How Much Does a DJ Cost in 2020 [Length, Type of Events, and More]

Thinking about hiring someone to play for your next event?

Whether it is a simple gathering, birthday celebration, wedding, corporate event, or anything else, you might want to ramp up the party by hiring a DJ or a band.

Choosing between a band and a DJ can be a tough choice.

In terms of cost, a DJ can be significantly more affordable because instead of paying a 3 to 5-person band and crew, hiring a DJ can be cheaper with one to two people max depending on the setup.

The average cost of a DJ for private events depends on how long the sets are.

Usually, DJs base their rate on the number of songs and extra services such as renting their sound system and other transportation costs.

The average cost of a DJ is anywhere between $300 to $1200 depending on their talents.

Some DJs are cheaper to hire, but they might not be good enough.

It is only logical that the more talented the DJ, the higher the price.

An experienced DJ will rarely offer their services for under $300, especially for long events and long sets.

It is also a good idea to vet the DJ before hiring them.

You can check their social media pages for videos or ask them to send you a video.

It is always better to check how good they are by asking for sample videos and searching for feedbacks on their site or their online pages.

DJs can be pricey, but it is going to be worth every penny, especially if you want to make your event more memorable by hiring an experienced DJ.

DJs vs. Bands

DJs vs. Bands - how much should a dj charge for 4 hours

Hiring a band to play for your wedding is a great choice. A band can truly make a significant difference in terms of your mood or the guest’s mood.

However. some bands play or stick to one genre only, meaning if you hire a jazz band, do not expect them to play hard rock.

If you want to dance to some upbeat music, then hiring a jazz band might not be a good choice.

Acoustic, jazz, or other light music might be a good choice for weddings, but it still depends on what you prefer.

Rock bands are great if you want to have a hyped-up party.

They will surely hype up your guests, but I really wouldn’t recommend asking them to play something you can dance to unless you talked about it beforehand.

If you are really up for hiring a band, make sure you hire a variety band that can play all sorts of genres.

These types of bands are really versatile.

I used to be in a variety band, and I used to play for corporate parties, weddings, birthdays, and more.

As a guitarist, I really enjoyed playing it for a living, but playing the same top 40 songs every night was not really something I saw myself doing.

Hiring a Band Pros

  • Nothing beats live music
  • They are talented
  • Can be really fun

Hiring a Band Cons

  • Might not take all your requests
  • They are more expensive than some DJs
  • It is really loud

DJs, on the other hand, can be more affordable to hire.

Before hiring one, you need to make sure that you know what you are paying for.

Some DJs, such as mobile DJs will provide you with the sound system (with extra cost), leaving you nothing to worry about.

DJs can also play most of your requests, and you can send them a list of songs that you want to be played for your event.

Just make sure that you don’t take over the whole set.

The reason you are hiring a DJ in the first place is so you don’t have to choose the songs.

DJs can also make any party better.

Their talents can really elevate the mood of your event.

Hearing all the top 40 and classic hits can make any party an instant dance party, so if you want to make your wedding or birthday extra memorable, make sure you hire a DJ.

DJs are not just limited to playing dance music and chart-topping hits.

They come to the venue prepared with songs that will match the type of event.

They can play celebratory, sweet, soulful, upbeat, slow jams, and more.

For example, when you hire a DJ for a wedding, they start with some quieter music while the guests are eating.

They choose the right music and sometimes even add sound effects when the best man speech, parent’s speech, and maid of honor speech is ongoing.

Then, they will turn it up when it’s time for the real party, especially when everyone has had a sip of their poison from the open bar.  

It may not be always like that, but that is how a typical DJ set would go.

Hiring a band will not have the same outcome, but the intensity is higher when live music is being played.

However, if you want a band to do what a DJ does and play different styles as the party progresses, it is not going to be cheap.

Hiring a DJ Pros

  • They can play any song
  • They can play your requests
  • Can usually make everyone dance
  • Some DJs are cheaper than bands
  • Mobile DJs usually provide you with the sound system

Hiring a DJ Cons

  • Not live music
  • Some DJs can be dull

This article will talk about DJ rates and how much does a DJ cost in 2020, so if you are thinking about hiring a DJ, make sure you keep reading.

However, if you are thinking about hiring a DJ, there are certain factors you need to consider such as the price.

What Type of DJ Should I Hire?

how mcuh does a dj cost for 5 hours

DJ stands for disc jockey.

They started spinning and scratching vinyl on radio stations, but today’s modern DJs use a much simpler rig for playing clubs and other events.  

Some people hire a club DJ for their affairs.

A club DJ is a typical DJ with their own gear.

Modern DJs tend to only have a laptop filled with music and a DJ controller.

Do not expect this type of DJ to have the entire mobile sound system with them.

If your venue has everything covered audio-wise, hiring a club DJ would the best choice.

It would usually cost a lot less to hire them because you are not renting the entire sound system.

Some DJs stick to the traditional setup and use turntables and vinyl, while some integrate old gear with the new.

A DJ who uses turntables would probably cost a bit more because they can be more talented or because of the mere fact that their rig is more expensive.

A lot of people hire DJs mainly to provide a sound system for their event.

This includes a PA system with at least two large speakers.

They will also provide the microphones for the festivities.

This type of DJ is a great choice for corporate events, weddings, family reunions, birthday parties, and any party that requires loudspeakers.

They are also being hired for local events such as high school dances and more.

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a DJ for events is that they are equipped to play the appropriate background music for any type of event.

DJs have their way of keeping the event more enjoyable from start to finish. Plus, after the event is over, it is customary for DJs to play some closing songs while they are tearing down their set up and while everyone is settling accounts and about to leave, keeping all of the guests entertained as they leave the event.

Bands do not really do this without hiring a mobile DJ.

If you have the budget, you can still hire a band and a mobile DJ at the same time as well.

Some might say it is too much, but I think it is a great thing to do if you have the means.

You can hire the band for a certain section of the event, like dancing, and someone to play jazz while dining.

It will give your party more versatility, and it allows your DJ to take a break.

However, hiring both a DJ and a band is completely up to you.

Bands can provide the same amount of entertainment, but it all comes down to your preference.

How to Hire a DJ?

how much is a dj for a party

If you do not know any DJs that you can hire, there are some ways to search online.

Before searching for one, make sure that you ask some of your friends first.

If you don’t know where to find a DJ that you can hire, you can always go on social media sites.

Unlike websites like craigslist, hiring a DJ from a social media site would be much safer.

You can check their page out thoroughly, contact them directly through direct message, and read reviews.

Now What?

average cost of wedding dj - party dj

  • Ask for samples of the DJ’swork

You can ask the DJ to provide samples of their work such as mixes and video clips.

Knowing what they can do will give you more confidence in hiring them.

  • Set up a Call or Meeting

Once you decide on hiring them, you can set up a call or a face-to-face meeting to talk about the details of the event.

You tell them when and where, and what to bring.

You will also need to provide them with a clear duration.

As a musician and DJ, I do not appreciate unclear communication of the exact schedule.

DJs have other things to do, and just because you hired them for the day, you have to let them know how many hours you need them.

Knowing the time will allow them to plan how many songs they need to prepare, and it gives them the freedom of setting different appointments on that day.

Just let them know the call time and duration, and the flow of events and professional DJs will know what to do next.

This phone call or meeting is also the perfect time to let the DJ know what songs you want to be added in the list.

For example, if it is a wedding, couples would want to hear specific songs.

On the other hand, there are some songs that people don’t want to hear, and it is the perfect time to let them know what songs not to play as well.

  • Ask Questions

You also want to ask questions at this time and talk about their rates.

You can ask them what they normally do to hype up a crowd, and what kind of rig they are using if you are interested, and you can ask them if they can provide your venue with lights and audio. (which is typical for mobile DJs)

You do not have to cover everything in one meeting, only the important things like time, schedule, and playlists.

You can always hit them up with more information if you decide to hire the DJ.

  • Draw up a Contract

Now that you know everything you need to know and you and the DJ have come to an agreement, it is time to draw up a simple contract regarding payment and other things.

It does not have to be an elaborate contract, it could just be some sort of proof that both parties agree to the terms.

You can add more items to the contract that you think would be necessary, but a simple payment detail would be just fine.

Some DJs have premade contracts already, just read them carefully and ask questions on some articles that are not clear to you.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a DJ?

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a DJ for a few hours

Now that we covered pretty much everything you need to know; it is time to discuss the damage.

The average cost of hiring a DJ will depend on certain factors.

I mentioned above that the price of hiring a DJ can range anywhere between $300 to $1200.

Here are the factors that might affect the price:

DJ Equipment

what gear do wedding party djs for hire carry

Not all venues and homes have the equipment that DJs need to maximize their skills.

If you want to have a memorable event, make sure you get the whole package, including lights and pro audio equipment.

DJs invest thousands of dollars into their equipment alone.

It is because of their passion for gear and their journey of sounding their best for any event.

You should consider the cost based on equipment as well.

People only pay DJs based on the length and duration of the event, but what they don’t realize is the time off-stage where they practice and of course, the money they spend on gear.

Song Requests

how much to charge for djing a wedding

Some DJs add a fee for requesting songs and personalized playlists.

These fees are appropriate for the time they spend rehearsing how they will blend each song into their mixes.

Plus, if they don’t have the song on their playlist, they will have to purchase the song coming from their pocket, which is not really a big deal for one or two songs.

If you are planning to make a full playlist of requests, fees should apply for the time and money they will spend beforehand.

Some DJs take requests to live, but it is customary to tip the DJ in this case.

Length of the Event

dj rate sheet - local dj prices for parties

DJing is not an easy job.

Casual listeners will say that they are just pushing buttons, but playing different songs seamlessly is not an easy task.

Also, the hours are a little bit different from conventional jobs.

They are always on their feet, keeping an eye on the crowd, and constantly thinking f ways to entertain.

Just like any people in the entertainment industry, it is normal to pay for a higher price depending on their talent and skills.

DJs will also ask for additional fees for extended periods.

It is normal for any employee to bill hours of overtime, and it shouldn’t be any different for people in this industry.

Some DJs charge an hourly rate, while some offer a fixed price for their services.

The most experienced DJs can charge $75 to $100 depending on the type of event.

Some DJs also give discounts if you hire them for longer hours.

Here are some of the average DJ rates for weddings, proms, and corporate events.

  • 2 Hours $350
  • 3 hours for $450
  • 4 hours for $500
  • 6 hours and up for $600

As you can see, the price per hour gets lower the longer you need them.

So, if you want to go all in and get the most out of your money, consider hiring a DJ longer, especially if the duration of your party will last for a while.

Type of the Event

how much does it cost to hire a famous dj for party or wedding

The type of event also affects the price of hiring a DJ.

Wedding DJs are more versatile when it comes to the songs they play, which is why they cost a little bit higher.

DJs for home parties such as birthdays are much cheaper.

DJs for school dances can also cost a bit more, depending on the length of the event.


Hiring a DJ is a great way to make your party more memorable.

Now that you have a better understanding of what a DJ does and all the other factors, you now know why some DJs can cost significantly higher.

If you have more questions about how much a DJ costs, you can always get in touch with one through websites and social media platforms.

Make sure you choose the right DJ for your next event and have fun.

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