Class - You may learn something important
Can anyone be a doctor? No. Can anyone be
a DJ? Yes. In the United States, any man or woman is allowed to
buy some stereo equipment, some CDs, and call him or herself a DJ.
Think about it. In order to cut hair, one has to have a license.
DJs are not required to possess a valid license or certification.
With so many DJs to choose from, you have to know EXACTLY what to look for
and what questions to ask.
questions do you ask a DJ?
I have taken the liberty of compiling
more than 40 questions for you, the consumer, to ask DJs or DJ Companies
(like me). Some questions may not pertain to your particular event and
some questions may not be important to you personally. That's
alright. You see, before you even start asking questions, YOU
have to decide what is IMPORTANT to you. I left the question out,
"How much do you charge?", because that is something all of us
tend to ask. For some of you, price will be the most important thing
to you and so to ask any other question would be unnecessary. If
you think of a question(s) I should include on this list, please email it to
will be DJing my event?
the DJ meet with us?
the DJ help us set an agenda for the day?
the DJ come to my home or business to go over the entertainment?
the DJ have experience?
the DJ have experience with Wedding Receptions?
your DJ Company a full-time business enterprise?
the DJ a Member of the BBB or a local Chamber of Commerce?
the DJ provide a written contract?
much of a deposit is required to book the DJ?
if I have to cancel my event? Can
I get a refund?
the DJ have reliable equipment?
the DJ carry back-up equipment?
the DJ is unable to make my event, is there a suitable replacement?
the DJ have an adequate music selection?
I want a song you don?t have, will you play it from my own CD?
I have a song on tape, will you play it?
the DJ listen to my music suggestions, concerns, and input?
the DJ play songs with obscene and suggestive lyrics?
the DJ do more than just play music?
the DJ serve as Master of Ceremonies (Emcee)?
will the DJ arrive to setup his/her equipment?
the DJ wear a tux or suit and tie?
the DJ provide cocktail or dinner music?
the DJ provide a wireless mic for toasts or announcements?
the DJ provide a Light Show?
the DJ charge extra for travel? Are
there any ?hidden? charges?
the DJ have a website, toll-free telephone number, or free information
the DJ insured?
the DJ provide several references?
the DJ advertise at our event?
I be able to control the volume of the music?
is the DJ Company?s policy on alcohol, food, beverages, and tipping
for your DJs?
we expected to include the DJ in our count for lunch/dinner?
is the DJ?s office located? What
are the office hours?
does the DJ arrive the day of our event?
the DJ charge for set-up and/or take-down?
the DJ need assistance with hauling in/hauling out their equipment?
the DJ need anything to setup their equipment?
my event runs later, can the DJ stay longer?
How much for overtime?
APPLICABLE - I need wedding ceremony music.
Can the DJ provide it?
APPLICABLE ? Does the DJ do special dances, games, skits, or
FACT or MYTH?
MYTH: All mobile DJ services are pretty much
FACT: Not all mobile DJ services are
alike. With cars, there are Cadillacs and there are Pintos.
Unfortunately, some DJ Companies are like slippery salesmen who try to sell
you a Pinto at a Cadillac price. You get what you pay for. Be
MYTH: Bigger is better.
FACT: Bigger is not always better. If
you feel more comfortable and confident that hiring a DJ from a booking
agency is your best bet, you may be in for a rude awakening. There are
some companies that are solely booking agencies. What is the goal of a
booking agent? Usually, money. The agent gets anywhere from
10-20% for booking an entertainer for you. Where does the agent get
his/her "cut"? You got it - YOU. If not you, the
entertainer. Not all booking agents are
"money-hungry". Some entertainers honestly don't like to
deal with publicity, book-keeping, and so on. So, they use an agent to
take care of all the administrative stuff. Some companies legitimately
provide a quality product, but the law of mathematics tells us that quality
"tends" to go down when quantity is increased. Be careful.
MYTH: A big DJ Company is obviously BETTER than a booking agency.
FACT: Some DJ Companies are no different than your standard booking
agency. Again, each company is different. Some DJ Companies
provide a quality product. Unfortunately, there are those
"Wal-Mart" DJ Companies that strive to book as many events as
possible. Quantity, not quality is their goal. They would rather
overbook your special event, which they see as just another "job",
and find a last-minute replacement. It is not unusual nowadays
to deal with a "boss" of a DJ Company who may not even be a DJ,
let alone have experience. He/She is strictly there, because of their
ability to sell the "product".
MYTH: A DJ Company will not last for long if they do not provide
FACT: Some DJ Companies thrive off mediocre and average service.
Unfortunately, DJs are not the most respected in their
profession. If you are accustomed to average quality, that is what you
will expect! If all the DJs you observe sit behind a DJ booth, press
buttons on a CD player, and don't do anything else, you will think that ALL
DJs do that. True, "fly-by-night" companies and individuals
who constantly provide "less than desirable" service don't stay in
business very long. But that doesn't stop another similar company from
taking their place. I know of one company in Charlotte that has one of
the worst reputations, but they still remain in business after so many
years. How? Law
of mathematics. This company thrives off 1st-Time clients.
Even though this company is not getting referrals or repeat clients, they
are able to reel in "new" clients with high-pressure selling
MYTH: We saw this highly recommended DJ in action,
but no one was dancing. Obviously, this DJ was not as good as some folks
FACT: Don't always believe what you see. Any DJ (not just me), if
they are good, will usually cater to the client's wants and demands.
What that means is if I get a client who hates the Electric Slide, Chicken
Dance, Hokey Pokey, Mambo #5, The Twist, Elvis, and so on; and does not want
any of these songs played, I don't play them. This same client may not
want a dollar dance at their wedding reception or even a bouquet or garter
toss. They may request that I play Frank Sinatra, Barry White, Kenny G,
Stevie Wonder, Temptations, Platters, and Harry Conick Jr, during the entire
reception. Such a "low-key" music selection will not always
motivate guests to get up and dance. I warn the client about this, but
s/he will sometimes stick to what s/he wants, regardless. Well, such a
format would NOT go over well with a client who loves all those
"cheesy" songs and wants to do the bouquet, garter, and maybe even
the dollar dance. If you observe me at one of my typical college events,
you will quickly realize that I play a lot of Urban (commonly termed Rap) Top
40 music (some of which is obscene and inappropriate). But if I am doing
a church dance, I am not playing that type of music; unless that particular
church requests it! So, you see. How one client
"celebrates" their event may not be the same as how you would
"celebrate" YOUR event - keep an open mind.
I am disappointed with the performance of certain
DJs, because their poor performance taints the OVERALL image of ALL
DJs. Not all DJs are inexperienced, dress inadequately,
play inappropriate music, use inferior sound systems, display poor or no
interaction with the crowd, suffer equipment failures, arrive late, or even
not show up at all for your event. There are DJs who are professional,
very personable, excellent crowd motivators, superb wedding planners, play
music that everyone likes to dance to, and do make any event memorable and
enjoyable. Most frequently, a negative experience happens when
somebody chooses to go with the lowest priced DJ available. However, it can
happen just as easily if you don't know the right questions to ask and what
to look for.
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