The Alberta Association of Mobile Entertainers
What is a Pro Mobile DJ? How do you find one?
PROFESSIONAL : pro•fes•sion•al : Noun:
person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation
A skilled practitioner; an expert.
By the dictionary any one who gets paid to be a mobile DJ is a professional. If your uncle Ed has some loud speakers from when he was in a band, connects his laptop and you pay him, uncle Ed is now technically a “Pro”.
Is uncle Ed a “skilled practitioner” or an “expert”? Probably not.
Is Uncle Ed a good value for the dollar? Perhaps… depending on what your expecting.
If the ONLY goal is to have some music in the background, and the quality of the entertainment is not important, Uncle Ed is probably a much greater value then attempting to connect an Ipod or CD player to an available (rental or Venue) sound system yourself.
But What If you want something more?
Many people feel that the Entertainment can make all the difference in the success of a party or reception, while others might feel that ‘music’ is just music, BUT don’t want the Entertainment to be another task or problem on their already full plate.
How do you tell the difference? How do you know that the mobile DJ your considering is “a skilled practitioner; an expert” or “following a profession” or maybe he is just some guy with some speakers?
In the Entertainment world a “skilled practitioner” is an entertainer with Talent and Experience. No one wants an ‘untalented’ DJ, but “Talent” is subjective and can not necessarily be judged from an advertisement or a phone call..
You want a professional who is Talented and an Expert, but you haven’t personally seen any lately, what do you do?
Do you call every DJ you can find and choose the one you want based on price?
Definitely not, entertainers are not a commodity to be equally compared by price. They are individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses. If you simply compare them by price, you might as well get ‘Uncle Ed’, at least you KNOW what your getting for your money with him.
What about asking friends or family (or ‘Word of Mouth’)?
This is probably your best bet! You might not have had the opportunity to witness a great DJ lately, but other people you know might have.
Word of Mouth can help in finding “a skilled practitioner”, but does it help find the “expert”? In most cases it does, because the people recommending them usually know what kind of celebration your planning.
There are also questions you can ask to help determine if the person is an experienced “expert”. Since you can’t “do-over” a wedding reception, graduation celebration, or a 50th birthday party, and ruining someone’s ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event, can actually destroy a DJ’s reputation & business, the majority of Mobile DJ’s who have survived in their profession a long time will usually have same basic things in common.
Most experienced professional mobile DJ’s have;
Contracts: many clients feel a lot more comfortable when the basic details of their event are written down and signed by both parties. A contract details the expectations of both parties and ensures a level of protection for everyone involved.
Backup Equipment & Backup Plan: Does the entertainer you’re considering have a plan for sickness, injury or equipment failure? ASK!
Liability Insurance: The chances of a guest being hit over the head with a speaker (and then suing the DJ who is EMPLOYED by the host) is probably a million to one, but an experienced DJ usually doesn’t feel the need to take that chance, (with their clients and with their DJ company). Many venues are now asking to see a copy of the entertainments liability insurance to help them keep their own liability insurance costs down.
Legal Music Library: Most DJ’s are required to have an AVLA license. The chances of A DJ’s company being shut down because he was caught breaking the copyright law is even LOWER then his chances of being sued. Still, if a DJ can’t even be bothered to support the artists he makes his money from, how ‘professional’ and reliable do you think he is with the rest of the most basic things?
Referrals: Not only from previous clients, but local wedding professionals & Venues.
In conclusion, it is entirely possible to find the entertainment that is right for you with just a little perseverance and the proper questions. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns and listen for the answers that make you comfortable with that entertainer.
Remember, quality isn’t expensive, it’s priceless!