Questions to ask a prospective DJ
DJ Experience: Do They Have enough experience with your type of event?
Be sure and ask your prospective DJ how much experience they have. With experience comes knowledge on how your event should be a success. Your DJ should have a minimum of 100 events under them. Reading the crowd and knowing just the right time to play that perfect song is where the experience comes into play. Your DJ should also be actively seeking to improve their skills and knowledge.
- Our Answer: Here at Sound Extreme we have over 20 years experience and over 3000 events. We attend conventions and seminars throughout the year to better educate ourselves and improve our service to you. All DJ’s go through a training program before they DJ any event. Usually 6 months of training. One year or more for wedding DJ’s.
Contracts & Insurance: Do they provide a contract?
Make sure your DJ has a written contract that lists all information on your event. Including date, time, location, and most important cost. We have heard of DJ companies canceling or even not showing, yes it happens. Sound Extreme has NEVER canceled or not shown up for an event. Insurance is important in the event something bad happens. Do they provide proof of liability insurance? A DJ that has taken the time and expense to insure their company shows that they are true professional.
- Our Answer: Sound Extreme always provides a written contract with all information on all events. Sound Extreme carries two-million dollar liability insurance. As well as workers Comp for it’s employee’s.
Full Time or Part Time: Is you DJ full time or part time?
Many DJ’s these days are advertising themselves as professionals while they work a full-time job in some other field. If they were professional then DJing would be their full time career. A full time DJ will put a lot more into your event. They will have time to meet with you around your schedule. Someone part time is only doing this for fun and you shouldn’t trust them to make your day a success.
- Our Answer: We pride ourselves on putting, you, the customer, always first. Your event takes a lot of time and planning and here at Sound Extreme we are able to devote our time to you. We are a full time professional company.
Planning your Event: Will your DJ meet with you?
Is your DJ willing to sit down and help plan out your special event? Even meet with you before you book with them? This is important because with some large companies you never know what DJ you may get. Some companies overbook or sub-contract with other DJ’s. It’s important to get to know your DJ because he will be the one you are trusting to make your day a success.
- Our Answer: We are always more than happy to meet with you as many times as you would like. Your event is important to you and to us. We provide a four page planner for all weddings to help make your day run smoothly. We will help coordinate your entire event and work with all other professionals and vendors. We always keep you well informed throughout the day. All things should be properly announced in a clear and direct voice at your event. Check that your DJ can properly act as a master of ceremonies. We do not overbook weddings or sub-contract.
Attire: What will your DJ wear to your event?
A DJ should always dress appropriately. A tuxedo should always be worn for all weddings and formal events. It’s important that the DJ looks professional and clean. If he doesn’t it will reflect on you.
- Our Answer: We are always dressed in a button up dress shirt, tie and tuxedo vest for all weddings. All other events we are dressed professional and appropriate.
Uniqueness: Does your DJ do anything unique at events?
What creative ideas do they have to make your event unique? Can he personalize your event or customize it to your needs and ideas? Every good DJ has his own personality and skills to make your event fun and memorable. Be sure you find one that can handle all your needs.
- Our Answer: We have lots of different ways of making your event unique. Icebreakers and crowd participation are always ways to get your party going. We have many unique things that we go over with you to make sure you feel comfortable with them happening. There are no surprises at your event. Example, we provide every bride and groom with a CD of their wedding day. Just one of the many things we do to make our service outstand the rest.
This is a very important question. What type of DJ will you want at your wedding? Do you want the DJ that is on the mic a lot and making jokes? Do you want a DJ that is putting people on the spot and possibly embarrassing them or you? Do you want the cheesy DJ? Do you want a DJ that is the center of attention or one that puts you as the center of attention?
- Our Answere: Sound Extreme’s MC style is to announce and MC your wedding in a professional classy style. Remembering it’s your day and the spotlight should be on you. The music is provided to entertain the guests, not jokes. We will never embarrass you or your guests. We will never make jokes on the mic. We will not do any interactive dance or game without first going over it with you.
Hidden Charges: Is there any hidden charges?
Will your DJ charge you extra for a microphone or lighting? Some DJ’s give you a price and then after you have booked with them they add all these extra’s. Everything should be included in one price if they are a professional company. Things like an extra mic or dance floor lights are all basic equipment that should be included. Some even charge a loading fee if stairs are involved. Always check for hidden charges.
- Our Answer: Sound Extreme includes everything to meet the needs of your event. We give you all our prices up front and in writing. This way there are no hidden charges.
Music: Do they have sufficient music for your event?
This is very important to consider. Your DJ should have a wide range of music to fit all age groups. They should be able to take requests from you and your guests and honor them. Ask your DJ for a play list or list of most requested songs. These are songs they should have at every event. Also, what format do they use? If they use tapes, CD’s, mini-disc, or mp3. These are all very good but as you know, quality is important. Your CD, mini-disc, or mp3 will provide you with digital sound and be clear and crisp with a professional system.
- Our Answer: Sound Extreme has a huge music library with selections that are sure to fit your needs. We update music weekly. Any song you request ahead of time that we may not have we will get it for you. We always ask that you write down a few of your favorites so we get an idea of what type of music you are looking for at your event.
References: Does your DJ provide you with references?
A DJ should be able to provide you with a list of references from past customers. It’s easy for them to select just the good ones so be sure and ask other professionals or vendors such as photographers. These people see them on their good days and maybe even their bad days.
- Our Answer: Here at Sound Extreme we send out a questionnaire after every event. These questionnaires are always available to our customers to view. We feel if there ever is a problem, we want to know about it and correct it immediately. Please view our testimonial page and see for yourself what our past customers have to say about Sound Extreme.
Some people view DJ’s as a commodity and choose the inexpensive one. However, an inexperienced entertainer can make the difference between a memorable occasion and an unforgettable nightmare. Clearly there is a lot to consider, so don’t take any unnecessary risks. Be sure and ask plenty of questions when considering a DJ. Make sure you feel comfortable with your DJ, because you deserve the best for your event. Thank You.
Photobooth Questions to ask
How fast do your photos print? Ours print in about 15 sec which means more photos for your guests. One of the biggest differences in photobooths is print time and quality. We use Sony commercial grade printers.
Is your enclosed or open? With ours you can choose either and ours can fit up to 8 people
Do you provide props? Yes, we provide fun and props and can provide props to fit a theme.
Does it come with a person to run it? Yes, ours comes with a qualified Photobooth staff to help and encourage people to have fun. This person will also assist with a scrapbook.
Can yours do black & white or Color? Ours does both and the guest can choose.
Can we customize the photo strips? Yes, we can fully customize the photo strip with your names, monogram, logo, and dates
Do we get a copy of the photos? Yes, we provide all the photos on disc sent to you the week after in the mail. We also upload the photos to an online photo album.
Can we choose the backdrop? Yes, our normal backdrop is black but we can design the booth around your event colors and customize it just for you.
How long does setup and tear down take? We normally arrive 1hr before the start time of the booth to setup and it takes about 30min to tear down.
Is your photobooth home built or commercial grade professional booth? We see a lot of low budget booths out there. These just don’t compare and many do not know the difference until it is to late. Ours was purchased from a commercial manufacturer and comes in a professional case. The software and unit is all commercial grade.
The American Disc Jockey Association strongly recommends that you ask the following questions
Are you insured? Can you supply me with proof of liability?
Many responsible business owners carry liability insurance to protect their businesses and the consumer. Many locations are beginning to require proof of liability. Ask for proof of liability insurance. Disc Jockey’s receive a Certificate of Liability, which can be used as proof.
Will you be willing to play requests and discuss music ahead of time?
A versatile Disc Jockey is willing to listen to your suggestions, give you feedback and play from your desired song list. A professional Disc Jockey will also accept the fact you may not want certain songs played. A professional Disc Jockey cannot know everything about your musical preferences and entertainment needs without communication.
Do you use Professional Equipment?
Ask whether your prospective Disc Jockey works with professional audio equipment. If you are not sure, ask for their equipment list and check with a local music dealer or the A.D.J.A. to verify they are using professional-grade sound gear. Remember that professional gear does not guarantee an entertainer’s talent or service level, but is simply a tool for building an exceptional event.
Do you provide backup equipment at my event?
Although equipment failure is rare, do you really want your special occasion ruined because your Disc Jockey did not come prepared? It is also important to know if your Disc Jockey has a back-up plan in case of illness or an accident. Members of the A.D.J.A. have many resources available to them in case of an emergency. You may also reach our Hotline number to get a Disc Jockey when you have an emergency. The toll-free number is 888-723-5776.
Booking a reliable Disc Jockey is a very important decision for the success of your party. Selecting a Disc Jockey who is an active member of the American Disc Jockey Association will provide you with the confidence that you have selected a trained professional. A.D.J.A. members are more likely to be involved with other Disc Jockey’s who can help them out with an unexpected situation.
Does the Disc Jockey know the proper etiquette for your type of party?
A professional Disc Jockey will assist you with the planning of your special day. Most professional entertainers will coordinate, MC, and provide the music that you desire. Ask if they have experience with your type of event.
How much time do you allow for set-up?
Punctuality is a necessity. Most Disc Jockey’s arrive at least one hour prior to the start time you’ve given them. Your entertainer should ideally be setup and in-place before your first guest walks through the door.
Do you provide a written contract?
It is extremely important to have your booking confirmed in writing. Ask for a written agreement, especially if you are paying an initial retainer. The standard initial payment for entertainment services is 50%. If you are expecting a specific entertainer, make sure you get it in writing as well.
Will you be suitably dressed for our occasion?
Specify the type of apparel that your Disc Jockey is expected to wear for your occasion. Formal attire or coat & tie are the most popular forms of attire. If you are having a “themed” event, make sure your entertainer is informed.
Do you belong to a professional organization or trade group?
Although belonging to an organization or trade group does not guarantee the talent or professionalism of a disc jockey, it may indicate the company’s willingness to network, learn and grow. Disc jockeys can learn through local chapter meetings, national DJ conventions and seminars geared toward the entertainment professional.
Other Items to Note
Disc Jockey rates vary based on talent, experience, MC ability, service, coordination, equipment needed, music knowledge, mixing ability and personality.
Rates for the DJ industry vary greatly, ranging from $350.00 to $3,500.00 with an average of $1,200.00 for a 4 hour booking. The best price is not always the best deal, especially if you are planning a wedding. As a matter of fact, surveys conclude that nearly 100% of brides would have spent more money on their entertainment and made it their #1 priority in hindsight.
A full-service disc jockey company will normally invest 12 to 30 hours to your special event but it may appear that you are only paying for “4 hours”. Consultations, music purchasing & editing, preparation, set-up and tear down, education and other business related endeavors add up to the overall success of your special occasion.
AFTER THE VOWS…
- 72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment.
- Almost 100% say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment.
- During wedding planning, Brides say their highest priority is their attire, followed by the reception site and caterer – reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities. Within one week after their reception, 78% of Brides say they would have made the entertainment their highest priority!
- When asked, 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.
- 65% of all couples that chose a band to entertain at their wedding, said, if they had it to do over again, they would have chosen a disc jockey.
- These statistics were published in St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazine in 2003. Sources include: Simmons, 2001; USA Today, 2002; National Bridal Service, 2001; The Knot, 2002; Brides Magazine, 2001.