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.