What questions should you ask a potential DJ you want to book?

This is probably the first time you've needed to book a Mobile DJ or Mobile Disco, so what should you look for? It's almost impossible to tell if he or she is likely to fill your dancefloor through questions, however what you can tell is whether they sound like they they have the exerience with your kind of event, the equipment to handle the size of the event and whether they seem flexible to your wants and needs!

Here are some questions we have been asked before, and things we think are important when choosing a DJ for your party

Either click your question below, or click here to read all of them

How much music do you have?

What music do you have?

What music will you play?

Do you have 'clean' versions of songs?

Can I bring my own music?

How big are your speakers?

What if your system breaks down?

What if you get ill?

How long does it take to set up?

What will you wear?

Will you drink on the night?

My venue has asked for PLI (Public Liability Insurance)

My venue has asked for PAT (Portable Appliance Test)

Can you set up earlier?

What lighting do you have?

Do you have a smoke machine?

How much power do you need?

Do I get a contract?

Do I pay a deposit?

Where can I see you performing?

Will you do everything in your power to make my event special and accomodate my every wish no matter how much of a pain I become?

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How much music do you have?

We would suggest that in order to cover multiple ages attening your event, and multiple styles and be able to satisfy most requests, a professional DJ should have something over 40,000 songs available. many will have a lot more than that.

What music do you have?

It may be important to you to have music for different nationalities, some DJs caryy this, some don't. Maybe check with the DJ any styles you and you friends like, to make sure they have them, and more importantly are happy to play them

What music will you play?

A DJ should be able to choose all the music for a successful evening, based on the audience on the night and using his or her experience. They should ask you what you like, in order to personalise it for you.  Many will offer you access to an online music request system, these are great as you get to specify 'Must Play' and 'Do Not Play' songs. Other DJs will just ask you to email a list, either way the important thing is to ensure the DJ will actually play what you and your guests want

Worth bearing in mind two things with requests:

DJs can only get through around 19 songs per hour, so giving a list of 200 songs for a 4 hour gig isn't going to work

Specifying heavy rock (or other specific style) all night, means there's a good chance many of your guests will not only not dance, but may leave early!  DJs are great at choosing music, give them a flavour of your favourites and leave the rest to their expertiseCan my guests choose music?

The online music request systems allow your guests to choose songs online before the event, it's worth checking with the DJ that he's happy to play these, and any requests that come in on the night

Do you have 'clean' versions of songs?

Most professional DJs will have clean versions of the biggest chart songs, but will probably only play these if requested by you, or if much of the audience are children. Do chat with you DJ if this is important to you

Can I bring my own music/ iPod, CD, Memory Stick?

You shouldn't need to, but if you plan to use the DJs system to play your own selection of background music, then he or she will probably have a facility to allow this, but do check with them before the day

How big are your speakers?

Size isn't everything (where speakers are concerned anyway!), these days some small speakers can pack a serious punch, while some older larger systems can sound woolly and unclear.  Every DJ will think their system is the best (I do!!), in reality it's the best they can afford. As a very generalised rule, the more expensive the DJ, the more likely he is to have a good system

By a good system, we mean one that is loud enough for the amount of people attending without being driven into distortion (painful on the ears) and one that is both clear and punchy. Maybe if you don't know about professional PA systems, a better question to ask is how many people is your sound system suitable for

What if your system breaks down?

Professional DJs will carry with them almost a full spare disco. It's no good back at their house or storage, if something breaks down they need to be able to go to their van and get a replacement. If they can't then your party is going to be very quiet or dark!

What if you get ill?

Many will have a team of professional associates they can instantly call upon. It's well worth asking the question!

How long does it take to set up?

For a normal amount of equipment with reasonable access to the room/ marquee, most DJs will need an an hour. This is more relevant where you've only hired the venue for specific hours, the DJ will also need an hour at the end to pack away. Offering drunk relatives who will help is very kind, but rarely will the DJ want this, as more equipment gets damaged this way in our experience

Should you book extra's such as uplighting, this takes longer but your DJ should discuss this so you are fully aware.

What will you wear?

This may be really important to you, as perhaps for a Wedding if your DJ turns up in dirty jeans and a T shirt he's not really being part of your big day. Some will wear a Dinner Suit (Tux), others a shirt and trousers, make sure you have this chat so you are sure your DJ will fit the surroundings and standard of your event

Will you drink on the night?

A small percentage of DJs seem to think they are part of the party, therefore can have a good few drinks and still perform their duties. We would suggest that DJs should only be having soft drinks, they are there to work for you and do a professional job and service, they are not a guest

My venue has asked for PLI

Many venues now ask for this in case of claims by guests following an accident. All the DJs on the site have £10 million of Public Liability Cover (PLI) just in case of any accidents. They will be happy to email either you or your venue with their policy

My venue has asked for PAT

This is Portable Appliance Testing, all DJs should have their equipment is tested by a qualified Electrician annually, each item will havea sticker as well as providing you and the venue with a test certificate

Can you set up earlier?

It's not always appropriate to set up early in the day. In a marquee this is the preferred option as guests will rarely go somewhere else after the Wedding Breakfast, so bringing a lot of equipment through your crowd of guests is not really what you want. If however you have chosen a beautiful venue with nice architecture, do you really want 21st century equipment in your photo's... probably not.

It's something you would discuss with both the venue and DJ

What lighting do you have?

Rather like asking about sound systems, if you're not in the industry then many of the makes, models and descriptions will mean nothing to you. You are better off asking for pictures of recent events and any special effects or colours you are looking for

Perhaps if you have a Hollywood theme you may like rotating spot lights/ searchlights, for a first dance at a Wedding then maybe colouring the room with your chosen colour only. There are lots of options, ask your DJ what he suggests

The concept behind having good and varied lighting is to set the scene and match the mood of the music. Once again the more expensive DJ is more likely to have a varied selection of fully controllable lighting to do what you need, the cheaper DJ is generally more likely to have maybe 4 lights which just swirl around the room constantly. Perhaps ask for video of recent events and see what you think will work for your event

Do you have a smoke machine?

Many DJs will have at least one smoke or haze machine. Smoke machines produce a reasonably thick smoke you can see, where haze machines produce a light haze which is barely visible.  The reason for having some kind of smoke is the show off the lighting to best effect

However, many venues will not allow smoke, some won't even allow haze (these are normally ones who don't understand the difference), so worth checiking with the venue too

How much power do you need?

Most DJs will be happy with Two domestic style 13amp sockets, or one 16amp C-Form socket. This is rarely a problem, and only really needs discussion where a marquee is involved, here I would chat with the marquee company and DJ to ensure that there is enough power, and it's not coupled with a fridge or beer pump/ cooler which will produce clicks and pops through the sound system

Do I get a contract?

You MUST get a contract of some kind. Every weekend DJs get calls from clients saying that their DJ has pulled out at the last minute. This is normally where no contract is in place, it's cash on the night and the DJ has been offered a better paying gig which he then takes, letting you down!

Of all the questions here, this is the most important one, you MUST get a contract, there is no reason why a DJ can't issue one!

Do I pay a deposit?

Worth checking along with the contract, and whether it's refundable

Where can I see you performing?

Let me ask you this - How you would feel with all your guests dressed up for your special day, and in come perhaps several couples, plus maybe relatives, to stand there and judge your DJ... Not a happy thought is it?

Of course you want to make sure you have the right DJ, but showing up at someone elses Wedding will not prove much if anything. He may be under strict instructions to only play rock music, use strobes, use a small lighting rig and wear shirt and trousers, all or some of which may not be what you are looking for.

Hopefully through use of video and photographs throughout this website, you will have a good idea of what to expect. Even seeing a DJ doing a pub gig won't give you much of an idea as to how he will perform at perhaps a wedding

Will you do everything in your power to make my event special and accomodate my every wish no matter how much of a pain I become?

The reaction to this question may tell you more about your DJ than any other... The is no perfectly right answer, their answer can only indicate if you are both on the same wavelength

Hopefully we've given you some valuable tips and questions to ask. There is no magic formula to choose one from another, it's a feeling you get when speaking with someone.  

Please remember two things:

A - If you want a monkey to play music then pay peanuts - DJing for multiple ages and music tastes is far more than just pushing a few buttons and will therefore cost you more. 

B - Get a contract (did I mention that before...)

HAVE A GREAT PARTY!!