Hi all. This week I did two gigs at the weekend and you can read the great reviews on this page. thanks to my customers for giving such great testimonials. I hope very much to see you all again soon!
I've just had a phone call from a colleague and fellow deejay's wife who is a partner in the business and they run another exemplary DJ service in Shoreham. I could not believe the blatant scam they were describing regarding what apparently is now routine for a a growing number of venues (mainly hotels) in the Home counties and London area, the hotel in question being "the Ravenswood" Shapthorne in Sussex. I've played there before and the bar prices have to be seen to be believed. In short, it ruins your choice as a customer and can only lead to appallingly bad service in the long run for you the client on your wedding day in particular. It could, if it keeps growing put us and other suppliers out of business completely, as it takes away our income to the level that we either don't earn enough to survive or don't earn anything at all. The greed of some people astounds me. Not only do they charge you thousands and thousands for renting a room and catering facilities out for the day, but now they want to cream off the money that you pay for your preferred DJ too. I have asked Ian and Tracey for their kind permission to re-publish this section of Ian's blog, though sadly, by the time you've read this, you may already have booked the venue. It's such a shame that it works that way as we alone can tell you more truth about such places than most others can. Still, here it is for what it's worth:
I came across a style of business today that shocked me to the core. I had heard of this style of “business” before but it had never affected me directly, up until now.
We received an enquiry recently from a young lady looking to get married later this year. We discussed with her at length what we could do to make her big day special. She was all ready to book when we received an e-mail out of the blue telling us that she was not going to require our services and that she would be going with the services of the resident DJ at the venue. We thought that this was strange and enquired further.
The client told us that the venue wanted to charge them a “fee” if they wanted to use a DJ other than the one provided by the venue. The fee was a whopping £275.00. Faced with the prospect of having to pay more money just so that she could enjoy our services she really had no option but to inform us that we were not required.
Upon receiving this information I decided to enquire further with the venue because I was surprised, especially as I have worked at this venue many times previously and no-one had mentioned it before. I was also interested to find out what this £275 fee exactly covered.
I spoke to a nice lady who confirmed that an extra fee was payable if the client chose a DJ other than one they recommend. This fee of £275 was to cover the cost of electricity, their music license and….well, then she started to mumble a bit. I asked her about the music license (because I know quite a bit about that). She tried to pull the wool over my eyes that she had to purchase a music licence specifically for other DJ’s to play music. This is absolutely untrue, as long as a venue has a PRS license, no further licenses are required for DJ’s. I questioned the cost of electricity, a DJ would only use maybe £5 of electricity in an evening, certainly no more than that. She was sounding a bit flustered at this point.
Unfortunately for her, I was like a dog with a bone and she eventually caved in and explained that the fee also included the cost of admin to check a DJ’s PAT and PLI documents (effectively the cost of a phone call or e-mail and a stamp) and also the money she would be losing out on by a client not booking their recommended DJ.
And then the fog lifted.
In a nutshell, she charges the client say £390 for the entertainment. She keeps maybe £190 for herself and gives £200 to the DJ. The DJ does not moan after all, he gets loads of work from the venue. [he needs it at this price-Mike] This sort of business practice absolutely stinks of corruption! The lady from the venue went on to say that not only does she do this with the DJ, but also with the catering, photographer, flower company and so on. She must be making an absolute mint! As I said, is this clever business or bad business?
I also have to question the ethics of the DJ involved. Surely a DJ who has to give a venue backhanders to get work does not have the best interests of his clients at heart? Surely a DJ who does this is someone who cannot appear to get work of his own, or at least cannot use his skills as a professional to gain the trust of his clients and get them to book his services.
Hang on a minute, am I not being hypocritical here? After all, a lot of venue’s I work in recommend me to their clients. There is the big difference. I am a recommended supplier, much in the same way that a venue will recommend a photographer or a balloonist. True professionals, myself included will never ever go down to the depths that some companies will go to get business. I have never in the past, or will in the future, pay a backhander to a venue to secure my services.
If DISCOfever plays in a venue and as a consequence of that becomes a preferred supplier (of which we are at many venue’s in Sussex) it is because we have earnt our way into the venue, not paid our way in. I also cannot understand why someone would want to book their wedding at a venue that constricts them in this way and does not allow them to have a choice for probably the biggest day of their lives.