Moving into the end of the 2014 and heading on into 2015 we are finalizing our corporate holiday parties, wedding season has ended and we have helped countless clients with the aid of hiring their first DJ. So we figured it was time to write a blog post about what goes into hiring a DJ, what you should look for and the common misconceptions about DJs. We give you the step by step guide to hire a DJ.

  1. Type of DJ. The first step to hiring a DJ is to make sure that you are looking at DJs that play the proper format. Some DJs only play certain styles of music. For example, electronic dance music DJs strictly focus on that particular genre or sound. The general run of the mill open format DJ is a type of DJ that is versatile and can play many genres of music and can please many different age demographics. If you are hosting a wedding, it would be wise to make sure that the DJ has experience in doing weddings so you don’t hire a DJ that is not experienced in this format. Weddings can be very different from playing bars, nightclubs or even corporate events. SGM Events offers numerous types of mobile disc jockeys, inquire today so we can help you hire a DJ for your next event.
  2. Experience. Step two to hiring your first DJ is making sure the DJ that you hire is a professional. Often times we hear stories of DJs that are related to a family member or is a family friend, but do not have any actual real time experience in the field. Experience helps with their professionalism and personality which are both key elements in your DJ selection. Experience will help the DJ determine what to do if something goes wrong, or will assist with song selection, knowing when to play the right songs, crowd control and creating the overall vibe for the event.
  3. Read the Reviews. If you weren’t referred by someone you know, make sure to read the reviews. Sites like Yelp, Wedding Wire, Event Wire and The Knot can help with this. Reading reviews from actual buyers will give you some fair warning as to whether you should hire this DJ or not. As they say, we live in the age of recommendation and when it comes to hiring a DJ, recommendations are always key! We offer testimonials on all of our entertainers so you can read up on the feedback that some of our past clients have had to say.
  4. Initiate Contact. The next step to hire a DJ is to get in touch with the DJ direct or if the DJ is represented by an agency to contact one of the agents. From here you can give them information about the event–make sure you are detailed in all of your responses. They usually will have a set of questions they will want answered. Remember, a DJ working on his own doesn’t have the protection of an agency so sometimes booking with an entertainment agency can save you headaches if something goes wrong.
  5. Equipment. The next step to hiring a DJ is to make sure they have the proper equipment. If it’s a club or bar setting, the equipment may already be there. But if this is a corporate event, private event or a wedding, most likely you will need a mobile setup. Mobile disc jockeys usually have their own equipment but be warned, sometimes this equipment can be limited by space and guest counts. If you have a large event, make sure to iron out the details with the DJ beforehand as you don’t want to get stuck with an additional bill from a sound rental company because the DJ could not provide the proper sound for your event.
  6. Phone/In Person Consultation. If you are shopping for a wedding DJ it is common to request a consultation. After you’ve determined a DJ that you like, you’ve spoken to the DJ or agent, and went over all of the event details it’s time to start talking about the DJ’s personality. If this was not a referral, make sure to ask for a phone consultation or an in person consultation if it’s a wedding. During the consultation make sure you get to know the DJ to make sure they are the correct fit for you. If it’s a wedding it’s best to meet in person, but due to destination weddings that may not always happen, so phone works as well.
  7. Price / Budget. After you’ve determined that you like the DJ you’ve selected to meet or talk to, it’s time to get into pricing. Having a working budget in mind from the beginning helps, especially if you are working with an agency that has numerous options. If you can tell the agent where you’d like to be they can pitch only the acts that are within your budget. Every DJ’s price is different and pricing is based on experience, demand, and overall reputation. If it seems overpriced to you, make sure you shop around.
  8. Contracts/Deposit. The next step to hire a DJ is to lock the date by securing a contract and a deposit. A 50% deposit is standard, do  not give a DJ a full payment up front especially one that you do not know. The contract and deposit should secure the date, the only time a DJ should not be able to perform is Force Majeure which should be standard in any performance agreement drafted by a lawyer. This is where working with an agency comes in handy. If something happens to the DJ out of his control due to Force Majeure, the agency can replace the DJ with a similar one, which is much better than losing the DJ and deposit as a whole and having to start over.
  9. Insurance Certificates. Need an insurance certificate for your venue? Most professional DJs carry event insurance. Or if you are working with an entertainment agency, the agency should carry the insurance for the DJs. It’s a small thing that often gets overlooked, but having a contract and deposit in place before determining if insurance is in place could lead to a cancellation on the DJ’s part which may lead to you losing money and having to start all over again. Make sure to get the insurance requirements set in place by the venue before contracting anything.
  10. Itinerary. An itinerary sent to all parties involved is something you will only get while working with a professional entertainment agency. Here at SGM Events we pride ourselves on having our support team and agents seamlessly organizing all of the information so the DJs can have this handy when it’s time for your event. Information like date, time, set times, setup time, music requests, dress code, equipment specifications, directions and specific locations can all play a huge factor in making an event successful. SGM Events agents will work with you or your event planner to make sure all the information is intact and will send out confirmations, a weekly schedule and a final event reminder to keep everyone on point.