Maasha Evans is kind of a big deal. The DJ is rocking the Los Angeles wedding market, spinning in some of the city’s trendiest spots and for some of its hottest exercise classes. (Case in point: she recently snagged the position of resident DJ at SoulCycle, a popular cycling franchise). Maasha found Thumbtack soon after graduating from DJ school and it’s been a staple of her client base ever since. In five years on Thumbtack, Maasha has learned exactly where and what kinds of gigs work best for her business. We caught up with her to hear more about how she makes Thumbtack work for her business.
How long have you been a DJ?
I’ve been a DJ for five years now and I’ve been on Thumbtack for just as long. When I graduated from DJ school, I knew that my biggest challenge was going to be finding customers. People are less trusting when you don’t have at least a year of experience. Thumbtack helped me get some of my earliest hires.
Even if they were smaller jobs (kids birthday parties, etc.), it was a way for me to get my name out there and to start accumulating reviews and followers. Five years years later, I have a full-blown team: an MC, lighting people, and equipment. Now I can take on much much larger, higher price point gigs.
I talk to my DJ friends who’ve been at it for around as long as I have and a lot of them are still having an impossible time finding clients or using lead generators that cost way too much. I tell them about Thumbtack and they’re so surprised about the amount of work that I’ve found.
What kinds of music do you play?
I play a little bit of everything. The only kind of music that I don’t offer on Thumbtack is Bollywood, just because I don’t have a complete enough Bollywood music collection right now. I think a big part of being a good DJ is taking the time to learn what your client wants, what kind of vibe they want at the event, the kinds of music they want to play. People are so different and every event has its own flavor. As a DJ, part of your job is finding out what that is.
What do you think makes your Thumbtack profile stand out?
Documenting your work process on your profile is really important. When you’re at events, make sure that you get pictures that show what you’re doing. Clients really love to see what kinds of events you’ve done, your versatility, and to get a feel for what it looks like to hire you. So keep your photos up to date and keep posting more and more materials so your customers can see that you’re busy and in demand.
How do you think about asking for reviews on Thumbtack?
Reviews are probably one of the most important parts of my business. I make an effort to get reviews from everybody that I work with. When I was first starting out as a DJ, getting those first couple of reviews on Thumbtack really helped me. Potential customers would find me on Thumbtack and see that it was a reliable source with real reviews, and that informed their decision to hire me.
When I’m leaving an event, I usually tell the client that I’ll be following up and if they do have time, I would appreciate them writing a review. Usually clients understand because they’ve already read my reviews in the process of deciding whether or not to hire me.
Do you have any tips for writing your Thumbtack bio?
You want to come across as experienced, friendly and ready to do the work. I think it’s really important that your love for what you do comes across in what you write. If you can get your enthusiasm about your work across on the page, that makes a real difference.
How has business changed since you turned on Instant Match?
Before using Instant Match I would only connect with clients if I was one of the first to respond to their request. It was always this mad rush to try and get my quote in on time. Especially in my area, DJ jobs go fast. Now Thumbtack automatically matches me with customers who fit with the preferences I set. So now no matter what I’m doing, the quotes are going out all day, everyday.
Can you talk about how you set your preferences on Instant Match?
You only have to really set your preferences once, when you first start using Instant Match.You list your dates of availability, how far you want to travel, and the kinds of gigs you want to take. As things change for your business, you always have the option to go back and make changes.
Now that Thumbtack is quoting for me I make sure that my preferences are really specific so I only get bids from clients who are a good match. I’m an open format DJ, which means that I play weddings, bar mitzvahs, corporate events, bars, clubs—you name it and it’s on Thumbtack—so I can set my preferences and get the kind of gigs that I want.
My ideal client is willing to pay premium or high-end pricing and lives within the geographical area I set up in my job preferences. Over time I’ve learned which areas of Los Angeles are best for my services. For example, I know I tend to do better in Santa Monica and the Pacific Palisades than Palos Verdes, and I set that in my preferences.
Can you explain how you set your price using Instant Match?
With Instant Match, Thumbtack sends estimates out for you based on the base price you set and whatever add-ons they might want. Thumbtack allows you to set different rates for different kinds of days—as a DJ, you’re likely to charge more on a Saturday night than on a Tuesday morning. You can do the same things for different kinds of events. So a backyard picnic will cost something very different from a wedding reception. And if you want to provide an hourly discount for longer events, that’s possible too.
My base price includes the hourly rate for myself and my assistant, including the time it takes us to set up and breakdown. Any DJ gear that’s required, or extras like fog machines or lights are add-ons that I can provide prices for when setting up my price sheet on Instant Match. So if a customer wants a light machine at a 30-person event on a Thursday night, the estimate Thumbtack reflects all of that, immediately.
What’s one tip you think all DJs should know?
As an event DJ you should always have a backup plan. If any of your equipment malfunctions or you’re not able to get sound up, you want to make sure that you have other options with you. If any of your equipment fails, the set is over. You want to be sure you’re prepared.
Read more stories about how pros are succeeding on Instant Match.