This is a must read if you are considering going through an Entertainment Agency to hire a DJ, Band, Magician,etc. for an event such as a Wedding, Corporate Event, Sweet Sixteen Party, Prom, or anything else that requires a professional Entertainer. Every day, people hire entertainers that they should not be hiring. Entertainers and entertainment agencies often lie about their qualifications, charge you a lot more than they should, and end up turning your important event into an embarrassment and put your reputation on the line by presenting sub-par performances. The entertainer is the key to a successful event, but here is the problem.
Hire the wrong entertainment and your event will be a flop. Hire someone who offends members of your audience and it's your reputation on the line. Overpay for an entertainer who delivers a bad performance and the blame gets put on you. Many people feel that they are better off hiring performers from a reputable agency as opposed to hiring performers on their own. While it is true that making one phone call to an agency and letting them do all the work is a lot easier than doing it yourself, there is no guarantee that you are going to get the performer that is perfect for your event. Dirty Secret #1 agencies dont want you to know Agencies have a list of performers in different price ranges.
Their first concern is booking the highest priced performer so they will get a nice fat commission. It is for this reason that they always ask you what your budget is. If you tell them that you have a $5,000 budget they will look to book a performer in that price range.
This may not be the best person for your event, but because they can gobble up every dollar you have to spend, the agency books them anyway. If you have a very substantial budget, an agency will almost always book way more entertainment than is necessary. For example, a friend of mine performed at a very small corporate event where an agency had booked two magicians, an artist, a juggler, and a DJ. This was entertainment overkill.
The agency did not care about what was best for the client, they only cared about spending every dime that the company had available. Dirty Secret #2 agencies don't want you to know This is going to blow you away and maybe even anger you. Did you know that many agencies mark up their talent by 100% to 300% or more? If a performer normally charges $500 for a show, an agency will charge you up to $1,000 for the same performer. Are you getting a $1,000 show? No, you are getting a $500 performer but paying twice what you should.
The agencies practice of charging you double what you would have paid if you hired the performer on your own, is quite common. In fact, in a best-selling training manual for entertainment agencies, the author boasts about this practice and has charts to show agents the obscene amount of money they can make by doing this. Of course, there are some agencies that do not do this. Instead, they require that their talent discount their fees to them so that they can charge their clients the same amount they would have paid if they hired the performer directly. Here are some ways to avoid being scammed by agencies. Try booking your corporate event entertainment directly.
This is not as difficult or time consuming as it may sound. Just do a search for the type of entertainer you are looking for, and compare your favorites to see which can offer the service that best suites your needs. If you are going to book through an agency, do not tell them what your exact budget is. Give them a general price range and ask them to give you options within that range.
(Example: "Well, Mrs. Agent, I am not exactly sure what our budget will be, please send me information on corporate event entertainment packages within the $1,000 to $4,000 price range.") This way you can decide which person is best for you regardless of price. Another way to see if the agency is honest is to call up the numbers of the entertainers the agency recommends directly.
Important: Do not tell them that you have spoken to the agency. Ask them what they charge. If it is the same or very close to the fee the agent quoted you, you are dealing with a reputable agent and you should hire the entertainer through the agency. Don't undercut the agent and hire the performer directly, this is not fair to the agency.
However, if you discover that the agent has grossly marked up the entertainer's prices, drop that agency quick. Bottom Line: Remember that an agency's first concern is about the amount of money they can make. Many times your needs come in a distant second. Use the advice I have given and take control of the situation so you can get the best entertainer to fit your specific needs for a fair price.
Terrence is the owner of a popular Mobile DJ Company based out of Dallas,Tx and has been spinnin records for over 9 years now. He has a Degree in Audio Engineering, and currently works in the Radio Industry. http://www.mygoodtimesdj.com