No, I Don't Want Your Money

It always catches me off guard when other DJs try to offer us money for our overflow referrals.  (We have 10 DJs on our roster, but those in-season Saturdays sell out quickly, leaving us with a lot of inquiries we can’t accommodate!)  I’ve been told it’s “only fair” to accept the cash, given that we’re putting money in the pocket of the DJ we’re recommending.  I do understand this line of thinking.  Probably 9 or 10 years ago, we accepted a few of these kinds of “finder’s fees” — other DJs would randomly mail us checks, and we thought, “oh, that must be how it’s done.”  We learned very quickly that it just wasn’t worth it.

Why?  Well, for one, I don’t want a financial arrangement ever affecting my choice of whom to refer.  As a company we’re ridiculously selective about whom we’ll recruit to work for us, and I try to be just as selective about which DJs I’ll recommend when we’re sold out.  I’m extremely flattered when a couple who really wanted to work with us asks me for my suggestions.  The fact that they respect my opinion and trust my judgment means a lot.  I’ve actually had another DJ tell me that a client I referred booked him over the phone, sight unseen, based on my rave review.  How awesome is that? So, because these couples believe what I tell them, I need to know they’ll be well taken care of.   I need to know that the DJs I’m referring are talented, professional, reputable, accessible, and not trying to actively trash me as a competitor.  (Sadly, among the hundreds of DJs operating in the Washington, DC market, that number is pretty slim.)  With those standards set so high, there’s really no room for money to enter the picture.

Secondly, I really don’t need the money.  It’s definitely not worth the weird dynamic of expectations unmet (“hey, I sent that guy two weddings last month!  he never paid me!  what a jerk!”)  Even if the ethical issue of paid referrals didn’t get in the way — and oh, it does — mentally calculating, and worrying about, and trying to collect on some piddly little fee just isn’t a good use of my time and energy.

I think the DJs that I do refer understand where I’m coming from with this, and most of them are kind enough to refer me back when the opportunity arises.  I like to believe this is because they respect our company in terms of both professionalism and ethics.  If nothing else, at least I know it’s not because I write them a check each month.  That kind of goodwill is worth way more than any finder’s fee.


Jennifer Reitmeyer

Jennifer Reitmeyer is the founder of WeddingIQ and the owner of MyDeejay, Firebrand Messaging, and Authentic Boss. She is also a WeddingWire Education Expert, a small business coach and a professional speaker on the event industry circuit.