Over To You: Should DJs Solicit Tips?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 26 November, 2017


Should DJs ask for tips? And if so, how?
Pic from: Valiant

Reader Dusty writes: “Something I’d like to ask is: Should DJs collect donations (ie ‘tips’)? And if so, how do you get people to tip? I’m half of a duo that gets paid to DJ at all-night bars (Nevada, USA has no last call). We also like to receive donations from patrons to pad this income. The bar ownership/management is fine with this practice but the patrons are a bit tight-fisted when it comes to dropping a buck in the big and obvious tip fishbowl that sits in an accessible location.”

“Last night, we threw a raging after-party but still only had $21 in the bowl for the seven hours we were were playing – which included the initial $10 we had put in there so it didn’t look empty. It just wasn’t representative of the crush on the dancefloor and the dozens of people that stopped us to gush about how good the music was. I even carried the bowl around with me at one point in the evening smiling and passively collecting, but only got an extra $3 (still, it was a good excuse to flirt).

“A friend of ours who’s in a somewhat successful band that plays bars locally shared his best tactic, which is to team up with a doorman and cut him a percentage to have him mention the suggested donation when he checks patrons’ IDs! I would like to know if any other DJs out there find tips to be significant (I do understand this would normally be unacceptable at a club gig) and what techniques they’ve found that work to get the tips flowing.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Ha ha, so if you were DJing with controllers and laptops, you were asking for “Digital DJ Tips”? 😀 (Sorry couldn’t resist it.)

Ahem. Well, I have no experience at all of this. The US is a tipping culture, not so much here. I have been paid good money to play tunes (it’s always fun when you were going to play the tune anyway), and I’ve been freely given many things while DJing that weren’t money, but to be honest I can’t help here. So time to say…

..over to you, readers. Do you collect tips? How important are they to you? How do you do it? do you know other DJs who do it? What kinds of gigs is it acceptable and not acceptable to solicit tips? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Click here for your free DJ Gear and software guide