There are many things to consider when you set out looking to book a mobile disco and DJ. In no particular order you will find some useful tips to set you off on the right track and hopefully ensure you book the right people for your event.
A good place to start is where you are now, the internet. A web page can say a lot about a company without saying much at all and you have the added advantage of being able to contact them via email.
Equipment - Sound & Light
Like every other industry technology plays a big part in the entertainment world. You should establish what form of media the company you are using has available to them and what the DJ is likely to be using on the night. Most companies will use CD's as their main source of music although if it's a 'dance' DJ you are looking for then they are likely to use vinyl. Some DJ's will use mini discs as part or all of their set up and some now use a lap top playing MP3's or other types of digital music.
Now we have covered the different types of media, how is the sound projected into the venue. The speakers and amplifiers used to do this generally come under the collective name of PA (Public Address System). The size of the PA required depends largely on the size of the venue, the number of people expected and whether the event is indoors or outdoors. All of these facts should be discussed with the company to establish if they have the capability of supplying the right size of PA for your requirements. The general capability of a PA is usually measured in Watts.
Lighting is a whole subject on it's own as there are many, many products on the market available to the mobile DJ. They can range from a flashing light box to a full intelligent (programmable) system. Your main concerns when discussing lighting are how many and what do they do. The right lights used at the right time in the right venue will create the right atmosphere. Too many lights in a small intimate venue will look out of place and end up giving your guests a headache. Too little in a larger venue will get lost and have little effect. An experienced disco company will be able to advise you accordingly and ensure they come equipped with the right style and number of lights for your event.
The DJ & The Music
Now we have the right sized PA and lights what about the person who will make it all happen, the DJ. Like everything else you need to hire the right DJ for your event. Experience stands for a great deal in the DJ world particularly in the 'party keep the dance floor full' kind of way. The right DJ will know what to play and when to play it based on his reading of the crowd. It is always a good idea to ask to meet the DJ you are booking to discuss the night you are organising. This will ensure they are informed of your requirements first hand and it gives you peace of mind knowing the person in charge of your event. Like any other business there is good and bad out there so this is one area you should pay particular attention. Some questions you may want answered:- How old is the DJ? What experience do they have? What types and styles of music do they carry and is their collection up to date? What is the company dress code for DJ's? Will the DJ play some special tunes we want played on the night? Can I meet the DJ before the event?
Before asking please bear in mind most mobile disco companies will not be able to let you see them in action before you book them. There are two main reasons for this. Most events are private parties - imagine a couple of people turning up at your event uninvited, also each event is tailored to the specific requirements of the people who have booked the disco and this might put you off if you hear the Dj playing an obscure song or two.
Like everything else in life you get what you pay for although the most expensive are not always the best. You can pay anything from £80 to £800 for a mobile disco in Scotland. The price you are prepared to pay should be in line with your budget for the event. If the event is a one off important night for you or your company it may be worth spending a bit more to ensure the night is a success. If however you are organising your child's birthday party you probably don't want to spend hundreds of pounds. When you contact disco companies you will find their costs vary considerably. Most companies will base their cost on the size of the event, location/logistics, times required to play, amount of equipment required and possibly the experience of the DJ. Make sure the amount you are quoted is the final quote i.e. there are no hidden extra costs or VAT additions to be made.
One final point - ensure you ask about any terms and conditions that may be applicable such as cancellation fees, special arrangements or special requirements.