DJ Horror Stories

Exorcise the Haunting sales Hype

by Bob Moffett

Shopping for the right DJ can be tricky. Disc jockey prices are all over the place and the cast of characters themselves represent both heaven and hell. How do you know what constitutes a fair price and competent service?  Grab your wooden stake and I'll walk you through the most common recurring nightmares.

Terrorizing Prices 
Start by setting a reasonable budget for your entertainment needs, and then search for disc jockey entertainment that falls within or reasonably close to that budget. Price alone speaks nothing with regard to the quality or experience of the DJ. You need to exhume more information if you intend to land great results at a fair price.  A very high price can be indicative of popular demand or simply limited commitment and even just ego. A low price can be a great deal if the disc jockey is a dedicated part time enthusiast, or a disaster if he's a really just a complete novice

Common sense and you're own good instincts should tell you when a price is too low for the service quality you expect and unreasonably high given the number of qualified alternatives you are evaluating. Your event may be one of high emotional value for you, such as a wedding. Trust your instincts and expect the sales person to present realistic values rather than nightmare scenarios appealing to your worst fears.

Paying Penance
The cost of getting your business gets passed on directly to you. For example: you'll find plenty of disc jockeys in Wedding magazines and Bridal shows, but you should expect to pay more for the convenience. The disc jockey or his agent has paid handsomely to advertise there, and that cost will be represented in the price. However, don't equate the size of the advertising budget with the experience of the DJ. Image can be bought - but a reputation is earned. Spend your dollar on quality entertainment not just slick marketing.

Zombie DJs
Whatever the price, be certain that after attracting your business the company can still afford to deliver an experienced, prepared, and properly equipped disc jockey. You should expect to know and have in writing the name of the actual DJ responsible to play at your event, and to be notified and have final approval over any changes to the scheduled talent.

No Show Ghost DJs
You also want assurance that you'll have the quality entertainment you expect even if the designated performer becomes unable to perform. It is important that you know right up front exactly what proceudre will be employed to provide you with equivalent alternate entertainment at no additional cost should the designated performers or company become unable to follow through. Check for "acts of God" clauses in the agreement that are far too liberal - rendering void all obligations over situations as simple as one individuals sickness or detainment.

Unless his/her talent is known to you by way of your own experience or a trusted referral you should take the time to interview any prospective disc jockey. DJs are moved to the endeavor by a variety of motivations, so look for evidence they’re committed to the task. Check references, and do not rely solely on testimonials or managed online reviews. Speak to actual past clients and other event professionals. Ask for references specific to the type of event you are planning, and follow up with them.

The disc jockey's depth of resource is an important clue to their breadth of experience and level of commitment. Is the work a career, a hobby, or a vehicle to showcase some other talent? What kinds of event planning skill or experience do they posses? What kind of events do they work most often and how many events of the type you are planning have they performed? What other diverse experience can they offer that might benefit your event? The more you know the better able you are to compare attractive service offers and avoid the menacing DJs from Hell.
Greater Boston & New England

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