10 Mobile DJ Pitfalls to avoid to ensure that you have a perfect event.

The purpose of this article is to advise prospective clients on 10 potential pitfalls when considering booking a mobile disco for your event or wedding reception.

Summer events - Guests dancing at a Wedding in Marquee near Cambridge

How Experienced is Your Mobile DJ?

How do you know if the Mobile DJ is experienced?  Never be afraid to ask this question. If you don’t you may regret not doing so.

Please don’t be fooled by a flash website or some stock photos as these are usually taken from google in the USA which they might use on their website!

Ask the DJ about their experience. An experienced and premium wedding & party Mobile DJ should have at least 10 years of experience under their belts.  It takes that some time to be fully competent and to be able to cope with all types of weddings.

Ask for Mobile DJ testimonials and recent references. Most contented mobile dj clients will be eager to recommend their Mobile DJ so I’d ask for these prior to booking someone.

Also look for Google and Instagram reviews and Facebook recommendations. Reviews left over several years suggests someone who is experienced and knowns what they are doing.

Price

If someone is cheap, they are so for a very good reason. Maybe they have just started out or they are eager to secure work. On the other hand, why pay more than you need to for a mobile disco? Please don’t get me wrong here as we all had to start somewhere and learn from scratch but you don’t want the learning curve to be at your expense! Cheap will usually mean trouble!

Equally, is there any point paying £100’s extra for no reason?

It’s worthwhile doing some research but make sure you are comparing like with like and understand what is and isn’t included in the price. Also bear I  mind that is for are looking for extras such as mood lighting or an early set up the price will vary as to how much and whether these might in included in any standard price.

As a guide in 2024 & 2025, for a typical 5 hour local disco my view is as follows:

£300 is too low

£800 is too high

£500 to £600 would be the right area

VAT – I’d check as to whether this applies and is included in your quote.

Bride & Guests Dancing at a Wedding near Acle

Secure Your Date – the Contract

It’s all too common that I hear awful stories of other DJ’s letting customers down, usually at short notice.  The common factor in nearly all cases is the absence of a booking contract. A Mobile DJ should provide a booking contract without fail. This gives you peace of mind and avoids any misunderstandings.

What is a Booking Contract and What Needs to be Included?

The mobile dj booking contract is the legal contract between you and your Mobile DJ. It details all of the important details about your event, so that there is no misunderstanding. A contract may be varied by agreement, for example, I am occasionally asked if the agreed playing times can be extended or the venue has changed. That’s totally fine.

The contract will include key contact details, addresses, phone numbers and performance times. A contract should also include details of the agreed fee and any upfront deposit or booking fee. In nearly all cases a deposit should be paid to secure your chosen date, and the amount of deposit will vary. I usually request £75-£150.

My advice to you is if there is no contact or just an insistence of ‘cash only’ on the night then walk away. You are at risk of being let down.

Who is your Mobile DJ?

It sounds a really silly question doesn’t it?

However, if you are booking a mobile DJ through an agent, events company or a multi-operator, then you are not dealing directly with your DJ, but a third party who are simply arranging the supply of an unknown DJ and taking their commission from you in doing so. This can be as much as 30%. For example if you have paid £500 is an agency, your DJ might only receive £350.

It is highly unlikely that the agent has seen their DJ’s working or know what equipment their DJs use, so you are left in my view slightly vulnerable. not knowing who to expect. It can be a lottery.

You might be happy with this type of arrangement but you are not going to know who you are getting as your DJ or whether they are experienced or have just started out. Nor are you going to be able to speak to them or understand what equipment they use. There will be no option either to meet your DJ beforehand or arrange for them to visit the wedding venue.

I’m not being wholly negative here, but just advising you of how these type of arrangements work in practice, having personally worked with some agents over the past 25 years.

Music

Lots to consider in this area as it’s a fundamental part of the success of your wedding or party, so I’ve listed the obvious questions to think about further:

  • Requests – will they play your requests?  – don’t take it for granted! Please check first.
  • Experience – do they know their music well enough through being experienced?
  • Playlists – do they accept playlists? Many don’t so very wise to check this
  • Can they ‘read the floor’ – this boils down to experience and knowing what does/doesn’t work
  • What happens it they don’t have your songs – will they be able to legally source these?
  • Announcements – will they make announcements at the right time using a professional mic so that they can be easily understood? A Mobile DJ should not spend all night talking on the mic either!

Lighting

I’ve included DJ lighting here because it’s usually overlooked.

Clients ask few questions in respect of lighting as it’s perceived to be a technical area.

What to look out for:

  • Can the disco lights be controlled? – You don’t want them spinning in peoples faces all night long or spoiling your ‘first dance’. A professional DJ can fully control their lights and select specific colours etc
  • Star cloths – These look great and add to the ambience of the event. I offer white & black options, but some DJ’s turn up and will use a table and a cloth so be careful!
  • Mood lighting – this option gives your event the ‘wow’ factor and paints the wall & dance of your chosen colour. Most professional DJ’s will offer you this option.
  • UV Lighting – a useful option and popular with birthday parties & kids events

Back up Plans

This is a question that is never asked but it should be, as it’s so important.

Imagine the situation. Two hours into your party or wedding reception and music dies!

What happens next?

Either:

  1. Your professional Mobile DJ has back up equipment and all is good or
  2. Everyone goes home because the DJ hasn’t got back up equipment and the party or wedding is ruined

Modern and well maintained equipment is ultra reliable but even so, a professional Mobile DJ will have their equipment serviced & well maintained and will carry a full back up just in case it’s required. I’ve heard too many stories of parties being curtailed due to poor preparation by the DJ & old unreliable equipment .

Bear in mind that many very cheap DJ’s won’t be investing in back-up equipment or properly maintaining theirs to a reliable standard.

My advice here is to ask the question – do you carry back up equipment?

Flexibility

How flexible and accommodating is your DJ?

Many clients book their event well in advance and over the course of time the finer detail of their big day changes slightly. Maybe their have changed their wedding times, or they need the DJ to play for longer or possibly they want an early set up

Whatever, the reasoning the DJ needs to be understanding and work with their clients to ensure everything is perfect. Clearly if additional costs are involved, that would need to be agreed and any contract amended to reflect those.

If your plans are not set in stone for you event, it’s worth asking your DJ whether alterations to the events timings etc will be accepted.

The Meeting

Would you like to meet your Mobile DJ before your event?

All professional DJ’s should offer a meeting with their clients if possible. Whether this is in person at the venue or at the clients home is up to you to agree upon. Sometimes, particularly with clients based overseas, a Skype type call is preferable.

Meetings are very popular with wedding clients, but I also attend some meetings with other party organisers.

A meeting is also an opportunity to build a rapport with your DJ before the event, ask them any questions, discuss music, timings, colour of mood lighting etc

A number of DJ’s do not offer this service, so if you ask for a meeting, your DJ should be willing to meet you.

If you are booking through an agency or an events company it is highly unlikely that you will have the opportunity to meet your DJ prior to your event.

Safety Comes First

A sound word of advice here.

PLI – (Public Liability Insurance)  – All mobile DJ’s should be fully insured and covered by £10 million of Public Liability insurance. Failure in doing so will possibly deny them entry into many venues who insist on seeing their insurance policy in advance. It’s essential to check this in advance.

PAT – (Portable Appliance Testing). It is highly advisable that all DJ’s have an annual safety check of their electrical equipment. Many venue will ask for proof of certification in advance of your event. Failure to provide this document could prevent them performing at your event. remember the test is for everyone’s safety including the DJ!

Conclusions

The purpose of this article was to advise prospective clients on the potential pitfalls or risks of booking a DJ and encourage them to ask a few questions to save problems further down the line.

Mobile DJ - Disco set up in function room