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Information From Your Pittsburgh And Cranberry Township, PA DJ On How To Choose The Right DJ For You
Hiring Advice From Your Pittsburgh And Cranberry Township, PA DJ

Hiring a DJ for your wedding ceremony, wedding reception, or other event in Cranberry Township or in the the greater Pittsburgh, PA area?  It is my hope to give you some information and tools you might find helpful to pick the DJ that is right for you and your event.

When you plan a party of any sort, your objective is to ensure that your guests have a good time, period. The company you choose to handle your wedding reception or special event entertainment will have a greater degree of effect on the success of the event than any other factor. The DJ that you choose will be your spokesperson that day and everything they say or do will be a DIRECT reflection on you.  Here are some important points to remember when you interview a DJ company...

Will the person that you interview perform at your event?

This is the most common complaint about the DJ industry today....The person you interview is NOT the person that will actually perform at your event. Ask the DJ service you plan to interview if he/she will be the actual person performing, or if someone else will perform the event. Ask if you can meet the person who will be assigned to your event. You need to know this UP FRONT before you decide or sign a contract. Preferably, you should meet both the owner/contact AND the actual DJ.

There are plenty of "Multi Operator" services out there who will be 100% upfront with you regarding this particular aspect of their service and will be glad to arrange for you to meet your prospective entertainer.

Likewise, there are companies that will purposely mislead you into thinking that the person you interview is your DJ. When it comes time for the show, someone you have NEVER met shows up. This tactic, known as "bait and switch", represents the most damaging act that DJ companies inflict on the buying public.

Bottom Line: If you don't get a good answer when you ask this question, FIND a different DJ service.

Can you expect prompt return of your phone calls or emails?

You should expect to get a call back or an email back within 24 hours. There are many DJ's who may be at a show when you call.  Be sure to leave a good call back number and your name, as well as the time frame you need entertainment for.  In fact, provide as much information as possible.  This will help the DJ to give you more information about their service and give you an accurate assessment of what they will charge to handle your event.

Bottom Line: Be persistent in your contact as many services are very busy, and provide detail so that they can talk to you.

Will they ask to meet with you and present his/her service?

A good DJ Service will want to meet with you and anyone you wish to be present to talk about your special event.  They will want to make sure that you are 100% comfortable, and will not try to use fear or pressure as a mechanism to book you.  They will speak about all of the aspects of his/her service, and answer honestly any and all questions you have.

Bottom Line: Avoid DJ services that do not want to meet you, and only want the contract or check before they will try to help you.

What value are you placing on your entertainment?

You need to assess the value you place on the entertainment service you choose.  For example, on a scale of 1 to 10, how important will your entertainment be?  Think about what the impact of having bad entertainment (or worse, no entertainment) is with respect to the success of your event.  Find out what services your DJ has available and can perform for you.

Select your DJ service on the overall VALUE that they bring to your event.  In many cases, your event may be a one of a kind or one time only event.  You most likely are not planning to simply show up and "wing it" through an event such as your wedding.  You shouldn't hire a DJ service that will do that either.  Understand what specific services your DJ company will bring to bear when you interview them.  A list of many of those services are at the bottom of this page.

Bottom Line: Choose a DJ based on their value rather than look at them as a commodity.

Will the DJ offer to meet with you after signing the contract to plan your event?

A professional DJ is ALWAYS willing to discuss your event at any time before the event starts, and should display the flexibility to accommodate changes and help you solve problems.  Meeting your DJ to plan your event is of paramount importance to a successful event such as a wedding reception.  Your DJ should discuss the follow up planning.  The DJ should also work with you to decide on an appropriate time to meet with you to accomplish the planning phase of your event.

Will you have to plan your event by yourself?

A new trend these days is the use of "online planners", where the client gets to "plan their own party" on the Internet.  While many clients think this is "cutting edge" and "cool", the reality is that many companies employ this tool to minimize the time they spend with you, maximize their profit, and place the responsibility for the success of your own reception on your shoulders.  The use of technology is a good thing, but nothing takes the place of well invested time to advance plan the event.  If the company you interview is not willing to invest that time with you in advance, you may be in for a big disappointment come time for your event to start.  In some circumstances, such as out of state, where email and phone are the primary avenues of communication, as long as you feel good about the level of communication taking place, this is OK.

Bottom Line: Plan your party in person with your entertainer if at all possible.

Do you like the person that you interview at your meeting?

There is NOTHING worse in the world than having to do business with someone you do not like.  Choosing the person who "feels" right is the most important factor in picking the right DJ for your wedding reception or party.  The DJ you choose should be very open about what he/she can do for you and should volunteer information and show you that they are comfortable with the type of event you are planning.  A good DJ service wants you to be 100% comfortable with your choice you make and will not use fear tactics to scare you into booking them.

Bottom Line: If you do not feel good about choosing a DJ service, do NOT book them.

Is the person knowledgeable about your type of event?

Not every DJ is qualified to handle every type of event.  Rather than ask "how much do you charge" as your first question, you should ask your DJ, "Can you handle my event"?  As you interview your DJ, if you do not get the impression that the DJ is comfortable with your event and specific needs, you should interview more companies before you make a selection.  The DJ should spend time listening to you describe what you want to happen, and get excited about your event.

What does the DJ use to procure your business?

You should expect to see several documents that the DJ service uses to display their service and demonstrate HOW they will conduct and plan your event.  First and foremost is a planner.  This planner should impress you enough to the point where you understand that the DJ you are hiring is a professional, and is capable of handling your event.  A sample copy of the CONTRACT to be used should be available as well as a schedule of pricing information.  If you ask, a DJ should be able to give you a list of references. CONTACT THEM!!  Ask if there were any issues or problem areas when the person dealt with the DJ.  Of course, you will most likely not get a bad reference, but you should be able to note elements of consistency between what the DJ tells you in the interview and what his/her clients have told you.

Does the DJ have a music list?

You need to be assured that the DJ you hire not only has a sizeable collection, but has a variety of music, especially for wedding receptions, where many different styles of music will be requested and several different age groups will be in the same room together.  Ask to see a music list.  Find out if the DJ service you want to hire will work to acquire the music you need to ensure your event's success.  Having a large library is not nearly as important as having a large selection of music that you, the client, need to have played at your event.  Find out if your DJ will be flexible with requests for special music, and will follow your direction (if you give direction) about "do not plays" and "must plays".

Does the DJ use professional grade equipment?

If the DJ does not have pictures of his or her gear, you should ask to set up a time to see the equipment or see pictures of the DJ's set up.  However, you should not expect to be invited to someone's wedding or private event to accomplish this.  The DJ should be able to tell you what he/she uses and characterize the equipment as professional grade.  You should not expect to recognize off the shelf stereo components from Best Buy, Circuit City, or Wal-Mart in use at your event.

In Closing:

You should consider your DJ entertainer as an insurance policy you buy that ensures that all of the other money you spend will not result in bad memories or a less than enjoyable occasion. Good entertainment is NOT cheap, and cheap entertainment is NOT good.

If you answered 9 or 10 in the value question raised above, that means you are placing 90 to 100% of the success of your event on your entertainer. Now consider the percentage of money you are spending with respect to the amount you have budgeted for the event. In many cases, clients budget less than 5% of their money on entertainment, but expect the entertainment to be the main factor in making the event a success.

Your DJ, if you have chosen a good one, will display many of the following skills and attributes before and at your event:

  • Master of Ceremonies and Time management
  • Party/event planner and event coordinator
  • Comprehensive library of music
  • Professional grade equipment
  • Follow the plan that you and he/she have worked out using the planner
  • Flexibility to adapt to sudden changes
  • Problem solving skills and innovative out of the box thinking
  • Seamless, continuous music at all times unless otherwise specified
  • Sound technician / Light technician
  • Ability to "read" a crowd and pick the right music
  • Audience motivator..and not by embarassing you or your guests
  • Referral service for other event professionals

At Booch-X Entertainment, I consider it both an honor and a priviledge to be invited to be part of your event.  I will help you in every way possible to make your event the best that it can be!

Reprinted with the permission of Bill Smith of The Magic of Music in Cary, NC.

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