Why I charge what I charge [updated April 2022]

How much SHOULD you be budgeting for your wedding DJ in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk & Suffolk?

A slightly controversial post this week based on a couple of things that have happened during the past 7 days.

  •  Firstly, I’ve had several people say I’m “too expensive” during conversations on the phone and email.

    After all, I only play music don’t I (I wish is was that simple believe me!).

  • Secondly, whilst clearing out our loft this weekend, I happened upon the invoices and planning documents from my own wedding back in 1999 (yup – 20 years ago and still in love as much now as back then….awwwww).

I’ve updated this post for the third year in a row because at the moment the prices of everything seem to be just that little bit more poignant, including food, energy and diesel.

So, just for the fun of it I headed over to the UK Office of National Statistics to do a little research and to look back to those heady days when people were panicking about the Millennium Bug, Blur and Oasis were very much at war in the charts and petrol was under £1 a litre (and the diesel that runs my van was even cheaper!)

Here’s what I found.

These are AVERAGE figures by the way and I’ve compared like for like between 1999 and 2020. The figures are average across the whole of the UK and not just my local area to avoid regional differences.

In 1999….

  • The price of the average house was £68,018
  • The average salary was £15,825
  • The average family car cost £12,750
  • The average cost of fuel was 77p a litre (oh….I remember that!)

In the supermarket, the weekly staples were roughly thus:

  • A loaf of bread: 69p
  • A bag of sugar: 59p
  • A pack of butter: 86p
  • 2.5kg of spuds: £1.75
  • 400g of bacon: £2.35

More importantly and the main point of this blog post….the price I paid for my wedding reception disco back then for a booking from 7:30pm to 11pm (and he arrived 20 minutes late!), was £200. 

Now in true TimeLord fashion, let’s jump into the Tardis and come back to 2020

(2020 were the latest figures I could find but serve their purpose)

Remember again that these are average prices based on costs right across the UK and don’t take into account regional differences.

In 2020….

  • The price of the average house was £256,000 (+276%)
  • The average salary was £38,600 (+153%)
  • The average family car cost £20,273 (+59%)
  • The average cost of fuel was £1.24 a litre (+61%)

In the supermarket, the weekly staples were roughly thus:

  • A loaf of bread: £1.05
  • A bag of sugar: 70p
  • A pack of butter: £1.73
  • 2.5kg of spuds: £1.47
  • 400g of bacon: £3.73


You’d expect that to be the case, wouldn’t you? Inflation takes its toll, wages rise, the cost of living goes up and the companies providing these goods and services have to alter their prices to pay their overheads and staff costs. It’s unfortunately how life goes.

Don’t forget, these are comparing 1999 with 2020. In 2022 the price of fuel, electricity, gas, food, in fact EVERYTHING has sky rocketed!


Why do people in 2022 STILL expect a disco to cost £200 or less?

Let’s have a look at some numbers….

I don’t charge by the hour. My fees are based on a lot of different things not least of all the cost to me to provide your entertainment in the first place, along with 30+ years of experience.

In short, Imagine is a business and has to pay its costs first, and then me. This is after all, what I do for a living.

BUT….just for illustrative purposes because it sometimes makes things easier to understand, based on the wedding disco of 1999, I was charged £57.14 per hour. Add inflation to this and the cost based on just that alone rises to £101.02 per hour.

And THAT’S just the time spent actually playing music! There’s actually a LOT more work which goes into a wedding reception behind the scenes.

Now dear reader, you may be saying “but I don’t earn that per hour!”, and you’re quite correct. Very few people earn nearly £100 an hour.

Neither do I!

Out of that £102 per hour (and this is why I don’t charge by the hour because the sums have to be based over an entire year and this job can be very seasonal), I have to take out travelling costs (see the current cost of diesel!), insurance costs, equipment replacement and depreciation, music costs (you know how much you pay for music don’t you?). I have to pay for storage, PAT testing, cover sickness and holiday pay, accountancy fees and then pay tax and National Insurance.

The £102.02 doesn’t come anywhere near my wallet – especially with the current cost of diesel!

So, when you’re getting a quote for your wedding reception or party, think of the sums involved.

The average cost of the equipment I put on show on the night is around £12,000 (that’s one hell of an investment alone). Add to this the investment in the music (65,000+ tracks at 99p on average per track comes in at just under £65,000). That’s all without the rest of the overheads which have to be paid before I earn a single penny from what I absolutely LOVE doing…..And when I mention the average cost of the equipment….I’m not taking into account the additional £5k of equipment on standby should something in the main setup go wrong (that’s a post for another day….and I have a video nasty of this….)

And then ask yourself….how are those that ARE charging £200 a night (1999 prices) making ends meet? What corners are they cutting to be able to charge that price? That alone sends shivers up my spine!

Let's talk!




Click one of our contacts below to chat on WhatsApp