OK, let’s start with this – this isn’t a post aimed at everyone. This information might be straight up common sense to some of you, and if so, I apologize in advance. This post isn’t really intended for my “regular” clientele (I think this is preaching to the proverbial choir when it comes to most of my clients), but intended more so for people that have happened across this blog in search of a DJ (and people who may be from outside of the area or looking for more of a traditional “yak it up on the mic” DJ).
So, for the benefit of any folks shopping for a DJ who aren’t really too clear on the concept, I figured I’d offer up my thoughts on what to consider when booking with any company who runs multiple DJs (and you aren’t booking directly with the DJ who will be working your event).
1. Stay away from any DJ company who is trying to get you to book their services without a specific DJ being identified. There are MANY reputable services who will place you with a specific (and pre-identified) DJ, and many independent operator DJs you can book with directly. Don’t be a fool and book with a company who can’t tell you who your DJ is! A big warning sign is landing on a DJ service site WITH NO DJ ROSTER AVAILABLE TO VIEW – if they don’t tell you who their specific DJs are, run the other way, and run quick. Some of these scammers will book clients for days they aren’t even sure they can cover with a DJ (and subsequently place an ad on Craigslist trying to find a DJ for that date!). All bad!
2. Stay away from any DJ company who is willing to specify which DJ you will be getting, but WILL NOT allow you direct contact with the DJ prior to the event. You should be able to discuss / plan your event directly with THE PERSON WHO WILL ACTUALLY BE AT YOUR EVENT! Right? Not having your DJ directly in the planning loop almost always leads to errors and miscues. If you read the Yelp reviews of some of the larger DJ outfits, this breakdown in the communication chain seems to be a common theme – go poke around Yelp and I’m sure you will see my point!
3. Make sure the DJ company you book with specifies the name of the DJ you will be working with IN THE BODY OF THE EXECUTED SERVICE AGREEMENT! If you don’t protect yourself in this fashion, you may fall victim to the old “bait and switch” trick! This happens all the time, so don’t let it happen to you…
4. At the end of the day, remember the person (ie the DJ) who will be handling your event is what really matters. No matter how great or helpful the office staff is, its the actual DJ who will make or break the event. And of course, it will be the DJ who is out at your event handling it, NOT the office staff. So be mindful of getting a feel for the DJ rather than over-focusing on your interaction with the office folks. Many clients miss this factor when attending an impressive office or studio “showcase”, but once again, its going to be one or two individuals handling your event, and its easy to get dazzled by a well run “showcase” event that highlights the company rather than the individual DJ. You get what I’m saying here! 😉
5. If the DJ company you are considering is well-reviewed on Yelp.com or other review sites, make note of the specific DJs who are being mentioned in a positive light. I’ve noticed that some of the big companies here in the San Francisco Bay Area have a majority of their positive 5 star Yelp reviews posted for maybe a handful of specific DJs who are mentioned time and time again (while these companies employ 20+ DJs). Are you getting one of those 4 or 5 well-reviewed DJs, or are you getting one of the unknown DJs? Its awesome that the companies have positive online DJ reviews, but if you aren’t getting one of the specific DJs that have earned those reviews, the reviews mean absolutely nothing. That’s not to say the “unreviewed” DJs aren’t any good, but you will need to figure that out for yourself, and not base any assumptions on the reviews for other DJs. 😉