By Canute J. Chiverton, Guest Writer
For mobile DJs, site visits to venues to check out room layouts are very beneficial in many ways. When you do one prior to an event, you are being proactive, so that on the day of the event, you will know exactly where you have to set up. You also will have an idea where to park and unload, and how long it will take you to get the room where you are entertaining. Be sure to take an AC Tester with you and check the outlets that you will be using for proper polarity and to see if they work.
Visiting a site ahead of time also allows you to know what equipment to bring. You don’t want to bring too much or too little. This also goes for the cables you will need to power your gear.
Ideally you’ll want your client and the banquet manager there for your visit so that everyone can be “on the same page.” The last thing you want is to be stuck in a corner when you arrive the day of an event. Once everything is agreed-upon, draw a diagram and make sure the venue as well as the client has a copy. Tell both the venue and the client, that if anything changes, they should notify you.
Often on DJ Forums, members will post pictures of their set-ups in the reception hall. Sometimes you will see a set-up in a corner or squeezed into a tight space because the DJ was told to be there. Regardless of whether or not this is the case, you can get creative with the location of your speakers and table/facade. A table or booth doesn’t have to be in the middle of two speakers. It can be off to the side if necessary. Priority should be given to the speakers.
A lot of the problems that DJs encounter when they arrive at a venue on the day of an event can be solved during the time of the site visit. It will be too late on the event day to try and affect changes. For example, the cake table might have already been laid out, mobile bar set up, etc. On event day the person in charge of the layout may not be available and nobody may want to change things just for you – after all, they don’t take orders from the DJ.
While some DJs may view site visits a waste of time and gas money, I suggest you do them anyway and incorporate the cost of travel and gas into your final pricing.