Resident DJ, Recommended DJ or Independent DJ

Resident DJ, Recommended DJ or Independent DJ?

Most people likely do not realise that there are different ‘types’ of DJ you can book for your wedding, in fact it was a number of years after I started my business that I realised myself there were various opportunities. I have categorised this into 3 sections for ease – Resident, Recommended or Independent and have other blogs on choosing your DJ which may help too.

This blog has been constructed from my own experience over the years, surveys I have carried out as well as independent statistics. It in no way refers to any one DJ, venue or company and based on my own opinions from knowledge I have built up within my many years as a Wedding DJ

Many points in this are generalisations, there are exceptions to the rules!

I, like most DJs, fall into all 3 categories, however each booking received the same high standard of customer service and attention to details

Resident DJ

The resident DJ is the person the venue uses for weddings and also their own functions, quite often included within a hotel package – NEVER just accept this though if it is not what you want.

If you are looking for simply the easiest way to book a DJ, look no further. With a resident DJ you normally book, and pay, via the venue you are holding your wedding. The DJ will be paid through that venue.

Good points

  • The DJ will know the venue, layout, requirements etc.
  • If many weddings are held at the venue the DJ will be very confident about their service and abilities
  • One less bill – the price of the DJ will (normally) be included within your quote from your venue.
  • No researching, meeting and sourcing your DJ – the venue has one there for you.

Bad Points

  • There are not many resident DJs who will offer a high level of service. I have one residency and treat every booking the same way as independent bookings with the same high level of service. At a recent wedding fayre, I was next to a venue who said to brides ‘all we do is ask you to fill in some song requests’ – nothing personal at all, just write a few songs on a sheet of paper. I know of many where you even have to bring your first dance on a memory stick with you on the day
  • The DJ will literally get bookings handed over to them for minimal amount of work, hence sometimes they are just ‘not bothered’ about customer service – I am always amazed at how few Resident DJs attend wedding fayres etc at their venue and speak to brides.
  • You may not be getting what you are paying for. I know of local venues charging £400+ for their resident DJ, they keep a bit for ‘admin’ and pay an agency say £250 to supply a DJ, this agency will then pay a DJ £150 and being a low amount if this DJ gets a better offer will likely pay someone £100 or less to actually turn up on the night. You pay £400 for a sub £100 DJ. Only 40% of local venues surveyed will openly allow a non-resident DJ – I will leave you to decide why.
  • A lot of venues insist on you using their resident. My advice to couples is to ALWAYS walk away. Would you let the venue choose your cake, dress, photographer etc? No, well why let them insist on you using their DJ.
  • No DJ is suitable for EVERY wedding. Each wedding is different and sometimes the skills or knowledge of one particular DJ may not be what you require.

Recommended DJ

This is the DJ who a friend, other wedding supplier or venue will recommend to you.

If it is a friends recommendation, you are safe in the knowledge that they are recommending you someone good so it is a fairly safe bet. Likewise, another wedding supplier will only recommend someone they are confident with otherwise it reflects badly on them and their service.

For this blog I will concentrate on Venue Recommended DJs. A lot of the good and bad points are similar to those that apply to both resident and independent DJs

Good Points

  • They will have worked at the venue before, but will be working for YOU not the venue
  • People will not recommend (usually, see bad points) a sub-standard DJ
  • The booking will be similar to an independent booking, so you get the same attention to details the DJ gives to his own customers
  • You pay the DJ direct, your money is going straight to him and not any middle men, unless perhaps they have more than one DJ which they should make you aware of
  • You have a choice, the DJ is not enforced on you and you can easily disregard any recommended DJ is they are not your personal preference

Bad Points

  • Like with a resident DJ, often venues (and even sometimes suppliers) get paid from the DJ as a reward for recommending their service. Ensure you do not fall in to the trap of paying 3 or 4 people along the way then ending up with a much cheaper DJ on your evening.
  • A lot of people, and venues, will recommend partners or friends without any thought for their actual DJ abilities. This is very common and although you may not want to upset anyone, ensure your DJ is the type of DJ you want.
  • A lot of DJs pretend to be recommended and will advertise themselves as being recommended by various venues. Quite often at the end of the evening a DJ may give out a business card to the venue, who will out of politeness accept it, then assume the venue now recommend them. If you are looking at a DJ who says he is recommended by your venue it is always worth a quick phone call to your venue just to double check.

Independent DJ

This is the DJ who you have sourced via advertising, website, wedding fayre or perhaps from seeing them at a wedding you have attended. They will not be linked directly to your venue.

Good Points

  • An independent DJ will usually work really hard for you and aim to surpass your expectations. All responsibility falls on their shoulders and they need good reports and reputation in order to succeed
  • They will offer a more personal service. They don’t have any worries about going out of their way to please a venue or staff, their focus will be on you and what you want
  • The fee you pay will go straight to them, cutting out any middle men.
  • Appearance and equipment used is usually of a high standard as they rely on building a good reputation
  • They will be on hand throughout your preparations to answer any queries, meet up with you, or liase with the venue when required

Bad Points

  • It is difficult, unless you see them at a previous wedding you have attended, to truly find out about the service they provide.
  • All may not be what it seems – it is very cheap now to get, say, a brilliant website designed which may describe a DJ who seems fantastic, but when it comes to your evening it may all be misinterpreted. One way to help avoid this is to imply meet your DJ before booking so you can see for yourselves the sort of person they are. Videos are also a great way to research, however look at a whole nights worth of clips, not just 5 seconds throughout the whole night when they have people dancing.
  • Independent DJs generally cost more. Marketing for any business is expensive and being independent comes with many added costs – however if you find the perfect DJ it will be worth it.
  • Always worth checking how they treat their business. I have nothing against Part Time DJs (I was one myself for years) but if they look like they don’t take their business seriously chances are they won’t take your wedding seriously.
  • It is always worth checking how often they work – If your DJ only does the occasional disco once a month, are they going to show signs of ‘being a little rusty’?

The choice is yours and likely few people realise the differences. What is important though is that YOU hire who YOU LIKE to DJ for your fantastic wedding.

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