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Shopping around for your ideal DJ Service ?

Here are some suggestions to inquire about:
1. First of all, ask if they available for your date ?

2. Services offered ?
- many companies offer additional services along with their DJ entertainment (such as Uplighting, Background Cocktail/Dinner Music, etc.)
3. DJ attire ?
- of course you want the DJ to be dressed appropriately for your event, as it looks good for the DJ service and you
- Classy DJ's are always dressed for the occasion (such as a dress shirt, dress pants for a wedding reception)
4. Music Library ?
- illegally downloaded and possible poor quality or a professional fully licensed music library ?
- most professional licensed music libaries have "Radio Friendly" versions meaning any questionable words would be removed (ideal for wedding receptions with children and older adults) 

5. Equipment Quality ?
- home stereo or old dated band equipment or modern high quality and reliable  ?
- Classy DJ only uses professional series equipment names such as JBL, Mackie, Samson, Stanton, American DJ, Audio Technica and more....
6. The DJ service confirmation and price guaranteed in a contract (this is a must !) ?
- for both the DJ service and your "peace of mind"
- most companies will require a deposit that also assures you of their commitment to your special day
also if a customer is from out of the province, payment by certified cheque, money order or cash may be requested

7. Early Set-up time on location ?
- this may be important if you do not want any possible distractions or disruptions during your event
- if possible, Classy DJ does prefer to set up in the afternoon of your event day
8. Will the DJ take requests ?
- you would be surprised how many DJ's have a limited music library, wont take any requests and just  play what they want to hear
- Classy DJ's are pleased to accept requests from your guests but we do "filter" them to make sure the songs are appropriate for your event
- a "Request List" is higjhly recommended at least one week in advance of your event 
9. Will the DJ accept a written request list from the customer and follow it to the best of their ability ?
- most DJ services appreciate knowing what you want and don't want (in writing) for song selections
- a suggestion list of 10-20 songs "Please Play if possible" is more than enough.
- also don't forget your "Do Not Play" list
- but remember, you hired a professional DJ that knows how to read your crowd and choose songs that will make your party a success
10. Is there a light show included ?
- some DJ services will include, others charge extra
- lighting "styles" also depend on your event location and what "atmosphere" you want to create
- special effects such as fog machines, hazers and bubble machines may not be allowed, due to the event location policies. Fog machines/Hazers can set off sensitive smoke detectors, bubble machines can make a dance floor slippery. Also, it is very rare to see strobe lights anymore but you may want to ask anyway...
- Classy DJ does include offer various light show options that would be appropriate for your specific event
11. How many hours will they play for a specific fee ?
- sometimes there may be overtime or all inclusive
- remember that your event location will have rules on how late a DJ is allowed to play for you (example: St. Mary's Boat Club, Halifax must end by 12 midnight, The Lord Nelson in Halifax can be 2am)
Most dances will begin from 8-10pm, for a 9-1 dance. Our DJ will return around 8pm in case your dance can begin earlier (so your guests do not have to be waiting) 
12. Travel ?
- some DJ services will not even travel outside the HRM
- usually there would be an extra charge (to cover gas, travel time for the DJ, meals and possible lodgings depending on the distance required
- also consider possible travel delays for scheduling (traffic, vehicle break down, accidents,etc.) so make sure your DJ arrives early
- for out of town events more than 1 hour away, Classy DJ highly recommends having our DJ arrive the afternoon before, meet you at your event location to review details and set up the sound and lighting systems. Then you have the peace of mind knowing your DJ is there the day of your event.
- some DJ services will not even travel outside the HRM 
13. Can we talk directly to our event DJ ?
- this may or may not be important to you
- most DJ services encourage communication directly with customers (by the event DJ) assuring total confidence
- Classy DJ's call our customers directly (if requested) to review all your event details
14. Drinking or Smoking policy ?
- when a DJ is working, it may not look professional to your guests if there are a few empty beer bottles on the DJ equipment table or the DJ leaves for a few minutes to go outside and just puts on a premixed song set for 10-20 minutes (we have seen it happen which is why we are mentioning this)
- Classy DJ's do not drink (alcohol) or smoke when working giving the best impression for us and your guests
15. Will the DJ service accept other music besides what the DJ has in his library ?
- most DJ's will, but should insist on having the music before the event date (just to check the quality and become familiar)
16. Are they familiar with your event location ?
- sometimes this may not be important but certain locations may have unique challenges such as power, location set up, loading DJ equipment in/out, other events going on earlier in the same room, security, parking, etc. By reviewing these details. it assists in having your event go smoothly without any surprises
17. Insurance ?
- most professional DJ companies have insurance polices, either through their household insurance or with a organization/agency it is still the same
18. Price ? The #1 question - believe it or not, not all DJ services are the same !

Their music library, quality of equipment, company policies and procedures, DJ training, experience, familiarity with venue's, attention to detail are all very important considerations.
You don't need to pay a lot for high quality DJ services - but the more economical the DJ service, the more questions you may wish to ask (of course depending on what level of DJ service you want).
As an example only, in our HRM area, most experienced professional DJ service charge from $400. to $700. (on average for a 4 hour dance). Depending on what additional services you may require, that could increase the fee (addition of Background Cocktail Hour or Dinner Music, Audio/Video Equipment Rentals, Travel, etc.).
Yes there are inexpensive DJ services out there, but do you want to risk the reliability, quality and professionalism you deserve ? It's too late when they don't show up, cancel the same day, arrive in street clothes with home stereo equipment, don't have the music you requested beforehand, etc. We say this not by guessing but instead by what we have seen and heard from location management thoughout HRM. Many locations now ask in advance who is your DJ service so they don't have to be concerned by the less professional DJ companies.
Your cost should be specific and guaranteed in your written DJ service contract.
If you have any other questions, just email me at jalandvp@jalandvp.ca