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  • Writer's pictureNina Roach

What Questions to Ask When Booking DJ Services


Questions to ask when booking DJ services

Hiring a DJ for any occasion is an important part of event planning.  The right DJ can turn an average gathering into an unforgettable party.  Our goal is to help our readers make an informed decision when entrusting a DJ with the entertainment for their event.  The following article will cover the top 10 questions to ask when booking DJ services along with why these questions matter.


The Importance of Choosing the Right DJ



Importance of choosing right DJ

One of the most common mistakes people make is waiting too long before hiring a DJ; it is not something to leave for the last minute!  DJs help to set the tone and atmosphere of the event in question and ensure that guests are at ease and can enjoy themselves.  It’s an important job and one that should be carried out by someone who has been selected carefully.


Often, people assume that every DJ is the same and therefore, they all offer the same services.  This is not the case.  Every DJ is unique and will bring this same quality to their events.  This makes it important to carefully vet any potential DJ.  How can this be done?  By asking the following questions!  (Be sure to write down or keep track of their responses in another preferred manner to look back on in the future.  You’ll need these notes to look back on).


Top 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring A DJ


1.  What is your experience with events like mine?


Hiring DJ services for a business party is not the same thing as hiring a DJ for a formal wedding.  While the music may coincidently be similar depending on the couple, the setting is completely different and requires different tact.


Ask whether or not they have done events similar to yours before.  Include factors like setting, event theme, playlist request, guest size, and age range of attendees to evaluate if they align with what your event will ask of them.


The company should have questions for you too! For example, when working with Utah Jive, we ask that you specify the energy level you wish to see in the DJ.  You may also offer any additional details you desire.  The more information we have, the better!  This will keep our vision for the event consistent with yours to provide you with your ideal outcome.


2.  Can you provide references or testimonials?


You’ve most likely been asked to show past work experience at one point or another.  Similarly, when you’re looking to hire a company, it is encouraged to request information about their past experiences.


However, many businesses won’t provide the personal contact information of past clients due to privacy reasons. Instead, most of them have customer testimonials featured on their websites.  This way, potential customers can see what has been said about the services and the DJs without invading anyone's privacy.


3.  What is your music library like, and can we customize our playlist?


It’s common knowledge that every individual has a personal preference for music.  However, some music may be more appropriate depending on the circumstances.  It should be confirmed that the DJ has a wide selection of music that suits the event!


With Utah Jive, you will have access to the planning forms.  These are especially helpful when organizing a wedding celebration. The forms will take you through the traditional process of a wedding ceremony and reception, or just a reception if that’s what you prefer.  You have the freedom to choose which traditions you will have and which ones you’d rather omit.


The planning forms also include what kind of music you do and do not want played, and what you expect from your DJ throughout the event.  By asking the right questions beforehand and voicing preferences now, we limit the odds of possible miscommunication later.  Be as honest and transparent as possible at this time!


Your DJ will also contact you two weeks before the event to review the details; from everything the DJ will need leading up to the event to which songs you want to be played.  This ensures that you and the DJ are on the same page while keeping the details fresh in the DJ’s mind.


4.  Do you offer a written contract?


Having a formal written agreement protects both parties and should be a common practice at this point.  This contract should cover all elements of the business agreement including the pricing, event details and schedule, services provided, payment information, technical requirements, liability and insurance, and cancellation policies.

 

It is important to review all of the details of the contract at booking.  If there are any questions or concerns, this is the time to voice them.


5.  What equipment do you use, and do you have backups?


No one wants bad sound quality or one bad technical issue to bring an end to the celebration early.  Ask about the equipment that is used to ensure it offers high-quality sound. 


Then, ask what happens in case of technical issues.  Has this ever happened to them before and did they learn from the experience?  Are they properly prepared with backup equipment?  It’s okay to ask about worst-case scenarios and to see how they respond to such dilemmas.


6.  How do you handle song requests from guests?


Ask about the process for submitting requests or customizing the playlist.  Can this be done on the spot and if so, how is it done?  Is it a matter of simply walking up to request a song or will requests need to be put in writing? Will there be a specific period when this is welcomed or will it be acceptable for the entirety of the event?


If there are many requests, how is a balance established in the music to keep the songs from being one-sided genre and tempo-wise?  Do they feel confident that regardless of the requests, they will be able to maintain a certain “flow” to the event?


7.  What is your setup and breakdown process?


You shouldn’t be expected to understand how the technology works.  However, DJs should feel comfortable explaining the logistics of their setup.  Depending on the process and venue, they may need to arrive earlier than they’re accustomed to so it is important to arrange this in advance.


Extra fees may be charged if additional labor is required throughout the setup. (Carrying heavy equipment up a flight of stairs or across long distances, etc).  Make sure to discuss this before the big day.


From experience, they should be able to give a time estimate for how long it will take to not only get everything set up but also for how long it will take to break down.  This is important for keeping the schedule on track without a hitch.


8. Do you provide any additional services?


DJ services are becoming more popular with each passing year.  For this reason, many providers wish to expand the services they offer.  When speaking to a potential DJ, ask if additional services are offered.   Every DJ service is different, so it is best not to assume that certain extra services are included in your package. 


In most cases, the DJ packages will include the speakers, lights (at minimum a T-Bar), a table (if needed), and the electronic equipment needed.  Typically, extra speakers are also provided for large groups or outdoor events.  There is also the possibility of having an extra system for a wedding ceremony or a relocation of the DJ between the ceremony and reception.


It is important to be on the same page as your chosen service provider and to know what is included in their basic DJ experience.  If you desire a service that isn’t offered by the main company themselves, they should be able to refer you to the proper people.  They have been doing this for quite some time and have made plenty of connections along the way!  It’s great to use this to your advantage.


9. What happens if you are unable to perform on the day of the event?


“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.  While this is usually sound advice, you shouldn't merely hope for the best during an important event.  Each company is different and their terms and conditions on the subject may vary.  


Utah Jive typically selects the DJ in charge of your event closer to the event date to avoid these last-minute issues.  This ensures that the DJ will remain available and provides ease of mind.  However, backup DJs that can fill in in case of sickness or any other emergency are also available. Regardless of the situation, we offer seamless coordination with the DJ through our manager to provide the service you expect and deserve.


10. How do you handle overtime or unexpected schedule changes?


As with the scenario above, unanticipated situations may cause the itinerary to change.  The setup and pack-down period is usually already included in the initial price offered.  However, it’s better to be safe than sorry; clarify policies on timing to avoid surprises.


At the same time, the rates and availability for extended hours can also be discussed.  If the overtime is due to technical difficulties or is attributed to the DJ, this would be a different matter. In this case, the circumstances should be clarified before the event.  This is why it’s important to be asking these questions in advance!


Making the Final Decision


If you have interviewed numerous DJs, assessing which one is the right one to book for your event may be difficult.  Comparing responses and trusting your instincts will get you further than you think.


Comparing Responses


Remember at the beginning of this article when we told you to keep track of the responses to each inquiry? This is why! While the managers at Utah Jive have the knowledge and experience to offer the best DJ for you the first time, we understand there may be other factors that were not initially discussed. 


We’re not saying that you must make a pro and con list for each potential DJ. (Although, that would be beneficial). Instead, go over your notes. Do you have any immediate reactions to them that make you know that a DJ wasn’t for you? Doing so doesn’t mean that they were a “bad” option. They aren’t the right option for you and that’s okay!


It’s also important to keep in mind which elements are considered non-negotiables. This should help you to narrow down your options. Factor in availability, price, and experience- you should be left with the one that will provide the best DJ services.


Trust Your Instincts


Trust your instincts and don’t settle for “any” DJ.  Choose the one that aligns with your vision, and is on your comfort level throughout the process. If you feel even a hint of uncertainty, discuss your feelings with the DJ.  They may be able to aid your nerves in a way that is not forceful, but rather understanding and sincere.  If they cannot accomplish this, that alone may be proof to look at another option.


At Utah Jive, we encourage you to check out our team of DJs.  Take your time and if one stands out to you, please, let us know!  Many of our DJs have not yet been assigned September events but this won’t be the case for long!


Once you've chosen your DJ, an initial call with the DJ can be arranged.  After this call, if you feel it may not be the right fit, another DJ can easily be assigned to you.  We want you to feel comfortable with your selection and we won’t rest until this is accomplished.  


Conclusion


We truly hope that these top 10 questions will provide you with confidence as you go into booking DJ services.  Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question when trying to find the right DJ for your event!


If, however, you’re still feeling a bit wary, don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable staff at Utah Jive!  We have a team of experienced DJs to augment any event you have in mind and would love to help!  Contact us by filling out the form or call us at 801-742-1662.  We can also be reached at info@utahjive.com for further inquiries.

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