Hiring a DJ? Questions to ask them
Is the DJ available for your date?
Begin your conversation by indicating the date, time, and location of your event.
Will the disc jockey you speak to be the one who performs at your event?
Be aware that some DJ companies act as booking agencies that assign many DJ’s to functions they book. To avoid any last minute surprises, make sure that you have spoken with the person who will be performing at your function before you book the event. Don’t let your event be a training session for someone with little or no experience.
Is the disc jockey willing to meet with you for an interview before you hire them?
It is important that the DJ you choose be a serious professional who is willing to dedicate time and effort to your event. This commitment should start before any agreements are made, and a dedicated professional should be happy to meet with you to answer any questions.
Can the disc jockey supply you with references from previous clients and properties at which they have worked?
A recommendation from another person is a great way to find out if a DJ is right for your function. When you ask for references make sure you get previous clients and properties at which the DJ has performed.
What kind of experience does the disc jockey have and does he/she have experience in the event type you are booking?
Many events follow a specific format. It is essential that the DJ be familiar and experienced with the format of your event. Choosing a DJ with adequate experience will help to assure that your event runs smoothly. An experienced DJ will be able to handle unforeseen circumstances and work in coordination with the photographer, caterer, and other services.
Will the DJ use professional equipment?
Make sure that the DJ uses only professional audio equipment. Pro audio equipment is made to handle the demanding conditions that are required of a mobile sound system. A system comprised of only pro equipment is far less likely to fail and will look and sound better than a home built system.
How does the equipment look? What is the expertise of the DJ using it? Can they supply pictures of their equipment?
Yes, the equipment does make a difference. All DJs should be able to supply you with recent pictures of their equipment. This does not mean that you have to be an expert as well, but it would not hurt to peruse some of the professional DJ equipment manufacturers to get some information to be armed with when you talk to your DJ. Also, remember, more than likely you will be spending good money on decorations for your event; the DJ’s equipment should not spoil that. Also, it should not be consumer grade equipment. Remember, Uncle Jack’s stereo might sound great in Uncle Jack’s basement, but, it may be barely heard when put into a banquet hall of 300 or more people.
Will the DJ be involved with the planning of your event?
A DJ should do far more than just play music. They should become involved with the planning of the event. The DJ should be available to you prior to your function to discuss music selections and coordinate the event. By combining your suggestions with their professional input, an itinerary should be prepared before the function. This will allow the DJ to focus on the itinerary of your function while you sit back and enjoy it.
Will the DJ host the event and interact with your guests?
The DJ should do more then just play music and should be prepared to handle any announcements and special events throughout your event. There are many options for specialty games and crowd participation dances which can enhance any event. Whether you prefer wild or mild, you should be able to decide exactly how interactive the entertainment will be before the event takes place.
Will your disc jockey be suitably dressed for the occasion?
It is important that your DJ looks the part by dressing in formal of semi-formal attire (dependent on event type). Be sure to specify the type of apparel that your DJ should use. There should be no added fee charged for formal attire.
Is your disc jockey willing to discuss musical selections ahead of time, and are they willing to play requests, particularly if they are suitable for dancing?
It is important for your DJ to know exactly what type of musical preferences and entertainment needs you have for your event. They should be willing to listen to your ideas and suggestions. They should make themselves available prior to your event to discuss selections. They should be earnest in accepting the songs you have chosen to be played as well as those you have chosen not to be played. Special requests should never be a problem and your DJ should be willing to play them where they are appropriate.
Will your disc jockey arrive on time?
Punctuality is a necessity, and as professionals they should be aware of their responsibilities to their clients. Normal time spent setting up and removing equipment is not a part of the entertainment fee.
Can your disc jockey provide a written contract?
It is extremely important to have your booking confirmed in writing. All terms of the agreement should be in writing to avoid any complications at a later date.
Will you play my CDs?
Honestly, there is not guarantee that your CD is in playable condition. If it skips, who gets blamed? Instead, talk to your DJ about the songs that you want; many times if your DJ does not have a particular song he/she will get it if the song is available.
Is there backup equipment on hand?
Murphy’s Law is always present, so it is important to know whether your DJ has extra components, or hopefully another entire sound system available to them. Any number of circumstances may arise between the time you book your Disc Jockey and the date of your event. Booking a reliable Disc Jockey is a very important decision for the success of your event.
Is there a backup plan available in case the original DJ runs into an Act of God?
All DJs should have someone available in case they run into an accident, flat tire or any other complication to your event. They should have someone to cover them until they can arrive at your event.
Is the DJ insured with Liability Insurance?
All DJs should have Liability Insurance available if requested. Many venues require Liability Insurance from all vendors including your Disc Jockey. Liability is important incase of injury to any guest due to DJ negligence.
Ask for a Demo DVD from your DJ!
DJs should have available DVD promos of them at a recent event. Since many times, it is not possible for you to see the DJ while they are performing at a private event, they should submit to you a DVD of a recent event they have performed at.
What do you charge?
I have saved the best for last! This is the first question everyone always asks and honestly, it should be the last question. The saying goes “You get what you paid for”. Musical entertainment at an event is an important factor; it will make or break your event. Most DJ companies have various packages ranging from $500.00 for a four hour event to over $1,000.00. Packages may vary depending on mileage to facility, hours of service needed, and special effects required at your event. Most DJ Companies offer music videos, photo montage, karaoke, lighting effects, additional sound equipment, dancers, bands, confetti launchers and more.