The DJ is one of the very few vendors who can truly make or break your event. If your DJ is great, the dance floor will be packed and your event will be remembered as the most awesome party ever. But a terrible DJ could commit any number of sins including playing awful music, boring your guests to tears, being awkward or embarrassing, or the worst: be offensive. So before you sign a contract with a DJ, make sure you’ve asked him or her these important questions:
- Do you have a written contract?
As with the rest of your vendors, do NOT proceed without a written contract. If they won’t provide one, it’s time to look elsewhere.
- Can we meet the person who will be actually working my event before we sign a contract? If you’re working with a DJ company who employs several different DJs, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re comfortable with the actual person who’ll be at your event. Do they seem cool, fun, and also respectful? Are they listening to the questions you’re asking, and giving you thoughtful responses? Do they seem like someone you could have a fun time with?
- Will you work with my playlist AND my do not play list?
- DJs love to have autonomy and play whatever they want to. But since it’s your event, you should get to have input about what gets played and what doesn’t. If you have some “deal breaker” songs, be sure to share them with your potential DJ and make sure he or she understands your wishes.
- Will your equipment allow you to mix one song into another so that there are no breaks in between songs?
One of the top reasons to hire a DJ rather than just using an iPod is that they should be able to provide a seamless flow of music. If they can’t, it’s time to look elsewhere.
- Will you take breaks? If so, what happens during the breaks?
Again, unlike a band or an iPod, a DJ should be able to have a seamless flow of music with no breaks.
- Will you take requests during the event?
Some DJs love requests, while others don’t like having to hunt for an obscure song or interrupting their playlist.
- How many events do you DJ each year? Will you have another event on the same day?
You’ll want to make sure there aren’t any possible scheduling conflicts as a result of having multiple events booked for the same day.
- Have you worked at our event site before?
If he or she already knows the setup and staff there, it can make things more seamless on the day of the event. It’s not necessary, but it’s nice to have that reassurance that your DJ is familiar with the layout and setup.
- What sort of equipment do you use? Do your prices include the sound system, speakers, and wireless microphone.
You’ll want to make sure he or she has the necessary equipment required to fill your event space with sound. Each of these extras can add up quickly. Your event space may already have them available, but it’s good to have backups in case of equipment failure.
- What do you do if nobody is dancing?
If for any reason your guests aren’t feeling the musical selections, how does the DJ handle it?
- How current is your music collection?
Does he or she have access to the newest music? Do you want the newest pop hit played at your reception or do you just want to stick to your old favorites?
- What if we really want to hear songs that aren’t in your music collection?
If for some reason the DJ doesn’t have some music or songs that you really love, will he be able to acquire it or is that not possible?
- Will you advertise your services to our guests? Will you be discrete?
Your event is a job, not a networking opportunity. You want to make sure the DJ you’re working with doesn’t seem sleazy or slimy, or like he’ll be looking for his next job while in the middle of working your event.
- What do you wear as an event DJ?
You’ll want to ensure that your DJ is dressed appropriately for the event.
- Can I see a video of you playing at an event?
Ask to see footage of your DJ working at an event so you can get a feel for his or her style, personality, and character.
If you ask these questions, you should have a pretty good idea if your DJ is someone you want to work with or not.