When I don’t get the job, I generally send a follow up survey to see what caused my potential customer to head elsewhere for their DJ.  Was it my price not competitive? Did you not like the way I sounded on the phone?  Did someone else have a better sales pitch and offer you ice cream?  I do this as I view as valuable feedback to grow my business; it’s a great way to find out why you’re losing potential customers and to improve on your business practices – it’s all about constant improvement. Now, with that said, a frequent response I’ve been getting is, “We decided to have our friend DJ our reception.”  Now, and I’m sure quite a few of us disc jockeys could claim this: a LOT of us got our start by spinning records at our buddy’s reception; we had the equipment, maybe a decent personality, or we were just damn good at throwing parties.  So I’m not going to knock it; it’s how I got started myself! However, I am going to give you three extremely good reasons as to why you should hire a pro for your event and not your buddy.
  • Equipment Sure, your friend can go rent a sound system from a local dealer, or maybe they have it stored in their basement because they used to play in a band back in the day, but are they going to a) know how to set it up quickly and efficiently, b) know how to troubleshoot it when the inevitable breakdown happens, and c) have a back up onsite and ready to roll if it breaks down?  A pro will have all three of these things and more – they’ve done this a time or two and they know the tricks.  When that speaker on the right just isn’t thumping the way it should, they know what to look for to rectify that situation within seconds.  When traffic is bad and everyone is running late and the schedule changes on a dime, a pro will be able to adapt and adapt quickly, and efficiently get your party started in a timely manner.  And when all hell breaks loose and that amp blows? He’ll have a back up, ready to roll at a moments notice.
  • Working the crowd As anyone who has every been a DJ will tell you, anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can plug in some speakers, pull up the hippest tracks on Spotify, press play, and party on.  Working a crowd and keeping your dance floor full?  Making sure the entire reception doesn’t suck?  Keeping your guests entertained for hours on end?  That takes a whole other skill set.  A pro knows what to say, when to say it, what to play, and when to play it.  They know how to deal with your drunk uncle, they know how to pacify Aunt Betty and her unending requests for 14 minute Meatloaf tracks – it takes some skill.  Skill that your buddy probably doesn’t have – or at least hasn’t cultivated yet.
  • Professionalism This is possibly the most important aspect right here.  Do you trust your buddy to not say something completely insane over the mic after they’ve pounded one too many Budweiser’s at the open bar?  I’m not saying Josh isn’t a rad dude (I’m sure he is!) but does Josh understand this is a wedding and not a backyard pig roast?  A pro has a contract with you and a reputation to uphold – being unprofessional can kill a DJ career before it even gets started.  Plus, you really don’t want Grammie having a heart attack right in the middle of the dance floor when Josh forgets to shut the mic down and starts hitting on Lisa in the back corner of the DJ booth
Look – have your buddy DJ your reception if you’d like – I’m sure he’ll do fine. And who knows, maybe he or she will find they have a passion for entertaining a crowd and dropping sick beats for grandpa to bust a move to; you never know.  But might I suggest you give the pro a first look – I have a funny feeling you’ll feel a bit better knowing your night is taken care of you and your new hubby can just go enjoy your friends and family – and each other!