Next, we’ll get into what you’ll need to do to keep that new job. You’ll need to learn how to compile a dance list. It’s not as simple as just making a list of names. If you’re working for a club that has more than a handful of dancers, there’s a method to putting the girls in the right order on stage. You’ll also need to know how to keep track of each dancer’s music. Another skill we’ll talk about is writing promos.

Promos are little commercials that you’ll put together to use between dancers promoting things like table dances, the food, upcoming events and so on. You’ll also learn about doing light shows while the girls are dancing as well as how to handle special events like contests.

How do I make a dancer list?

Before your shift starts, you need to compile a list of what dancers have arrived for work. Some clubs require all dancers to be at the club prior to opening or prior to the start of the night shift but it often doesn’t work out that way. Many girls will come in late. One of the challenges you’ll face in some clubs is having enough girls so that you don’t have to bring the same girl up twice right away.

If you’re working day shift and only have couple of dancers ready to go, consider having the girls do three song sets (if you’re working in a nude club, you’ll already be using three song sets).

As more girls come in, try to get them to get ready quickly so you can avoid repeating the first two girls. Some clubs will have the DJ throw in a break song to buy a little time. Try to avoid this if possible. If guys walk in the door and don’t see a girl on stage, they may turn around and walk back out. If you do use break songs, keep a close watch on the front door. If new customers come in, either kill the break song and put a girl up immediately (assuming that there are no table dances going on) or immediately announce that a girl is on her way up.

In some clubs, the door person will have a list of the girls that have made it in for work. In other clubs, you’ll have to compile the list yourself.

You’ll need to do a quick sweep of the dressing rooms and the floor to see who’s in. If you’re working the night shift, check with the day DJ to see if there are any mid-shift girls in the room. (Some clubs offer girls the option of working a mid-shift or 4 to 12 shift so they’ll be available for your dance list) If there are mid-shift girls, find out when they last went on stage so you’re not putting them back onstage again too soon. Also, remember to use your mid-shift girls before midnight because they’ll be leaving early.

Once you’ve made your preliminary list of dancers, you’ll start on the actual dance list. How you’ll proceed depends on the stage procedures at your club. If your club only has one stage or, the girls dance on several stages but in sequence, then your dance list is fairly simple. By sequence I mean that the girl does her set on the main stage; then moves over to stage 2, the girl on stage 2 moves to stage 3, etc. If your club uses a rotational format, where a girl dances a set on the main stage and then comes down, the next time she’s up dances on the back stage, etc., then you’ll set up your list differently. I’ll explain the rotational format dance list in the next section but, for now, let’s assume you’re using the sequential method.

Take a look at Chart 4.1 below. The chart shows a typical sequential dance list with 55 dancers doing two song sets. The estimated times are marked for each hour based on an average set length of ten minutes or six dancers per hour. So, if Cassandra wanted to know what time she was up, you could tell her approximately 12:30. (Cassandra is the fourth girl to go up in the 12 o’clock hour starting with Dixie. Brooke would go up at approx. 12:10 followed by Jasmine at about 12:20.) With this sample 7-hour shift, we’ll use 42 dancers leaving you 13 extra. If a girl leaves early or asks to be skipped, you can use these extra girls to fill in the gaps.

This is the type of schedule I would use at The Colorado, which I would write in a spiral notebook. I usually wrote the girl’s music beside her name. By keeping these lists in a notebook, I can look back and see what a girl danced to previously.

Chart 4.1

Chart 4.1 - Sequential Dance List

Regardless of how many dancers you have on your shift, you want to pay a lot of attention to the order you put them in. Ideally, your list would start off with, say, a tall blond: a California girl type. A petite brunette would follow the tall blond and following her would be a sexy redhead with a medium build. Your fourth girl would be a girl next-door type with light brown hair followed by an Asian girl with long black hair. Your next girl might be a short blond with her hair cut fairly short and, unlike some of the girls before her, she’s pretty wild on stage. A tall, shapely African-American girl follows the wild blond.

Get the idea? You want to put as much variety in your dance order as possible. Let me tell you that it’s often very difficult to work it out this way but this is what you should always aim for. Many DJs ignore this entirely and it’s a big mistake. If your club has three stages and a couple of guys walk in with this lineup on stage, chances are pretty good that they’re going to see a girl that tickles their fancy.

Let’s say you have 25 girls. Three are Asian. These three happen to be roommates and they ride to work together and hit the floor at the same time. The DJ puts them on the dance list and all three end up going up in the first hour. The guys in the club during the first hour that aren’t particularly into Asian girls are going to be thinking about going to the club down the street. Meanwhile, the high roller that comes in during the second hour that really digs Asian girls is going to leave because he doesn’t see any because those girls probably won’t hit the stages again for four hours. Also, when you put two similar girls onstage back to back, the second girl will often make less money.

You want to do everything you can to make the girls look and feel special and unique. By keeping variety in your dance list, you’ll help to accomplish this.

Other things to keep in mind when doing your dance list are how the girl performs and what type of music she dances to. One of the first things you’ll probably notice is that despite the designation of ‘dancer’, most of the girls are anything but that.

They’ll walk back and forth across the stage, roll around on the floor but very little actual dancing goes on. You will, however, probably have some exceptions to that rule. Some dancers take their stage performance very seriously and they have routines worked out or show off some very serious moves. Make sure that these girls are spread out during the shift, if you can. This type of performer can really energize a room so if you have say, three high-energy dancers, use one per hour during your peak periods in the club.

If you’re playing classic rock, mainstream rock or pop, or R&B, it’s not a big deal to have several girls back-to-back doing the same music. If you have some dancers that like any type of music that’s extreme or that’s probably not going to appeal to your audience yet you still want to play it, try to keep these girls spread out. In other words, if your club’s primary audience is forty-something businessmen, then you probably don’t want to have two girls back to back doing three-song sets from Rage Against the Machine. I’ll talk a lot more about music in the next chapter but for now; keep this in mind as it pertains to your dance list.

Now, as you start to put your list together, you can mark it off with time estimates (see Chart 4.1 above). If you’re doing two-song sets, the average set with music and the talking you’ll do in-between, will be about ten minutes. There are exceptions but most topless clubs do two songs sets. The girl does the first song with her full outfit on and either comes out topless for the second song or strips during it.

Many nude clubs use a three-song set with the girl clothed during the first song, topless on the second and completely nude on the third. A three-song set will usually average out to fifteen minutes. With that in mind, you’ll know that you’ll go through an average of six girls per hour doing two song sets or four girls an hour doing three song sets.

As you can see from the chart, you can look down your list and give a girl an idea of when she can expect to go onstage. Be sure and let her know that it’s just an estimate. Sometimes, you’ll have to skip a girl or two or add a girl to the list and that will throw your times off.

Based on this time format system, you can get a pretty clear idea of how many sets you’ll do each night. If your shift is 7 hours long and you run two-song sets, you’ll do approximately 42 sets. If you’ve got 60 girls, then that means 18 of them probably won’t go onstage. That means you’ll have a little breathing room if a few girls leave early or if a girl or two needs to be skipped for whatever reason.

You may have a girl or two on the schedule that you may be hesitant to put onstage. Maybe she’s had too much to drink; maybe she’s not as attractive as the other girls or perhaps there’s another reason. You’ll be able to skip some of these girls without making another girl dance a second time.

If you’ve got a large amount of girls, say 50 or more, you can use this schedule to make sure that your best looking girls, your superstars, are onstage at the period when the club is the busiest. Also, if your club allows the girls to tip you (avoid the clubs that don’t), you can really use the dance schedule to make a lot of extra money.

You’ll find that a lot of girls don’t like to go onstage and they’ll tip you $20 or more every night to skip them. Other girls will often want to get onstage right away for various reasons and they too will want to tip you $20 to put them up again or put them up early. As long as this doesn’t interfere with the show and your club allows it, go for it.

What you do want to avoid is letting so many girls skip stage that you have to repeat girls two or three times during the night that don’t want to go onstage again. These girls will notice that they’ve gone up 2 or 3 times while other girls haven’t gone up at all and they’ll complain to management.

If you handle it correctly, though, you can easily take in several hundred dollars in a larger club just from manipulating your dance list in addition to your regular tips.

I’d often have a girl come up to me during a busy part of the night and ask to be put up a second time. I’d say, "Sherry, I’m sorry but I don’t have an open spot right now and you’ve already been up tonight. It’ll be at least a couple of hours before I might have an opening." The girl would then say, "C’mon, I really need to go up. If you can slip me in within the next 30 minutes, I’ll give you an extra $20."

A few minutes later, I’d announce for the next dancer to stand by because she’d be up in one more song. That dancer would frantically run into the booth saying, "Bill, can you skip me? I’ve got a really good customer and he can only stay for another hour." I’d come back with "But you’re up when this song’s over, I won’t have time to find someone to take your place." Then she’d say, "Bill, please, I’ll give you $50 right now if you skip me." Naturally, I’d say, "Okay, I’ll take care of it." I’d quickly call Sherry up to the booth and tell her that I pulled a few strings for her and now she’s up next. She’d be thrilled and hand me $20 as she headed for the stage and I’d just made $70 in less than five minutes.

I should mention that while I think it is okay to make money by skipping a girl in this type of situation, I don’t think you should in every case. In the above scenario, this was a situation where everyone was making a good deal of money. If a girl is legitimately not feeling well or has some other reason for not wanting to go onstage, use your discretion. You can be a nice guy and give them a break and, you might tell them, "Okay, I’ll let you sit this one out if you promise to do me a favor sometime and go up for me when I’m in a bind."

My club uses a rotational system. How do I know who goes on which stage?

Chart 4.2

Chart 4.2 - Rotational Dance List - 3 Stages

If your club works on a rotational system, your dance list will be more complicated. See Charts 4.2 above & 4.3 below for more details. With a rotational dance list, you’ll need to pay attention to how girls are matched up as well as the order they’re placed in using the same guidelines I set out in the previous section. The girl on the main stage usually chooses the music.

Chart 4.3

Chart 4.3 - Rotational Dance List - 2 Stages

I should point out that some clubs work in a rotation not mentioned here. There are clubs, like the Cheetah 3 in Atlanta, that have multiple girls on all stages. In these clubs, a customer can bring a girl down from the stage in order to do a table dance and the DJ will call for volunteers to replace her. If no girl volunteers, the DJ will call a revue and bring up the entire shift of girls onstage. If you get a job in a club that uses a different format, ask the other DJs how they put their dance list together and follow their instructions.

Many clubs will feature what’s called a revue. Some hold them throughout the shift, other clubs at the beginning or end of a shift. During the revue, all the girls in the club, or on the shift, will get up on stage. This is usually done to either promote table dances or promote the number of dancers in the club or, possibly, just to stir the crowd up.

Many times, a certain number of girls will be back in the dressing room, some will be sitting with guests in the VIP room, while others are in the DJ booth picking music so that the guests only see a small percentage of the girls that are actually there. You might have a dozen girls in the club but only three of them are visible and the customers may start thinking about leaving. The revue helps to let the guests know how many dancers you have.

The DJ will usually pick a high-energy song for the revue and one that’s at least five minutes long so all the girls make it to the stage. If you’re working with 20 girls or less and you know all their names, you can introduce them as they come out for the revue.

Ronnie Baker, from Club Juana in Orlando, uses an instrumental song to intro the revue. The girls know when they hear the song that it’s revue time (he also warns them over the mic in advance). During the instrumental, he introduces each girl as they hit the stage and goes through his spiel. As soon as all the girls are onstage and have been introduced, he mixes over to the actual revue song, which he chooses based on what he thinks the guests will react favorably to.

Some clubs’ stages have names rather than numbers. Stage 1 is usually referred to as the main stage but other stages might be called names like the Satellite stage, the runway, the disco, the piano stage (Rick’s and The Colorado in Houston had stages made from actual grand pianos), the VIP stage and so on. It’s a good idea as it breaks up the monotony of stage #1, stage #2 and so on.

How do I keep track of each dancer’s music?

Have plenty of guest check pads on hand (See photo). Almost every club has these types of pads that waitresses use for writing drink orders. The dancer writes her song choices on a guest check along with her name. You can pull the music using the guest check or transfer the information to your dance list.

Guest Check

Guest Check Pad

Be sure you take a look at the  dancer’s choices before she leaves and make sure that you can read it clearly and that she hasn’t chosen a song that another dancer has already picked or that’s prohibited by the club or that you don’t have.

When I’m working with a large number of girls, I prefer to use a spiral legal sized notebook (with the spiral wire on top instead of the side) for both my dance lists and the girls’ music selections (see chart 4.1 above). Don’t remove the previous day’s list, fold it over the top but keep it attached.

If you have a hard time remembering a girl’s name or what she likes to dance to, you can refer to your older sheets to remind you. You may not remember a new girl’s name but your dance list from the night before will have it.

You may run into a situation where a girl will ask you about a song you played the day before or earlier in the week and you’ll be able to find it on the old list. Another situation that you might run into is you’ll have a girl that only works with you one night a week or less. You can refer to the sheet from the last time she worked and you’ll know what she likes to dance to before she comes to the booth to pick her music. When she does come up, she’ll be impressed that you remember what she danced to a week ago.

Remembering new girls’ names and remembering all the girls’ music are little things that make the girls feel special. Making the dancer’s feel special is what it’s all about. Your tips go up and the girls will let management as well as other girls know how much they like working with you.

Another item I’d recommend for keeping track of the dancer’s favorite songs are index cards. Pick up a small plastic index file box and a couple packages of index cards at an office supply store and use these to track the dancer’s music. You can have the dancer fill out the card or you can fill it out with her. Try and get her to list as many songs as possible on the card. (You can also keep this on your laptop or smartphone)

Sometimes, a dancer is not going to have time to make it up to the booth before she goes onstage. She might be doing a table dance the song before she goes up or on the phone or something. Also, some girls will just tell you to pick something for them.

The card can help you remember what kind of music they like. Sometimes a dancer will tell you "I don’t care, play anything you want." Don’t automatically think that this is a great opportunity to play that new speed metal song you love.

"Play anything you want" doesn’t always mean that. Some girls will like your musical taste and trust you to pick their music. With most dancers, "Play anything you want" really means, "Play something I like."

How do I write Promos?

Gather up any advertising materials that the club already has on hand. You’re looking for flyers, food and drink menus, table tents, calendars and so forth. A lot of the information you need will be contained in these items.

Let’s say you want to promote the food at the club. Write up a simple intro like this: "Hey guys, are you feeling a little bit on the hungry side? Well, we’ve got just the thing for you, you’ve got to try the ________." Now, you’ll just add the description from the menu (assuming the description is a good one) and then add a closing line. In the example below, I’ve placed what was taken from the menu in italics. Together, the whole spot will sound like this:

"Hey guys, are you feeling a little bit on the hungry side? Well, we’ve got just the thing for you. You’ve got to check out our mouthwatering fajitas. You get half a pound of char-grilled beef or chicken topped with grilled onions and peppers along with our homemade flour tortillas and topped off with fresh sour cream, cheese and guacamole for only $8.99 There’s always something great cooking here at the club and our kitchen is open every night until midnight."

Get the idea? You might do the fajita spot and half an hour later do the same spot but using the menu description for the burgers or the pizza or steaks.

If your club’s menu is just a simple list, you’ll have to come up with your own descriptions. Not to worry. Take a look at what’s on the menu. I doubt you’ll find anything on there that isn’t served in other restaurants around town. The next time you’re dining out, pay close attention to the descriptions on other restaurants’ menus and adapt their menu descriptions to your club’s menu items. Also, you can find good menu descriptions online at various restaurant websites.

When selecting food items to promote, take into account the time of day. During lunch and dinner hours, you’ll want to promote the entrées. In the afternoon and late night hours, plug the appetizers.

Besides the food, you’re going to be promoting drink specials, VIP memberships, contests, golf tournaments, souvenir sales, table dances and more. If you’ve been following my advice so far, you should be listening carefully to radio and TV announcers.

As you practice, you’ll find that you’ll develop the ability to improvise a promo spot just using the details provided to you on a flyer. If you’re promoting a golf tournament, listen to sports talk radio and notice how golf tournaments are promoted. Use what you can in your own promo spots.

Does your club have a sports bar? If so, promote it. Find out what games will be shown during your shift as well as upcoming games or special events. Then write promos for them.

"Don’t forget guys, tonight in our Sports Bar, you can catch our hometown Astros taking on the Atlanta Braves at 7:05. Catch all the major league baseball action on our five big screens and over forty televisions throughout the club. And don’t forget, next Monday night at the club, its NFL Monday Night Football with the Dallas Cowboys taking on the Washington Redskins. During the game, you’ll get $1 off all draft beer and tequila shots are just $1 during half time. That’s Cowboys and Redskins next Monday night and remember you can catch all the sports action along with the best looking cheerleaders in town right here 7 days a week."

Notice how some words in the preceding spot are underlined? These are the words in the spot that I want to emphasize when I read the copy. I might emphasize the word by saying it a little louder or I might pause right before saying it. When you write your spots out, experiment a little with emphasizing different words in your copy to see how it sounds. In this sports spot, if I were working in Dallas or Washington, I probably would have underlined and emphasized the words Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins, (like I did ‘Hometown Astros’ for Houston) since these teams would be more significant in those markets.

Your skill at writing and delivering promos will improve with practice. It’s important that you not skip this step in your development as a DJ. Many DJs don’t do much with promos. Most of the DJs that don’t sound pretty monotonous. If you can help the club sell more food, sell more drinks, more t-shirts and so on, you’re going to find yourself moving into the better clubs and working the best shifts.

If you can help dancers do more table dances, you’re going to get better tips. And when you audition at a new club, if you can pull off a good promo during your audition using a flyer you picked up from a table or a menu item, the managers are going to notice you and want to hire you.

Clubs carefully track food and liquor sales. Many track not only total food and liquor sales but also the average dollar amount spent per guest. They calculate this by dividing the total of food and liquor sales by the number of guests. So, even if you work the slower nights, management can easily tell if the guests are spending more money on the shifts you work.

The best way to find out how your numbers measure up is to ask. If you can demonstrate that the guests spend more when you’re on the mic, you may be able to use that to get a raise and/or better shifts. It can also help you land a gig at another club.

Most managers and club owners will appreciate the fact that you are even aware of these numbers. It demonstrates that you care about how the club does and not just how much you put in your pocket. Again, this is something that very few DJs do and that can be a tremendous advantage for you.

Another benefit of doing these promotional spots is that it gives you more things to say when you need to kill some time. Sometimes, you have a girl that’s finishing up a table dance and you need to give her a chance to make it up to the stage. There will also be occasions when the stage needs to be cleaned and you need to talk while that’s going on. Finally, doing promos add some variety to what you’re saying so you don’t sound monotonous.

Pick up a stopwatch at a local sporting goods store or department store. Using the counter on your CD or MP3 Players, count exactly how much time elapses between the start of the song and when the vocals begin. Make a note on the CD box of the time in seconds. (Get a label maker or a pad of labels at an office supply store for this purpose). You want the track number and the elapsed time. So 2- :23 would mean track 2 has a 23 second intro.

Once you know the time, adapt one of your lines or promo spots to be exactly 23 seconds. Practice with the stopwatch and you’ll soon be able to do this automatically.

Now, rather than talking first and then starting the song, start the song and speak right up until the vocals begin. It’s subtle but you’ll sound more professional when you do this and it sets a high energy vibe. Radio DJ’s do this all the time on Hit Radio or Top 40 stations.

How do I run the stage lights?

In some clubs, the only thing you’ll need to know about running stage lights is how to flip the on/off switch. In Atlanta, I worked in several different clubs and not one of them had a light show. You flipped a couple of light switches on, turned up a dimmer or two and that was it. The clubs you start out in are likely to be the same way.

When I moved to Houston, I found that many of the clubs had more sophisticated stage lighting. The DJ was capable of enhancing the dancers on stage using the lights on and around the stage.

Many of the larger clubs use a combination of programmable moving lights and fixed lights that can be operated manually or by program. Moving lights systems usually have from four to twelve large light instruments and a control board. The lights themselves don’t actually move. Each lighting instrument projects a beam onto a small mirror mounted on a swivel that moves sending light all over the room.

These types of lights can project a number of different colors and patterns of light. The beam of light is projected through a small metal template called a gobo. The gobos come in a variety of patterns. A single hole in the gobo projects a single beam. Multiple random holes produce a multi-beam effect. Some clubs have custom gobos made with the club’s logo, which is then projected on the walls and floor of the stage.

These moving light systems usually will have a number of programs built into their memories. The DJ simply selects one of the programs, adjusts the intensity (brightness) of the light, adjusts the speed to match the music and that’s it.

There are several different systems being used in clubs today. Writing about how to program and operate these types of systems would be a book in itself so I won’t go into detail here. If your club has such a system, read the owner’s manual and get the other DJs to show you how to operate the system. If a bulb goes out in one of these systems, you’ll probably have to have the installer come out to handle the replacements.

Your club may use fixed light systems hung over the stage. These types of light fixtures, usually Par 64s (see photo below) use small sheets of colored plastic called ‘gels’ to set the color. These are the types of lights that you’re used to seeing in theaters and on concert stages. As a DJ, one of your responsibilities might be to maintain these light fixtures. Make sure you know where the club stores its stepladder, spare bulbs and spare gels.

Par 64

Par 64

Gels slip, warp or fall out occasionally and bulbs burn out from time to time. You’ll want to check your system for burned out bulbs and gel problems at the beginning of every shift. Try to take care of any problems as soon as the club closes or let the head DJ know there’s a problem. In some systems, changing a bulb is as simple as changing a light bulb at home.

Other lights are a little more complicated. The bulbs are shaped like old car headlights and are usually attached by two wires run from the fixture to the bulb. The wires are attached to the back of the bulb using small screws. A Flathead or Phillips screwdriver is all you’ll need to make the change. The bulbs are usually held in place by a round clip that fits in front of the bulb. Make sure the power to the lights is turned off before you attempt to change a bulb.

Gels are usually mounted in square frames that fit over the light fixture. The frames are metal and can get very hot so make sure you either use heavy gloves or a bar towel when handling them or give the lights time to cool down first. The square frames have a round hole in the middle where the light is projected. Gels come in large sheets and you use a pair of scissors to cut them into squares to match the size of the frame.

Gels often get so hot that they melt or warp. When they do, that’s usually when they slip or fall out of their frames. To prevent this, I recommend taking a small knife or awl and punching several small holes in the gel. The holes won’t be large enough to show up in the lights’ projection but they will help to dissipate the heat in the fixture and prevent warping or melting.

Fixed light systems use different types of controllers ranging from a simple bank of dimmer switches similar to the sliders on your mixer to a more complicated programmable controller.

Make sure you have the other DJs show you how to properly turn the lights on and off on these panels. If the manuals are available, read them. If not, try and locate a manual directly from the manufacturer, installer or retailer. Many manufacturers have the manuals up on their websites.

Another element of the light show is the fog machine like the American DJ Stallion shown below. Most clubs have one (and it’s broken 50% of the time.). The fog machine is usually installed underneath the stage and has a controller mounted somewhere in the DJ booth. Fog can really enhance your light show. Lights hit the fog and create some great effects.

Fog Machine

American DJ Fog Machine

Just be careful not to overdo it with fog. Too much fog gets old in a hurry and irritates the customers. Use it sparingly, if possible.

If you push the fog button on the controller and no fog comes out, quit using the machine immediately. Usually, no fog means the machine has run dry. The number one reason for broken fog machines is not because they are poorly made but because of DJs continuing to hit the fog switch when the machine has run dry.

Most fog machines work using a special fluid called fog juice that sits in a plastic container built-in to the fog machine (see the photo above). You or one of the other DJs will be responsible for filling the container. Make sure you find out where the spare fog juice is stored in the club and if the club’s out, make sure more is ordered.

When you get your first gig, chances are that you won’t be dealing with complicated lighting systems. The advantage of this is that you’ll be able to learn how to run lights after you’ve learned the other aspects of the DJ job like running the sound system, picking music, using your voice, etc.

When you do start learning lights, experiment in your spare time during the shift. When things get busy, you can stick to the simple pre-programmed patterns and run the lights manually during the slow parts of your shift until you get the hang of it. If nothing else, make sure you cut the lights at the end of each song and then bring them back up again at the start of the next song.

Running lights, like anything else, takes time to master. When you do, you’ll find that it is another way to boost your tips. Most dancers will appreciate you running a good light show and will tip you extra for doing so.

How do I handle bachelor parties?

If you work in a Gentleman’s club, you’re going to be dealing with bachelor parties, usually on Friday or Saturday nights. When a group comes in, the best man will usually approach either you or the manager and ask what the club’s program is for bachelor parties. When you first start working at a club, find out if they have an established routine for bachelor parties. If they do, follow the club’s guidelines. If not, I’ve got a few suggestions for you.

First, you need to get some information about the groom from the best man. You want to do this discreetly so the groom doesn’t notice. If the best man hasn’t approached you, find out which waitress is serving them. Call the waitress up to the booth and ask her to discreetly ask the best man to come up and see you. Make sure the waitress realizes that you don’t want the groom to know what you’re up to.

When the best man comes up, introduce yourself and let him know that you’ll be more than happy to embarrass the hell out of the groom if he’d like or, you can just arrange to send a few girls over to the table, or both.

If the host agrees to let you have a little fun with the groom, you’ll need to get some information from him. Ask him for the following details:

  1. Groom’s Name
  2. Wedding Date
  3. Bride’s Name
  4. Bride’s Ex-Boyfriend or possibly a co-worker that the groom is jealous of.
  5. Armed with this info, you can now go to work on the groom.

    First, give the party about twenty minutes to get settled in and have a couple of drinks. In the meantime, find a dancer that’s willing to dance to Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’ for her first song. You can tip the girl for dancing to it or make sure the best man takes care of her.

    Next, at the beginning of the set of the girl that’s going to dance to ‘White Wedding", say something along these lines. (I’m using made up names and dates here. You’ll use the details given to you by the best man.)

    "I understand we’ve got a bachelor party in the house tonight" "Where is Alex?" [the groom] "Stand up Alex!" [Alex stands up] "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what a FOOL looks like!!" [Crowd Laughs]

    "Actually, Alex is getting married next Saturday. How about a round of applause for him?" [Crowd cheers]. If the groom sits down before you’re finished, say, "Alex, get back up, nobody said you could sit down yet. You better get used to following orders if you’re getting married. Ok, now you can sit down. Alex, this song’s for you." [Cue White Wedding and bring out the next dancer.]

    Wait about twenty or thirty minutes before coming back to Alex again.

    "Hey, how’s our bachelor party doing over there? [much yelling and screaming]. Alex, I just got a phone call from your fiancé, Nancy. She’s gone out with Mike [the ex-boyfriend from the list the best man gave you] tonight and she has a message for you."

    "I think she said don’t bother coming home tonight. It was kind of hard to make out what she was saying, it sounded like she had something in her mouth but I’m not sure." This will usually crack up the bachelor’s friends and I haven’t had a groom try to kill me yet for saying it.

    A variation on this that you can use if your town has a strip club with male dancers is this:

    "Alex, I just got a phone call from your fiancé, Nancy. She’s over at [male strip club’s name] having a great time and called to say she’s not coming home tonight."

    Here’s another line I liked to use with bachelor parties:

    "Alex, I just wanted you to know that on behalf of myself, the other two DJs that work here, our three night shift managers, our day shift manager, our eight bartenders, the chef, the busboy, the bar back, the valet parking guys and even Kevin, our maintenance man, and well pretty much all the guys sitting with you at the table there, well, we’re all reeeally going to miss Nancy."

    Don’t use all your lines on one bachelor party. It’s not uncommon to have several bachelor parties in the club at the same time so make sure you’ve got three or four different routines for talking to bachelor parties.

    BRINGING THE BACHELOR ONSTAGE&

    In some clubs, you’ll actually bring the bachelor onstage. Have a dancer bring out a chair for the bachelor and have him sit down. Now, bring out two to three girls that have been paid by the best man. The girls should be paid normal table dance rates or higher. You keep him out for one song only and the girls table dance for him but rather than just do their normal table dance, they have a little fun with the guy, too. They mess his hair up, unbutton his shirt, etc.

    Some guys will get super embarrassed by this while others will want to become part of the show. Keep an eye on the stage and make sure things don’t get out of hand. Some clubs will use a special chair for this that has straps to tie the guy to the chair and maybe a ball and chain to go around the guy’s ankle.

    Try to get your club to spring for a few props that you can use for bachelor parties. Check with your local party supply or costume shop to see what you can come up with. When doing a song like this, make sure the girls on any other stages don’t count the bachelor’s song or they’ll start rotating stages before they’re supposed to. Either let them sit out during the bachelor song or keep them up an extra song so your list isn’t thrown off.

    Always check with management before trying a routine like this. Some cities will have ordinances in place that prohibit you from bringing the bachelor onstage or the club itself may frown on it. Bachelor parties can be a lot of fun to work and you’ll sometimes get a good tip from the best man. At the very least, bachelor parties can add a lot of energy to your room.

    Are there any other special situations I need to know about?

    Depending on the club you work at, there may be a few types of promotions for you to deal with. First, there’s the contest. Some clubs do a weekly amateur contest and others do a special contest only occasionally. Second, there’s the feature girl. Many clubs book feature girls on a weekly basis; others use features only periodically. A feature girl tours the country performing in different clubs several nights a week. Most feature girls are either magazine centerfold girls and/or adult film stars.

    How do I handle contests and amateur nights?

    The purpose of a contest is to bring in new girls and to increase business on a slow weeknight. The most common contest is the amateur contest, which will usually attract a few real amateurs along with dancers from other clubs and some girls that do nothing but contests. Contests are almost always held during night shift.

    Contestants will either sign up with someone at the front door or will be sent to the booth to sign up. Either way, have the contestants check in with you as soon as possible. Get them to pick their music right away so you won’t play one of their songs for another dancer.

    The pros will usually be pretty flexible about music but the amateurs are likely to be nervous and will panic if you tell them you already played their song for someone else and can’t repeat it. Be sure and explain to each girl how the contest works and what the rules are. Also, make sure the contestants know that they aren’t allowed to sit with customers or do table dances. (Your club may allow this so make sure you check with management.) You don’t want the amateurs taking customers away from your regular girls.

    Depending on the number of contestants and your club’s policy, you may have all the amateurs dance back-to-back or sandwiched in between your regular dancers. If you have a low number of girls, I’d recommend having the girls go up in between your regular dancers. Place them in the dance list just like any other girl.

    You can alternate between amateur and regular girls or put up two regular dancers between each amateur. The idea is to stretch it out a bit so everyone doesn’t leave when the contest ends.

    Make sure the crowd knows when an amateur is up. If the girl gets tipped well, she may decide to start dancing at your club. Also, keep an eye on the amateurs during the night. Sometimes, a girl will panic or not feel like she’s got a good chance to win and skip out without telling you. Don’t get caught by surprise. You want to make sure the door person always lets you know when a contestant leaves early.

    When I ran contests, after all the contestants had gone up, I usually would bring them all on the main stage for a one or two song revue so the audience and the judges got one more look at them. During this revue, the girls would be topless (or nude if that is your club’s format.)

    The actual judging varies from club to club. I’ve seen contests judged by audience applause, votes from the entire audience or selected audience members or even by the club’s management. If you use judges that you’ve picked from the audience, have a special table for them that the dancers (both contestants and regular dancers) aren’t allowed to approach. This prevents one of the contestants or one of their dancer friends from influencing the judges.

    If you use judges, it’s best to pick three. Choose them yourself rather than call for volunteers. The volunteer could end up being the boyfriend of one of the contestants.

    Usually, you’ll have a first, second and third place winner. Depending on the situation, you may bring the three finalists or the first place winner back onstage for one final song. Be sure and thank each girl for coming out and do your best to recruit her for your club. (I go into a bit more detail on how to recruit amateurs in the "Working with Others” section.) Also, find out what club the girls work at. If you decide to change clubs, these girls may be able to recommend you to their club’s management.

    While amateur contests usually feature girls performing in the same manner as your regular dancers, other contests may differ. At the Colorado, I acted as MC for an eight-week contest series called ‘The Fantasy Strip-Off’. In this contest, the girls did more elaborate routines featuring special costumes, etc.

    Every Sunday night, the contestants (our regular dancers were allowed to enter) competed for $500 in prize money. On the eighth week, the seven weekly first place winners competed for $1000 and a chance to go on to the National Fantasy Strip-Off in Las Vegas.

    For this contest, we used handpicked judges using special written forms supplied by the national sponsor. The regular Sunday DJ ran the booth and helped the girls select their music while I acted as Master of Ceremonies using a wireless mic. The girls danced back to back for this contest and the side stages were closed but the other girls were allowed to do table dances. We drew names out of a hat to determine the order the girls went onstage so nobody had an unfair advantage.

    The club had huge trophies made up each week and we had prize checks blown up at a photocopy center so we could present the winning girls with giant four-foot long checks onstage. (We used the same checks every week and actually paid the girls in cash). We would photograph the girls with their trophies and prize checks and use the photos on flyers and post them in a special display case. This really boosted our Sunday night business and more dancers started coming in on those nights to work.

    After a couple of weeks, the owners had me going to Rick’s Cabaret early Sunday evening to MC their new Bikini Contest (it attracted a ton of people from a popular beach club next door to Rick’s). I’d finish up the Rick’s contest, jump in the car and head for The Colorado arriving just in time to MC the Fantasy Strip-Off. It was a bit hectic but a lot of fun.

    What about working with ‘Feature Girls’?

    Many clubs use what are known as featured entertainers. These are girls that are usually brought into a club for a week to help bring in customers. The feature girls are most often girls that have been featured in magazines like Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler and the like. Many of the top feature girls have also done porn.

    These girls tour the country usually appearing in a different city each week. Usually the features perform various theme shows and many travel with their own lighting and special effects. Some features travel with their own MC.

    The features are paid a fee by the club and they make additional money in tips and by selling merchandise like photos, t-shirts, videos, etc. The girls usually do three to four shows per day at scheduled times. The features will tip the DJ either after each performance, on a daily basis or at the end of the week. The girls usually tip you based on the money they make in tips and possibly merchandise sales but not the fees paid by the club.

    Virtually every feature girl I’ve interviewed considers announcing their various titles (Miss April, Summer Issue of Playboy’s Girl’s Next Door, Star of… etc.) to be extremely important when both promoting and introducing them.

    Make sure you have a list of any contests or pageants they’ve won as well as any magazine or film appearances they’ve made and mention every single one of them whenever you introduce them.

    Although I’ve seen them perform, I never worked in a club that used feature girls. Even though I’ve never worked with the girls, I can give you some general advice since I worked for many years as a tour manager for various bands and, believe it or not, there are a lot of similarities.

    Any time you have a visitor working in your club, hospitality is always appreciated. Apply the same principles I talk about dealing with all dancers. Make the feature girl and anyone traveling with her feel like a special guest. Treat her like you would if your favorite rock star showed up at the club. If you do, she’ll spread the word to other feature girls and your tips will definitely increase.

    To learn more about working with feature girls, I’d suggest reading the interviews with feature girls Fawnia Mondey and Leanna Taylor, as well as DJs Ronnie Baker and Lewi Young, who’ve both had a lot of experience in working with feature girls.

    If you’re considering a move to a new city, feature girls can be a great source of information. They can give you the scoop on different markets, clubs and Djs. If you do a great job for them, they may even put in a good word for you at a club you’d like to move to. If possible, exchange email and cell phone info so you can stay in touch.

    How can I get a raise and/or better tips?

    Getting a raise in a gentlemen’s club can be more difficult than most regular jobs. You won’t have a quarterly or annual performance review. If you’re working for a club that pays a salary or shift pay and you want more money, you’ll have to ask for it.

    When you approach your manager or the club owner, be prepared to explain to him in detail why you deserve a raise. An increase in the number of dancers on your shift, lower dancer turnover, higher liquor and food sales and higher customer counts on your shifts will help drive your point home.

    If you’re doing a great job and helping to increase the club’s bottom line, your boss will know about it. If you’ve gotten an offer from another club, you can bring this up and ask your boss to match the offer.

    I have to warn you: many clubs don’t give raises. I know of one club that’s been paying their DJs the same salary for over ten years. If you’re working in a club like this and are unhappy with what you’re making, you’ve either got to move up or move on.

    We’ll talk more about moving up in a minute. Moving on means finding another club, preferably one where your money is based more on tips than salary.

    To increase your tips, there are a number of things you can do. We’ll cover this in more detail in the "Working With Others" section but let’s take a look at some of the basics:

    • Remember each girl’s name and what she likes to dance to onstage.
    • Pay special attention to regular guests, especially VIPs, play their favorite songs, walk over and say hello, and make sure dancers are at their table.
    • Promote tipping the girls onstage (if this is appropriate for your club).
    • Help dancers find guests that will spend money on them.

    If you’ve been following my advice and paying close attention to customers in gentlemen’s clubs, you’ll find you’ve developed an eye for which customers are likely to spend money on the girls. If you see one of your girls hanging out in the dressing room, in the DJ booth or at the bar, help them find a good customer. If she makes more money, so do you.

    As I mentioned earlier, some dancers will tip you extra to skip them onstage. Some girls, despite the fact that they look gorgeous, are very insecure about their looks. It seems like even the thinnest of women think they look fat sometimes. Many of these women are terrified to go onstage under the stage lights. If your club allows it and you’ve got enough girls, take the money and skip them. One thing you should do, though, is to make sure that the girl understands that you’re doing them a favor. Let them know that you can’t do this for them all the time; that on some nights when you’re short on girls, they’ll have to go up.

    If you get in a bind at the end of the night and have to repeat a girl or two, you’ll probably have a few girls that like to go onstage that will cover for you. If you have to put a girl onstage and she’s unhappy about it, walk up and tip her a $5 or a $10 for her trouble. You’ll make it back in the long run from either that girl or other girls that see you do it.

    If you made an extra two hundred dollars to skip ten girls, then you can afford to spend a few bucks to keep the other girls happy. Make sure you don’t take tips to skip girls when you have less than enough girls to cover your shift. If your club has only ten or twenty dancers, you’re not going to be able to take tips to skip girls. This is one of the reasons you want to work in the largest club you can.

    Make the girls feel special. That’s the number one thing you can do to improve your tips as well as getting along with the girls. If you can make each girl feel special, your tips will be great and don’t be surprised if girls start asking you out, too.

    If you’re working in a club where girls tip you a percentage of what they make, some girls will try to under-tip you. Some girls will be honest and tip you the right amount. Others will lie and tip you the minimum every night. If you suspect a girl is cheating you, before you say anything, start tracking her money. This may be a bit difficult in a larger club but it’s not hard to do in a smaller room.

    First of all, keep track of how many times she goes on stage. Second, track how many table dances she does either. If she’s doing dances on customer’s tabs, you can check with the waitress or bartender to see how many dances went on the tab. When the girl is onstage for the last song of her set, try and get a rough count of how many bills are in her garter or g-string.

    If you see ten tips every time she’s onstage and she went onstage 6 times, you know she made at least $60 or more. If she also did 6 table dances at $20 a pop, then that’s another $120. So, at the very least, the girl made $180.

    For this example, lets assume your club has a ten percent tip-out with a $10 minimum. If the girl tips you $10 and says she made $95, you know she’s lying. Don’t get hostile with her. Instead, say something like this, "Susie, are you sure you counted your money right? Because according to my list here, you went on stage six times and had about ten guys tip you each time and you also did six table dances so that would mean you made at least $180 and I’m sure not all those tips you made onstage were singles. Do you want to check your money and make sure you didn’t make a mistake?"

    This way, you’ve given her a way out without embarrassing her but you’ve also let her know that you’re tracking her money. At this point, she’ll probably say something like, "Oh, you know what, I forgot that I bought that new costume tonight for $100. I didn’t count that. I’m sorry, here’s another ten dollars." If she argues with you or refuses to tip you, remain calm. Gently tell her, "I just want my fair tip-out because I work hard for my money just like you do. But I don’t want to argue with you, let’s go talk to the manager and let him resolve this."

    That may convince her to go ahead and tip you. If not, take it to the manager. Again, make sure you remain calm and agreeable. Don’t get into a fight; let the numbers you’ve written down do the talking for you. Even if the girl gets away with it the first time, she’ll know that you’re on to her and will probably tip you more in the future.

    The key here (and this is very important) is to stay very calm and rational. Do not take this as a personal challenge to your ‘authority’, which if how 9 out of 10 DJs react. For the girl, it’s not about you, it’s about the money but if you lose your cool and get into an argument with her, then it does become personal and the girl will probably never tip you honestly. Do yourself a big favor and let the manager handle it. If the manager won’t handle it for you, then you’re working for the wrong people and you need to think about making a move.

    I can’t say enough about this last issue because it applies to almost every conflict you get into with a dancer. Do yourself a tremendous favor and remember two things: First, it’s not about you. Although it may seem that way at times, I promise you the dancers are not walking around the room wondering what they can do next to screw up your night. Always keep that in mind. Too many DJs don’t and they get upset and stress themselves out and hurt their money. Second, when there’s a problem with a dancer, let the manager handle it. He’s paid a salary to be the bad guy so you don’t have to.

    How can I get more shifts?

    If you’re the main day or night DJ, you’re probably working four or five shifts a week but what if you’re the relief guy? I’ve worked at clubs where all three DJs worked four shifts each. I worked Tuesday through Friday nights; the day DJ worked Monday through Thursday and the relief DJ worked Friday day shift and Saturday through Monday on night shifts. (This particular club was closed during the day on weekends.) Sometimes, the other DJs will prefer to work five shifts so the relief guy will only get two or three shifts a week unless someone is sick or on vacation.

    There is a way to pick up a few extra shifts if you’re working with the right DJs. A lot of DJs like to party and that often means they are going to have a hangover the next day. Give the DJ a call a couple of hours before his shift starts and ask him if he’d like to take a day off. Chances are pretty good that he’ll say yes.

    I remember Greg, a DJ in Houston, that used to do this regularly when he was a backup DJ. The night DJ at Greg’s club was a big drinker. Greg had a dancer friend on night shift that would call him whenever the DJ was looking like he was getting pretty wasted.

    The next day, around noon, Greg would give the night DJ a call. He’d be friendly and ask the DJ how he was doing. Of course the night DJ would say that he was feeling terrible and Greg would say, "Oh, that’s too bad. Rough night last night, buddy? Hey, I’d be happy to cover for you tonight."

    According to Greg, it worked 9 times out of 10. Now, don’t be a pest ringing up the other DJs every day but let them know you’re available if they need some time off. Make sure they have your cell number so they can reach you.

    How do I move up the ladder?

    Once you’ve made it to the head DJ position, which is usually the main night shift DJ, the next step up is management. If you get tired of being a DJ, management is definitely an option in most clubs. I eventually moved into management and I know several other managers and even a club owner that were once DJs.

    If you’re good with the dancers and the guests, you probably have what it takes to be a good manager. While you’re still a DJ, learn as much as you can about the other aspects of running the club.

    The main thing you’ll need to learn about is the food and drink end of the business. Club owners often like to hire DJs as managers because the DJ is already familiar with both the club’s employees and guests and vice-versa. If the DJ has been around for a while, the club owner trusts him and that’s a huge factor.

    If you have an interest in management, be sure and let your club’s general manager or owner know about it. Some clubs may have you fill in while another manager is on vacation. If you can prove yourself during that one or two-week period, you might find yourself moving into management right away.

    If you’re stuck in a relief DJ spot and would like to pick up an extra shift or two, another option is to offer to train as a relief/backup manager. Managers get sick, go on vacation and sometimes need to take a day off when there’s no one available to cover for them. Or the club may want to have an extra person they can call in on busy nights. Make yourself available.

    The most important lesson I can teach you about success in this or any business is one it took me a long time to learn. The way to get bigger tips, a bigger salary, a promotion or just about anything else you want from other people is to remember everyone’s favorite radio station: WIIFM.

    WIIFM stands for What’s In It For Me? And that’s the #1 question on people’s mind. The way for you to get what you want is to first focus on giving the other party what they want. Or, to put it another way, ask for what you want in a way that answers their question of WIIFM.

    For example, if you want a raise, don’t go in and tell the boss you want a $50 raise in shift pay because you deserve it because you’ve been there a year or worse, because your tips have gone down. Instead, tell the boss how he’ll benefit from giving you a raise.

    Before you ever consider seeing the boss, start keeping track of the numbers on your shift. Not all clubs will give you access to these numbers but if you can, find out what liquor and food sales are during your shifts. Keep track of how many girls work your shifts, too. Then, try to find out the same info for the night’s you’re not working.Start keeping track of this info from Day 1.

    Even if the managers won’t show you the numbers, you can ask the bartenders and kitchen staff how business was. What you want to demonstrate is that the club makes more money when you’re behind the mic. Show them that, on average, more girls choose to work whenever you’re working because they like working with you. Show them that the kitchen does more business on the nights you work because you push the food more than they other DJs. Show them that liquor sales and table dances are usually higher when you work. And finally, point out that since you’ve worked there, you’ve recruited X number of girls from other clubs. (And that’s another thing you want to keep track of).

    If you’re working the slow nights, it may be tough to show you’re doing better than the other shifts. However, if you start tracking these number early, you can show them how much they’ve improved since you first started.

    Now when you approach the boss for a raise, you can show him the kitchen is doing an extra two hundred dollars on your shifts. With you on board, the club is, on average, doing four hundred dollars more at the bar each night. And they’re selling fifty to a hundred dollars in t-shirts and other merchandise that was probably gathering dust before they hired you. The bottom line is every night you work, the cash register is ringing up an extra $650 to $700. Get the picture?

    Now that $50 raise in shift pay you’re asking for will seem like nothing compared to what you’re bringing in. Instead of worrying about having to pay you an extra $50 a shift, he’s going to be wondering what it’s going to cost him if you get a better offer from another club.

    When you walk into your club owner or managers office and present this kind of information in a positive way, they are going to be blown away. Because it’s so rare in this business. And you’ll be respected for considering What’s In It For Them as much as What’s In It For You.

    And if you don’t get that raise, take those magic numbers with you and see if the competition wants to hire you. A word of warning: If you go that route, only share the amounts you’re adding to the bottom line. (The kitchen does and extra $X whenever you work, etc.) Do not, under any circumstances, give another club sales figures from a club you’re working at or have worked at in the past. Not only is it unethical, it may be illegal. And while the other club might make promises to get you to reveal those numbers, they won’t hire you because they won’t trust you not to do the same thing to them down the line.

    This is the end of this Lesson. Click here to go to the next lesson.