So you're searching for a DJ. You call several entertainment companies, get quotes, they all tell you what they do (or some just tell you what equipment they use), and you're left with a list that leads to more questions.
Why does this DJ cost $1500+, but this one only costs $150 (and everything in between)? What's the difference? Don't they all just show up and play music?
The simple answer to this is quality and value for the first question, and for the second question the answer is, "No." It's ok, we've run into these questions thousands of times, and we don't blame customers for not knowing what a good DJ should bring to your event. Most people have never shopped for a DJ before. Take couples getting married for example: 85% of couples are getting married for the first time, spending the most on one day than they've ever spent on anything (except for maybe a car or a house), and the only thing they know to think with is their pocket book. "How much do you charge?" is usually the first question we get asked 95% of the time.
So why wouldn't you want a DJ who will play all night, have great reviews & a great reputation, is reliable, knows how to smoothly run your night (the DJ will control the flow of your evening), looks nice (does their setup look clean, does the DJ look clean and dresses to your specification), and of course have a GREAT sound system? Talk about a rhetorical question! Of course you want this, so why not have this be the first question you ask a DJ? After all isn't this of highest importance?
Now as I have already mentioned; DJs will talk about their equipment. In fact, every DJ will talk about their equipment at some point. Chances are you don't know or care when it comes to knowing the technical specs of professional sound equipment, effect lighting, and whatever else goes on in the DJ booth. That's ok. This is why you pay for a professional. You're buying their knowledge & experience. In fact, knowledge & experience are the main things you buy with any service professional. They need to know what to use and, more importantly, how to use it. If the DJ can't convey their value past what equipment they are using then it's no different than putting someone in the pilot seat of a 747 who's never flown a plane before. The DJ has to have a value on their knowledge, talent, experience, professionalism, and poise. So this is one place where you should look directly at that quote that you're given, and use it as a way to know if the DJ you're looking at truly has any value. For example, if a DJ quotes you a price of only a few hundred bucks for a standard wedding package just walk away. They are telling you that they do not provide a decent value or true professionalism, and if they don't value themselves and their business how are they going to value you? Remember, there's always someone who will do it "cheaper", and seeing that the DJ is the vendor that makes or breaks your night this is not the area to cut corners.
So now you're looking at a reputable DJ company because you're looking in the right price range of what professional companies typically charge in your market. You may be wondering, "Why do they charge this?" It comes down to cost of business. A serious DJ company is not doing this "on the side". It's a passion, and they put time and effort into learning their craft. They invest in professional training, quality gear, a website that looks up-to-date, advertising, insurance, and more. They are properly prepared to handle your event the right way on the first try. Here's a good metaphor: If you had to buy a parachute would you rather buy from the guy that just does sewing as a "side job" and cuts corners in his materials, or would you rather buy from a company that invests in quality materials, quality workmanship, proper product testing, and a strong safety record? You may say this is an extreme comparison, but it's not. Just like a sky dive, your party/wedding/celebration is a one shot deal. If it doesn't work the first time it's a big mess. Your wedding/party/special event is not the place to "crash & burn".
Next, it comes down to reviews and personality. Check customer reviews on a DJ's website as well as third party sites such as "YouTube", "Wedding Wire", "Yelp", "Thumbtack", and more. Look at what the majority of their reviews say. If their reviews are 95% positive or higher, and they also take time to respond to negative reviews, then that is a reputable company. If they do not respond to negative reviews, and they have lots of bad reviews then that speaks for itself.
Lastly, you want to meet with your DJ, or, at the very least, have a phone consultation. Your DJ does a lot more than play music for you and your guests to dance to, and if "managing a playlist" is all they say they do then that's another sign to move on. Your DJ will be interacting with your guests, facilitating events on your timeline, emceeing, and working with your other vendors. If your DJ seems to have a bad attitude or a personality conflict with you then don't feel bad saying that you don't think it's going to work out, and if they try to offer a lower price to compensate for this don't fall for it. It's not worth it.
The best thing you can do is pick a DJ based on value, quality, and compatibility. You may think that finding a cheap DJ means you're getting great value, but when that cheap DJ skips your gig because someone else offered them $50 more and makes off with your deposit too you won't think they're much of a value anymore. Meanwhile, when you look in the price range of more serious providers you have to weigh the value you feel you're receiving. For more help with your wedding planning check out our article on what your wedding budget should look like, and why price should be the last question to ask a DJ. Thanks again for reading, and if you want to set your night on fire give us a call at 920-403-0827 or Contact Us here through our website.
SoundFire DJ is a leading professional in DJ entertainment here in Northeast Wisconsin.