ services meet their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your mobile DJ business could be:
- Great music, toasts, and speeches
- Always ready to grant song requests
- Equipped with the latest technology
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a mobile DJ business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working as a DJ for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in DJ services. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out as a solopreneur from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need to hire other DJs and other workers to fill various roles. The other DJs have to be as good as you are and represent your brand. But if customers are hiring you for you as an individual performer, you will probably not be able to add more DJs. Potential positions for a mobile DJ business include:
- Office Manager – set appointments, order supplies, general office duties.
- Transport Helpers – move and set up equipment
- Customer Service Representative – answer questions and solve customer issues with bookings or billings.
- Marketing Assistant – social media marketing, SEO, content creation, and any other marketing efforts for the company.
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Start Making Money!
You should consider creating a niche market by specializing in certain events, such as weddings. 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.
Having a niche will jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing. As a mobile DJ, however, you probably will not want to stick with one niche for long. It’s also a good idea to keep up with the latest technology and take advantage of various apps in marketing your services and keeping in touch with your clients. Now, you’re ready to take that first step toward entrepreneurial success!
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.