Why Don't We Multi-Op
So before I start on this one I would like to say that I am not singling out any one company, basing this on specific company or trying to start a DJ war. This post is about the reasons I choose not to operate multiple DJs. For the other readers a Multi-Op is DJ slang for companies that operates multiple DJs kind of like an agency. I have in the past worked for at least 10 such companies and been hire to go and perform at a function which has been booked by the Multi-op.
Why Does it Happen?
Once you've been in the trade a good few years and built a decent reputation the work starts to flood in. As a solo operator you start having to turn clients away as popular dates fill fast, but you don't want to loose future repeat business. Some companies will buy more kit and book DJs to just go out and do a walk in, others will offer the whole job to another DJ. In most cases the person handling the job takes a cut of the fee for their troubles.
The cycle repeats and now your needing 2 or 3 DJs extra per night. Perhaps you take on some residency work or get in with big corporate clients. As you can see these companies start to boom and handle a much larger proportion of work than they previously did as a single operator.
Why Don't I do it?
I feel with this expansion comes a loss of individuality. People book me because they want me and sending someone else puts at jeapoary my relationship with the client and my reputation for providing first class service. I've had a little dabble without taking any fees but felt so uncomfortable and out of control I decided straight away relying on others was not for me.
My preferred method is taking the bookings I get and offering clients who I can't take to my close friends who are DJs I trust. The booking goes to them in its entirety and in return they will pass work back my way. The client still gets that individualised customer service and knows I helped them to find it, and in some cases they do come back to me because I was there to help them. It costs me a little time and effort but as I said getting jobs sent my way is a better payment that taking a £30 chunk of the fee.
The next thing I really don't like about Multi-op companies is when chains are formed. So one company engages a DJ who has no intention of doing the work and then passes it on to another DJ they know is looking for work, and takes a cut of the fee. So now two people are taking money before the DJ gets paid - what kind of the DJ do you think your getting once around £40-60 has come out of the price your paying. Sometimes the person you hired doesn't even know the DJ who ended up at the gig so how can they possibly guarantee the service or deal with complaints?
What do we do Instead?
So yes we lose out to the multi-ops because many clients do realise it is going on. They get and DJ at the party and think it's all fine and you know, for some parties it is. Many multi-ops hire out good DJs because they have used them for a while and grown to trust them. I have been one of these DJs which is why I know how it works.
Having worked for many years in customer service it's something that is ingrained into me and I want to be the person the clients meet, converse with, grow to trust and eventually perform at their parties. This of course means that I become somewhat exclusive and limited to the amount of performances I can handle each year. I work around 150 bookings in a year and quiet easily pass on as many leads again to people in my circle of trust or have to turn down providing quotes.
I'm more than certain if I did choose to multi-op and I certainly have the spare equipment and contacts I could significantly increase my earnings but no, it's not for me. When you book if you want the personal touch and a DJ who cares be it me or someone else, stick with the single operator DJ, the guy (or girl) who cares so much about the success of your party that only they will be there personally.