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DJ Hiring Tips
1. Price – The first question, (and sometimes the only question) a customer asks is, “How much does a DJ cost”? Actually this should be the last question.
For example; If you are planning a wedding reception you should never risk having an awful reception to save a few hundred dollars. While many couples focus on catering, decorations and apparel, they overlook the importance of an experienced, professional DJ. In this business you really do get what you pay for and your choice of DJ can make or break your event. Allowing a relative or a friend of a friend to use your special occasion to experiment with their DJ skills is a mistake. A "Cheap DJ" may be the right choice if the wedding photography will be captured on a disposable camera, the reception is being held in the family garage and friends and relatives provide the catering. NEVER select your DJ based on the lowest price. QUALITY is not expensive, it's PRICELESS!
2. Availability – This should be the first question to ask your DJ. Keep in mind that there will probably be many other events occurring on the date you choose, and the best DJ’s will be in highest demand. If your choice of DJ is not available for the date and time that you need, then you can save a lot of time and move on to the next candidate. When scheduling your DJ you should allow as much time for scheduling as possible to ensure availability.
3. Professional Vs. Non-Professional – A professional is a person who is exclusively trained, experienced and devoted to a chosen profession or occupation.
The IDJA offers a DJ certification program to help you distinguish between quality and the non-professionals. Hiring a DJ based on the lowest price is where the mistake lies.
If you realize the importance of your master of ceremonies, music selection, quality sound equipment, and the professional appearance an experienced DJ will add to your event, you will want to demand an IDJA Disc Jockey. Ask your DJ if they are a member of the IDJA.
An IDJA Certified DJ tells you that we have done the screening process for you and that our certified DJs are the in the top 1% of all DJs in the state.
4. Contract Vs. Verbal Agreement – This is an important factor that usually sets the professional apart from the non-professionals. ALWAYS have a written contract for services with your DJ (or any vendor) stating the exact date, time and location of your event to ensure that your DJ will show up and be ready to perform on time at the right location. Other details should be stated and agreed upon in writing, as well to avoid miscommunication or misunderstandings associated with your event plans. A written contract is a legal and binding agreement for both parties to guarantee the event to be performed. A verbal agreement allows the amateur to back out of the agreement under the terms of a misunderstanding or miscommunication. In most cases the "Cheap DJ" forgets, never shows up or remembers at the last moment when they have made other plans. A professional never forgets and by using a written contract shows their serious intent to perform as you are expecting.
5. Professional Appearance - If you are not sure if you’ve hired a professional or amateur you will know for sure at your event. A professional DJ should always perform a wedding reception in tuxedo apparel or a formal suit with jacket and tie, unless otherwise instructed by YOU. Weddings are almost always a formal occasion and tuxedo apparel is basically a must. If you are lucky, the amateur may wear a necktie with his blue jeans. As a rule for all formal events, the DJ should be dressed equal to or better than the guests in attendance.
The professional DJ will be neatly groomed and project a professional personality to you and your guests (after all, your DJ is a reflection of your choice). The professional DJ should not smoke or consume alcohol during their performance time (he /she should not permeate the odor of such either). Stepping outside for either is not acceptable. A professional DJ is polite to you and your guests. They should be professional in their public address and avoid telling bad jokes, using foul language or playing any inappropriate music that may be offensive to some guests. The non-professional is there for only one reason and that is to get paid. This DJ's attention is on that one factor rather than on you and your guests as it should be. This factor will be seen when it is too late and you are living this nightmare. Ask questions and choose wisely!
6. Scheduling – As stated previously, your first question should ask of the DJ’s availability. Scheduling a professional DJ should take place 6-12 months prior to your event. Professional DJ’s with experience will be scheduled many months, sometimes a few years in advance. Just like a quality banquet facility, quality DJ’s are reserved quickly. Although professional DJ companies may be able to schedule more than one event per day, don’t hesitate too long as key dates fill up quickly. In addition, many other events such as weddings, school functions (proms or other dances), corporate events, reunions, anniversaries and birthday parties will also be competing for the quality DJ's. As soon as you know that you want to hire a DJ and you have set the date, time and location of your event, call and schedule your DJ!
7. Check References – Always ask for references and make sure that they are current and congruent to your event. Schools or corporate events do not serve as good references for a wedding reception as these events require different personalities, and levels of professionalism as well as choice of music. An experienced professional is quite capable of performing each event well, but make sure that your DJ is experienced in your particular event. Ask the banquet manager or owner of the facility where your event is being held if they have ever heard of your DJ or if they might have a few suggestions for you if you are undecided. Most facilities are familiar with the real professionals in your area and can serve as a good reference for you. In most cases you will hear the names of one or two quality DJ’s come up several times when asking for suggestions. Your best resource for professional DJ's is the Indiana Disc Jockey Association.
8. Professional Equipment – A professional DJ will use quality, professional equipment. Home stereo equipment is not designed for heavy-duty use due to the constant transportation and increased range of variables such as temperature, humidity and dust it will be subjected to. Professional equipment is designed to withstand this type of use as well as providing the necessary power for larger venues. Professional equipment is a must. It is far more durable than home stereo equipment and less likely to break down unexpectedly or suffer malfunctions. A Professional DJ also will be prepared with back-up equipment in the event of an unexpected breakdown. Be sure to inquire about equipment that will be used at your event.
9. Music Library – Another frequently asked question is, “What kind of music do you play?” A professional DJ will have a wide range of music covering all types and generations. A specialty DJ may focus on one type of music such as Techno or R&B if they perform in that type of atmosphere or they may specialize in oldies if they perform for car shows or sock hops. A professional DJ will encounter all types and generations of music requests and should be prepared for such. When choosing your DJ ask about the types of music that they have in their library. You may want to inquire about specific titles or artists that you will want played at your event.
10. Insurance – Ask your DJ if they are insured for liability and request a copy of their current insurance binder. This is another attribute of professionalism. DJs that are serious about their business as well as concern for their customers will be fully insured for liability to cover any potential damage or harm resulting from any incidental or accidental occurrences. With or without personal liability insurance a DJ shows how serious they take the matter of personal responsibility. An uninsured DJ may leave you paying for damages or accidental injuries resulting from their negligence. All IDJA Certified DJs are INSURED!
11. Event Planning – To ensure that your wishes are fulfilled at your event, many DJ's offer their customers an event planner. The event planner is a useful tool that provides your DJ with the details of your event insuring that his/her performance is professional, well organized and coincides with your plans. Ask your prospective DJ if they provide this service.
12. Professional Affiliation - When selecting a potential DJ, inquire with them to find out if they belong to any professional associations or organizations such as the Indiana Disc Jockey Association. Their affiliation is another measure of their commitment to their personal business, their customers and the industry which serves them. Checking these and other credentials will help to insure that you are working with one of the best professionals in the business. It will help alleviate potential nightmares at your special event, especially the most common catastrophes that often occur when choosing a DJ is based on the lowest price.
DJ Hiring FAQs
Why Should I Hire A DJ Through The IDJA?
We are the official DJ association for the State Of Indiana. We work directly with many DJs throughout the state in all counties and regions, as well as neighboring states. We set a standard of performance guidelines to help insure that our members are qualified professionals. We have business and contact information for our members available on this site to help you find the right DJ for your specific needs. You will be able to write a review for your DJ and contribute to their rating.
What Is The Difference Between A Certified DJ and Others?
Certified DJs are the Top 1% of Indiana Disc Jockeys. They adhere to the highest standard of professionalism among all DJs in Indiana. They maintain a 10 Star rating with this association, are fully insured for liability, work exclusively with a written contract to insure their integrity, have no complaints on file with the IDJA and they are active members promoting the advancement of their profession.
What Are The Advantages Of Choosing A Certified DJ?
A certified DJ brings the highest standards of performance in the industry.
These DJs have educated themselves through various workshops, seminars, conventions and training courses Certified DJs have met the requirement of three years minimum experience, so they are qualified professionals that have knowledge of their profession. Most certified DJs have much more than three years experience.
Other DJs may work with a contract or be experienced professionals, but choose to work by their own standards without accountability. We highly recommend that you DEMAND an IDJA certified professional!
Can You Help Me Find Other Professional Vendors Such As Photographers Or Caterers?
Yes we can, but we only refer affiliate members of the IDJA.