Similar to an FAQ, our Q&A session goes through common questions in the DJ world and addresses our opinion on those topics. Even if you choose not to hire us, we still want to be helpful in your decision-making process when hiring your DJ. Hopefully the information on this page can help! After you’ve finished reading, don’t hesitate to reach out and say hi so that we can learn more about your special day and see if we might be a good fit.
First and foremost, make sure you hire a DJ that you feel comfortable with. If you have an uneasy feeling, listen to your gut! Unfortunately, there are many bad apples out there in the DJ world and sometimes it is difficult to weed them out.
Another important question is what happens if the DJ you hire gets sick on the day of the wedding? Make sure you choose a DJ with a backup plan. While a one-person DJ could do a great job, if he/she becomes sick at the last minute, your event will be ruined since they wouldn’t have a coworker who could take their place.
Lastly, do NOT pick the lowest quote simple because it is the cheapest. The saying “you get what you pay for” absolutely applies here. DJs who charge less typically do not have as much experience, or are DJing on the side (meaning your wedding is not their first priority). While we don’t recommend always going with the highest quote either, make sure you understand exactly what is included in the price you pay since not all DJ quotes are alike.
Just a few sample questions include:
“Do you have backup equipment in case your equipment is to malfunction? Assuming the answer is yes, is there anything that you don’t keep a backup of when you go to an event?”
“Do you have multiple employees to fill in, in the event that the DJ scheduled becomes sick or can’t make the event?”
“How long have you been in business?”
“How much setup time do you need?” (some venues restrict the setup/breakdown time)
“Can you access music on demand that you do not already have in your library for guests who would like to make requests?”
“What are your payment procedures?”
“What services are NOT included in the quote and what do you need us to provide?”
Before you even start contacting DJs, plan out a reasonable budget to spend on DJing and decide what you want from the DJ so that you can get more specific quotes rather than multiple quotes from each DJ that will make it more difficult to compare.
DJing is much harder than it may seem and is not as easy as just “turning a few things on and pressing play.” Don’t underestimate how hard the DJ may work and think that a higher price is absolutely unreasonable. It all depends on what you are actually getting.
Another thing to consider is what specifically do you want to happen during your wedding with regard to the timeline and events? While DJs do need to be creative and come up with catchy ways to improve the event, you and your event coordinator (if you have one) need to provide some direction to the DJs so that they can know where to start.
We are most commonly asked why prices in DJs vary so much. DJs can offer a wide range of services, and depending on what you are getting, the pricing could be drastically different.
Take, for example, a car. The cheapest package in a car model lacks the bells and whistles than the pricier package has. Just like cars, some DJs can offer a relatively simple experience; just two speakers and a laptop or other means of playing music could be what you are getting. Other DJs also offer on-demand music services, so that guests can request music on-the-fly even if it is not in their library already.
What generally bumps the price up the most with DJs is lighting. Lighting can consist of a few colored effect lights for a dance area, or lighting the entire venue including a total blown-out dance floor experience AND fancy but soothing lighting throughout the venue.
Make sure that when you get a quote from a DJ that you know EXACTLY what you are getting. Unfortunately, just saying “lighting” on a quote doesn’t cut it. Like mentioned previously, lighting could include anything from one simple colored effect light, to the most amazing light show you have ever seen.
Many people assume that the DJ’s job simply starts when they arrive at the wedding venue and ends when the wedding concludes. Let’s say your wedding is six hours from the ceremony to the end of the reception (this is average) – that’s six hours of labor for two people. Then add on setup/breakdown of three hours and travel both ways of one hour. Now you’re up to ten hours of labor for two people, just on the day of the wedding.
Typically, we spend about three hours on the sales process with customers which includes the initial conversation and consultation all the way through the contract signing. Once the customer has signed a contract we usually do a venue visit to discuss details, and closer towards the wedding we have to go through the entire planning process including the timeline, special requests, and music. This is usually another four hours. Once we’ve finished the planning process with the customer, we have to bring our team up to speed, download music, and prepare a vehicle; this takes about two hours. This second paragraph is nine hours of labor for one person.
If you add all of this type up, it comes out to 29 hours of labor (total per-person). Divide your quote by 29, and this is a close estimate of the actual hourly rate that you are paying. This hourly rate has to be used to pay employees, taxes, rent, office supplies, vehicle maintenance/replacement, and miscellaneous other operating expenses.
Another common misconception is that a DJ can discount their price because “it’s just labor and the equipment is already paid for” – unfortunately this is very inaccurate. Most DJs have at least $20,000 worth of equipment, and if they offer lighting then they probably have a lot more. While the equipment may indeed be paid off, it takes a lot of bookings to break even. Keep in mind, most localities in the D.C. area also charge property tax on equipment like this, so DJs are paying tax on the equipment each year for something they might have purchased years ago.
Something that often gets overlooked is that the equipment most likely needs repair or replacement after a certain number of weddings. Because we are mobile and in the field, our equipment gets roughed up a lot more than it would if it was stationary. Think of a delivery truck like UPS, versus your personal car. UPS goes through trucks, oil changes, tires, etc a lot faster than you do in your personal vehicle and as a result they have to also replace those trucks more often than you need to replace your car.
There are three types of DJ services: a one-person operation, a company, and a booking agency. Whichever one you choose, make sure you feel comfortable knowing the differences!
A one-person operation refers to a DJ who DJs by themselves with no other partners or staff. Some are full time and some are part time. They do everything from handle sales and booking through being the actual DJ at your wedding. They can be great because you know exactly who your DJ will be and you can be 100% confident that you’re comfortable with their personality and style. One-person operations are usually cheaper because they have very low overhead (no office, no staff, a vehicle that they probably also use for personal use, etc). On the downside, it may be more difficult for the one-person operation to get back to you quickly since they are trying to do many different jobs as a single person. They also won’t have a backup plan in place if they get sick at the last minute, or even worse, get into a car accident on the way to your venue.
A company refers to a DJ service that most likely has an office with administrative staff and multiple DJs, all of which are full time employees. The administrative staff handles sales and booking, and the DJs stick to what they are best at which is DJing. These operations most likely can get back to you quickly since the people who communicate with you are sitting in an office all day. They also have much more flexibility if they need to schedule another DJ at the last minute, and many even have an on-call DJ every weekend in case there is a car accident in transit to an event. DJs probably also provide a fairly consistent product and you always know exactly what you are being sold because the people selling you work in tandem with the DJs performing the service. In addition, most of the large companies have newer equipment and maintain it well. The downside is that you may not always know exactly which DJ you will get, and the cost may be higher since there is more overhead having to pay for administrative staff, an office, dedicated company vehicles, etc.
A booking agency refers to what is commonly a one or two-person operation that sub-contracts out weddings to one-person operation DJs. An agency usually has a wide array of DJs to choose from and lets you read about all of them and pick the one you like the best. You probably won’t be able to speak with the DJ before you hire them though. Because agencies are usually home-based operations, there is little to no overhead since the agency doesn’t provide the DJ service and they don’t need to own any DJ equipment or pay the gas, vehicle maintenance, etc. Most agencies can also provide a replacement DJ if anything happens at the last minute. The downside to an agency is that the person you speak with during booking is probably much more out of touch with what you’ll actually get at your wedding; they’re selling many different “products” (DJs) and if each one has their own process and uses their own equipment, the end result is going to be vastly different. Another concern is that the booking agency takes exactly what you would get by going to that single-person DJ operation directly, and just adds on their commission meaning you’ll pay more. Something to be aware of as well is that we often hear about couples who book a DJ through an agency, and then the DJ quits working for that agency. The couple is usually very upset – they only went with the agency because they were going to get a specific DJ, and they may not want the other DJs that the agency can offer.
This is a very difficult question to answer because quite honestly it depends on the type of crowd. As much as we would rather not say this, some crowds simply will not dance no matter who the DJ is or what the music is. A common example might be a Friday afternoon outdoor wedding during late July when it is very hot and humid here in the D.C. area. Guests may be uncomfortable in this situation and simply not want to dance. One of the best ways though to help motivate the crowd is to find a song that they can all connect with – simply playing a line dance isn’t necessarily going to do this, and often we have to read the crowd beyond the more obvious factors such as age. Any factor we find important is playing music that will keep the bride and groom on the dance floor. Guests are more likely to dance if the bride and groom are dancing as well. Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple answer to this question!
Absolutely not! There are MANY genres which some DJs simply know nothing about and won’t be able to mix well or create a proper order. We believe that DJs should stick with what they know best and focus on the music that they know backwards and forwards. If you ask your DJ about playing a specific type of music that is important and they tell you that they aren’t familiar with it but can download it, we would generally recommend finding another DJ who is better versed with that specific type of music. We promise you won’t regret the decision! Would you want someone repairing your car who had never repaired your brand or model before? Probably not! Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, so why trust it with someone who has admitted they aren’t familiar with what you want?