Many thanks to my friend, Phil Tucker, DJ extraordinaire of Official Entertainment for today’s posting. There are many questions that you may have for your potential DJ, and do not be afraid to ask them.
Chances are you have never hired a disc jockey service. Many people are tempted to ask about pricing as their first question when interviewing a prospective disc jockey service. This is not the best way to start your interview. Price is important, but it should not be “the” determining factor. You want to get all of the information and the most for your money. One potential DJ may charge less because the company is less experienced or is not as well equipped to handle your function. Some DJ services charge more because their service has a great reputation, stay busy and have an exceptional sound and light show, with many years of experience.
Remember the law of supply and demand. You should, by all means, shop around and look for the best overall package that fits you. Just make sure you know what you are getting when you book. We have put together this list of questions to help you interview prospective DJ services. We hope you find the professional that is right for you!
Do you use professional pro audio gear? What are some of the brand names you use?
If the DJ tells you name brands that you can buy at the local electronic store (Best Buy, Circuit City … etc.) chances are they are not using pro audio gear. Home hi-fi gear is not made to hold up to the demands of repeat performances of professional use.
Do you provide back up gear in case of an emergency?
Chances are nothing will happen at your event, but if it does, is your DJ prepared to troubleshoot the problem? Do they have back-up equipment on location to get the party back on track? (They should have extra cables, fuses, basic tools, CD player, amplifier, mixer … etc.)
Is your DJ service is insured?
If the service is professional and reputable, they will be insured. Most DJ services will at least have liability insurance for $1,000,000. Some will also have their equipment insured.
Phil with Tresca on 8th‘s owner, Leecy Fink, photo by Jessica Boardman
Are we guaranteed the DJ of our choice the day of the event?
Some DJ companies have more than one DJ working for them. While the company may have been in business for years, your DJ may have been hired last week, so be sure who you are getting. Most companies have references on the specific DJ who will be assigned to your event.
How many years of experience do you have?
This is a commonly asked question. The question should be how many events have you performed at? A seasoned DJ will have performed at hundreds of events.
May we call three of your references?
A good DJ service keeps current references. The list that they provide for you should have at least ten or more names and not be more than six months old. This is a good indicator of the quality you can expect. If you are not comfortable with calling strangers, ask if they have any banquet halls, photographers or video services that recommend them. Most banquet halls, photographers and videographers work with a lot of different DJ services every weekend.
How will you be dressed?
Specify the type of apparel that your disc jockey is expected to wear for your occasion. Formal attire or coat & tie are the most popular forms of attire. If you are having a “themed” event, make sure your entertainer is informed.
How early will you be set up?
Most DJ services like to have the opportunity to do a sound and light check before any guests arrive. The last thing you want is a DJ hauling equipment through your receiving line and or guests.
Do you allow requests from us and/or our guests?
Consider the policy of requests. The best DJs will take requests form the audience and work them into their routine. But don’t expect the DJ to play every request. An excellent DJ blends requests with songs that will get your guests up and moving.
What type of music is available?
Remember it is not the number of CDs, Tapes or Albums they carry but the content of the media. Ask them how many hit songs they carry and what type of music they have. Ask them how do they stay current with the new hits. A good DJ service will carry a wide variety of music and will have as many as 2000 hits or more. There are professional DJ services like Promo Only and Hot Hits that are available to professional DJs. These services provide the latest hits played on the radio stations with new additions released monthly. Remember that during the dancing segment of your reception a DJ will average 15 songs per hour, so you should hear nothing but hits all night long. This will keep your dance floor full all night and everyone will have a great time.
Do you provide a written contract?
It is extremely important to have your booking confirmed in writing . Ask for a written agreement, especially if you are paying an initial retainer. The standard initial payment for entertainment services is 50%. If you are expecting a specific entertainer, make sure you get it in writing as well.
Thanks again, Phil for providing this… it is really informative. Can I add another question? Do you play Love Shack? Ha! Sorry, but every time I am there when Phil DJs I just have to request my favorite 80s song…