Booking your DJ seems to cause a huge problem for many people.
I'll start with when as how has a very long answer!
Many Wedding sites and guides seem to suggest three to six months in advance. Unfortunately, and whilst I may not please a lot of Brides to be, this information is absolutely rubbish!
We have just turned into September and my diary for 2018 is already a quarter full for weekends (i.e. Fridays and Saturdays) with some bookings having been taken over twelve months ago.
For Christmas events in December 2017, I was fully booked by the first week in February. A massive ten months before!
I am amazed to see people leave things so late. If you have an event in the planning and want a high quality DJ this should really be one of the first things to book. It is not only recommended for Weddings and Corporate Events but for general parties such as a birthday or anniversary.
The date of those involved won't change so why leave it to two weeks before only to discover that I'm fully booked?
The reality is you should be booking anywhere from twelve to eighteen months in advance and if your event is annual - as a few of my clients are - you should be booking as soon as your event finishes.
So what about how you select your DJ?
There are many factors in this. Firstly, it's not your everyday thing such as buying bread or milk and perhaps you may even be doing it for the first time. Secondly, there can be the lingering attitude that a DJ only plays music and, finally, there is the problem of cost - how expensive should a high quality DJ be?
I have worked as a professional DJ for twenty years. I have worked in all types of venues from nightclubs to community centres and hosted all manner of events from black tie corporate awards and Weddings to toy shop fun days and sporting occasions.
During my career I have been lucky enough to have seen my work take me across Great Britain - I was even offered work in Greece and Ibiza many years ago but turned them away simply due to them only offering the equivalent to £50 a day (for seven days a week work) when I was already bringing in £300 a week for two nights work!
Back to the question.
Firstly, Don't jump in to a booking!
When looking to book a DJ, I have had many examples of people who jump at the first quote given - even if they have made contact with the said DJ on a Friday or Saturday night! The truth is the better DJs will be out working these nights and shouldn't have the time to be taking on your booking. Have patience and don't jump in just because you've found a DJ who can answer the telephone at 9pm on a Friday or reply to your email at 8pm on a Saturday. Remember, if these DJs are actually working, ask yourself: "Why are they on their phone/laptop when they should be paying full attention to the job in hand? What if they were doing it at my event?"
Finding the right DJ is crucial too. I have many, many recommendations - twenty years worth of reviews, twenty years of moving with the times and still filling dance floors. There are new DJs - there always will be and I applaud those making a proper effort to learn about music and genres and the most important part - using a microphone and speaking clearly. Which takes me onto my second point.
When your job entails dealing with an office of 20-30 sober people you may not realise that it's quite simple to convey a message, send them an internal email or quickly nip for a one-to-one chat. Now put yourself in my shoes: dealing with 150-500 drunk people some of whom have been on the go all day! Being able to stand in front of a crowd and talk clearly and confidently is key to your DJ being good. In my job, I will need to give clear messages, running orders and general announcements ensuring that I have the attention of the room.
Most events will have a period when guests have an arrival and drinks reception where there is no dancing. They will have a buffet or meal which can last from half an hour to nearly two hours where there is no dancing. They could have speeches where there is no dancing. So consider that when booking - "I want all my guests dancing all night long" is never going to happen but realistically having all your guests enjoying the evening with a DJ playing the right music and making clear announcements is what you are looking for.
Peter Kay has given mobile DJs a bad name. Everyone now considers that we mumble along and sing over songs. There are many that do but I'm not one of them. Having worked in radio and on television and learned from some of the UK's top party and club DJs of the late 90s - it is amazing how many times I am acknowledged for my microphone style.
Finally, that all important one... Cost!
There are many different types of DJ and many different standards of DJ. Technically a Kia and a Mercedes do the same job but you would prefer to drive around in a Merc than a Kia and that is the same in all walks of life. You need to pay for good quality.
One of my many gripes is that I was earning £600 a night twelve years ago. The DJ industry has been dragged down by those willing to work for £50 or £60 or as I see it - beer money!
The chances are these DJs are not insured their equipment has never has a Portable Appliance Test and they are going around picking up 'easy money' because people believe that's what a DJ should get.
I have noticed it more when I have taken on a booking where they have recently been to a party and then insist on a 'playlist' because the DJ at the said event was awful. My job is not only to convince these people to trust me but also to justify why I'm five times more expensive!
My job is a PROFESSIONAL DJ. It is my full time employment. I work daily meeting clients, going to venues, listening to the newest music (some of it is awful, I'll admit, but I have to keep up to date!). I don't combine it with a 9-5 day job and do some moonlighting at the weekend and, therefore, I can dedicate more of my time to each and every event I have along with providing a seven day a week DJ service not dictated to by needing to leave my day job!
A DJ does not get two chances to get it right. If you book cheap, use an agency who could send you anything or John from marketing who does for a really low price just to top up his income and it goes wrong the finger of blame can only be pointed at one person.
This is why I will cost a lot more but it is also why I will ensure your event is professionally hosted with the right music played at the right times with the occasion running exactly how you want it to go without you missing out on the party as you have so much to think about whilst your there. My professional service allows you to relax and enjoy the event as much as your guests in the knowledge that your event is in safe hands.
Book a professional for all your events.