If you’re looking for good questions to ask a DJ, make sure you include these:
Often, the only question (or the first question) a client asks a DJ is “How much do you charge?”
Although, this is a valid question, it shouldn’t be the only one or the deciding factor. There are many factors that influence price, and unless you’re having a back yard BBQ, your DJ will be an important part of your event. Of course, the DJ should have a written contract and be licensed.
What is your specialty?
Not every DJ is a good fit for every event. A club DJ might be great at beat-mixing, but that probably isn’t what your wedding guests are looking for. They may not be familiar with all the aspects of wedding planning or what music to play for a mixed crowd.
Do you have liability insurance?
Many venues require liability insurance, if your DJ doesn’t have it, they won’t be allowed to work there. If a DJ doesn’t have liability insurance, they’re not professional, or concerned about protecting you.
Do you have back up equipment?
Every professional DJ should answer yes to this question, but that’s not enough. What you want to hear is, “Yes, and I BRING it to every event.” Otherwise, the backup equipment is at the shop, which is the same as not having any.
What if you’re sick/injured?
It is not unusual for me to get last minute calls because a DJ has flaked out on a client. In every case, this has been a ‘discount DJ’ BEWARE! Separately, even the most professional DJ’s have emergencies or get sick – life happens. But it shouldn’t ruin your event. A professional DJ should have a “plan B” they can share with you before you book.
Do you take requests?
Unless you specifically ask the DJ not to take requests, they should. Even if you have an extensive request list, the DJ should be in tune with your guests and respond to your guest’s requests and preferences. A great DJ will go a little farther and play music based on the ages, ethnic background and dance responses of your guests. Your DJ should be able to read the crowd and respond appropriately. Ask the DJ what they do when a song kills the dance floor – many DJ’s will continue playing the whole song, which will drive people out the door.
Do you announce the events?
Some DJ’s won’t say a word, or say very little. Others may assume they’re the star of the show and sound like a game-show host. At minimum, your guests should know when dinner is, when the cake cutting is (so they don’t miss it) and some other basic announcements. This is not something you should do yourself. You need a professional DJ/MC.
Do you help with coordination?
Even if you have a coordinator, the DJ should have a “team” approach. If you don’t have a coordinator, your DJ needs to coordinate with the photographer, caterer, etc. Few things are more awkward than the DJ announcing announcing the first dance when the bride or groom is in the restroom or announcing the toast when no one has champagne. This happens when a DJ follows a timeline without paying attention to what’s happening in front of them. You may not notice all the coordination, but you will certainly notice if no one is on top of it.