Some tips for booking a DJ
It's true say that in this day and age everyone thinks they can DJ and to a degree they can. The software like Virtual DJ which we use has features like automix, which are included for beginners, allowing the DJ to nip to the loo and incase you just fancy using it at home to pop on a playlist - however this also means that anyone savvy with a laptop can just instal a free version of this program (which BTW is not legal for performances) and set up a list of songs without any real skill and get a pretty seamless playout.
This is not what DJing is about and this is exactly the kind of person who you should be avoiding when looking for your DJ. Why you ask?
Chances are these people lack the real technical proficiency to put on a real performance as being a real DJ starts a long time before you ever press play at a party. Imagine if something goes wrong and all you actually know is which wire goes where rather than actually knowing what each part of your rig is there for, what it does and how to get around it. You also have the risk of music being played to loudly, or with poor quality which again can easily spoil the party mood.
Good DJs build redundancy into their rigs, so if one system stops there is another to fall back on. The DJ who rocks up with just one laptop is risking the success of your party on that one piece of equipment working correctly and let me tell you, I've had times where Windows decides to update and takes a computer out for hours or a PC wont boot up as its been knocked in transport and something has come loose.
We also have a huge amount of scamming going on these days and you should always be on your guard. Companies pop up, offer great deals or prices to get deposits in and early payments then simply disappear or claim to have gone out of business and there is pretty much nothing you can do. Worse still is turning up on the night of your party to find no DJ or supplier.
It's actually really simple to avoid this, firstly if a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is, however a quick facebook search for the company especially in the many scammers groups will give you a bit extra peace of mind.
Another red flag is having a look about on google and other social media. its ok being a good DJ but a poor businessman and having your business go under because you never got the work in or invested badly.
A well ran business will have a good Facebook Page, Website, Domain Email, Signed up with directories etc. Why? Firstly because it costs nothing but time and effort, as your business costs are mostly deducted from your tax (if you pay it of course which many won't be). Beware of the stock photo as well, if your a good DJ you must have some decent photos from your gigs! We're not even talking professional stuff, just an indication of what your DJ rig looks like, can you fill a dance floor and how do you get on with the clients. It takes less than a minute to see if a DJs page is given any love and if not, why not?
So onto the list. If I was looking for a DJ I look at the following:
Do they look professional (image, logo, equipment, website etc.)
Are there prices sensible, ie do you think they can maintain a healthy business at those rates
Are they specialists in everything - are they claiming to be something they are not
Have they been recommended - make sure its a client and not a friend (friends say anything), better still another DJ
Do they have experience in the type of event your planning
Are they operating legally (insured, HMRC registered, legal music acquisition)
Do they have honest client reviews (do a bit of research and perhaps speak to one)
Do they seem to have regular work and updates to prove
Do they have processes in place and visible terms and conditions.
If you can't see evidence, don't be afraid to ask, a good DJ and businessman will love to chat about what they can do for you. The good news is there are a load of really good DJs operating in our area. Many I recommend myself on a regular basis and who in turn send clients my way. Good relationships are healthy and if a bit of networking can save a client time looking around and get them introduced to a safe business we all win. Sadly we also see and hear of lots of people who do get let down, normally because they chose the cheapest option available or didn't do a bit of background checking.