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Last-minute Bookings -

A Necessary Evil 

 by Mike McDermott a/k/a MC Mikdee of Air One Mobile DJ Service

 

Mike and Sandy
Here's an interesting scenario: The weekend approaches and you did not have a gig booked. Then, the phone rings and a client desperately needs a DJ for a party on Saturday night, only a few nights away.  The holiday season is when this scenario usually occurs.

Generally speaking, it's not good business to make short notice bookings--but it can be done if you take some necessary precautions. Here are a few tips, especially for newly-established DJ's, to secure your booking and your profits.

There are many pitfalls to last minute bookings. First and foremost, you usually aren't unable to get a deposit to hold the date.  Therefore, get the entire amount up front at the time the contract is signed and in cash only, never accept a check.  Even if you accept credit cards, they can be disputed successfully because of such short notice. Some states even have a three-day residential "right to rescind" law on the books. If you are booking a house party, keep that in mind should they cancel. Book them at least 72 hours in advance.
 
Second, be sure of where you will be performing. Find out about the location of the event before the contract is signed.  If it is at a residence, make sure there is adequate room in the home and soundproofing as well. You don't want the neighbors upset or the local law enforcement agency to shut you down after only one hour. I usually tend to avoid houses altogether unless it is during the afternoon and/or early evening. A public hall setting such as the VFW or American Legion is a better location and provides better security.

Get a feel for your potential client!! There are many good reasons a last-minute call was made to your business. The original DJ got sick, someone else was supposed to hire the DJ but forgot, etc. They are genuinely cordial people who are in a bind and need your assistance. They would also understand and abide to your short-notice business policy. If you get a call from someone because his stereo got ripped off or kept referring to you as "dude", it would send up some red flags.

Finally, consider revising your standard contract for last-minute bookings. Besides the deposit, protect yourself in the event of unseen problems such as weather, security and location. Speak to your lawyer about clauses that would hinder or protect you in your standard contract and make changes accordingly.

 

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