Things to ask a DJ when making an enquiry.
I am 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 ……’. I am guilty myself. The reason is that we actually do not know what else to ask.
Here are a few suggestions of what to ask, inform, a DJ when enquiring. As with all my ‘lists’ this has been comprised by myself and are purely my opinions and is not conclusive.
Date and Venue
It is surprising how often I receive an enquiry where I have not been informed of the date or venue. The venue itself is not too important to me, however the date is a critical piece of information as I 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 I would be VERY WARY.
What the occasion is
I 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 myself. I like to know what the occasion is as I may have other services to compliment, which could work out very cost effective, and there are certain functions I do not take bookings for as I don’t feel I am the right person for the job – Kids Parties, Christenings etc
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. For myself my quote covers any function from 6pm till 1am, which covers 99% of my bookings. There are occasions where it may not be possible for me to DJ an event till 2am – quite often the next day I have a 7am start and it is not unusual for me to have an 18hour+ working day. If your event finished at 2am, takes say 1 hour to pack away and an hours drive, it would be dangerous, an unprofessional, for me to work on such little rest.
Whilst I am fortunate to be a full time DJ the timings are also very relevant if your DJ is part time. They may not get in from work till 6pm, or have an early start the next day so it is vital you inform them.
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.
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.
Who will be my actual DJ on the night ?
Many DJs work alone and 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 me 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. DJs who work alone offer a safer solution as you will book them and they will be your DJ.
What does your setup look like ?
Many DJs thrive on showing off their setup and latest gadgets, others (like myself) take more pride in their own abilities. To me the equipment I use are simply my working tools, although 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.
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.
What if the DJ falls ill ?
I hate talking about the negative side of things, but again it does happen. I spend a lot of my time travelling and networking with other DJs to help build up working relationships. I know that in the event of an emergency I would be able to find a suitable replacement. Added to this the contact number for 2 DJs I know very well and trust are given to close family members who know they can contact them if needed, together with access to my booking information. This has never been needed, and hope it never will, and is not something I like to think about, but should an emergency arise last minute help is on hand.
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.
This list is my own opinions, please feel free to share but if you could always credit me for this it will be much appreciated.