Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Does your desired dj require a contract prior to receiving a deposit prior to your event?
You should always make sure that all t's are crossed and i's dotted before you settle on a dj.
Does your dj offer pre-event consultations to help you create a song list and event coordination?
If the dj is any good at all, he/she should know what songs work and what ones do not. A dj will make or break your event. Yes people come to wish you well and eat food, but the only reason they usually stay is for the entertainment. If possible, always set up a face-to- face consultation with any dj before you agree to use his/her services.
Does your dj like to dance?
If not, he/she is not always a good judge of what songs to play and what not to play.
Does your dj have liability insurance?
If not, you assume all the financial risk of the event.
Can your dj accomodate even the most obsure song requests?
Make sure that your dj can purchase and download legal song requests while at your event.
Does your dj own the rights to the music that he/she is playing?
This is a legal risk for you. Many dj companies store their music digitaly. The problem is that many djs simply copy someone else's music library without purchasing the right to actually have the song. Any dj that does not have the legal right to have a song on their system is probably an individual who may have other unforseen honesty proplems which you do not want to experience at you event.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Most dj services that are in the $50.00-$700.00 are not obtained on a referral basis. Because of this fact, many djs are hired over and over again because having a bad reputation means nothing to a new customer. A dj will almost always use only the successful events as his/her references. You should ask your desired dj if there have been any problems with past events. If he/she says yes, that is a good sign. Knowing the details may or may not be important. A dj that only has flawless events to talk about is not a good risk to take when you want to have a party to be remembered. Most events have something that does not go as expected. The dj that you should hire is one who has had an unexpected problem arise and was able to work with the party planner to resolve the issue for the benefit of all and/or the dj was successful in making the problem virtually unnoticeable or invisible to the guests.
The going rate is anywhere from $25.00 to $300.00 per hour for a dj. The cheapest is not always best and the most expensive is not always best. What is important to know is;
1. Will the dj engage with my guests enough to make this an enjoyable event or will he/she just sit back and be a biological-play-button-pusher, hoping that some guest will step up and get things going?
2. Does the dj have enough experience to know what to play and what NOT to play? Some djs will play anything requested. A fabulous dj knows how to deal with songs that simply will not fit the atmosphere or ones that simply should not be played, however popular the song may seem or sound.
3. For a dj to be able to afford to own/rent reliable sound gear, lighting, transportation, insurance and to own enough music for a suitable play list, he/she needs to be charging at least $100.00 per hour for their services. If they charge less, one or more of the following is true; they have a very small song library, their sound equipment sounds terrible at high volume levels (distorted), getting to your venue in a timely manner is questionable, or they do not have the ability to setup/operate the equipment properly.
Lighting is a minor matter. If the dj has at least (retail value) $1000.00+ worth of lighting gear, most people will be impressed with the lighting. As an example, amongst all of my disco lighting and effects, I have one lighting effect which only cost me about $300.00. This particular lighting effect is the one which brings me the most complements.
A dj can only play 15-18 songs per hour (3-4 minutes per song). A small song library isn't important if you plan each song to be played (with no requests). That being said, a top 40, 3 hour dance would cost about $125.00 in music if the dj purchased all of the songs from iTunes just for your event. The problem arises when (with no disrespect to the party planner) many of the guests in attendance do not share the same exact music tastes. A great dj must be able to take requests and make good on many of the requests in order for the event to be enjoyed by all. For this example then, the dj must have much more music than just the 3 hours worth of entertainment time.
To sum things up, the reasons that you hire a dj are for:
1. His/her music library
2. His/her expertise in knowing what to play and what NOT to play.
3. What to say and when to say it
4. Great sounding equipment
5. His/her appearance while performing.
Price should not be the motivating factor alone, even though the price can demonstrate what the dj has or doesn't have as far as equipment and music goes.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. A buyer should decide how long the event might last. About 1/3 of the events which I have dj'd end up going beyond the original contracted time. Some venues only allow you a certain limited amount of time. If you book such a venue, then the amount of time that you use a dj will generally be fixed. However, some venues are very generous with the amount of time that you get to setup, party, and then cleanup. Let's take a wedding reception as an example. Knowing when the bride and groom will show up is planned but rarely do they show up on time. I have done receptions where the bride and groom have shown up an hour later than expected. At another reception, I was asked to announce the bouquet toss. I did so, but it took 45 minutes for the bridal party to locate the bouquet. These two events ended up going past the dj entertainment contracted time because of the bridal party's desire to have enough time to dance and to get all of their desired announcements, etc. accomplished. You should budget in at least an additional hour of non-contract dj entertainment time for venues that give you a generous amount of time.
Do not stress out about the 'schedule of events.' It is important to plan, ahead of time, the specific things or events that you would like to take place. However, the dj or mc is the one who makes the unforeseen problems invisible to your guests. You must have a dj that can remain fluid and go with the flow when it comes to ensuring that all desired announcements, toasts, cake cutting, etc. happen.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I love to dance! My software allows me the freedom to interact with your guests and help to motivate them to dance. And because I like to dance, I know the difference between a great song to listen to and a great danceable party song and when to play each type of song. Whether it's a line dance, cha-cha, disco tune, classic rock, slow dance or waltz, I know how to integrate different song styles and genres together to the enjoyment of everyone at your event.
I show up early leaving me plenty of time to get setup and ready to play music before the contracted entertainment time begins.
Using my dj software, I can usually accommodate song requests immediately after the current song being played.
I bring plenty of backup equipment for unplanned situations where additional sound equipment is needed.
I am more than a DJ. I can assist you in making your song selections and help you to plan out your event schedule so that music and events complement each other. In short I do whatever it takes to keep your guests engaged and ensure that your event is the one that is remembered!
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Being the dj for a wedding, party or other event allows me to make one's special day even better. I like adding my own touch of music and personality to these special events.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Can I set up a time to meet you before I decide to hire you?
Certainly yes! I want you to feel comfortable with me djing your event. I also feel that it is important to plan out any special song requests in advance.
Do you require a contract and a deposit to book your services?
I require a signed contract and a deposit (half of the contract amount) in order to book/hold a date. The balance of the contract is due before I start playing music at the event.
How long does it take to set up your equipment?
20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the event and equipment involved.
How much is an extra hour if I want you to play music longer?
$125.00 per hour.
Do you have an event planning sheet?
Yes, it is downloadable on my website.
Do you have a wireless mic for making toasts and other special announcements?
Yes, it is part of my package.
Do you have a wireless lapel mic for the minister?
Yes, I always bring more equipment than originally planned for incase of last minute changes.
Can I plug an acoustic guitar into your system?
Can I plug an iphone or mp3 player in to your sound system?
Do you have a tux that you can wear?
Yes, simply specify that you want me wear a tux on the dj planning sheet.
How many outlets do you need?
I need at least 1 20 amp outlet for small venues. If you need a lot of sound and/or lighting, at least 2 additional outlets are needed. It is best not to have any other items plugged into the same circuit as the music equipment. GFI circuits are not recommended. Live sound equipment can sometimes trip GFI outlets unexpectedly.
Do you dj events outside?
All of my dj prices and quotes are for both indoor and outdoor events.