The ABC’s of hiring a DJ in Austin

You’ve probably been to a party with a phenomenal Austin disc jockey, one who knew how to get the party started. Or maybe you remember your cousin’s wedding when the DJ played the perfect first dance song. Or that family reunion where spent the night singing and dancing the night away.

On the flip side, there’s nothing like a bad DJ and awful music to ruin an otherwise special occasion.

Need some advice on your DJ search? How can you make sure you’ll have the time of your life, without being taken for a ride? Well listen up:

Plan your Austin function before finding a DJ

Think about types of music you’d like to hear, as well as how much involvement the DJ will have in making announcements. Generally, a good DJ service has a massive music library that can accommodate everything from classical to country.

However, if you’re looking for a hip-hop turntablist who can scratch and mix instead of just playing songs off a CD, make sure you ask for that special skill set upfront. Many DJ services have turntablists on staff.

Plan ahead

Reputable Austin DJ services get booked far in advance of an event date. Anticipate a six-month lead time to get the disc jockey you want.

Plan a meet-and-greet with the Austin DJ

Make sure you meet the person who will be handling your event face-to-face. Some DJ services may use top-tier talent to sign a contract, then send a different person to the event.

This meeting also is an important chemistry check, where you can make sure that your tastes are compatible with your DJ’s. In the meeting, ask for references from satisfied customers.

Have a “plan B” in case of DJ malfunction

Professional disc jockeys have top-of-the-line equipment, but even the best gear can fail unexpectedly. Ask your DJ to provide a written guarantee of how he will handle malfunction, either by having backup equipment on-site or by providing a discount.

Plan your song request list

Disc jockeys are music junkies — they know songs from albums by bands you probably have never heard.

But that doesn’t make them experts in your music tastes. Make a list of your favorite songs (and the songs you just can’t stand to hear) before the event, and make sure your DJ can accommodate.

Plan a DJ budget

Anticipate spending between $500 to $1,000 for a four-hour function. Depending on an individual DJ’s popularity, you may even need to budget more.

Also, make sure that your contract stipulates overtime charges and availability. You should be able to keep a good party going if you want, without worry.

Once you’ve done all that planning, there’s only one more step to take. Plan on having a great time

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