Tips & advice for hiring a great DJ.
You can’t host a great party without great music. This means hiring a DJ.
If this is the first time you’re hiring a DJ, you’ll realise that there is a lot to consider.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down everything you need to know for hiring a great DJ:
Let’s get started!
Choosing a DJ
When looking for a DJ, you’re more than likely going to have lots of options to choose from. The question is therefore how to find the “best” one for the job.
Here are a few things to consider when searching for a DJ:
What events do they specialise in?
Different DJs naturally specialise in different types of events. For example:
- Corporate events
- Retirement parties
- High school dances…
The list goes on and on. You’re going to want to find a DJ who caters to the type of event you’re hosting.
What style of music do they specialise in?
Although it’s less prominent than with bands, DJs often specialise in certain styles of music. We all have preferences.
If you’re looking for mainstream hits & the latest songs, you don’t need to worry about this too much. Most DJs provide that style of music.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a very specific style of music (swing music?), you’ll want to make sure it’s something the DJ can deliver on.
How long do you want the DJ to play for?
Do you want the DJ to play 4 or 5 hours? Or simply 2 hours after the band is done?
Make a clear schedule for your event and determine when you want the music to start and when you want the music to end. Then find a DJ who can cater to your needs!
Pro-tip: If you have speeches or other stage activities that require a “break” in the music, make sure you fit them in the planning too.
Does your band provide DJ services?
If you’re already hiring a band for your event, check to see whether or not they also provide DJ services. If they do, you’re done with your search!
As a bonus, it usually works out cheaper as you save on travel & set-up time.
Does the DJ service your area?
When looking at hiring a DJ, make sure that they service your area. There is no point contacting an array of service providers who simply don’t travel to where your event is. Most often this information will be on their website.
On the PartyWizz platform, entertainers and party service providers are automatically sorted based on who is available in your area for your specific date.
Vetting the quality of the DJ
Before you place a booking, you’ll want to vet the quality of the service you’re paying for. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Try to see them live
Seeing a DJ performing first-hand is always the best option. You’ll immediately tell whether or not you like their style of performance and if they’re suitable for your event.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.
Get a referral
The second best option is to get a referral from someone you know and trust. As a starting point, it’s as good as any.
Check for reviews and testimonials
Try to find third-party reviews and testimonials of the DJ.
At PartyWizz, you can find reviews on the profiles of all of our entertainers and party service providers.
If you aren’t based in Ireland, you can find reviews on Google and Facebook. Just be aware that these reviews can be faked. Read through them and make sure they feel authentic.
Check for a vetting system
Is the DJ part of a vetting system? Depending on where you live, this may or may not be possible.
For example, at PartyWizz we vet all of our entertainers and party service providers to make sure we only work with the best in the business. You can view all of our DJ partners on the platform.
Look at pictures & videos
This is a bit of a tricky one.
On the one hand, it makes sense to look at pictures and videos before making a booking. You can even reach out to ask for a sample of their work. Most DJ’s will be happy to provide you with one.
But on the other hand, it’s not very representative of what a DJ does. Pictures and videos can’t truly convey the true atmosphere of an event or party.
Questions to ask a DJ
Once you’ve found a DJ you’d like to work with, the easiest is usually to give them a ring or to send them a message. You’ll rarely find all the information you need online.
Here are a few questions to ask a DJ:
Are they available?
This is an obvious one to ask. Are they available on your required date?
If you’re placing your booking through PartyWizz, the platform will automatically indicate to you whether or not the DJ is provisionally available.
How long does it take for them to get set up?
Set-up time depends entirely on the DJ. Having a rough idea will allow you to incorporate the set-up a time into your event schedule.
As a rule of thumb, it usually takes about an hour for DJs to set up their sound and light equipment. For smaller set-ups (usually just sound) it might take only 30 minutes.
Are they familiar with the venue?
This isn’t a requirement, but it will make your life (and theirs) easier. Especially if the venue is hard to get to or if the venue requires specific equipment. For example, old buildings might have echoes or no lifts.
Pro-tip: If in doubt about the set-up, ask them to call or visit the venue ahead of time.
Does their equipment suit the venue size?
Great equipment doesn’t mean they’ll be great DJs. It’s more about checking whether or not their equipment suits the venue.
Too little equipment for too big a room is a problem but so is too much equipment for tiny rooms. You need to keep somewhere to dance!
Do you have any specific requirements?
If you have special requirements (for example if you want 2 x 1h sets) it’s worth chatting with the DJ directly about it. Some can be more flexible than others.
For example, do you need to use a mic for a speech at some point? Will it interrupt the flow of his/her set?
How long have they been performing professionally for?
More experience doesn’t automatically equate to a better service.
However, you still want to make sure that your DJ already has a good few shows under their belt before hiring them. It will just take the pressure off.
Who will be at the event?
Some DJ “companies” have multiple DJs. These are contractors who may only do the odd show for them.
This isn’t necessarily a problem. But it does mean that the pictures and the reviews you’ve seen might not apply to the person who will be performing at your event. It’s just something to keep in mind!
Booking a DJ
At this point, you already know who you’re going to hire. Now is the time to place the actual booking. Here are a few more things to consider:
How much does it cost to hire a DJ?
The average price of a DJ will depend entirely on where you live. In Ireland, according to Weddingsonline’s survey, the average price is 498.
At PartyWizz, we operate with price transparency. That means you can find the prices for all of our entertainers and service providers directly on their profiles.
Make sure you get a written contract or agreement
Once you’ve confirmed that you would like to hire them for your event, make sure you get a contract or a written agreement.
This contract/agreement should outline everything you’ve agreed on as well as what happens in case of force majeure.
When you place a booking through PartyWizz, the platform generates a two-sided agreement between the service provider and the entertainer.
Get in contact (again) a few days before the event
We always recommend that you get back in contact with all of your service providers and entertainers a few days before your event.
Most likely, the DJ you hired will be the one to get in contact with you. It’s an easy way to finalise any remaining details before your event kicks off.
Send your playlist to the DJ
The last step, and arguably the one that’s the most fun: make a playlist of your favourite songs and send it on to your DJ. It will give them a sense of what type of music you like and therefore what music they’ll play.
Don’t expect them to stick to the playlist. It’s more about the “feel” of it. The sad reality is that some songs, no matter how amazing, simply aren’t suitable for dancing.
That’s a wrap
For some general tips about hiring an entertainer, check out our kids, weddings and corporate blogs.
If you’re interested in hiring a DJ for an upcoming event, please check out the PartyWizz website.
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