What should I pay attention to when booking and hiring a DJ?

By Gigstarter Team on 22-03-2019

People hire and book DJs on Gigstarter all the time. Still; what do you have to pay attention to when hiring a DJ? Using our booker’s experience, as well as our owns, we created an overview of important tips and advice for you. You can make your event even more of a success with these tips!

The three most important things when booking a DJ

  1. The costs of a DJ
  2. The equipment of a DJ
  3. Music style of your event.

1. The costs: How much do I pay for a DJ?

The prices of a DJ can differ greatly. You can find the price indication on the artist profiles on Gigstarter, but this doesn’t have to be the final gage. This depends on multiple factors, such as:

  • The length of the gig. Often, DJs ask for a specific amount of money per hour.
  • When the DJ is a popular artist on Gigstarter, it can very well be possible that (s)he is more expensive than a lesser known DJ.
  • The equipment of a DJ is a big expense as well. Is the DJ going to bring all of his/her own equipment, or do you have to rent it yourself? These are important things to discuss with the DJ. --Don't forget the distance and travel expenses. These are easy to forget; but all the more important.

Check out our DJ database on Gigstarter to get an idea on the price range, difference in quality and the different types of shows the DJs can give.

Check DJ Database

Black and yellowOne of the most popular DJs on the platform: Black & Yellow

2. Equipment a DJ requires

A DJ is an artist. Make sure that, as you would with a live band, you know what kind of equipment your DJ requires. Always ask the DJ what technical equipment (s)he needs. Sometimes this is called a ‘technical rider’, which is an overview of all equipment that the DJ needs in order to perform.

The usual equipment includes turntables, a DJ-booth and a sound system (also known as a P.A.). At a ‘drive-in show’ you can expect the DJ to bring all equipment themselves. Don’t forget to think about practical issues; do you have enough outlets for the DJ to plug in to? Is there a roof when the event is outside? When using a bigger sound system is can be very helpful to have a separate group for electronics. An aggregate is not unusual to use at festivals for example.

The basics: PA & DJ gear

The minimal required equipment – the turntables and the sound system (P.A.) – usually start at around 250 to 300 pounds. These systems will work fine for events up to a hundred guests, as long as you have a DJ-booth as well (this can be a raised platform of any kind). This doesn’t include subwoofers. Subwoofers produce the low bass-tones of a set. This system therefore perfectly lends itself for Friday afternoon drinks, wedding receptions, birthdays or small local events. Don’t use this system for bigger parties where you want loud music and a dancing audience.

There are all kinds of turntables for DJs. So many that we could write an entire blog post about just that topic. Most DJs use flash drives to save their music. There are tons of exceptions; some DJs only use vinyl (which might add extra travel costs) and others plug in their laptop. It’s always a smart idea to talk to your DJ about their style of work.

Please note that not all DJs are open to a simplified gig since their visual presentation and equipment are part of their performance. Always discuss what you both expect from the gig.

Book a DJ

freehugsDJ Kasey Riot is one of Gigstarter's latest DJ-additions.

The DJ booth

The DJ booth is where the DJ performs and has his turntables. This can go from something as simplistic as a regular table, to a professional booth with LED-lighting. Our advice: make sure you dress it up nicely and don’t go for the cheapest option. A DJ booth is a good investment; it shows class and will impress the audience at your event or party.

Renting equipment

When renting equipment, make sure you show the DJs ‘technical rider’ to the rental company. Also check to see if the equipment they bring isn’t outdated. In some cases, the DJ has their own equipment. Make sure to discuss this beforehand.

The price of renting equipment can range greatly, depending on the number of visitors and the sound quality of your party. The advantage of renting equipment at a company is that you can expect good quality, so that the DJ can focus on their music.

So what does equipment cost?

To know exactly, it’s always smart to ask for a quotation beforehand. To do this though, you do have to know all the details we mentioned before. We advise to contact companies that are specialized in renting out DJ equipment. If you’re in doubt, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help.

Darco PoloCheck out our proud Amsterdam-based DJ Darco Polo

3. Music style for your event

Every DJ has their own style. It’s a good idea to think about what kind of DJs and producers you’re a fan of, so you can look for similar DJs on Gigstarter. Do you want your DJ to be all round and fitting for all ages? Take a look at our overview of party DJs and drive-in shows.
It can be smart to book multiple DJs for your event as well. You could combine DJs that play house or dance music with DJs that play disco music. You can get people dancing that way or use multiple dance floors! Look around our platform to see what’s possible.

Visit, and decide for yourself

Visit DJs at their gigs in order to make a good decision. This is very usual, and fun as well! If a DJ is performing at a club, (s)he can even put you on the guest list. It can be inappropriate to visit DJs at private events, which is why showcases exist. Take a look at the music agenda to see what our artists are up to. Popular DJs are usually booked months ahead of time, so start looking at DJs early on! By doing so, with all of our tips in your back pocket as well, you’ll be sure to have an amazing event featuring an amazing DJ!

Check availability of DJs

Are you interested in the music industry, tips for artists and Gigstarter? Please read our blog.

Gigstarter makes live music accessible to everyone. On gigstarter.co.uk you will find live music for your party easily. This service is free of charge for both artists as bookers. Take a look at the site and follow us on Facebook to stay updated about Gigstarter events and new talent.

No hassle. Just music.


Tags: gigstarter, dj, music, music, booking, turntables, booth