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Thread: Post COVID - what's the future going to look like?

  1. #1
    Imagine's Avatar
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    Default Post COVID - what's the future going to look like?

    Genuine question here chaps and chap-esses because I'm seriously thinking now as to whether the label "full time" DJ is going to be applicable. I'm also on a bit of a whimsey as I'm missing doing what I love doing, but at the same time meeting a lot of the people we'd normally have throwing shapes on our dance floors on a Saturday night (today's all day wedding would have been the equivalent of working for 4.2 weeks where I am now and for a lot less perspiration)

    Don't get me wrong, the 11.5 months I spent completely self employed doing my dream "job" were awesome...until you know what knocked everyone's world upside down. Next year if what we do is allowed is looking brilliant!
    But, will things ever return to normal in our lifetimes/careers?

    Will those of us that were full time before the world got scared be able to be properly full time ever again?

    My personal perspective is that it's going to be very hard.

    Even if we were unlocked tomorrow, the dance floors are going to be pretty quiet from what I'm seeing of Joe Public's behaviour at the moment. YES, the news is sensationalising certain events such as rallies, beaches and illegal raves - they're just a very small minority of the public though.

    In my temporary job delivering booze and food for a major supermarket, I'm actually encountering a lot of very scared people (Julian will be able to relate to this). People in gloves (including wooly which apparently COVID doesn't like), face coverings, head coverings (what?), aprons (yes...that's weird), there are a LOT of normal people that are genuinely scared of this thing and won't actually be leaving their house for a while to come.

    These people are the people that would normally be filling our dance floors!

    An example....I stood on a chap's doorstep tonight having a chat. He's shielding due to age and underlying health conditions and has been since the start of March (ideal 70th birthday or anniversary client). I'm one of THREE people other than his wife that he dares to see every week (the others are Amazon and the postie). I got into the conversation about being allowed out again from the start of August (and he used to meet with his "chums" at a local boozer on a Thursday afternoon for a couple of swift ones). His response? He misses it but not blimmin' likely.

    Another example - the ideal wedding client insisted that I unloaded her shopping onto her doorstep and then disappeared before she'd open the front door to take it in.

    I've met youngsters tonight that are big on the whole social distancing thing (they wouldn't come within 10 feet of me...cue Peter having some sort of dig at that one). The general public/ordinary people seem to still be scared half to death about catching COVID. In fact out of the 20 odd "drops" I did tonight, only ONE customer came into close contact (and that actually felt wrong from my side of things!)

    Personally, I feel I'm lucky in that I have a job to tide me over. It's not my dream job, it's damned hard graft (although I'm enjoying it)...but I appear to be good at it and it pays some of the bills. I have the option of when/if things return to normality that they'll schedule my shifts around future DJing work (driving 3.5 tonne trucks I have to have a certain amount of rest including extracurricular work).

    I'm likely to be a part time DJ for a very long time to come. It's a small price to pay for income security, and it looks like our income will be dented for several months/years to come or until a vaccine is found

  2. #2
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Wayne, you're not far off the mark at all, my truck driving friend. I reckon there are two kinds of people. Those who think they're invulnerable, and just can't wait to get back to " normal normal ", never mind " new normal ". They can't understand what the fuss is about, after all " it's only flu".

    Then there are the people who are classed officially as having some degree of vulnerability. ( Chez Excalibur for a start. I've been banned from venturing inside all supermarkets for the foreseeable, and am only allowed " click and collect " from Screwfix, Petrol station, and lately Tesco. ( sorry Wayne, but Every Little Helps ).
    Many of those, as Wayne rightly says, are very apprehensive/worried. I know people who haven't ventured outside their premises for twelve weeks, and aren't likely to do so for quite a few more. Many of those are our customers/guests, week in, week out. Until we get them back on stream, there's little hope of loads of work.

    PS. Ten feet? Bit close for me mate, round it up to a dozen, I'd say.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  3. #3

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    Coming up to 15 weeks for us and I've left the house/garden a grand total of 6 times now. My wife has been out a few more times to drop supplies off to her parents, but that's it. I've entered 2 shops and yesterday we went out chasing a friend of ours who did a paddleboarding session and I took a walk along the river for a bit as there were only a handful of people out. We've been very lucky in that we live on the edge of a big city and that brings good transport networks and good/frequent delivery services (except I don't count Parcel Force under "good"). Since this kicked off
    everything has been brought to us by one of Asda, Royal Mail, Amazon, DPD, Yodel or Parcel Force (eventually). There's a special place in heaven for delivery drivers

    I should mention that we've had one takeaway for my sons birthday. They forgot a 3rd of the order and couldn't do anything about it because they're socially distancing the delivery drivers from the kitchen staff and the two aren't allowed to talk! I'm not keen to repeat that experience.

    Our Asda drivers (sorry Wayne, that's my local) have had a mix of different attitudes to us since this all started. They're under instructions to ring the bell and then to tell the customer to go inside and close the door so they can leave the shopping on a step or in a porch for the customer to collect later. We've got an inner door and a porch with an outer door so if I open the inner door and take half a step back, I'm a good 2m from them, but some of the drivers turn up in full PPE and will literally run away if I open the door while others are OK with us standing opposite sides of the porch and talking. I have seen them starting to noticeably relax in the last few weeks.

    We're planning on bringing carers for my daughter back in sometime mid-July which will make my life a lot easier. We're still shielding until 1st August but we could have kept carers coming in throughout, we just decided it was better not to until we understood exactly what kind of risk they posed - that risk drops significantly as soon as the schools break up as two of them work in schools during the day. My day job hasn't confirmed plans, but we're all thinking that we're going to be kept at home until the new year. The business is functioning with the majority of staff working remotely (to the point that they've actually revoked our access to the building) and I suspect they've decided that it's easier to keep us running like this than deal with trying to put in place effective social distancing measures in the office, especially with some people hot-desking. In a building of 1,500 people with lots of shared communal space, an outbreak could be a disaster (on a personal and a business level). I also suspect they're saving a bucket on water, power, heating/cooling, security staff, maintenance, cleaners, etc.

    My personal opinion on the future...? We live with risks to our lives every single day, viruses, bacteria, theft/assault, personal and terrorist attacks, etc, etc and we still get on with it without living in fear. Every now and then one or more of these becomes more prevalent in society and we become more aware of it (9/11, tube bombings, Covid19, etc) and then we go back to life as usual, because we're good at assessing, rationalising and then blanking out constant risk and we don't deal well with living every day in fear. We will get back to normal, it's going to take a little while and we're likely to have to live with some changes to our lifestyle for a while, but we will.

    The long term hit is going to come from the economic impact of this. Anyone who thinks that this is going to be a V shaped drop in economic activity is dreaming. Now that the next quarters rents are due, we're starting to see businesses call it a day and the job losses mount up. About a third of councils are technically bankrupt and looking to make cuts. Incomes have been reduced for a prolonged period of time, not all industries are re-opened yet (including ours) having a further impact on spending and then we have 3 months entrenched habits of cooking and drinking at home and a general nervousness about future income that is all going to make people reluctant to spend. That's all going to hit businesses. There's going to have to be some big incentives for people to splash out to get the economy moving again (or some heavy government sponsored infrastructure projects to create employment).

    However, that isn't going to stop rich people throwing parties and incredibly low interest rates actually make it cheaper now to get married than 12 months ago (assuming that most couples borrow to fund their day and suppliers fix or drop their fees for a year or two). DJ's in some markets will probably be OK...

    Julian
    http://www.bristoldiscohire.co.uk - Quality Disco and Equipment hire for Bristol & Bath
    Weddings, Birthday Parties, Kids Parties, School Disco's and more
    https://bristolevent.photography - Event, Brand and Studio Photography

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
    I reckon there are two kinds of people. Those who think they're invulnerable, and just can't wait to get back to " normal normal ", never mind " new normal ". They can't understand what the fuss is about, after all " it's only flu".

    Then there are the people who are classed officially as having some degree of vulnerability.
    Those are the two extremes. The ones you need to look at carefully are the middle section - the likes of me. I'm not vulnerable at all. But I have no desire to take any risks with this one. This is not the flu, and whilst it's circulating, I'm reducing my risk as much as possible (whilst remaining healthy - so I'm doing a lot more exercise than before). My business is now all working from home. Going into our serviced office on Friday to pick up the post I saw about 5 people. Bear in mind this is an office that holds well in excess of 300 people. No one is in a rush to go back into the office. I didn't enjoy the experience, and will continue to return once a month simply to collect the post. When the pubs/restaurants re-open, I won't be returning - not for a long time.


    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Jules View Post
    My personal opinion on the future...? We live with risks to our lives every single day, viruses, bacteria, theft/assault, personal and terrorist attacks, etc, etc and we still get on with it without living in fear. Every now and then one or more of these becomes more prevalent in society and we become more aware of it (9/11, tube bombings, Covid19, etc) and then we go back to life as usual, because we're good at assessing, rationalising and then blanking out constant risk and we don't deal well with living every day in fear. We will get back to normal, it's going to take a little while and we're likely to have to live with some changes to our lifestyle for a while, but we will.
    Terrorism has always been a very low risk. You were at greater risk driving on the motorway than from a terrorist. But the odds on this are very different, and that's why until it's eradicated, or it's proven we do build immunity to it, that it will take a long time to get back to any normality.


    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Jules View Post
    The long term hit is going to come from the economic impact of this.
    However, that isn't going to stop rich people throwing parties and incredibly low interest rates actually make it cheaper now to get married than 12 months ago (assuming that most couples borrow to fund their day and suppliers fix or drop their fees for a year or two). DJ's in some markets will probably be OK...
    The low interest rates aren't much lower than they have been since 2008. But borrowing still isn't *cheap*. And if you're borrowing, then you're not *rich*.

    The squeezed middle income families with big mortgages will be tightening their belts. These redundancies are going to hit everyone - I'm seeing lots of well paid professionals (our ideal clients) being made redundant already. This is going to make people very nervous until there is a clear economic recovery.

    As things stand, with people being more cautious, it has a huge impact. Those bigger earners won't splash out on a big wedding - meaning us DJs don't get paid as much. We then don't splash out on a house/garden improvement, meaning the trademen don't earn as much, meaning they don't eat out as much at a restaurant, putting the zero hours contract workers on less income - and so the cycle continues. One of the big downsides of a service driven economy is when have less demand for those services.

    It's clear there is going to be no V shaped recovery from this - and being a worldwide issue is going to be interesting what happens. What about Spain - with less of us going on holiday abroad (are people really going to want to sit with 200 other people in a small metal tube flying through the air?), will property prices crash there? How many Brits have homes out there that they rent out to holiday makers (and rely on that to pay the mortgage of that property). So many areas where it's not looking pretty at the moment.

    Right now, I would recommend diversifying income as much as possible. Over the past 48 months I've relied on 3 income streams. 1 went very quickly (weddings), another is about to in 2 weeks time - so income 3 has been ramped up, and I'll be looking at adding in another income stream *just in case*.

    I feel much more in control being self employed. I wouldn't want to be employed right now, relying on one income stream alone.

  5. #5

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    Got to admit I fear for the future and as it stands it is VERY unlikely I will return full time - or certainly not in the next few years.

    It is heartbreaking as I spent 14 years building my business. I did run it primarily as a business rather than 'me as a DJ' and thought I had a very secure business. It was at the stage where if needed I didn't have to work in order to bring in a decent enough income. There was always the risk of things going quiet, but that was always in our hands. The shutter doors closing as they have was something nobody could ever imagine.

    I do think short term things are going to be really quiet - so many DJs are desperate to get back, but personally I would rather wait until we are fully operational again and customer confidence has returned - next Easter is my aim.

    There will always be the ones who are determined to go out no matter what - however are these your customer ? I am always amazed when taking to some other DJs about how far ahead my postponements are, and they still think that because they have something at the end of the month things will be back to normal. I also remember when this all started I got a deluge of cancellations one day - yet others were 'bragging' about how it isn't affecting them - guess I am lucky to have clients with the foresight .

    Knowing this was going to go on for so long, I too found employment. Unfortunately I really was a Full Time DJ and my income was my households income so didn't have benefits or wife to rely on - plus due to savings couldn't even get UC. Going forward I will likely try and keep myself with some sort of employment.

    Do I regret being a Full Time DJ ? No, never, it has been the best job in the world
    Can I see things returning to how they were ? No, not for a good few years
    Wil changes have to be made ? YES, undoubtedly

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rth_discos View Post
    The low interest rates aren't much lower than they have been since 2008. But borrowing still isn't *cheap*. And if you're borrowing, then you're not *rich*.
    I'm seeing loans down to 3.3% APR, mortgages at 1.1/1.2%, both lower than the last time I borrowed any significant amount 5 years ago. Mortgage rates have been dropping steadily over the last 5 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by rth_discos View Post
    The squeezed middle income families with big mortgages will be tightening their belts.
    See above, if they are clued up and in a position to remortgage they can knock 100's/month off their monthly repayments at the moment. There's also quite a few savvy people who have used Government backed schemes to move existing debt around to make it more affordable.

    Quote Originally Posted by rth_discos View Post
    Right now, I would recommend diversifying income as much as possible. Over the past 48 months I've relied on 3 income streams. 1 went very quickly (weddings), another is about to in 2 weeks time - so income 3 has been ramped up, and I'll be looking at adding in another income stream *just in case*.
    I can't argue with this advice.

    Julian
    http://www.bristoldiscohire.co.uk - Quality Disco and Equipment hire for Bristol & Bath
    Weddings, Birthday Parties, Kids Parties, School Disco's and more
    https://bristolevent.photography - Event, Brand and Studio Photography

  7. #7
    Imagine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppentertainments View Post
    Got to admit I fear for the future and as it stands it is VERY unlikely I will return full time - or certainly not in the next few years.

    It is heartbreaking as I spent 14 years building my business. I did run it primarily as a business rather than 'me as a DJ' and thought I had a very secure business. It was at the stage where if needed I didn't have to work in order to bring in a decent enough income. There was always the risk of things going quiet, but that was always in our hands. The shutter doors closing as they have was something nobody could ever imagine.
    That's EXACTLY where I was. I'd worked full time for someone or other in highly stressful careers whilst working my gentlemen vegetables off in the background ready for when I was made redundant last year. I think the sheer amount of work and effort I'd put into getting everything just right only to have the rug pulled from under my feet on my long term dream is the bit that hit me the hardest

    Quote Originally Posted by ppentertainments View Post
    I do think short term things are going to be really quiet - so many DJs are desperate to get back, but personally I would rather wait until we are fully operational again and customer confidence has returned - next Easter is my aim.
    I think you're right. Even now, my web traffic is down, enquiries are a tiny fraction of what they were pre-lockdown, and most of those are gigs I wouldn't entertain at the moment due to not wanting the stress of going through the whole rescheduling thing again. Next year (if it happens) will consist of all of this year's weddings plus the four I've picked up since this all kicked off.

    Quote Originally Posted by ppentertainments View Post
    Knowing this was going to go on for so long, I too found employment. Unfortunately I really was a Full Time DJ and my income was my households income so didn't have benefits or wife to rely on - plus due to savings couldn't even get UC. Going forward I will likely try and keep myself with some sort of employment.
    Couldn't agree more sadly.

    I fell through the safety nets, wife works and too much in savings to qualify for anything so had no choice other than to go back to working for someone. It was either that, or watch the savings we've spent a lifetime building up evaporate.

    One benefit though, I've realised just how much I missed the camaraderie of working with other people on a regular basis. OK, out on the road I'm on my own apart from the 5-10 mins I get to chat with the customers, but back at base there's a real sense of teamwork and banter going on....I like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by rth_discos View Post
    I wouldn't want to be employed right now, relying on one income stream alone.
    I think I'm possibly in one of the only growth sectors at the moment so should be fairly secure. The supermarkets themselves aren't predicting a mass of customers coming back into the physical stores and instead are seeing the online side of things growing faster than they can possibly keep up with.

    It was never going to be my first choice of job (it's blimmin' hard work in all weathers for very little reward). BUT....it IS a job and that's something at the moment to be grateful for. Plus, there's not too much thinking or responsibility involved and I kind of like that. Ever since I started work waaaay back in the 1980s, I've been in positions where I've had to think, plan, stress, take work home with me..... Now I just turn up, clock in, do what I need to do and go home again.


    Quote Originally Posted by ppentertainments View Post
    Do I regret being a Full Time DJ ? No, never, it has been the best job in the world
    Can I see things returning to how they were ? No, not for a good few years
    Wil changes have to be made ? YES, undoubtedly

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    I think you're right. Even now, my web traffic is down, enquiries are a tiny fraction of what they were pre-lockdown, ...
    I've seen this said a few times and this is not what I am experiencing at all. We went into lock down on 23rd March and today's date is 28th June. If I did a year on year comparison over that time period:

    2019
    Enquiries: 80
    Won: 10

    2020
    Enquiries: 88
    Won: 26

    Your clients are not enquiring with you because they are not finding you, so I dare say that your marketing and SEO needs to be tweaked a little.

    For me, the first couple of weeks of lock down was quite bare for enquiries (I assume because of all the uncertainty during that time) but then April was very busy because couple's were either working from home or on furlough, meaning extra time to plan weddings. Plus most are smart enough to identify that dates are going to be even more precious in 2021 and are jumping in as soon as possible.

    People are still wanting to get married next year so your clients are out there.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Smyth View Post
    People are still wanting to get married next year so your clients are out there.
    Enquiries: 141 of which...
    Declined: 5
    Busy: 28
    Won: 28
    In the wind: 80

    The same period last year:

    Enquiries: 238 of which...
    Declined: 8
    Busy: 62
    Won: 68
    In the wind: 100

    So anecdotally, numbers are down in my market. And I don't consider myself to be quite in the same market as Benny/Wayne.

    Julian
    http://www.bristoldiscohire.co.uk - Quality Disco and Equipment hire for Bristol & Bath
    Weddings, Birthday Parties, Kids Parties, School Disco's and more
    https://bristolevent.photography - Event, Brand and Studio Photography

  10. #10

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    Post Covid? Man we're gonna need a time machine or a crystal ball that actually works to figure that one out.

    Things I think we can take for granted..

    Until either it's proven immunity from coronavirus can be had, or there's a working vaccine we can forget all about less formal parties in venues. Self service food is going to be a big no-no (some say it always should've been LOL). The same is going to apply for anything where resources are shared - photobooths, games equipment etc...

    Experts left & right are predicting a massive downturn if not an actual (and pretty nasty) recession. Meaning, people are gonna have much less spare cash for frivolities like organised parties for quite a while once it bites. That some kind of financial bump in the road is coming I'm in no doubt. How big & how bad it's going to be.. well that's anybody's guess.

    Lavish parties of days gone by will still go ahead but the market for these will probably be massively reduced (see above). Works functions will be massively knocked on the head too I reckon. Most people still in gainful employment will just be glad they still have a job rather than pester bosses for organised Christmas parties etc.

    I've run out of fight now. I gave myself a few years to push that old snowball up to the top of the hill & it just started picking up momentum last year. All this has punched the last of the fight out of me. This isn't so much a jacking it all in - more of a 'meh what's the point?'. Life is interesting enough for me without gigs & I've had fun learning that again.

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