Things you should consider before booking a Wedding Entertainer, Or DJ.
Firstly call for quotes - this is simply good business sense. But don't fall into the trap that everyone is quoting on the same thing; it's not like ringing up to hire a car where you can get quotes on a specific make & model.
The cheapest price may not be what you need for your function.
Questions to ask yourself;
- How large is the Wedding going to be?
- Will it be at home or in a hired room - like a club?
- Do I want to run the function myself or have someone run it for me?
- What is my budget?
Questions to ask a potential Hirer
- Where do you currently work ask for references.
- How much power will the system produce? - if it's under 200 watts, then you may as well use your home stereo.
- Will I get disco lighting? - If so what do I get?
- What have they based their price on?
- If a quote is cheaper, what does it exclude?
Being a known brand doesn't equate to good service or value for money. Now compare the answers and ask yourself
- How can they all provide the same service?
Well guess what, they can't.
Some DJs and Karaoke operators actually hire the equipment or take their home stereo's to your function!!!!! - the kicker is they are charging you commercial rates for a substandard service!
Cheaper quotes mean the operator must cut corners to drop the price this is a fact of life.
The result is that cheaper quotes are providing poor or low cost equipment and little or no lights. But still want to charge you hundreds of dollars!
Examples of competitors cutting corners are:
(NOTE: If your DJ gets caught using pirate music YOU (the hirer) GET FINED AS WELL.- How much over $5000 per track! Using copies of music they may own is also a breach of copyright.)
- Running music off laptops*
- Pirated CD music*
- No Lights
- Cheap low power equipment - subject to breakdowns
- No PPCA Licence - A licence to play recorded music in Public
- No public liability insurance
Some so called DJs are young people out there trying to make a few dollars - thats fine but their music is often downloaded off the internet. Most of them carry no insurance - what if something goes wrong? The kicker is they charge you as if they are running a business which they are not. When you get a quote put them to the test be sure to ask questions like the following;
- Are they insured? and can you see their insurance certificate?
- Are they licenced by the PPCA?
- Is their music original or copied? Ask to view it - remember if they get caught you also get fined!
- Are they are registered business?
You will be surprised at their answers.
If the power is under 200 watts, you may as well have used your home stereo. These are the "Cowboys" of the industry and don't reflect the genuine operator using professional equipment. They are out to make a fast buck! and their prices reflect this. They generally carry NO insurance, use pirated music and offer inferior sound systems (as mentioned above).
Sure, you won't ever hire them again, but by then you have done your $$$ on a cheap show. And, yes, all your guests will remember the poor show long after you have said goodbye to the Cowboy DJ!
Some Mobile DJ hirers claim their basic show will cover 500 people! What they don't tell you is the sound level would be the same a a portable CD player. Again you are being ripped off. When you ring up these people, ask them how much power is being provided. If they say they will have to get back to you, then they are using a 17 year old DJ (contractor) with sub standard equipment. Sure they might charge $50.00 per hour but as discussed above these are the industry cowboys.
Wouldn't you expect the owner to know what equipment they have?
If you're planning a function for over 30 people then I suggest you get a professional DJ to run the show for you.
Am I Being ripped off paying a few more $$$
For realistic purposes hiring any sort of equipment is usually 10% of the actual value. Karaoke equipment runs at over $20,000.00 whereas Disco equipment runs at about $5000.00 to $12000.00.
If you're planning to run the show yourself for larger numbers please consider the following.
- Have you ever run a large function?
- Can you set up complicated equipment?
- Can you EQ systems?
- Where about are you going to aim the peak power?
- What are you going to do if something fails?
- Are you a good public speaker?
- How is your patience with people (especially intoxiated ones)?
- For Karaoke - can you sing?
- Are you prepared to sing for the first 1 to 2 hours before people work up the courage to sing (this is a normal part of the business)?
- For disco do you carry a minimum of 1000 tracks and are they current hits?
- Will you run video hits as well?
- Do you have professional headphones?
- Can you provide cordless microphones?
Sure, you may have seen a Disco or Karaoke being run at places around town and, yes, at times it does look easy, but the reality is very very different.
Imagine trying to run and serve the catering at your own wedding? Doesn't sound like that much fun after all!
Questions to ask Entertainment suppliers
- How much and how long is the minimum booking for?
- If I go over the minimum booking by say 30mins do I pay for a full additional hour or just part thereof?
- What about a longer booking ie can I get a discount for a 6-hour booking?
- Will a DJ/KJ be provided?,
- How will the gig be run? For example some operators play 1 Music track then 1 Karaoke track (If you're into Karaoke you know what we mean) even when the singers are lined up! This means your function has been cut in half but you still paid the full price for Karaoke! Ask the operator how they intend to run the gig and see how they respond. Don't be sucked into sub-standard service.
- Will there be filler music available? If so, what type and will it cost you extra?
What's filler music? That's a good question. Consider this - what are you going to do when no-one wants to sing right away? This is a normal part of the Karaoke business. Are you planning to spend 2 hours singing yourself? Even "Raven Entertainment" don't want to sing every song for 2 hours so you're going to need music to fill in the gaps when your waiting for others to sing, ie filler music:)
- What about lighting, what will be provided and is it free or an additional extra cost?
- What sort of equipment will they provide?
- Is it a "CAVS" system?
(This means tracks saved to a HDD and then played back in text format (words only on screen); this is inferior music to a regular CD, CDG, VCD, DVD or Laser Disk)
- What about mixing equipment, do they provide any?
- How many speakers will be provided? Generally a single speaker won't provide you with the best sound.
- Importantly - "microphones" how many come with the system?
- Lastly, don't forget to tell them how many you are expecting to cater for. A function of 100 is not the same as, say, 3000! (Nor is the cost)
Remember, if the quote sounds "too" good to be true, it usually is.