You should ask your DJ if he has such a license and to show you this license before you decide to hire him or her.
Not ALL disc jockeys require this license but 99% of disc jockeys use self copied music compilations and as "commercial" users of music are not covered under the same laws as non-commercial users such as consumers who make copies for their own private use.
However, some event vendors are choosing to expose this license requirement to their renters, and are asking for the fee in addition to their hall rental fee.
Can we visit the DJ at a performance?
Any professional DJ should respect the privacy of his clients and not have potential future clients stopping by at weddings or private parties to watch him perform. Professional DJ companies however should be more than willing to allow potential clients to watch them perform at any public events if they have any upcoming public parties.
Do you offer a written contract?
Every single DJ “needs” to have a contract. If a D.J. does not offer a contract, that is a huge red flag and it would be wise to avoid that DJ. Without a contract, you have no guarantee that the DJ will show up to your event even if you pay him ahead of time. It also suggests that the DJ is not organized or professional.
How long will you hold our date for us?
Our policy at Tyler's DJ Service is to hold a date from the present date until the date of the meeting only if a meeting is booked at some point in the near future. Wedding season can be very busy and to be fair to other clients who are ready to book, we serve clients as first come, first serve.
How do you keep your music collection up-to-date?
A professional DJ company should have some sort of music subscription or cd purchase plan that they belong to. Be weary of hiring DJ’s who say that they get their new music off the internet. This type of updating is illegal in Canada and these companies can be shut down by specific authorities in charge of this branch of the law. It is not worth the risk of not having a DJ on your wedding date because their company has been fined and shut down for copyright music infringement.
When do we need to submit our music requests and event details?
You should give your d.j. at least two weeks to go over any special music requests before your event. Extra details that may require special rentals or online orders should be given at least two months in advance.
Do you take requests from guests?
A DJ company should be willing to take requests from guests at the party as well as from the bride and groom in advance. At family events like weddings, the DJ should have a policy of not playing vulgar music and the DJ should have clean radio edits of any possible vulgar music that could be requested.
What is your policy on alcohol or smoking during our wedding?
Any professional mobile DJ company should make it clear that they will not be smoking or drinking while they are performing at any event. The last thing a couple would want at their wedding would be to have an intoxicated disc jockey! You may want to consider looking for a higher level of professionalism if your D.J. company doesn’t enforce this rule.
What kind of equipment do you use?
A professional DJ company should use name brand professional audio equipment. Avoid companies who run everything off of a laptop. The quality and power does not compare to professional grade amplifiers, mixers, speakers and microphones which are designed to accommodate large groups and large halls. DJ’s should have minimum speaker wattage of 300 watts per speaker for a large event.
How involved can we be in selecting music for our event?
This is a good question to ask because some DJs prefer to select most of the music while incorporating a small playlist from the client while others prefer to let the clients select the majority of the music while using their expertise to incorporate the songs together. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of involvement the DJ wishes for you to have.
Have you played at our reception site before?
It is good to know that the DJ is familiar with the location of your wedding or special event. There may be specific rules or differences in power requirements, parking reservations, challenges with where to position equipment or even loading requirements or policies that the DJ can already be familiar with.
How would you define your "style" when making announcements?
Some Dj’s prefer to stay out of the spotlight and just focus on music while others like to be the center of attention and act as a Master of Ceremonies as well. Find out the style of your DJ and if it suits what you are looking for.
Do you bring backup equipment with you to the wedding?
Even the best disc jockey equipment can fail and it’s important to have a backup on site. Make sure that your DJ has additional equipment so there are no setbacks or surprises for your event.
Do you work exclusively for this company?
Hiring a DJ that works for multiple companies could be a red flag to avoid. Double bookings can easily occur if multiple companies book the DJ for the same day. Also, there is always the chance that a DJ leaves a certain company. Make sure you know the company’s policy in this situation. Usually there is nothing more than a verbal agreement between a DJ company and an independent DJ which is a frequent cause of problems.
How long have you been a DJ and how many weddings have you done?
Experience can make all the difference between a great night to remember and a disaster. Crowds of mixed ages can be difficult to accommodate with such different music tastes and it takes an experienced DJ to know how to handle different situations. Newer DJ’s may be cheaper but it may not be worth it to you if the DJ doesn’t have the experience to know how to keep the dance floor full. Studies show that the music is the number one thing guests will remember most about a wedding. Be sure to hire a DJ who has done at least 50 weddings. More is always preferable.
Do you have a wireless microphone?
Some halls will provide you with a corded microphone while others will not or may not have a good-quality speaker system. It is a good idea to make sure your DJ has a “high quality” wireless microphone system that you can use if the hall doesn’t provide an adequate system. Shure is one of the best brand names when it comes to wireless microphones. Brand names are much more important when it comes to microphones than any other piece of DJ equipment because you can tell the difference very much so when using them. A poor brand name wireless microphone can give static, feedback, cross-talk with other wireless devices, weak distance travel and may not be heard in a wedding hall with 200 guests whereas a good microphone will work without flaw.
Do you have a light show?
Many DJ’s provide some sort of light show option. Find out what kind of light show is included and if this suits your needs. Regularly, prices for light shows can range from $50 to $300 while some DJs may include a basic light show for free.
How many weddings do you do each year?
Knowing how many weddings a DJ does every year can give you an idea of their commitment to your event. A d.j. who only does a couple weddings every year may be out of practice when your wedding comes along.
How many other types of events do you do per year?
It is good to have a D.J. who is versatile and well-rounded in different types of events to ensure an even more successful night. At the same time, make sure that your d.j. is not new to your type of event you are booking him for. For example, a club DJ may be good at keeping the bridal party and your friend dancing to the hottest new music but may unintentionally exclude or embarrass your grandparents and younger guests.
Do you perform for more than one event in a day/weekend?
Find out how many events your DJ does in one day. You will want to avoid dj’s who try to cram in multiple events into one day or even weekend. This can lead to dj’s who are exhausted once they finally get to your event or dj’s who don’t really give you the focus you deserve for your wedding or special event. Punctuality can become an issue as well.
What do you do to motivate the crowd if nobody is dancing?
A professional DJ is trained to know how to handle the situation of a dead dance floor. A dj is usually a skilled MC as well. Some disc jockeys prefer to energize the crowd to get them dancing while others prefer to use careful song selection. You need to know your DJ’s style and make sure that it suits what you are looking for.
What if something happens to you and you can’t make it to the wedding?
Every professional DJ should have a backup plan if something were to happen to them. Make sure they have another DJ available in case there is some sort of emergency and your DJ cannot be at your event. You need to feel comfortable that you will have a qualified DJ on the date of your wedding if an accident were to occur.
Do you belong to any professional associations or trade groups?
A professional association may not show the skill level of your dj but it does show that your disc jockey is eager to expand and continue to grow in his field of expertise. This can also mean that your dj is insured and has backup dj’s and equipment if a failure occurs.
May we meet with you in person before we sign a contract?
The answer to this question should always be yes. Avoid companies who try to get you to book without meeting. This either means that you aren’t worth their time or they have something to hide. Sometimes a DJ company can become very busy during summer months or distance can become an issue but they should at least provide you with an option for you to meet with them.
Will you be the DJ at our wedding?
Make sure that you meet or speak with the actual DJ who will be performing at your wedding beforehand. Beware of some DJ companies who fail to mention but will charge an extra $100 to $200 if you wish to actually book with the DJ that you meet with. If you do not pay they extra fee, they may send a cheaper, more inexperienced DJ to your wedding while they are performing at a higher paying event. This is a common scam with some larger DJ companies.
What will you wear to our wedding?
Make sure you know what your DJ will be wearing to your event so that he is dressed accordingly with the proper attire. You likely won’t want your dj to show up in jeans and a tee-shirt at your formal wedding. Most professional dj’s will come in a tuxedo or suit and tie. Make sure that the DJ’s style meets your expectations.
How willing is the DJ to respect your wishes?
This should give you an idea of how easy the DJ will be to work with you and accommodate your needs the way you want to customize your wedding. If the DJ seems to be skeptical or hesitant of your ideas, you should strongly consider looking elsewhere.
How promptly does the DJ return phone calls or Emails?
The speed at which a DJ replies to you may strongly indicate their commitment to your wedding and their profession. This also shows a DJ’s organizational skills as well as their punctuality.
What will you wear when you set up and take down your equipment?
Make sure you are satisfied with the DJ’s attire during setup and take down times. Some disc jockeys may switch from a suit to joggers and a tee-shirt for setup. This would not be appropriate attire for a formal wedding and wouldn’t be very professional. Make sure the DJ’s attire suits your needs during the entire wedding.
Does the DJ have a viewable music database?
A music database can put music availability into perspective for clients and also show the professionalism and dedication of a certain DJ to his customers. This also makes things much more convenient for clients regarding song selection.
What makes you different from your competitors?
Any professional wedding disc jockey service should be able to provide you with things that make their company unique and should be proud to talk about their company’s strong points. Some dj’s may take this time to bash their competition which is considered to be very unprofessional. A DJ that bashes his competition usually does this because he knows you would book with the other company before his and for good reason. Avoid DJ’s who do this.
Can we submit a “Do Not Play” list?
Make sure your DJ is willing to respect your music requests that you do not want played. Sometimes guests may request songs that you have requested not to be played. Make sure you know your DJ’s policy on this issue and that he will agree to something you are comfortable with.
What is included in the cost of my event?
Some dj’s will charge hourly while other have packages at different price ranges. You need to know what you are getting for the price of your dj so you can compare dj’s properly. If you are paying for an hourly dj but other features such as lights, fog, a wireless microphone and Master of Ceremonies Services are not included, it can quickly raise the cost for that DJ that you thought you were paying.
When do you arrive to set up for our wedding?
Setup for a wedding takes at least an hour for most dj companies. A professional company will be setup well before any guests walk through the door. Make sure you know your dj’s policy on when and how long it takes him to setup.
How much of a deposit is required to secure our date?
Any professional DJ will require some sort of deposit. This is to protect both parties signing a contract that the booking is secured and the DJ is obligated to be there. Deposits normally range from $100 to half the cost of the total payment.
How much would you charge for overtime?
In general, a dj may charge anywhere from $50 to $200 for any additional hours. It is good to know how many hours of service you are receiving so there are no surprises down the road.
What do you require from us?
Every DJ requires a few things from a banquet hall or couple in order for a successful night. Some of these things should include a power source, a table, adequate shelter, a wheeled cart for equipment transportation and any special music requests for the night. For weddings, a DJ may also require a list of the wedding party and any special formal dance song requests.
Do you require a meal?
Some dj’s request a meal while others will demand it. Make sure you know the needs of your dj so you can prepare accordingly without any surprises.
What sort of documents does the DJ use to coordinate my event?
A disc jockey company should be willing to meet with you in person to discuss all the details of your event. They should have event planners and a contract. Anything less than this can suggest that you are not hiring a professional company.
Do you take any breaks?
One benefit of hiring a disc jockey over a band is that DJ’s do not require breaks. It is rare to come across a DJ company that does take breaks during an event. Always ask questions to know what to expect ahead of time.