I’m a DJ too!

How to know you are hiring a professional DJ

By DJ Bruce Jones

Hey, I’m a DJ too! As a professional wedding DJ and MC I hear this statement at least once at every event. In a world of digital music, iPad mixing software, and the “sync” button, it has become easier and easier for people to call themselves a DJ. Unfortunately it has made it somewhat difficult (for the average person) to determine who is a professional DJ and who is the “DJ” who puts a  spotify playlist together for his fraternity. I hope that this blog will help you sort that out.

            When looking for a professional DJ there are a few main things to look for and some very important questions to ask.

Reviews: Yelp.com and weddingwire.com can be great places to start. It’s important to look for companies that have 100 or more reviews and at least a 4.5 star rating. This shows that the company has been around for a while and has a good reputation. Asking your other vendors can be helpful as well, but always look further as some companies offer kickbacks for referrals.

Equipment: Being somewhat knowledgeable about DJ equipment can be helpful when choosing a DJ. A professional DJ should be using a dedicated laptop with a database of at least 35,000 songs. They should NEVER be using something like an iPad as their main source of music for dancing. A professional DJ will use a controller which may or may not include vinyl records as controllers. They should have a wireless microphone for announcements and professional speakers (i.e. JBL, QSC, etc) on stands.

Experience: This is where asking pointed questions is very important. DJ’s with little experience know how to work around questions about their experience so be exact. For example if you ask how many events they have done they can so 100+. If you ask how many paid weddings they have been the lead DJ/MC at this will force them to be specific. Just because some has done 50 birthday parties for friends does not mean they have wedding experience. Also ask about where they learned to DJ, how long they have been with the company (if they don’t own it), do they have microphone experience, and anything else you feel is important.

A note on multi DJ companies: It is becoming more and more common to see DJ companies that have multiple DJ’s working for them. Make sure you know who you will be working with. Ask to talk to your DJ before you sign a contract. Ask the DJ the questions above. Just because a company does several hundreds of events a year doesn’t mean the DJ you are assigned has done more than 10 in his whole life. The last thing you want is to hire a company and find out a month before your event that your DJ is a sophomore in college that just learned to DJ over the summer.