Hiring the right professionals is the most important factor in planning a successful event. Unfortunately, this task doesn’t come easy to everyone, and it often causes stress and frustration. Knowing what to look for can make the job less overwhelming. In this post, I will highlight the most common questions from my clients and give questions to ask other DJ companies when searching for the perfect match.
1. Research! Research! Research!
This is the most important tip in finding the perfect DJ. Yes, it may sound like you’re back in school, but doing your research can drastically impact your DJ options. More and more we are seeing bedroom and hobby DJs trying to make it in the professional field. This is partly due to music being widely available with MP3 technology.
For a small fraction of money, people can pick up an entry-level sound and light system and call themselves DJs. This is flooding the market with cheap, untrained DJs who give the true professionals a bad name. This brings us to the second piece of advice.
2. The cheapest choice is not always the best choice.
Find out what others you know have paid for a DJ and average the costs. You want to make sure your DJ doesn’t have irregular pricing. His/her rate should be similar to that of other DJs in your area. Also watch out for seasonal pricing. Some vendors will raise their rates during busy seasons. I believe that you shouldn’t have to pay extra for wanting your event on any specific day.
Take into consideration that large multi-op companies who employ numerous DJs are going to have higher operating costs than a single op or owner/operator. This means that prices can be lower when choosing a single op, so in return you get more for your money. But with any rule, there are the exceptions. Some multi op companies have such a large staff of DJs they can book events for much lower rates because they make their money on volume.
Also,certain DJs are in higher demand; therefore their prices will be higher than the average. I prefer to book quality over quantity. I look for couples that would be a good match to work with and limit myself to the number of weddings I perform instead of trying to fill my calendar.
3. Watch out for hidden charges.
Make sure you book an all-inclusive DJ who takes everything into consideration when quoting a price. This includes providing ceremony sound, additional labor fees if necessary, décor lighting options, etc. The rate for over time, or time performed past the scheduled stop time, should be made clear upfront and worked into the contract.
On this same note, you should meet with your DJ to discuss your event before they quote you a final price. If you are calling around for prices, the company should ask for some of your event details before providing rates. If not, stay away! A company should always require some information before quoting an accurate price. Even then, the company should only quote a ballpark range based on the information that you provided. This builds on the practice that the vendor and client should meet before a final price quote is given and the contract is signed.
Furthermore, make sure they have a contract that has been reviewed by a lawyer and is written to protect both parties. With a contract, a reputable company should also require a retainer fee. This shows the vendor that you are committed to them, so in return, they reserve your date and promise to not book that date with another client.
4. Make certain that your DJ carries liability insurance.
Insurance will protect you from bearing the cost should something go wrong on the DJ’s behalf.
5. Look at the company’s experience.
Ask how many events they have performed. If they are a new company like us, you may have to look beyond their experience. Everyone has to start somewhere. If you come across a newer company, ask about their education and/or training.
We may not have hundreds of events under our belts, but we have been trained by industry leaders from around the world. We attend DJ conferences, network with other professionals to exchange ideas and attend trade shows to stay current on new trends and equipment so that we only bring the best to your event.
6. First impressions are lasting impressions.
Before you meet with a DJ, look at their website and their Facebook page for photographs of their equipment. Notice how they present themselves through their equipment. You should be looking for a DJ with a clean set-up. This means wires are hidden and well managed, the equipment is free of scratches and defects, etc.
Also see if they use a promotional banner. I believe that elegant events are no place for a large banner that just happens to work its way into the background of all your images.
At your first meeting, pay attention to how the DJ presents themselves.
- Do they look professional?
- Did they arrive on time?
- Are they prepared?
- Did they listen to you and allow you to speak?
- Do you feel comfortable with this person?
We feel that building a personal connection with your DJ can help ease the stress and allow you to better relax on the day of your event.
- Did your DJ try to relate with you?
- Did he/she ask personal questions in an attempt to get to know you?
We cannot understate the importance of the DJ at your event. Whomever you choose will be responsible for a big part of your event’s success. The entertainment is one of the most memorable parts for your guests.
Thanks for reading! We hope this guide will aid you in choosing the perfect DJ for your event.