hearing some of the horror stories of Disc Jockeys
(DJs) who are boring, or a no-show for an event,
We decided it was time to offer some professional
advice on hiring a DJ.
are 30 essential questions to ask a potential DJ:
1. Are you available for our date &
2. Do you DJ full-time?
3. Will you personally be the DJ for our event?
4. How many years experience do you have?
5. Are you insured?
6. Can you supply me with proof liability?
7. May we call your references?
8. May we plan to come and see you perform?
9. Will you help plan our event?
10. Do you provide a wedding reception agenda?
11. Do you also act as the Master of Ceremonies
for the event?
12. How many consultations do you provide in your
13. Can you come to my home or business to go over
the entertainment agenda?
14. Do you take breaks, how many, and for how long?
15. Are we required to provide you with anything
special? (ex. Dinner / Drink)
16. Are you a member any professional organizations,
or trade groups?
17. What time do you arrive to setup your equipment?
18. What will you need provided for setup, and how
much room is required?
19. Will you be suitably dressed for our occasion?
20. How many songs do you have in your library?
21. Will you play requests and discuss the music
ahead of time?
22. Do you provide cocktail/ dinner music?
23. Do you provide a wireless mic for speeches?
24. Do you use professional equipment?
25. Do you bring backup equipment with you?
26. Do you offer a lighting package, or special
effects for my event?
27. Are there any additional charges, for instance
for travel, or load in?
28. Do you have direct phone number, or e-mail,
29. Do you provide a written contract?
30. What type of deposit do you require to hold
the event date?
BONUS Question = What do you do for Signage or advertising
at my event?
believe your DJ should meet all of the above criteria
and more. A career DJ has much more at stake when
it comes to providing professional service, full-time.
A DJ company with a solid reputation will not want
to send another DJ to represent them.
Once a DJ has gained experience and confidence,
being a Master of Ceremonies will come naturally
to them. Before getting in front of your guests
however, a couple of meeting will be necessary to
go over all the details in the wedding reception
agenda. It is common for the DJ to meet with you
in your home a few months before the wedding to
go over the agenda, and to call you at least a week
prior to the wedding. A good reception planner will
have all the details of the reception including
names of the bridal party; times of events happening
throughout the evening; type of music to play; and
all other details that will ensure the evening's
Many responsible business owners carry liability
insurance to protect their businesses and the consumer.
Many locations are beginning to require proof of
liability. Ask for proof of liability insurance.
Disc Jockey's receive a Certificate of Liability
which can be used as proof.
A versatile Disc Jockey is willing to listen to
your suggestions, give you feedback and play from
your desired song list. A professional Disc Jockey
will also accept the fact you may not want certain
songs played. A professional Disc Jockey cannot
know everything about your musical preferences and
entertainment needs without communication.
A professional Disc Jockey will assist you with
the planning of your special day. Most professional
entertainers will coordinate, emcee and provide
the music that you desire. Ask if they have experience
with your type of event.
To be sure your DJ will not be unloading and setting
up after your guests start to arrive, ensure they
will be there at least two hours before the event
is scheduled to begin. This gives time to setup
and test all equipment, and to replace any defective
cables or components. It is normal for a DJ to setup
the equipment in street clothes, then to change
to appropriate attire shortly before the reception
Music is very important at your wedding reception
- you have thought about the music you would like
and probably imagined the evening, as you would
like it to be. Should the DJ not have a sufficient
music library, you may find your guests aren't going
to be on the dance floor as much as you would have
like them to be. As a minimum, 5,000 songs is a
reasonable library for a professional, and 10,000
songs is a very good-sized music library.
Ask whether your prospective Disc Jockey works with
professional audio equipment. If you are not sure,
ask for their equipment list and check with a local
music dealer or the A.D.J.A. to verify they are
using professional-grade sound gear. Remember that
professional gear does not guarantee an entertainer's
talent or service level, but is simply a tool for
building an exceptional event. Although equipment
failure is rare, do you really want your special
occasion ruined because your Disc Jockey did not
come prepared? It is also important to know if your
Disc Jockey has a back-up plan in case of illness
or an accident. Members of the A.D.J.A. have many
resources available to them in case of an emergency.
You may also reach our Hotline number to get a Disc
Jockey when you have an emergency. The toll-free
number is 888-723-5776.
Although belonging to an organization or trade group
does not guarantee the talent or professionalism
of a disc jockey, it may indicate the companies
willingness to network, learn and grow. Disc jockeys
can learn through local chapter meetings, national
DJ conventions and seminars geared toward the entertainment
Punctuality is a necessity. Most
Disc Jockey's arrive at least one hour prior to
the start time you've given them. Your entertainer
should ideally be setup and in-place before your
first guest walks through the door. Specify the
type of apparel that your Disc Jockey is expected
to wear for your occasion. Formal attire or coat
& tie are the most popular forms of attire.
If you are having a "themed" event, make
sure your entertainer is informed.
As the guests begin to arrive and as they enjoy
their meals it is nice to have dinner music playing.
DJ packages generally include at least one hour
of dinner (or cocktail) music. At this time, it
is customary for persons seated at the head table
to make speeches or to offer advice or good wishes
to the new couple. For this, a wireless microphone
is a necessity. A wireless microphone enables everyone
to be more relaxed and comfortable, as they do not
have to stand up and go to the front of the room.
And maybe an elderly or handicapped guest may have
something to say - a wireless microphone reaches
places a standard microphone cannot.
After you have determined that a DJ has the right
music, to ensure your guests are going to be up
on the dance floor you may want to have some effects
lighting. Basic lighting is generally included in
any entertainment package.
It is extremely important to have your booking confirmed
in writing. Ask for a written agreement,
especially if you are paying an initial retainer.
The standard initial payment for entertainment services
is 25%. If you are expecting a specific entertainer,
make sure you get it in writing as well.
Disc Jockey rates vary based on talent,
experience, emcee ability, service, coordination,
equipment needed, music knowledge, mixing ability
and personality. Rates for the DJ industry
vary greatly, ranging from $350.00 to $3,500.00
with an average of $1,000.00 for a 4 hour
booking. The best price is not always the
best deal, especially if you are planning a wedding.
As a matter of fact, surveys conclude that nearly
100% of brides would have spent more money on their
entertainment and made it their #1 priority in hindsight.
A full-service disc jockey company will
normally invest 12 to 30 hours to your
special event but it may appear that you are only
paying for "4 hours". Consultations, music
purchasing & editing, preparation, set-up and
tear-down, education and other business related
endeavors add up to the overall success of your
During the time that you book a DJ, you will need
to reach them. Knowing they are available full-time
without additional costs to you is comforting. A
direct telephone number, e-mail and other on-line
services such as a website will enable you to send
them questions or information anytime - day or night.
A well designed website may provide extra benefits
such as on-line planners, pricing or upgrade information.
It is a good place to begin looking for the right
but not least, remember you get what you pay for!