We established in the last article that it’s the time of the year when many people have to hire a DJ for some type of event, whether that’s a Halloween Party, Holiday Party, Birthday Party, Wedding, or New Years Eve event. We also established that while most people know someone in their network that is a DJ, not always is that someone the person with whom they want to trust the success of their party. So lets say that you’ve narrowed down your list of possible Djs from everyone in your city who is a DJ to a potential 3. (If you haven’t yet done this, make sure you check out the last article about finding the right DJ for your event. You can read that article here.) Now, the question is which Professional DJ is the right one for you?
If you’re getting stressed out trying to figure this out, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find 14 Questions that you should DEFINITELY ask your next potential event DJ before hiring.
1. Does the DJ Have Availability on your Event Date/Time?
Sometimes I ask this question first. Sometimes I save it for last. But in the interest of being pragmatic, I’m putting this question first. After all, if they’ve not got your date/time available then I would imagine that they’re off the list. Make sure that the DJ personally has availability on your date. Some DJS / Companies will book the event and pass it along to a different DJ on the team. Be sure you know who will be coming to your event!
2. Ask the DJ to Describe Their DJ Style
This is especially important if you’ve not had a chance to hear a sample of work or see them perform live before. You’ll want to know if their performance and music style will work with the vibe you’re going for. Not all DJs play Multi Genre/Open Format styles. Some are more specific to certain styles and genres. If you’re looking to customize your event music, and they don’t mention that they can work with the music you request, it might be a musical mismatch!
3. Does the DJ Have Their Own Sound System and DJ Equipment?
Unless your venue provides a professional grade sound system (many do not) you’ll want your DJ to provide their own equipment. This includes a sound system and dj hardware. If they do not have their own equipment, you may be responsible to rent one at an additional cost.
4. Ask the DJ to Confirm The Specific Sound and Space Requirements for Your Venue.
Sometimes spaces require more than a power strip or a single extension cord. A true professional will know this. And while it is up to you, the customer, to provide details about the space to your vendors, If your potential DJ doesn’t seem interested in checking out your venue, scratch them off your short-list.
5. Does the DJ Feel Comfortable Acting as a Master of Ceremonies?
Many times someone will need to speak on the mic to introduce speakers, announce a special dance or that dinner is served. It’s important to know in advance if your event DJ feels comfortable doing this or if you’ll need to have someone on hand.
6. Ask How They Motivate a Shy Dance Floor.
Some professional DJS will verbally encourage a crowd to the dance floor, others will visually demonstrate the latest dance move, and others will play popular songs that will naturally get people dancing. Choose a DJ with the style that will complement your event (example: if you want minimal conversation from a DJ, someone who heavily relies on the mic to amp up the crowd will probably not be a good fit.)
7. Ask How The DJ Prefers To Handle Song Requests.
Some DJS will prefer to receive requests in advance, while others may be comfortable taking them on the fly. And Some may prefer to take NO REQUESTS at all. The importance of this answer will vary based on whether or not you want your guests to be able to make song requests and how you want your DJ to interact with those guests. If you’re having an event where people are likely to want to make requests, you won’t want to hire the DJ who gets wildly offended by song requests.
8. Ask Who Will Set Up and How Much Time They Will Need.
Each professional DJ set up will vary depending on the equipment they use. You’ll want to confirm the amount of time they’ll need for set up and who will be doing the setup so you can make arrangements in advance with the venue. *Tip: A true professional will want to have gear loaded in and be ready before guests arrive.*
9. Ask Your Potential DJ What They Usually Wear For This Type Of Event.
A professional events DJ should have several alternatives to offer from a Tuxedo or cocktail dress to coordinated outfits like dress shirts and slacks. They should also be open to themed outfitting if appropriate.
10. Ask About Their Date Reservation Policy and Their Cancellation Policy.
Most DJS will require a non-refundable deposit of up to 50% and signed quote or contract to reserve your date. Cancellation policies often require up to 14 days of advance notice with no refund of the deposit. Check the details as they will vary from DJ to DJ.
11. Ask About Their Back Up Plan For Equipment Malfunction / Failure.
Plain and simple. Your DJ should have a full Equipment Backup Plan. If they don’t, scratch them off your short-list.
12. Does Your Potential DJ Carry Liability Insurance?
You’ll want to be sure that your guests and venue are protected in the event of an accident. While carrying a policy is often not required to operate, a true professional will be able to offer you their insurance certificate.
13. Ask Your Potential DJ if They’ve Played This Type of Event Before.
This question will help you to get a feel for how comfortable they will be handling your specific type of event. There are many different musical avenues for Djs. Someone who has only played for clubs and festivals might not be fully prepared or comfortable playing your specific type of event. For example, if you’re having a wedding, and they’ve only ever been to a wedding once, but never performed, you might use caution as you proceed. There is nothing wrong with hiring a novice professional. But, if your event is delicate, time sensitive, or will require some coordination, a more seasoned professional might be a better way to go.
14. Ask For References.
Interview Questions tell, but references sell. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. A DJ Friend of mine uses the tag line, don’t ask me, ask my clients. A professional DJ who has provided quality service should be able to easily point you in the direction of reviews from past clients. If your potential DJ cannot produce a few good references, I’d think twice before booking.
These questions should help you get a good idea of the type of DJ that you’re hiring as well as their style, business policy, work ethic, and reliability. Remember that taking the time to screen before booking can be your greatest asset in ensuring the quality of your event, especially because the success of your event will be greatly impacted by the entertainment that you choose. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you make an informed decision!
Finally – if you’re still a little lost in the planning process for your event, CLICK HERE to become a Shannon C insider and download the DJ Hiring and Event Planning Workbook for free! This workbook will help you with sourcing and interviewing leads, collecting information to make sure you get an accurate quote, and planning out your events timeline and music selection for your DJ. Make sure your next event goes super smooth and download it today!
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