Most people have never had an opportunity to hire a
DJ service before and don't really know what questions
to ask, what a fair price is, what services to expect,
or what add-ons to consider. We wanted to take a moment
to discuss these areas with you. We believe that an
informed client is ultimately a happier client.
When selecting a DJ service here are some basic questions
Will your DJ discuss your musical selections and
play advance requests?
A professional DJ knows that they cannot know or own
every song. A professional will discuss your selections
in advance and be prepared. A professional DJ will always
try to play requests appropriate to your event or within
the guidelines that you have asked for. Centerstage
provides a Morality Policy that prohibits violent, profane,
or demeaning music.
Will your DJ provide a written contract and guarantee?
It is extremely important that your event be confirmed
in writing specifying the terms and conditions. While
the actual performance of a DJ is subjective and cannot
be guaranteed, the services provided can be. Insist
that your DJ provide a written contract and guarantee.
Does the DJ know the proper format and etiquette
for your type of event?
A professional DJ will become involved in the details
of your event and will be prepared to handle announcements
and other aspects. Insist that your DJ take time to
discuss your needs in sufficient detail to satisfy your
questions. A professional DJ will not need to be asked
- a Centerstage DJ will insist that you take
Is your DJ registered and insured?
A professional DJ has taken the time to obtain a business
license and insurance. This is a good indicator that
your DJ is a professional, not one that "occasionally"
DJ's as a hobby, and is prepared for liability issues.
Select only a DJ that has done this.
Does your DJ / Host use professional equipment?
There is a big difference between sound equipment used
in your home compared to equipment designed for the
rigors of the road. It all comes down to reliability.
Select only a DJ that uses professional equipment.
How Much Does A Professional DJ Cost?
This is the question on the top of most people's list.
Frankly, most don't know and many factors need to be
considered. Let's first talk about your needs.
You are planning a wonderful event. You daydream about
your friends laughing and singing, having a fantastic
time. You have spent a lot of money on food, decorations,
perhaps a hotel or banquet hall. Consider also that
an average wedding costs approximately $20,000, then
ask yourself why you would consider spending $200 on
a DJ. It's really simple: you get what you pay for.
You may spend thousands on food alone, but remember
that your guests may not remember how good the food
was but will always remember how good the DJ was. There
are many negative reasons that some DJ's charge significantly
less than others -- no scare tactics here, but simple
logic: if the average price for a professional DJ in
Southern California is $1000 why is DJ So 'N So charging
so little? But price is only part of the issue -- what
do you get for the price? There are some good
DJ's that charge little, but not usually. You should
always talk in detail with a prospective DJ first, then
talk about price.
The average cost per plate at a wedding is $50.00 Multiply
that by, say, 150 guests and it comes to $7500. A Veggie
Platter will cost $15.00 per Person. That's another
$2250. Now consider once again how important a good
DJ is to your event -- they are the entertainment!
A professional DJ will play excellent music and motivate
your guests to have a great time long after the meal
was served. The success of your event does not rely
on the food, but the entertainment! Still want the cheapest
DJ you can find, or would you rather listen to "Aunt
Lily" rave for the next year about what a fantastic
time she had? A successful event is entertainment
driven. Statistically, 85% of the success of your
event is based on the entertainment.
Some areas to consider when looking for a DJ are the
services that you will receive. These areas include
the number of hours needed, what type of lighting will
be provided, number of DJ's, whether you need a separate
MC, whether you want Karaoke, party games, give-a-way
prizes, etc. This is why most professional DJ's don't
have a set price.
Here's what you need to know:
Professional DJ's don't charge by the hour (although
they may offer a package with preset hours included
as a maximum), but by the event. Although you may be
thinking that your DJ will play for 4 or 5 hours, a
professional DJ does a great deal before your big day
-- meeting with you once or twice, preparing an itinerary,
talking with your other vendors, surveying your reception
or event location, meeting your banquet manager in person,
coordinating with your photographer, etc., so determining
an hourly rate is not accurate. In many cases we will
spend about 15 hours getting ready for your event. If
you really need an hourly rate simply divide the cost
by the number of hours. This method, however, tends
to overlook what a professional DJ is doing beforehand,
as mentioned above. If you use this number as a comparison
between DJ's you may actually be getting far less with
another DJ. We call it comparing Apples to Apples, not
Apples to Oranges. For those on a strict budget there
are many fine DJ's that work for less, or by the hour,
but they don't offer this level of service. Yep! I said
"don't." We've checked.
With many DJ's the minimum quote will be for a 4-hours
and will cost between $150-$500 per hour. Prices during
the slow season or off day/night may be lower. The cost
is not based on the number of people that will attend
your event, with the exception that if you have hundreds
or thousands of guests a larger sound system is required
and will cost more. A professional DJ does not make
a huge "profit" on each event. There are many
expenses to run the business, maintain equipment, buy
new music (monthly!) travel, insurance, telephone and
internet service, marketing, etc. Your DJ will have
invested a significant amount of time and money into
his or her business -- we just hit the bottom line!
A Professional! When a DJ does this month after month
you can be assured that they are dedicated to success.
Your's and their's. Far too many part-time DJ's care
only about making a quick buck.
A professional DJ wears many hats: entertainer, music
programmer, coordinator. While you are having a great
time your DJ should be working with your caterer, banquet
hall manager, photographer, event coordinator and anyone
else that you have hired. This will help keep things
running smoothly and on time. It also makes your day
a lot easier.
So here it is: if you want the best that you can afford
you will need to be willing to pay for what you want.
This is not a set-up to get you to pay more; it is a
reality that is part of our lives, whether you are buying
a new TV, a VCR, or eating in a nice restaraunt. With
a better idea of what a professional DJ does you should
be ready to look at features and services now that you
have determined what you can afford.
Services & Features
Hiring a DJ for a small to medium size event will cost
approximately $600-$700 for 4 hours, and a little bit
more for a wedding. Some more experienced entertainers
will charge more, but their experience commands a higher
price. Set-up and tear-down time should always
be included in the price, not extra. If your event is
formal a suit or tuxedo should also be included at no
extra charge. You should not have to pay extra for travel
expenses in most cases. A DJ is not automatically a
better choice if they are 1 mile from your event or
Sound System Requirements
An event with less than 300 guests only needs a medium
sized sound system with two speakers, or four speakers
if you want really awesome sound quality and deep bass
(highly recommended.) A wireless microphone should always
be available for your use and flexibility. Larger events
require larger sound systems and often times two DJ's.
Centerstage DJ's use only computerized systems or CD's
today, not turntables. No more snap, crackle or pop!
Just crisp, clean sound.
The Importance of Lighting Effects
A successful event is both audible and visual. Lighting
effects create an inviting, festive, energy building
environment and cannot be overlooked in your plans.
Even an elegant wedding can benefit from lighting effects.
Some professional DJ's will provide both sound and light.
Some companies charge extra depending on the type of
Basic Lighting usually consists of one tripod
mounted T-Bar with colored lights that flash to the
beat of the music, as well as rotating effects that
cast multi-colored beams and patterns on the floor,
walls, and ceiling.
Semi-Intelligent lighting is a step above Basic
and includes all of the above but usually doubled. The
effects are then run through a specialized controller
that the DJ operates while also operating the music
(can you say "three hands required?")
Intelligent lighting is the absolute best. It
is all of the above and more. Intelligent effects are
very expensive to purchase and maintain by the DJ but
are well worth considering for your event. Intelligent
lights are syncronized effects that project awesome
effects and patterns around the dance floor. They are
often used with Fog or Haze. Neither Fog
or Haze is hazardous to your health. Intelligent lighting
should always be considered for events with 300 or more
guests, or those events where you want the best!
All Centerstage event packages include
Basic Lighting at a minimum!
Types of DJ's
Centerstage offers three types of DJ's. Low-Key, Medium
Interaction, and Let's Party! It's your choice.
A low-key DJ just plays the music. A medium interaction
DJ plays the music and motivates your guests to some
extent, while a Let's Party DJ is all of the above and
more. They go all out to entertain, but never by being
rude, insulting, or obnoxious. This involves audience
participation dances, perhaps games or skits, or costumes.
It really can be a lot of fun while being tasteful.
But again, it's your choice.
The most common question not asked is about
the DJ style. There are some DJ's that believe in cheese
-- they think that cheesy jokes and actions are necessary.
They don't work for us! You are spending thousands on
an elegant affair, not a circus act! We will make suggestions
about what we know from experience works, but as mentioned
above, when it comes down to the bottom line it's your
This is an area that is often confusing to those looking
for a DJ. Many simply don't know exactly what a DJ does
as far as playing music. Here's what Music Programming
Your professional DJ will discuss with you in detail
what music you would like to hear, what you don't want
to hear (equally as important,) and the age range of
your guests. A Centerstage DJ will always take
requests, but unlike a jukebox that allows you to select
each and every song, your DJ will use this information
to create powerful "sets" of music. These
sets are designed to build energy and to encourage a
good time. It is important to remember that a professional
DJ knows from experience what will work and will try
very hard at building a flow and rhythm. As a suggestion
we would encourage you to work with your DJ, give them
your thoughts on music, get their input, then let them
show you just how much experience they have. A professional
DJ is most effective when they are allowed to use their
experience and talent, but they will always listen
to your input. Your special songs are our pleasure to
Consider adding Karaoke to your event. It works wonderfully
at most and can either be incorporated into the main
event, or run separately. Karaoke is so popular now
that you see it in movies and on TV shows. Plus, there
are hundreds of bars and restaurants each week that
offer karaoke for their guests.
We also have Video Jockey packages available where
we show full-motion Music Videos on a large projection
screen. This is always a huge success at teen events,
Bar Mitzvah's, Bat Mitzvah's, and other events where
the absolute best is desired.
Party supplies, decorations and prizes may be purchased
directly from Centerstage for significantly less than
if you went out to a store to get them. Visit our on-line
party store and buy what you need at wholesale prices.
We have supplies for all events.