Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on January 12, 2022 Updated on November 29, 2023
$4,300 - $58,900
$36,000 - $216,000 p.a.
Time to build
1 - 3 months
$23,000 - $140,000 p.a.
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.
Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.
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:
Setting up a business name and corporation
$100 - $300
Business licenses and permits
$200 - $300
$100 - $500
Business cards and brochures
$200 - $300
$1,000 - $3,000
Initial marketing budget
$1,000 - $2,500
$500 - $1,000
DJ equipment and lighting
$1,000 - $20,000
$200 - $1,000
Vehicle for transporting equipment
$0 - $30,000
$4,300 - $58,900
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.
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.
Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.
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 DJ Company 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: “Mobile Music Makers” over “R&B Mobile DJs”
Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
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 Mobile DJ 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: A concise overview of your mobile DJ business plan, summarizing its key points and goals.
Business Overview: An introduction to your mobile DJ business, including its mission, vision, and legal structure.
Product and Services: Details about the DJ services and equipment you offer to clients.
Market Analysis: Information about your target market, including demographics and trends.
Competitive Analysis: An examination of competitors in the mobile DJ industry.
Sales and Marketing: Your strategies for promoting and selling your DJ services.
Management Team: An introduction to the individuals responsible for running the business.
Operations Plan: How your DJ business will operate day-to-day, including equipment maintenance and logistics.
Financial Plan: Projections of your business’s financial performance, including income and expenses.
Appendix: Additional supporting documents, such as resumes, references, or detailed financial data.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist 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 an 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Starting a Mobile DJ business offers an exciting avenue to share your passion for music and entertainment. Here are practical and effective marketing strategies to ensure your venture hits the right notes.
Social Media Engagement: Actively engage with your audience on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter by sharing behind-the-scenes content, playlists, and interacting with music enthusiasts.
Collaborate with Event Vendors: Partner with event planners, photographers, and caterers to create a referral network, expanding your reach within the event industry.
Themed Mixes and Playlists: Showcase your versatility by creating themed mixes or playlists that cater to different event types, demonstrating your ability to curate the perfect musical atmosphere.
Client Testimonials and Showcases: Request and showcase client testimonials along with snippets of your performances to build trust and credibility among potential clients.
Local Radio and Podcast Features: Approach local radio stations or podcasts to discuss your journey, music preferences, and offer insights into the art of DJing to establish yourself as a local authority.
Discounts for Package Deals: Offer discounts for clients who book additional services or refer your DJ services, encouraging loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.
Attend Local Events: Attend community events, festivals, and markets to network with potential clients face-to-face, distribute business cards, and discuss your services.
Online Music Challenges: Create online challenges or contests related to music on social media platforms to engage your audience and generate buzz around your DJ brand.
Interactive Live Streams: Host live streaming sessions showcasing your DJ skills, taking song requests, and interacting with viewers in real-time, creating a virtual experience for potential clients.
Participate in Wedding Expos: Wedding expos are excellent opportunities to showcase your services to engaged couples actively seeking entertainment options for their big day.
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: Run a Mobile DJ Business – 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.
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.
How can I promote my mobile DJ business?
To promote your mobile DJ business, create a professional website and utilize social media platforms to showcase your services and engage with potential clients. Network with event professionals, offer competitive packages and pricing, and leverage client testimonials and reviews to build credibility.
Is DJ business profitable?
The profitability of a DJ business depends on factors such as market demand, reputation, and bookings. It can be profitable if you effectively manage expenses, provide exceptional service, and consistently market yourself.
How can I become a successful DJ?
To become a successful DJ, focus on developing your skills, building a diverse music library, establishing a unique style, networking and collaborating with others in the industry, and effectively marketing yourself.
What does a beginner DJ need?
As a beginner DJ, essential items include a DJ controller or mixer, headphones, a laptop or music source, speakers and amplifiers, cables and connectors, and music software and management tools.
How do I get my first DJ gig?
Getting your first DJ gig requires persistence, networking, showcasing your skills, and utilizing online platforms. Start with smaller events, network with event professionals, create a demo mix, offer special promotions, and actively seek opportunities to perform.
How to Start a Mobile DJ Business
Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Hone Your Idea
Brainstorm a DJ Company Name
Create a Mobile DJ Business Plan
Register Your Business
Register for Taxes
Fund your Business
Apply for Business Licenses and Permits
Open a Business Bank Account
Get Business Insurance
Prepare to Launch
Build Your Team
Run a Mobile DJ Business - Start Making Money!
Mobile DJ Business FAQs
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