Step Two: Be Cautious and Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions

For many, the venue has been booked, caterer selected, the cake and the dress has bought before any consideration has been given to the entertainment; and in almost all cases, the DJ have the greatest impact at your reception. Ask about their style; are they more about "look-at-me" or about keeping the focus on you, after all it's your special day... not theirs. Also ask about their attire, whether they take breaks, and if they will actually play your guests song requests, etc.


The Bottom Line:

A bad Wedding DJ will always be remembered... by everyone

RISKS:

There are real risks when using friends, in-experienced or unlicensed DJs to perform on such an important day. They may save you money but in return they may also have low-end or unreliable equipment; no back-up gear on hand in case something goes wrong; or they may just lack the needed experience or specialized skills, which can result in an embarrassing or disastrous event outcome. Regardless of the DJ you are considering always verify their experience and read their on-line reviews!​


USING CRAIG'S LIST AND THUMBTACK:

If Craig's List or similar outlets are your primary source for finding a DJ, please be very cautious!  They are great resources  for many things and are also filled with ton's of offers for cheap DJs. In fact, adds on these sites are free and the credentials of the advertiser are not verified, so anyone can proclaim themselves a "Pro-DJ." The real proof will be seen in their reviews and from the references from recent events that you contact.


Now, not all DJs using Craigslist are sketchy, in fact some may be very good, but you must really do some research to find them. Always be wary of ads offering unbelievably low prices.

Five Easy Steps to Find a Pro-DJ

Step One:  Determine What You Can Afford and START EARLY!
Determining what can be realistically afforded for Reception Entertainment is crucial. This should done as early as possible because the best DJ's are generally booked 12 - 18 months out and that budget will guide what DJ Companies meet that criteria. (Never be afraid to haggle with potential DJ's if you feel their price seems inflated.)


DJ's and DJ Services generally fall into one of three cost categories:
  • Friends & Family                                Free - Whatever you are willing to pay them
  • Part-time & Unlicensed Amateurs       $25/hr - $175/hr 
  • Licensed Professionals                       $175/hr - over $300/hr


(So... Why do Professional Wedding DJ's charge so much? It's not because the word "Wedding" is involved, but because they operate a legal, bona fide, business and the cost to provide this service is very expensive. They must also bring far more to the table than just a laptop, itunes and a microphone. These are experienced specialists, with a unique set of skills and capabilities well-beyond just playing music. They are subject matter experts and experienced event planners.  They can read a room and know intuitively when things are working well and more importanlty, when its not. Professional Wedding DJ's must also bring very expensive performance equipment and lights (and back-up gear) and  commit a significant amount of time to ensure that nothing is missed.)


(Here's an Industry Secret:  Prices can differ dramatically between DJ's for the same level of service, time, equipment, lights, and skill...literally over $600. So, it pays to shop around (always ask about any up-charges or additional fees and to see the contract in advance of any decisions).


If your primary objective is to hire the cheapest DJ possible, then don't be surprised when you get exactly what you paid for...

Step Four: Verify Their Willingness to Help & Their Credentials

Regardless of what DJ you choose, please  ensure they truly want to help you; not just get a contract or a deposit. Don't let a sales pitch drive your decision; ask to see the contract first! Here are some other important things to you may wish to consider:

  • Are they Flexible?  If the first question from a potential DJ is "What's your budget.... Beware! They should first find you what you want, the requirements, and location for the event; then from that information determine the price. Also be cautious if they try to push additional services you may not need or want.
  • Yes, DJ's can change their terms and pricing for you.  Find a DJ that is sincere and wants to help you work within the constraints of your budget and specific event needs. Don't be afraid to haggle if you have shopped around (and have pricing from their competitors). If their price is higher than others ask what they bring that make them different and cost more.
  • Are they Licensed?  DJ's that charge for their services are required by law to be licensed (Most Are Not). Ask to see their business license.
  • Are they Insured? This is important not only because of liability, but also because a number of venues will not allow them to perform there without providing their Certificate of Insurance in advance; ask to see it. Otherwise, your DJ may not be allowed to enter the venue for your reception.
  • Are they credible?  Do they have an online presence? Are they a Yelp!, Bing, and/or Google+ Verified Business?
  • Will they provide an advance copy of the contract?  Contracts are documents used in the normal course of business; not state secrets or proprietary information.  If they are reluctant to provide you a copy of the contract for you to review in advance of making any decisions, or don't use them at all, please be very, very cautious! Invoices are not contracts and don't provide the specifics of the service being provided, equipment and lights being used, and most importantly, no legal protection for you. If they do provide you a copy, make sure it easy to understand and that it serves your best interests.
  • Can they provide references from different clients?  They should be happy to provide you at least three recent references, from different events that you may contact. 
  • Are they a Subject Matter Expert?  A Professional DJ should also be an experienced event planner and able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of how events should be planned, social etiquette and protocol, provide options on how to make your event uniquely you.  You may also want to ask potential DJs if they will coordinate all of the event milestones and key activities; ask if they will work closely with your photographer as well to ensure all of your pictures are on point.
  • Ask if they use subcontractors? Knowing your DJ is really important and by doing so, can also make your event even more fun and meaningful. It also eliminates the possibility of someone being assigned at the last minute who has no idea about what you want or needs to take place.
  • How will they perform?
    • ​​Will they sit while performing?
    • Will they be distracted during your event (on their phone texting when they should be observing)? 
    • Will they be overly familiar with your guests?
    • Will they leave the space to do anything other than use the restroom? 
    • Will they consume alcohol at the event?

    (You are paying your DJ a lot of money to perform and make sure nothing is missed and that's exactly what they should be doing!)



Finding the right DJ for your special day can be very challenging. First, there are so many out there, and second, the DJ industry is largely unregulated, so there are 100's of DJ's in the region that profess to be professional, yet only do this occasionally or as a side-gig. So where do you start and how can you avoid any associated risks?  Well, here are five easy steps to help you do just that (This sounds a little preachy, but that's not our intention):

"We back our reputation and every performance with a rock-solid , 100% Money-back Happiness Guarantee."

"Official DJ's for the Kansas City Chiefs

Ultimate Tailgate Party in Arrowhead Stadium!"

Let's Talk About Your Special Event:  

816.260.7379​


Kansas City's Award-Winning Pro-DJ Service

"Home to Great DJ's, Talented MC's & Professional Planners and Coordinators!

The Dance Factory​

Step Three:  Do They Provide a "Real" Guarantee?

​​Will your DJ guarantee their performance and your satisfaction in writing?  If not, avoid them at all costs.  Make sure any guarantee offered covers all aspects of the event. There are many DJ's that will offer a guarantee if their equipment fails, but what if they fail to live up to your expectations?  The real measure of success should be your happiness with the performance and nothing less!


Step Five:  Are They The Right Fit... For You

Before making your final decision, ensure you are comfortable and trust the DJ Service you choose and ask yourself, are they the right fit for your special event? Here are some other factors you may wish to consider:

  • Do they place you in control; allowing you to have the final say on everything?
  • Are they truly interested in what you need and receptive to your questions and suggestions?
  • Do they convey a sense of urgency about how important your event is to them and what they will do to ensure its success?
  • Do they provide valuable recommendations and ask meaningful questions to ensure no details are overlooked?
  • Are they mature and personable; do you like them? Do you feel they will connect to your audience?
  • Will they help build your unique playlist and will they take song requests made by your guests (and then actually play them)?
  • Will they bring all of there own music or will they need to rely on streaming from the web? (What if there is no cell signal or the signal drops, the venue doesn't have solid Wi-Fi... etc. What will they do then?)
  • Are they an experienced Wedding DJ and if they say yes, ask how many wedding's they've performed at this year. Then ask for a few references. 
  • Do they understand your event as you see it, and will they facilitate and coordinate all of the other services (caterers, photographers, etc) and activities that must occur?
  • What is their contingency plans should something goes wrong?


We hope this information was helpful and that you will consider us as you begin your search for the right DJ for your special day. Congratulations on your Engagement and Best Wishes!