Booking a DJ for the first time can be a daunting task especially if it is for an important event such as a wedding or corporate gathering. Your choice in DJ can very well make or break your event so it is important you tackle this task with an informed head. Below are 12 things to ask or consider to help you book the right DJ for you and avoid the worst.
1. LEGAL WRITTEN CONTRACTS.
A clear legal written contract is essential when booking your DJ, any company or DJ that does not provide you with your agreement in black and white should not be trusted under any circumstance. This is something your DJ should be happy to provide if they offer a professional, above board service. Establishing what level of service the DJ is obliged to provide and understanding the terms and conditions is the first step in achieving a well organised and prepared event.
2. WHO WILL BE the DJ AT YOUR EVENT?
Most often, the person you speak with on the phone will not be the DJ who performs at your event (This is most common with larger DJ companies). It is crucial to have transparency on exactly who will be performing at your event, what experience they have, their age, music preferences and mixing abilities to ensure they fit your exact requirements. (You wouldn't want a 60 year old disco DJ playing at your daughters sweet 16th now would you?!)
3. HOW MANY YEARS EXPERIENCE DOES YOUR DJ HAVE?
This question is often misunderstood and can be easily masked with "Oh, I have been a DJ for years!" DJ'ing at your friends house party and having a once a month residency at your local for the past 3 years does not equate to 3 years of DJ experience (More like 3 weeks!). This is obviously dependant on the quality of DJ that you are looking for but we at LondonsDJ.uk would advise that your DJ be performing for at least 6 years, have held a weekly residency at a credible venue, and have performed at 100 + weddings / corporate events at the very least. Should your DJ have this level of experience, they will have no issue in providing you with names and dates of events followed with many picture's, in this age with the smart phone, there is no reason not to have an impressive picture collection of your experience.
4. wHAT MAKES YOUR DJ STAND OUT FROM THE COMPETITION?
From our experience of managing many different DJ's, each DJ come's with their own unique qualities that makes them the perfect choice for you. Take the time to ask your DJ what makes them unique and what they can offer you that other DJ's in the market can not. This could be an excellent mixing ability, credible experience, a wealth of musical knowledge, a fantastic bubbly personality or maybe all of the above. You will soon get a sense of what separates your DJ from the rest and why you should chose them for your big day as opposed to someone else.
5. is your DJ comfortable making clear ANNOUNCEMENTS?
This is less important if you are looking for a Club DJ however, this is crucial if you would like a DJ to perform at your wedding, corporate event or even a birthday. Any professional DJ should be comfortable making clear and professional announcements and serving as the emcee for any event that requires it. The best way to gauge a DJ's announcements skills is by simply speaking with them on the phone or in person. You will quickly hear for yourself if they are a clear communicator with a good speaking voice.
6. what system does your DJ have in place should the worst happen?
It is crucial that any DJ or DJ company you use have strict measures in place to ensure they are ready should the DJ you booked not be able to attend your event on the day due to an emergency. Unfortunately accidents can happen, you can't predict when you are going to fall ill and despite your exquisite planning and preparation skills, things don't always go the way you planned. Your DJ provider should be able to explain clearly what measures they have in place if the unexpected ever did occur and be able to assure you that what ever happens, you will still receive a DJ on the day and that the standard and quality of the DJ will always remain the same.
7. How will your DJ handle your 'play' and 'Do Not Play' list?
Here at LondonsDJ.uk, we believe your DJ should not see this list as an easy way to play your chosen music, happy in the mind-set that the success or failure of the night lays on how well you have chosen your music. The DJ should be able to pick and choose the right songs from your list and mix them in with proven tracks from his or hers experience that they know will get your guests dancing, whilst at the same time trying to play as much from your list as possible.
8. How will your DJ handle requests from guests on the night?
This is quite an important and easily overlooked question. It can be quite a daunting environment for a DJ, especially when you have guests high on life (and liquor) adamant that their song be played despite how inappropriate it may be or that it is clearly stated on the DO NOT PLAY LIST! Your DJ should be confident, well-mannered and professional enough to play the right requested song's for the night whilst having the ability to politely deny songs that are not appropriate for your event, a skill that we believe only develops with many years of experience.
9. What will the DJ wear to your event?
Times have changed and long gone are the black trousers, black shirt Disco DJ look. Many clients now want their DJ to look... well like a DJ, in something more contemporary or smart casual where some clients want their DJ to be smartly dressed for their wedding or corporate event, in which case the DJ should have a nice quality suit (not too bright or shiny) that looks smart, presentable and like you have made an effort (something like Harvey Specter from the TV show 'Suits' and less like Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs & Mase in their 1997’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” video)
10. How much of a deposit does the DJ provider require to secure your date?
Any professional DJ company will require a deposit to secure your booking. This not only protects the DJ provider but also yourself. You should expect to pay anything up to 50% however, some DJ's require much less and in most cases this is because they are either a small one man business or they may DJ part time. Though we don't discourage small deposits, no deposit needed can sometimes be a warning sign (surprisingly) if the contract doesn’t clearly state a specific guarantee of service with a clear cancellation policy and fee paid, the DJ can cancel on you at any point with no responsibility for returning your deposit. This could have huge implications if your event is your wedding or maybe a big launch for a new product.
11. Is your DJ insured?
It is absolutely essential that any DJ you consider carries a full liability insurance policy up to at least £5 million. In most cases, venues require all vendors working on site to provide proof of insurance before the event, so your DJ (not having this) may be refused set up on the day which would have a detrimental effect on your event. Liability insurance protects you and the venue in the very unlikely event that your DJ accidentally injures one of your guests or damages the venues property.
12. What equipment does your DJ use, IS IT pat TESTED & DO THEY HAVE A BACKUP?
At LondonsDJ.uk we take the subject on equipment very seriously and ensure we provide the very best quality equipment in very clean and good working order. We share the opinion that if we can do it then there is no reason why other DJ providers can't offer the same. Long gone are the days that you strap hideous bulky lights to a bar with wires hanging out everywhere and speakers with gashes and scrapes all over it from constant usage. Technology these days allows DJ's to offer the same visual experience as the older larger lights from smaller, more compact and clean looking models. They should also take ( or have close by) 2 sound and lighting systems in the unlikely event that any of the equipment fails. They should also have their equipment PAT tested every year as this is usually a requirement from most venues. Your DJ should be able to send you a list of their equipment with the relevant PAT certification.
You should now be set and ready to begin looking for you perfect DJ. If you would like more advice, don't hesitate to get in contact with the happy team at LondonsDJ.uk who will talk you through the steps in more detail. GOOD LUCK!