Do you have any reviews or references?
Reviews and references are the way of the world nowadays. For example, when we do online shopping, most of us check out the reviews on the product before clicking to buy. Personal recommendations and reviews from previous clients are important and a great guideline if you are looking to book a DJ for your special occasion. However, though some can be genuine, also be aware of DJ recommendations from friends or family members, as often appear from generic ‘Selling Page’ Facebook searches for a DJ. that may not be quite as transparent as a genuine review from a satisfied client after a successful event.
How much experience do you have as a DJ?
Entrusting your important wedding evening reception entertainment to a novice, or someone ‘just learning’ will be a disaster. Yes, I appreciate that we all must start somewhere, but any new DJ looking to learn his craft needs to shadow a professional experienced DJ for a good few years, experiencing different events, audiences, venues, music requirements etc. to be able to learn to do the job properly and to provide the necessary professional service that is required and expected at any wedding reception, family event or any event requiring a DJ. He needs to be versatile and adaptable to give his audience the best experience possible. A DJ who work a nightclub, then goes out ‘on the road’, will not usually have the experience or musical knowledge or experience to do this. I have heard of young inexperienced nightclub DJ’s being asked to DJ for a wedding and the response is, ‘I don’t know old music’!! say no more! That’s in no way disrespecting nightclub DJ’s as I myself started as a mobile DJ, learning my craft and then worked the clubs for many years but had also always invested in my own equipment and always mixed my club with mobile work, so I gained invaluable experience that sees me able to handle any event or audience today with total competency and professionalism. As previously stated, I started out as a mobile DJ gaining invaluable experience before venturing into clubs as well, whereas, many new club DJ’s get offered a start in a club, (probably for no fee as they are gaining nightclub DJ experience). Suddenly, after a play as a warm-up in a club, they call themselves a DJ. They then maybe get offered a ‘party gig’ by a friend of a friend who’s getting married, this being a friend recommendation based on their friendship and not on the quality of service that they will provide, but are totally inexperienced to handle all this entails to gain the total satisfaction of the client.
Is this your full-time business?
Determine whether they are a well-rounded, successful entertainer who can bring a level of expertise and versatility to your event. You need to ensure that your DJ isn't a one-dimensional part-timer, but a true performer who has had varied and extensive experience performing in front of different (and tough) audiences. Again, versatility and experience are essential to avoid a ‘car crash party’ or event.
How much music knowledge do you have?
Music knowledge is vital. Many DJ’s should have a huge and varied music selection at their disposal. Of course, the inexperienced DJ’s are sure to have the whole collection of ‘NOW’ CD’s downloaded from a mate, on their laptop, but will they know the tracks? Will they know how to use them and what to follow them with and when is the appropriate time during the party to play them to maximise the atmosphere and keep that dancefloor bouncing. Will they know how to ‘read’ their audience? Your DJ needs to have the ability and knowledge of his music to blend and mix all sorts of music genres to accommodate everyone and keep them on the dance floor.
What is the quality of your sound and light show like?
Obviously, the music and choice of music that your DJ chooses is vital and key to the success of your wedding party or family event. However, if he has inferior quality speakers and mixer then no matter how good his song choice is, if it can’t be heard clearly or if the sound quality is ‘painful’, then that’s no good to anyone. Likewise, a light show. I have seen many mobile DJ rigs and set-ups and I cringe at many, as indeed I am sure do most DJ’s as we can be a very critical and opinionated bunch when judging other mobile DJ set-ups. A good DJ can still generate a good night with minimal or no lighting as the music is the most important element, but a good light show will enhance the atmosphere for you and your guests. As always in life, if a DJ is purchasing equipment, he will always get what he pays for and this then transfers back to his audience as the quality of his show will never do the event justice. If a DJ takes pride in his production and has invested well in his equipment, then by default, you and your guests will benefit from this and the ‘wow’ factor to go with the music.
In life, situations out of our control can occur. How would you deal with a situation if, for example, you were booked for our wedding but became ill and were therefore unable to perform?
I have been asked this question several times. I often explain that many times a bride has rang me on the preceding Monday prior to her Saturday wedding in a panic as her ‘DJ has let her down and he’s just sent a text to say he can’t do it anymore; can you please help me?’ I usually ask her what she was paying her DJ, and usually it’s very ‘budget’, no deposit has been paid and no written confirmation between either party, or that it was a family member or a friend who was doing the disco as a ‘wedding present’, but they have ‘now pulled out’. Therefore, I suggest that it is possibly why this part time DJ has let her down last minute, because the chances are, he has been offered a gig worth more money? This is how some people operate, they have no morals or sense of responsibility, are unprofessional and just don’t care and this is shown by not even ringing the bride to tell her he can’t now DJ for her wedding and just sending a text. So, how would I deal with a situation like this? Firstly, I have never ever let anyone down in all my years of entertaining and providing my DJ service. If I was unavailable because, say, I had an accident and was in hospital, I would initially contact another reputable DJ who I would be happy to recommend, find out his availability, agree to pass on any deposit paid to me onto him, and agree the price with the bride with him so that she still pays the same price and has nothing to worry about a DJ not turning up or having a price increase, or having the ability to do her wedding or event justice. I would then speak with the bride and explain my ‘predicament’ but assure her not to worry as I had already contacted and booked another reputable DJ for the same price and arranged to pass on her deposit to him. I would pass on his contact details and tell her that all is sorted, and she can contact him. I then tell her that after speaking with him and if she is not happy and wants to go ahead and book someone else, then no problem and I can send the deposit back to her. At least she’s covered, she is still in control and more to the point, is stress free.
How much do you charge?
This is always the big question and usually the first question I am asked, and I quite understand that. However, the first thing to do is provide the information that a DJ will need before he can give you a price. He needs to know the town or city, the venue, the day and date as whilst Saturday’s nights are premium due to popularity, Friday bookings can generate a discount and midweek dates can generate an even greater discount. He also needs to know the type of event, for example, family party, wedding, corporate event, children’s party, birthday celebration, promotional event, charity dinner, etc. Once he has this information, then he can easily give you a price. I have deliberately left this question for last as, for me, although it is naturally usually the first question asked, the consideration is not usually, what does your charge entail and why are DJ prices so varied for the same event or function? The reason of course simply being, in life, you always get what you pay for. If a DJ does not have the confidence to give you and your guests the best night possible or values his service lowly, then that is where he is usually at and this will therefore, by default, reflect the kind of service that you will receive, taking all the above into consideration. So yes, probably the most important question, but can I recommend that you do not make price your only remit when researching the services of a DJ for your wedding or event, or indeed any wedding or event service provider.