Hiring the Right DJ

  1. This is a list of criteria we suggest for cutting the guess work out of finding the right DJ for your school. These are suggestions, some are more crucial than others.
    1. Price.  Most kids that call me only have one question, “What is your price?”. The Cheapest price doesn’t mean you are getting the right DJ for your school and neither does the most expensive one.  Furthermore, hiring a friend or a student just because can work against you. Remember your you are trying to gain trust from your student body. They may give you a few chances. The experience is crucial to the success. Don’t let the price be the deciding factor when hiring the right DJ! Check out our post on Experience and Budget for more tips.
    2. A DJ without a website does not take his business seriously. If they do have one take the time to see what it is they offer, what makes them unique, do they look legit? You need to be careful with this one. Sometimes DJs will post other people’s or other company’s events to look legit. Not only on a website but also on social media. A good website will tell you a lot about the company you are looking to hire. The vibe you get from a website could be the deciding factor on who to hire.
    3. Social Media. While Social media is important and a useful tool, it is not necessary. However, seeing personality or past events or seeing a DJ’s experience can come out on social media. An amount of follows or likes is not always a positive factor when looking at social media. An Instagram or Facebook account can pay for likes and follows. Most of these likes or follows come from bots. A good way to know is to look at their pics and posts. If the account you are looking at has 2000 plus followers and on average, the post likes are less then 20 on average you know that they do not have true popularity followers.
    4. Personal Experience. How long has the company they work for been in business? Let’s say a company has 10 years of experience. Cool, now follow that question up with how many events have you done this year?
    5. References – This a crucial step. Especially if they have never been to your school. I know that it is a pain however, the success of your dance depends on it. This needs the most recent dance they did. The reference needs to be the adviser of the school. The phone number needs to be for that school. If they give you a cell number, this could be to anyone. If the most recent dance was 6 months ago, red flag! This doesn’t mean they won’t do a good job, just that you are taking a bigger risk.
    6. Business or Hobby. While this is not crucial, but will say how serious is the person you are talking to. I think this is important to know a little about there company. Knowing the background of a company tells you how many corners they may cut. The corners they cut as a company, tells you they also may not care about the success or vision you have for you events. Some things your might keep in mind…
      1. Full time job or Hobby. A full time DJ can spend a lot more time perfecting his skill and the quality of their service. If the person has a separate full time job, perhaps the DJ thing is more of a hobby or a way to make a few hundred extra bucks. In other words, they may not be concerned with perfecting their service or the quality.
      2. Insurance. While some School districts require this, this is another way that a business shows how serious they are about not cutting corners. This includes liability as well as workers compensation insurance for their staff. If a speaker falls on someone or a DJ comes and get’s hurt on the schools premises, the responsibility could fall on the school even if it is not their fault.
      3. Do they use subcontractors for their DJs or employees? This is crucial. The person you talk to on the phone isn’t necessarily the person coming to your dance. They may use staff employees or subcontractors. You may trust the company you are talking to, BUT, if they use sub-contractors you have no idea who they are sending to your event and if they have the same values. An employee has rules and guidelines they follow. A company sending a contractor has no control on what that DJ does or doesn’t do. A question you may ask is: Are you the DJ? Is the DJ an employee of your company or is it someone you know?
      4. Trash Talk. If you find the DJ does more to put down other companies, this is a red flag. Look for things they may say what sets them apart. What makes them different. Typically, the trash talking DJ describes their own business when trash talking other DJs.
      5. Music. Finding out a brief description on music. Finding out what the DJ likes to play before you ask for specifics. If they play music that is similar to what your school likes is crucial. If your DJ says on the phone I play mostly Rap music, and if that is not in your schools’ best interest, perhaps look around a little bit more. Once you decide on a DJ, then be specific with your requests.
      6. Do they take Requests. While most DJs will say they take requests on the phone, This can be a important subject for a lot of schools. Check out our post on making requests for guidelines.
      7. Equipment. This shouldn’t be a focused conversation however, it is important that the DJ is bring quality equipment to your dance. Especially speakers and the way they play their music.
        1. Speaker brand is crucial to the quality and loudness at the dance. Professional Equipment also says that they take their business seriously. Commons brands that you should look for: JBL, EV, Mackie, Peavey. While there are more high-end speakers out there, these are the most commonly used. There are also many other brands that are less quality and will not provide the loudness you need to throw on a good experience at your school.
        2. Loudness As a general rule of thumb 15 watts per person is how much loudness you need when trying to have a great experience at your dances. If you have an average attendance of 300 at your dances, you should plan to have a speaker system that is around 3500 to 4500 watts. Any less then this and kids in the back of the room will complain that they can’t hear. This also forces kids to get closer to the front and closer together. Can the company you are looking to hire provide this or not?
        3. Music Mix. This is a crucial part of the experience! If a phone or an Ipod of a chord plugged directly into a computer is the way a DJ or teacher plays the music at your school, this is a red flag. Please hang up and call someone else. No matter how much you save, the amount of damage created by bad mixing can ruin the experience. A professional DJ will use a computer with a media player that mixes the music on the computer. Some commonly used brands of professional media players are: Denon, Pioneer, Numark, Roland. Just because they have professional equipment doesn’t mean that the dance will be a full proof success, but it is a positive step in the right direction.
      8. The Condensed List for qualities and or red flags to look for
        1. Price
        2. Website
        3. Experience as a DJ
        4. References from school advisers not students
        5. Employees rather than contractors
        6. Actual Business
        7. Has Insurance
        8. Professional Equipment
        9. Playing the music that fits your school
        10. Music Mixing
    7. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. Price cannot be the only question you ask. Come up with a series of questions. Compare the answers you get to each DJ that you call.  Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any further questions.

High School Dance Budget

  1. Do you have a Dance Budget?
  2. How do you do it?
  3. First, figure out your potential income.
    1. How Many Kids in your school – This is your potential. Now Not everyone in your school can attend. Jobs, no interest, other responsibilities all play a factor. A good goal might be 80%. If you have 1000 kids in your school you should have a potential number of 800. If you 400 kids in your school than 320 is your potential. If you get more than that, Bonus!
    2. Take your biggest and most well attended dance of the year. Compare the attendance of that dance to the total number in your school. This number doesn’t include kids that attend from other schools.
    3. Once you have the potential attendance, play with the numbers.
  4. List your expenses
    1. Cost of the DJ
    2. Cost of the Decorations
    3. Cost of the Refreshments
    4. Cost of the Venue/Location
    5. Cost to Advertise
    6. Photographer
    7. What amount of profit do you want to make
  1. Keep in Mind when you are figuring your Budget
    1. Decorations should be focused on the Entrance
    2. Refreshments – Breath Mints and Water
    3. Photographer – Should be a separate cost
    4. Venue – School location. I often hear kids say that: “everyone wants the dance to be somewhere other than the school”! Well what that says is that the experience at the school is not good enough! Check out our post on Improving the experience.
    5. The DJ – Is responsible for a good share of the experience.
  • Question: With your list of expenses, what does each expense contribute to the success of the party? Some better ways to ask this question…
  1. What do kids complain about?
  2. Why would kids leave early?
  3. If your DJ doesn’t show up, will the decorations be enough to save the party?
  4. If there is no music will people stick around for 3 hours to enjoy the decorations, breath mints and water?
  5. Do people leave early because the decorations are bad?
  • While these questions seem obvious, typically school traditions say spend most of your budget on decorations. However, when the dance starts, please turn off the lights! Often times decorations cannot be seen with the lights off.
  1. So, the question still stands… What percentage of your expense list contributes to the success of the party?
    1. DJ – Responsible for 80% of the success!
      • What do we do with the other 20%?
    2. Decorations
    3. Refreshments
    4. Venue/Location
    5. Advertise
    6. Photographer
    7. Profit
  • Which party of the experience are you spending your budget on?
  1. Play with the numbers – Example
    1. Let say you have 300 kids show up to your Dance X 5.00 per person = $1500. 80% of 1500 = $1200. If 80% of the outcome of your dances is the DJs Responsibility. If your attendance is 100 X 5.00 = $500. When you start calling around to DJs to find out prices and $500 is the cheapest you can find than raising your fee to get in is the next best option. Remember if you cut the experience you cut the attendance. Let’s say that 50 kids don’t come because the music experience is bad. 50 X 5.00 = $250. In some cases that might be the extra amount needed to pay for the DJ anyway.
    2. The 80% of your budget is a suggestion. You might be able to have a great experience spending 50% of your budget on the DJ. This might be some trial and error. If you can spend 50% of your budget on the DJ and have an incredible experience – Awesome!
    3. Now, let’s say you achieve your goal of getting 80% of your student body to attend – play with the numbers…
    4. What if you raise your price 1 or 2 or 5 dollars, could that make a difference? See our post on Experience.
  2. Being consistent with your budget is key to the success of your dances. Now Kids might say well we don’t know the numbers?
    1. This could take some work. Looking at the history, making sure that you keep track during the year. Have a spread sheet that keeps track. Keep track of your students as well as kids from other schools. Kids from other schools can’t be included with your budget, this would be the hoped for bonus. If the experience is good, the bonus will come. The numbers are key for decision making and success.

Inappropriate Dance Problems

  1. What ever you call it, inappropriate dancing can be an issue. If you are looking for some answers the following could be of assistance…
  2. Decide what is appropriate…
    1. You have to decided before hand what is appropriate or not. For admin, keep in mind just because you danced differently in high school doesn’t mean that kids now days don’t know how. Dancing is an expression. Everyone is different. If jumping up and down is the way they like to express their excitement, as long as it is in control and no one gets hurt it shouldn’t be against the rules.
    2. While this could be a question of values and or beliefs on what is morally wrong or right, it’s more about liability on the school. If there is a rule in the school about Public Displays of Affection (PDA), this rule should be carried over to the dances as well. If dirty dancing crosses the line according to the rule of the school then it needs to be enforced.
  3. Music:
    1. Keep music clean
    2. BPM (Beats Per Minute) how slow or fast a song is. Slower bpm music from the 70 to 100 bpm’s seems to encourage dirty dancing behavior more than other bpm ranges. With that said, kids that want to dirty dance, will dirty dance to whatever the music is. While some songs will encourage it more than others, kids that want to dance that way will do it regardless of the style of music. This doesn’t mean cut out all music that is within that range, it does mean that there needs to be a good mix of all music from all bpm ranges. Interaction and participation songs keep dancers from getting into a pattern of one kind of dancing. There is many ways to do this and a professional experienced DJ will know the mix to play to cover all bpm ranges without getting into a pattern.
    3. High Energy Rock songs or songs with drops encourage pushing and shoving. While jumping up and down may have some contact, it is far from actual mosh pit.
    4. Crowd Surfing and sitting on another persons shoulders may not seem like a big deal especially to kids wanting the do it. Most injuries have been caused by this. This has little to do with the kinds of music played. Maybe it is a challenge or it just seems like it would be fun to do. Regardless, you need to decided what is allowed and enforce it.
    5. You could be held liable for injuries even if the student was involved by choice!
  4. Starts at the door where you pay
    1. Kids need to know the rules before they enter the dance.
    2. Rules posted.
    3. Kids cannot come in intoxicated (call parents if they are)
    4. Immodest clothing promotes. This is something that needs to be decided by you of what is allowed. If a guy takes his shirt off in the middle of the dance doesn’t necessarily mean he is hot.
    5. Resource officer should be present
    6. Kids sign a paper with phone number stating they understand the rules. This is the warning, during the dance they are asked to leave with a phone call to parents so they know that they are not at the dance anymore! This is crucial so you release the liability.
    7. Don’t be afraid to send kids home if they don’t listen. This is extreme however, the next dance they believe you.
  5. Dance attendance?
    1. Attendance may go down at first. It could take a year until the problems cycle out. I have found with the schools that were proactive, attendance actually went up over time.  At first you may lose some kids, over time they will come back and even more that stopped coming because of the PDA.
    2. Demand respect.
  6. Other guidelines
    1. The DJ is not responsible to punish or make announcements concerning dirty dancing or to send kids home. This needs to be done by an administrator!
    2. Admin need to walk the floor including in the dance area.
    3. Chaperones are worthless when correcting behavior. Their job is to watch exits, report problems etc.
    4. Use a stage for the DJ so that you can see into the middle of the dance area.
    5. The DJ also needs to understand the rules. If he/she breaks the rules set by the school. Perhaps you need to look elsewhere?
    6. Keep DJ’s out of corners of the room. This creates a bottleneck.
    7. If you have a large student body bring larger systems in or more speakers spread out. Again this spreads the crowd out.
    8. If the problem is with one group of students, invited their parents to come over to spectate!
    9. Must be consistent every dance until the kids learn and keep the rules.
  7. While this may seem like a lot of work, it does pay off! Many schools that have followed these guidelines have had success. Admin and teachers had to be a little more proactive for a time, but it paid off. The answer isn’t to stop having dances because you don’t want to deal with it, it’s being proactive and getting evolved with the students. it is a great way to teach respect. It will increase pride for the school. It gives direction. We need that to be taught.

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Up-lighting alternative

  1. How long does it take you to decorate your dance?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. Is it really what you envisioned?
  4. How long does it take to tear down and return borrowed items?

  1. While Decorations can be very effective and awesome, it is very time consuming and very costly if you are trying to decorate an entire location.  A good investment might be white pipe and drape. It can be used over and over. You can also rent it.
  2. With up-lighting you can Choose any color. Creates Variety.
  3. Setup is easy and fast.
  4. Production or rental company may do the work of setup and take down.
  5. Great for entrances and dance floor rooms.
  6. DMX Is a way for the lighting system to be synced with all of the up-lights used. It might cost a little more but imagine if all of the lights in the room changed colors or strobe to the beat of the music. It would be incredible!
  7. For maximum effect, use a light every 10’ feet or highlight areas of importance. Start with corners, beams/columns in the room or between windows and doorways. 4 to 8 per wall might be another rule of thumb.
  8. Colors set the mood. Sky’s the limit. School colors, black light, multi-color for more casual settings.
  9. Little or no decorations needed. Adding some white pipe and drape can be a useful tool to hide or create a smaller intimate room size.
  • Things to remember
    1. Up-lights do not light the room, they are there to:
      1. Decorate
      2. Accent
      3. Ambient light
      4. To provide some light to a dark room
      5. Provides enough light to see in a dark room for administration. Leaving some gym lights on can take some of the experience away.
    2. Up-lights are bright
      1. Do not place in high traffic or where kids could be blinded
      2. Do not place in the middle of the floor – tripping hazard
      3. Cables, extension cords must be taped down

 

Making a Request list for your DJ

  1. Do’s and Don’ts. If you are wondering why your DJ will not play your requests? The following tips will help.
    1. Get a professional! An experienced DJ will know what to play in the moment and how to work in your requests.
    2. Keep your list to 5 or 10 most requested by the school not by your class or club. This way the DJ is confident in playing songs that the majority of the students want. Have a way that the student body can make requests. The most duplicated songs make the list.
    3. Don’t take a picture of the request list from someone’s notebook.
    4. Don’t text the list. Email the typed list.
    5. Don’t send just the song title or just the artist. Title and Artist.
    6. Kinds of music are helpful. Example: we like Rap or we like EDM music. If a specific ethnic music is requested like Latin or Spanish, or even Country music, don’t expect your DJ just to know what to play. If you want more or less Slow songs, Be specific! This will help songs you request get played.
    7. On the list make notes of why or when you want certain songs played, like this is the Senior Song etc. For older songs or songs that are not popular mainstream, there needs to be a reason why you want that particular song. Otherwise it may not get played!
    8. Make Sure the songs you request’s are dance-able! This is crucial! There a lot of great songs out there that are great for the car but not on the dance floor.
    9. Random Songs: These are songs that are older or not mainstream or not popular. If the mainstream is rap and edm and you requests a random rock song from the 90’s, it may not get played.
    10. Songs must be clean or have clean versions.
    11. Songs need to be able to be purchased, YouTube versions are illegal to download.
    12. You have to give the DJ time! You can’t expect the DJ to find all of your music in a 24 hour period. Give them a week’s notice.
    13. If your DJ is still not playing your requests after following these guidelines, don’t be afraid to ask the DJ why? There could be a valid reason! If the DJ just chose not to or doesn’t have a valid reason, time to find a New DJ!

January 50% off special

  1. Bring 2019 in with a Bang!
  2. 50% off only in the month of January
  3. 50% of this – Mechanical Bull
  4. 50% off this – Inflatable Toys
  5. 50% off this – DJ Packages
  6. 50% off this – Photo Booth
  1. Minimum $500 – Anything $1000 or more is 50% off.
  2. Event must land in the month of January 2019
  3. Excluding Sundays
  4. Example: All night Party Package: 6 inflatable toys, Guitar hero System with giant screen, Interactive DJ with games and contests, Mechanical Bull and Redneck games, photo booth, 5 hours. Cost: $3400 January Special: $1700
  5. Example: Club XOC DJ Package with Center Floor DJ, 3 giant video screens, synchronized Lighting, 11,000 watts of sound Cost $3000 January Special $1500
  6. Example: G-2 DJ Package with a Photo Booth Cost $1300 January Special $650
  7. Travel Fee may apply.

Customize your January party today!

Consistency

  1. When you are Consistent you gain the TRUST of your Student Body. As you gain trust that the Experience will be good every time, attendance goes up.
  2. If profit is your only concern, you cut corners to make more profit. You cut the experience out. You lose the trust and the attendance goes down. You might make more at first, over time you will lose all that you made extra.
  3. The Experience has to be consistent every dance! If you have a dance that is not well attended, it is because the students don’t feel the experience will be worth their time and money!
  4. Your Budget has to be consistent every dance! See our post on budget to learn tips and tricks
  5. Your marketing has to be consistent. Don’t assume that everyone will hear about it.

IASC

Idaho Association of Student Councils

Conferences are the perfect place to network with other local councils, find new ideas to implement, and get inspired!

  1. 800 plus in attendance – Councils from all  Idaho.
  2. Strengthen your council through bonding and Service.
  3. Leadership training
  4. Interactive breakouts
  5. Professional Keynote Speakers
  6. Amazing Entertainment and fun
  7. Get to know other leaders from all parts of Idaho
  8. Create Life Long Memories

Register Today… https://www.idschadm.org/student-council

How much are you willing to pay for an Awesome Experience?

  1. Drive and Exotic Car 15 minutes = $500
  2. Skydive 6 minutes = $200
  3. Twenty One Pilots: 2 to 3 hours, 1 person, $188 to $285, travel expenses not included
  4. Movie: 2 hours, 2 people, 2 Drinks, Popcorn: Average $43
  5. Average Homecoming: 2 people, 3 hours $20 to $40 No Pictures
  1. Kids are willing to spend the money for an awesome experience!
    1. Kids are will to spend $43 to go to the movies and even more to go to a concert. Kids are will be willing to spend a little more for dances if the experience is worth the money.
    2. Question: What is the experience like at your School Dances? How early do kids leave at your school dances? Do kids complain about the DJ or the music? What is your Attendance?
  2. A few tips on your dances:
    1. Set the tone for year with Homecoming
    2. From Homecoming be consistent with all your dances, not just prom!
    3. The Music Experience must be amazing for the majority of the attendees
    4. First Impression, decorations need to be focused on the entrance
    5. DJ should be a professional! One that your students already know is helpful especially homecoming.
    6. The DJ setup should be above average
    7. Set an appropriate Budget!
  3. Improve the Experience = Better Attendance
    1. Be Patient, better attendance will come. it might take a few dances. kids need to see that you are serious about changing the experience!

Check out other posts to improve the experience