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20 questions you should ask a DJ, before you hire one.

Article by John Rzasa

1. How many weddings or events (like yours) has the DJ actually done?
An experienced pro DJ, will have done 30, 40 or more successful events each year they've been in business. If they're a Wedding DJ, then the bulk of those events should be weddings.
2. Has the DJ performed at your venue before?
While not imperative, it's reassuring to know the DJ has performed in the room you're considering. It's helpful if the DJ knows the floor plan, the traffic patterns and the DJ may have an established working relationship with the venue.
3. Does the DJ provide references?
References are an important part of hiring any vendor. A pro DJ will be proud to offer you several references for you to check.
4. Does the DJ have proof of insurance?
Insurance is a must, and many wedding reception locations will insist that all your vendors provide proof of adequate insurance coverage.
5. Is a deposit required to hold your date?
A deposit is the professionally accepted method of securing your date and DJ. A deposit gives you and your DJ a firm sense of professional trust, commitment and well being.
6. When is the balance due?
Varies. Some DJs expect 1/3 deposit, 1/3 a month before the event and 1/3 when the event is finished. Others expect a smaller deposit with the balance paid in full before the event.
7. Is there a charge for over-time?
Varies. It's fair for the DJ to ask for over-time pay if the amount of over-time is significant. You'd be disappointed if your guests were having a great time at your wedding reception and found at the last minute that the DJ can't or won't stay for an extra hour. Find out ahead if the DJ is available for over-time.
8. Does the DJ offer extra options? (multiple DJs, event assistants, extra mics, lights, prizes).
This is important for big or complex events and wedding receptions. These days, it's common for brides and grooms to want two or more sound systems, amplifying of vows, up lighting, dance floor washes and other options. If your DJ can't provide these services, you may have to find the services through another vendor. Getting everything through one DJ service is less stressful and generally more economical.
9. Does the DJ network with other vendors? (photographers, musicians, officiates, etc).
A DJ with a network of other vendors can save the day, if your photographer or soloist cancels. Plus getting extra services through one vendor saves time and is more convenient.
10. Does the DJ Service belong to a professional organization?
A pro DJ is usually a member of at least one or two local and national industry groups. Through their membership the DJ gets valuable info on the latest trends in style and music. With membership they often get discounts on top notch equipment, lighting and even health insurance.
11. Does the DJ have back up equipment for your event?
Very important. It's rare, but electronics can fail and when a CD player, microphone or cable fails, the DJ needs to have a replacement unit on site.
12. Does the DJ offer unlimited phone and email planning?
A pro DJ will not only meet with you in person one or two times, but will make themselves available by phone and email to discuss any detail relating to your event.
13. Does the DJ Service provide free Event Planning tools and resources?
A pro DJ will have worksheets, articles, tip sheets and music suggestions that you can use to plan and organize your event. If the tools are online, then you can use them from the comfort of your home or office.
14. Can you choose some or all of your own music?
Pro DJs have massive music libraries for you to choose from and will gladly allow you to contribute your own music on CD or through mp3s. Contributing your own music should never be a problem.
15. Is there more than one DJ to choose from?
Some DJs are single operators and the DJ you meet is the DJ you get. Other DJ services may have several performers for you to choose from.
16. Can you meet your specific DJ?
You should insist on meeting your DJ. If the service has more than one DJ available on your date, then ask to meet two or three. The DJ you choose doesn't have to be your new best friend, but you should feel comfortable and at ease with your DJ.
17. How will the DJ be dressed?
A pro DJ will dress the way you want them too. If you require a tux, three piece suit, jacket and tie or a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops, the DJ should willingly accommodate you.
18. Does the DJ take any breaks?
Laws and customs vary, however common sense should prevail. For a four or five hour wedding reception, a pro DJ will not take any breaks and your service should be uninterrupted. For a seven hour event, the DJ may require a thirty-minute break or add a second DJ or assistant.
19. Do you have to feed and tip your DJ?
A pro DJ does not eat when they are working. A meal is a nice gesture, but you should not feel as though you have to provide one. No DJ should ever drink alcohol before or during an event. Tipping is a very nice way to let the DJ know they did a great job. Tip only if you feel the DJ provided outstanding service throughout the entire process.
20. Is the DJ a full-time or part-time DJ?
A pro DJ is usually a full-time DJ, with no other employment obligations to get in the way of meetings, phone calls or any unexpected issues you may need to have handled.
21. Why should you choose this DJ Service over another?
Listen carefully to the answer to this question. A pro DJ will respond with a few brief and reassuring benefits as to why you should hire his or her company. See our Wedding Planning Process.

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