The top 25 questions for when choosing your DJ

DJ

We want you to have a successful party and we are here to help you every step of the way when it comes to selecting the right entertainment for your event. To guide you, below are 25 of the most important questions to ask any DJ, and will help you accurately gauge the professionalism, reliability, and honesty of any DJ you are considering. We hope the answers to these will prove to you that If You Need a DJ is not only a professional service, but also a step ahead of the competition.

1. Do you offer a written contract?

When looking for a DJ to hire, you’ll find that not all of them have the same standards of professionalism. A written, legal contract is one of the first indicators of whether a DJ is professional and reliable. Furthermore, a contract establishes the DJ’s obligation to you, and outlines what is required for the DJ’s success. At If You Need a DJ, the first step to booking a great party is by us having an initial consultation with you, free of charge and under no obligation. Once your requirements are determined, you’ll be presented with a contract for our agreement and a quote to deliver that service.

2. Will you be the actual DJ at our event?

Often, the person you speak with and believe you have booked is not the person who will actually be the DJ at your party. This is a very common practice among many agencies. At If You Need a DJ, we feel that it is absolutely paramount that you have an opportunity to interview, in person, the specific DJ that you will be working with and determine whether you feel comfortable with them before any contracts are signed. Only in uncontrollable circumstances could your DJ be changed to another one of our experienced team, i.e. due to illness or injury. If that was to happen, you will be notified immediately and, if possible, given the opportunity to meet with one of our other professional and experienced DJs on our books to ensure you’re still comfortable with your booking.

3. May we meet with you in person before we sign a contract?

Absolutely. Many DJs attempt to conduct their interviews over the telephone and through email instead of meeting face-to-face with prospective clients. In our experience, there are two reasons a DJ would do this – either they don’t feel you are worth their time, or they have something to hide. Some DJs are very different in person than on the telephone and what is presented on their website, so you should insist on meeting them face-to-face so that you can judge for yourself whether they are a good match for you and your event. Your “gut” feeling is very important in selecting the right DJ, and it’s practically impossible to make this evaluation unless you are together in person. At If You Need a DJ, once an initial inquiry is made, we will get back to you as soon as possible to set up a meeting at a time convenient to you to discuss exactly what it is you’re looking for. This personal touch is essential to ensure we get to know you as a client and can work to meet your expectations. Once this step is completed, we will put together a competitive, no obligation quote for you within an agreed timeframe, covering everything we have agreed. The quote will include a full breakdown of costs and be presented alongside a contract including full terms and conditions of your booking.

4. How long will you hold our date for us?

When you contact a professional DJ, they should be willing to hold your date for you for a reasonable amount of time in order to give you a chance to meet with them. They should also give you ample time after your meeting to make a decision and give you time to interview other DJs. Some DJs will use pressure sales tactics to “hard close” you at your meeting, offering a special sale that ends that day, or claiming that another couple is meeting with them for the same date – attempting to pressure you to make a decision on the spot. Any DJ that uses these types of tactics is unprofessional and is most likely doing so in order to keep you from meeting other DJs (whom they know you’ll like more than you like them). We will never apply such tactics. Upon making an initial enquiry, we will get back to you as soon as possible with a quote or to set up a meeting at a time convenient for you to discuss exactly what it is you’re looking for. After that meeting, and within an agreed timeframe, we will provide you with a quote and a contract. We would then agree on a reasonable amount of time for us to hold the date open for you, after which it could only be booked upon availability and the return of a signed contract and agreed deposit. We will always be completely transparent on the availability of our DJs.

5. How long have you been a DJ and what experience do you have?

Whatever occasion you are looking to hire a DJ for, the success of the event is as important to us as it is to you. The last thing you want is a DJ who lacks experience and is unable to make a success of your party. All of our DJs have a vast amout of experience playing for all sorts of occasions over many years. If you haven’t done so already, please navigate to the Our DJs page for more specific information.

6. What makes you different from your competitors?

Any professional DJ will take pride in their work, and be able to answer this question honestly and communicate the things that make their services unique. Some DJs, however, will take this opportunity to “knock” their competition and say negative things about specific DJs or agencies. We consider this type of behavior unprofessional and is a poor reflection on them. We will not knock others, but we are confident that our passion for what we do, both musically and in providing a first class service, sets us apart from the competition.

7. Do you act as the “MC” and make all of the announcements?

Any professional DJ should be comfortable with making announcements on a microphone as it is a standard part of the job. Some DJs, however, are not comfortable with this, or at the other extreme, speak too much on the microphone. Our DJs, we believe, have the balance just right and will speak professionally when required to do so, and only when appropriate throughout the event.

8. What if something happens to your DJ and they can’t make it to the event?

Despite meticulous planning and preparation, accidents do happen. If the DJ is injured or otherwise unable to perform at your event as agreed in your contract, what is the backup plan? Most responsible professionals have some sort of backup strategy should this situation ever arise, but others do not. Others take this planning more seriously and reserve a specific DJ for every date, ensuring that backup is both available and prepared in case of an emergency. You need to feel comfortable that you will still have a prepared and professional DJ for your event, regardless of the circumstances, so the answer to this question is very important. Because we work as an established and trusted team, we always have a backup plan and ensure there is always someone else that’s available and suitable in case of an emergency. If possible, you will be given the opportunity to meet with the replacement prior to the event to ensure you’re still confident that the booking you have made with us is to your satisfaction.

9. Will we meet again before the event?

Just as some DJs will prefer not to meet you when you book them, others will prefer to conduct a “final meeting” in the weeks before your event over the telephone instead of in person. While having a face-to-face meeting for the final meeting is arguably less important than meeting personally for an initial interview, the DJ should still be willing to meet you in person for a second time, if that’s your preference. As we are committed to delivering a professional and personal service, we are more than happy to meet you however many times you need, either in person, over the telephone or via any other communication most suitable to you.

10. Can we visit you at a performance?

Unfortunately the answer to this question is “no.” We’re sure that you wouldn’t appreciate the DJ inviting prospective clients to your event to see him in action. A professional DJ should be willing to take a stand for his clients’ privacy and not offer this as a possibility. However, our DJs also do many public performances in bars and nightclubs, so please ask us if you want to see us play at one of those and we can give you details of where we’re playing. Whilst the music played and equipment used at these events would not be geared towards a private hire, you would be able to get an idea of the calibre of DJ we have available. Simply like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter for details of where we’re playing next.

11. How involved can we be in selecting music for our event?

This is an important question to ask, because some DJs prefer to control the majority of the playlist and supplement their choices with a small handful of your specific requests. Other DJs prefer to let the client choose the majority of the music, and then use their expertise to make it all work. The DJ should be accommodating of your music tastes, and you should feel comfortable with the DJ’s approach and the amount of involvement you’ll be able to have in choosing the music. We see this as entirely your choice as, quite simply, it’s your party. So, whether you pick the music, we pick the music, or we meet somewhere in the middle, it’s entirely up to you. We have put together a guide for you with some tips on how to pick some music for your event. We hope you find this useful.

12. Do you take requests from our guests?

Most DJs are happy to do so, and we will accommodate whenever possible, but you should also feel reasonably assured that any request we chose to play would not be something you didn’t like or would deem as inappropriate.

13. Can we submit a “Do Not Play” list?

Any professional DJ should be willing to honour your requests, including your request for certain songs and genres to not be used. Submitting a “Do Not Play” list will give a DJ a clear idea of your limits and your expectations for your requested song selection at your event.

14. What if you don’t have a song that I ask for?

Giving the DJ a request list in advance of the event will ensure that they have plenty of time to gather any music that is not already in their collection. If the request is made at the time of the event and it is not already in the huge collection of music already at the DJ’s disposal, many venues now have WiFi connections enabling our DJs to download anything on demand that they deem as suitable at the time. Apart from the obscure, we are confident that we will have most requests on the night, and will always accommodate when possible and where appropriate.

15. When do you arrive to set up for our event?

When dealing with sub-standard DJs, there are often issues with them not being punctual or failing to complete their set up well in advance of your guests’ arrival. Professional DJs will always arrive within plenty of time, giving themselves at least a full hour before their scheduled start time in order to have adequate time to set up and get organised. When requested, we are able to set up equipment earlier in the day and then return later for the start of the event, but this will only be agreed to when the safety of the equipment can be guaranteed by the venue.

16. What will you wear to our event?

It is important that the DJ’s “look” meets your expectations. All of our DJs will communicate with you to determine what is appropriate to wear for your event, but we will always be smart, professional and well presented.

17. What will you wear when you set up and break down your equipment?

This is something that is often overlooked, but can make a big difference. If your guests arrive early for the event or stay afterward, will they see the DJ in a sweaty t-shirt and shorts? Our DJs maintain appropriate appearance standards regardless of the situation, including when setting up and breaking down their equipment.

18. How much of a deposit is required to secure our date?

Almost every DJ will require some sort of deposit or retainer in order to secure your date. This is for their protection and yours. The industry standard for deposits is around 50%. Some DJs require far less, but this is not always a good idea. Depending on circumstances and requirements, which would be discussed during an initial consultation, the agreed deposit will be requested when the quote a delivered. This will need to be paid upon the signing of the contract in order to secure the event.

19. What is included in the cost of my event?

DJs use vastly different systems when pricing their services. Most DJs price their services a la carte, charging an hourly rate and adding charges for any additional equipment needed. Others choose to use a flat-rate pricing system and make their packages all-inclusive. You need to be clear about what a DJ is offering for the price they’ve quoted you, so you can compare their package to those of the other DJs you are interviewing. Clearly every event is different, so once your requirements are determined during the initial consultation, a full breakdown of the proposed costing will be explained in the quote provided.

20. How much would you charge for overtime?

Hopefully your DJ will do such a wonderful job at your event that, if allowed by the venue, you’d like to keep the night going and carry on dancing! Be sure that the DJ’s contract outlines a specific rate for additional time at the end of the night, whether it is a set price or a pro-rated amount based on the original price. We will charge per extra half an hour played, with the rate depending on the size of the event and the time you originally required us to play until. We’ll always be happy to continue playing until a time agreed with the person who’s signed the contract.

21. What do you require from us?

Every DJ will require a few things in order to be able to operate safely. The most common are adequate shelter, adequate space and electricity. Make sure that you understand exactly what the DJ needs from you so you can communicate those needs to your event venue.

22. Are you insured?

It is absolutely essential that any DJ you consider carries a full liability insurance policy. Some reception sites have even taken the step of requiring all vendors working at their facility to provide proof of insurance before the event. Liability insurance protects you and the reception site in the unlikely event that your DJ injures one of your guests or burns your reception site to the ground. That’s not happened to us yet, but to be on the safe side, all of our DJs have full Public Liability Insurance, full Employers Liability Insurance and full Products Liability Insurance, each providing cover up to £10 million. We are more than happy to provide you or any venue with a copy of our insurance certificate upon request.

23. Do you take any breaks?

One of the major advantages to using a DJ instead of a band is that a DJ does not need to take breaks, outside of using the restroom. All of our DJ’s assure you that there will be no break in the music at any point during the event unless requested by yourselves or the venue.

24. What kind of equipment do you use?

Any DJ you consider should be proud of their sound system, and should be using professional-grade equipment. Most DJs understand that you are very unlikely to have a working knowledge of professional DJ equipment, but should be able to describe their sound system to you. You should not hear very many “home audio” brands in what they describe – the top brands for DJ equipment are Pioneer, Native Instruments, Traktor, Serato, FCL, Mackie and Shure. We have invested heavily in state of the art, powerful and reliable equipment.

25. Do you set up a sign or banner with your equipment?

Shameless self-promotion sometimes rears its ugly head at events in the form of a sign or banner advertising the DJ’s company name and contact information. These items inevitably find their way into your pictures and video, and ruin what is an otherwise commercial-free event. This practice is disrespectful and completely unprofessional, and we believe that any DJ that does this should never be hired for an event. We will never do this, but will always carry business cards should anyone request our contact details.