We are sure we have all done it, when enquiring about a service (not just a DJ) we cannot think about anything to ask except ‘How much would it be to ……’. We are guilty ourselves. The reason is that we actually do not know what else to ask.
Here are a few suggestions of what to ask a DJ when enquiring. As with all our ‘lists’ this has been comprised by ourselves and are purely our opinions and is not conclusive.
1. Date and Venue
It is surprising how often we receive an enquiry where we have not been informed of the date or venue. The venue itself is not too important to us, however the date is a critical piece of information as we may already be booked. If you do mistakenly make an enquiry, forget to put the date, then the DJ replies saying they are available together with a quote we would be VERY WARY.
2. What the occasion is.
We know a lot of people assume that by mentioning they are wanting a DJ for a wedding, the price will automatically inflate. I cannot deny that for some people this is true, however not for us. we like to know what the occasion is as we may have other services to compliment, which could work out very cost effective, and there are certain functions we do not take bookings for as we don’t feel we are the right people for the job – Kids Parties, Christenings etc
3. What the timings are.
A lot of DJs base their fee on the length of time for your event. They may assume it is 7-11, whereas it turns out further down the line you are having your party from 6pm – 2am and you are hit with a bigger fee just weeks beforehand. What we do to help this is have packages which you can then tailor to suit your individual needs. These packages cover most eventualities, but as mentioned you can change things around to suit.
It is also a very important to make clear your timings as most DJs also have a day job too – you don’t want to have a 6pm start when your DJ doesn’t finish work until 5pm. This isn’t a problem for us thankfully.
4. Do you have PLI and PAT
PLI is Public Liability Insurance and PAT is Portable Appliance Testing.
It is important to realise that neither of these are required by law and gives no indication of how good a DJ is.
HOWEVER, more and more venues are insisting on these certificates before allowing DJs into their premises, quote often you may have been told this along with masses of other information from the venue and it slips your mind. It has happened before where DJs have been refused access, or couples have found out a few days before their wedding/event that their chosen DJ does not hold these certificates – so it is safer to check early on.
5. Have you performed at weddings/birthdays/christenings etc before ?
Always worth knowing and you may find out a little bit more about the DJ. Many are a ‘jack of all trades’ and DJ for any occasion, others specialise in a one (or a few) type of occasion. Rule of thumb is that a specialist may cost a little more, but they are a specialist, whereas a general DJ may be a bit cheaper.
6. Who will be my actual DJ on the night ?
Many DJs work alone, others may have a few different DJs who work for them, and agencies often have a large number of DJs on their books. There are pros and cons with any of these situations, but it is important that once you book you do have a suitable DJ booked for you. Something that really infuriates us are DJs who take bookings then just farm them out to anyone willing to work that night – quite often simply posting on Social Media for a DJ. Once you book, the DJ for your event should also be booked.
7. What does your setup look like ?
Many DJs thrive on showing off their setup and latest gadgets, others (like ourselves) take more pride in their own abilities. To us the equipment we use are simply our working tools, although it does cost a considerable amount and are kept clean and up to date.
So why ask about the setup ? Well, if you were having a nice intimate wedding you would likely not want a massive 20ft lighting bar with enough lights to illuminate Wembley stadium and a sound system to match, however if you holding a massive event this would likely fit the bill. Always worth checking and maybe asking for a few pictures if none are readily available via their website or social media.
8. Do you carry backup ?
Even the highest quality equipment can fail, it is a simple fact of life and nothing can be done about this. Most DJs carry backup with them, but it is always worth checking.
9. What if the DJ falls ill ?
We hate talking about the negative side of things, but again it does happen. We spend a lot of time travelling and networking with other DJs to help build up working relationships. We know that we can make a few phone calls and get cover.
Also, we also ensure that we never overbook ourselves – when we are full, we are full ! It is very rare that all of our DJs are out working at any one time.
10. Do you know the venue ?
Every venue has its challenges. Whilst it is not important whether a DJ has been booked at your venue before, it is important that they are aware of the venue. Often access can be difficult, sound limiters in place, small setup areas or even just hard to find. This is especially important if booking additional services ie specific lighting etc as quite often the service will not be suitable for the room.