Ronnie Auger of Ron Auger Productions & Mobile Entertainment in Milford, Mass., says he recently had another DJ take a shot at him simply because he didn’t have many reviews on the paid wedding websites.
“When I go to McDonald’s, I don’t need a review to know what I’m getting,” says Auger, “but that doesn’t change the fact that, when I have the money and want a great meal, I’ll look for a local restaurant with personal reviews—and trust most people that the money is worth the experience to dine in style.”
Of course, Auger says it’s not really fair to compare the food-service industry and the way they market themselves to the wedding-vendor world.
“It’s really apples and oranges,” he explains. “You could never have anyone that consistent for that many years like a McDonald’s. I’ve watched great restaurants in my area just fall apart after a few years. Great reviews for a while, fantastic food, good service and, next thing you know, it’s all gone. So, all those reviews from years past mean nothing to their current status.
“I also don’t agree that most potential clients apply the ‘most-reviews’ when choosing their vendors. I believe they choose their clients based on what they want. I’ve had many clients not care about flowers, cake wasn’t an issue and a simple justice of the peace would do. But when it came to their entertainment, they knew exactly what they wanted.”
The last time he checked, Auger said he could only find around five reviews of his services on all the various wedding sites combined, and said he doesn’t see many brides basing their decisions just on how many reviews a vendor might have.
“I don’t take that as an insult that the brides wouldn’t take the time to review my services, because I never ask them to,” he says. “I actually take it as a compliment, because since I’ve been in this business for over 28 years I still have couples hiring me over many others. And the only explanation I have is because I instill trust with them. They trust I’m going to do what I say I’m going to do. And in most cases it only takes just one referral or review from a past client or vendor to know they’ve made up their mind to hire the best they can.”
When it comes to package DJs, however, Auger says it can sometimes be challenging to convince clients that his company would be the better choice.
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“I like to talk about the benefits of hiring someone who is a professional DJ/MC,” he says. “We have had good training and great experiences. When that’s our main job, the focus is clear, and the announcements, music, organization and overall guest experience is maximized.
“Package DJs could possibly be mediocre at one of the services in their offered package. When you have thousands of dollars on the line for one special moment that needs to happen within a few-hour window, the DJ/MC part of it is not where you want to cut corners.”
Down in Orlando, Fla., JR Silva of Silva Entertainment says the difference between the package DJs and the pros always lies in the details, production and the level of service that the client actually receives.
“When competing against a package DJ, I ask lots of questions to make sure the other package is as good as mine—so we talk apples and apples.
“So let’s say I want to sell a $1K DJ for a wedding, and the bride wants just a DJ for which she and her family have blindly budgeted at $450, then we’re way off. At that point, I’ll tell her she can probably go on Groupon and find herself a $450 discount DJ.
“Now for that cheaper price, she’s getting a part-time hobby DJ. She’ll not be guaranteed an advance meeting with them. She’ll not have a dynamic DJ for that price point and the DJ will not be an elegant MC. Those professionals are not found at the $450 price point, and wedding DJs with five to 10 years of experience really have no need to discount. Believe it or not, they’re in demand for their talent and the lighting—and equipment is secondary.
“Naturally, no price is a good price if, in the end, the clients and their family don’t receive the experience and celebration they’re expecting.”
Over in Seattle, Wash., Adam Tiegs of Adam’s DJ Service says all lighting-and-sound add-ons go hand-in-hand with his mobile setup.
“I can set up and run sound and lighting without taking away from the quality of my work,” he says. “The trouble often occurs when those other guys try to add on photo-booths, too. Most don’t know enough about cameras, lighting, lenses, printers, ink and paper to be able to simultaneously DJ an event and run a photo-booth.
“There are plenty of other pros out there who you could refer business to that would do a better job. This is where I draw the line–stay true to who you are and what you do. If you’re in it just to make a buck, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.”
Silva says he has DJ friends who package things together, but he only refers low-expectation clients to those jocks. “But for people who want an awesome photo-booth experience with high-quality service and options—flip books, green screens, video-booth, social media, prints onsite, etc.—they get referred to the pros I trust.”