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  hiring a dj 101
Click here to download a helpful checklist for hiring a DJ.

Thank you for you interest in leanrning how to choose and evaulate a dj. Below is an in-depth look at hiring a dj, for a quick list of points to consider please download the checklist from above. If you wish to learn more please read on below and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Hiring a DJ for a party or event can be a challenging task, especially if you have never hired a DJ before!  It involves finding a DJ that meets your needs (sometime without seeing a performance), conveying your ideas about a party and its structure to the DJ, negotiating a price, evaluating the quality of service provided, and booking the DJ.

This page is designed to help clarify the process of hiring a DJ.  It will help you ask intelligent questions when speaking to a DJ and prepare the proper information before you call a DJ.  We have broken the process of hiring a DJ into 5 parts:
-Knowing Your Event
-Evaluating the DJ
-Discussing Your Event
-Pricing / Booking

Knowing Your Event
Knowing your event is the first step in making the process of hiring a DJ go smoothly.  When you first call a DJ company you will discuss your event with the DJ, so they can get a feel for your event and give you a quote.  Questions they will most likely ask you are listed below.  Knowing the answers to these questions will ease the process of describing your event to a DJ.

You should know be able to answer the following questions in detail:
Question Answer
When is your event? The date including the year.
Where is your event? The venue including the address and phone number.
What times you would like a DJ for? The start and end time of the party.
What kind of event is it? Describe the event in detail: a 50th Birthday for my Grandfather, John Smith.
What is the dress code for the event? Casual / Semi-Formal / Formal
How many people do you expect to attend? A rough estimate.
What age groups are your guests? A rough estimate.
If the party will have dancing, will you want us to bring dance lights? Allow the company to explain their lighting system and pricing for it.
What is your phone number and when is the best time to reach you? (555) 555-5555, between 6 PM and 9 PM, Monday through Friday.

Evaluating the DJ -top-
Points to consider when evaluating the service of a disc jockey company fall into a few basic categories. These include: scope of music collection, quality of equipment, lightning, experience, MC and motivation skills, and the overall level of service.

When choosing a DJ it is important to focus on some of the aspects listed above.  The goal of a good DJ is to provide you, the customer, with the best service possible and to meet your needs and requirements, while providing a great dance or party experience.

Many DJ’s will advertise enormous song libraries, however a large library is of no use unless it adequately serves your audience.  Depending on your event you may be looking for a DJ with a current popular music library, or a large library that spans decades of music.  Be sure to discuss this with your DJ while you are discussing your event.  Additionally, inquire if your DJ will take requests and what options are available to your guests if a requested song is not available.  For example, some DJ companies bring a mobile internet connection and usually have availability to almost every song.

Many DJ companies advertise something like “30 years of experience”, this may prove reliability but may not be what you’re looking for.  Be sure your DJ is energetic and a good motivator and MC.  If you would not like an MC at your event, make sure you inform your DJ that you are only looking for a DJ, and not an MC, additionally this may help lower the cost.

Be sure to check on the condition of the DJs equipment, especially for a formal function.  A neat and stylish appearance counts.  Additionally, check if the DJ will bring backup equipment. Lightning is another important aspects of a DJ company, an impressive lightning system can bring life to a party and excite the dance floor.  If lighting interests you, ask if your DJ can bring an intelligent lighting system. (See our f.a.q. page for a description of intelligent lighting)

Additionally, inquire about the DJ’s technical knowledge.  The scope of a mobile DJ’s job is very wide.  They are required to build their own system, bring it to your event, assembly it properly, avoid circuit overload, and keep the volume at a comfortable level for all the guests.  This is important to ensure that your event can run smoothly.  Since too loud DJ systems can cause hearing loss and damage, only engage DJ’s who have the knowledge and capability to prevent such situations from occurring, by bring an adequately sized sound system.
Finally, putting all these aspects together should give you a good feel about the quality of the DJ you are hiring.  Keep in mind that quotes of the same price may not be for an equivalent service.

In summary, ask the following questions:

What is your music collection like? (How big, what kind of music etc...)
Is your collection digital?
Do you take requests?
If you don’t have a song, can you download it at the event?

How much experience do you have?
Will you MC my event?
Will you run events on the dance floor?
How will you motivate my guests?

Equipment / Technical
What kind of equipment do you have?
Is in like new condition?
Do you have a backup system?
Do you have a lighting system?  If so, is it an intelligent lighting system?
What is your technical background?
Do you check with the event facility prior to the event to ensure proper electrical power is provided?

Insurance -top-
Many banquet facilities and party clubs require DJs to carry liability insurance.  Be sure that you check with your facility and your DJ to see if they meet each others requirements.

Discussing Your Event -top-
Once you are comfortable with the information discussed in the previous three sections, Knowing Your Event, Evaluating the DJ, and Insurance, you should call a company you are interested in hiring and discuss your event.  If you feel you would enjoy that DJs service, then you should ask about pricing and the process of booking that DJ.

Pricing and Booking -top-
There are many pricing schemes that DJ companies use, each company is different.  Be sure that your DJ will accept a deposit and inquire about what options you have if you need to move the date of your event for any reason.

In conclusion, when hiring a DJ, be sure you inquire about the entire package and how the DJ will perform at your event.  Inquiring about the information listed above, and only hiring DJs that adequately satisfy those requirements, will help insure that you are happy with the DJ you hired on the day of your event.

Thank you and good luck with your event!
I hope it is a huge success!

Dan Brateris, Founder