When it comes to hiring a professional DJ for a wedding or an event there is often a conflict between perception and reality. The perception is a DJ plays music and makes the lights blink. How hard can that be? He (or she) probably sleeps all day and only works on Friday and Saturday nights. While that may be true from some out there, those are not the people you want to hire for your event. They are not professionals.
The other perception is a DJ should not cost more than a few hundred dollars. I mean really, the DJ is pressing play on songs, so why should it cost more?
When you hire a professional DJ, that person has likely invested over $10,000 in equipment. They are often the first one to arrive and the last to leave, so a 5 hour event is 9 hours or more for them. They pay thousands of dollars to update their music collection every year. They spend time reviewing new music, answering client questions, visiting venues, maintaining equipment, directing caterers, photographers and venue managers as to what happens and when. They attend meetings, send out contracts, work on timelines, deal with drunken guests and go out of there way to make sure everything goes perfectly. They need to be able to make a living just like everyone else.
Value is often forgotten and instead people look strictly at cost. You can always find someone cheaper, but you must understand what you get in return decide how important you event is to you. Here are some key questions to ask yourself of any DJ you consider:
- Do you get quality, professional equipment?
- Do you get a 2 person team that understands your event?
- Will your actual DJ meet you in person before you book them?
- Does your DJ know how to use their technology and how to troubleshoot issues?
- Will they set up long before guests arrive and work with other vendors?
- Can they adjust to schedule changes and unplanned issues?
- Do they know how to do introductions, tell a story and properly use the microphone?
- Will they be respectful to all your guests and not play offensive music?
- Do they prepare well in advance for your event?
- Do they play music from legal and reliable sources? Not from streaming or internet sources.
- Do they make sure their set up looks clean and professional?
- Do they refrain from drinking and smoking during your event?
- Do they dress in proper attire and appear well groomed?
- Do they speak clearly and naturally without putting on a show?
- Do they understand proper volume, tone and clarity for the entire room?
- Can they multi-task with music selections, announcements, and guests?
- Do they know how to mix different types and eras of music?
- Can they adjust to the crowd and bring people to the dance floor?
- Do they understand they are not the focus of attention?
- Do they value what they do and charge appropriately for it?
- Do they honestly answer your questions?
- Do they care about you and don’t consider your day another “gig”?
- Are they insured?
- Do they clearly explain what they will and will not do?
- Will they give you the time and attention you deserve?
- Do they have a back up plan should something go wrong?
- Do they have experience and a good reputation?
- Are they someone you trust and can work with?
- Will they promptly answer your calls and emails?
- How will they make your event unique and memorable?
Any professional DJ is going to have quick and honest answers to every question. Most people only hire a DJ once in their life and so many part time amatuers count on ignorance. A bad DJ can will ruin a great event. Don’t let it happen to you.