Learn how to become a mobile DJ!
Being a Mobile DJ is a Great Second-Income
Many DJs want to make money while doing the thing they love! For many, that means setting-up as a mobile DJ to bring in money while they work towards making income from club gigs. Paid club gigs can be harder to get because you have to make a name for yourself first, but mobile DJs can start making money almost immediately.
What is a Mobile DJ?
A mobile DJ is someone who takes their DJ kit with them when they play out. They are normally hired for weddings, birthday parties and corporate events. The downside of mobile DJing is that the DJ has to set up a lot of equipment, including lights and a sound-system. The upside is that there is plenty of demand for mobile DJs and people will pay well to book a DJ for their event. Another big difference is that mobile DJs play for the crowd rather than select music they themselves want to play. If you want to be a mobile DJ you need to learn how to play for a crowd and not yourself. However, mobile DJing can be quite lucrative with some wedding DJs charging thousands to play!
How do I become a Mobile DJ?
Firstly, you need to learn how to DJ and specifically how to DJ open-format style. If you're a beginner we recommend that your enrol on our DJ courses, starting with the Beginner DJ Course. All our DJ courses are taught one-to-one so you can learn how to DJ the right way with expert guidance and 100% of your tutors attention. We will teach you how to DJ but also how to become a mobile DJ and make money doing so.
What is open-format DJing?
Open-format DJs are those that play multiple genres of music in one set. Many DJs just play one genre, like House music, but to be a mobile DJ you need to take requests and play for the crowd. If someone has booked you to DJ they will expect you to play the music they like. Many mobile DJs have vast libraries of tracks including music from different decades like the 60s, 70s, 80s and so on. You will need to learn how to mix music from all different genres.
Some mobile DJs don't actually mix, but rather play the songs that are requested and sometimes use a microphone to bridge the gaps between some songs. Being able to use a microphone and make announcements is a crucial part of the job. We recommend using the Shure SM58 microphone.
You don't actually have to mix every track like a House DJ would, sometimes you can just simply cross-fade at a good moment. This is normal for mobile DJs. However, if you want to be the best you should learn how to actually mix some of the tracks using transitions like FX and scratching. If you wow your customers you'll get more business!
What do I Need for Mobile DJing?
PA System for Mobile DJs
Any mobile DJ will need a decent PA system to take to the events they are booked for. You will want something that is easy to set up, doesn’t require a truck to move around and still delivers a clear and full sound. The best option is to purchase one of the modern active PA systems from company’s such as Yamaha, Alto or HK audio, to name a few of decent brands.
Active PA systems have the amplifiers and settings built in to the speaker boxes, this means they are little effort to get set up, so you can basically plug in and play! They are also designed to be transported easily so they make the boxes as light as possible without compromising the quality of the sound. The most common mistake when first buying a PA system is to get two ‘full range’ speakers on stands like the ones below.
These type of set ups are fine for using to make announcements and play background music at small events, but for DJ’ing purposes you want something with a bit more oomf. I suggest purchasing a system with at least one sub, this will help fill out the sound with more bass meaning there’s less work for the top speakers to do and reduces the need for turning the speakers up too loud and causing distortion.
You will need to make sure you have decent equipment that isn’t going to fail you! There’s nothing worse than a DJ who can’t get their sound card to connect to their laptop and is late starting because of technical issues. Having equipment that you know well, is stored correctly and of decent quality is very important! A lot of mobile DJs use DJ controllers to give them access to their full music library on their laptop, this is probably the best way to be set up so you can cater for and easily find requested tracks. We suggest using either the DDJ-1000, XDJ-RX2 or XDJ-XZ if you aren’t looking to buy a full CDJ and mixer set up.
Don’t forget, as you are transporting your expensive kit around a lot you will need decent cases to prevent anything from being damaged.
A Reliable Vehicle
Being punctual is critical for the reputation of your mobile DJ business. Make sure your vehicle does not let you down, and that you have a suitable plan B in case it does! Give yourself ample time to set up your equipment and check for issues. Make sure you check out how to access the properly in advance and find somewhere to park. There is nothing worse that loosing all your earnings on a parking ticket!
An Extensive Music Library
Dealing with requests and catering for a broad audience means you will need to have a huge library of music at your fingertips. It's essential to ensure your clients happy and spread the word to their friends! This can be very expensive to build up but there are a couple of platforms that can help you build your collection.
Record Pools - A good place to get started is by checking out Record pools such as DJ City and Late Night Record Pool. Record pools are subscription based platforms that host a big selection of music for DJs to download and keep up to date with current releases. The other really handy thing about record pools is they have a large amount of DJ edits and remixes readily available to download! DJ edits have extended instrumental sections at the start and end of tracks for DJs to easily create blends between their tunes.
DJ Streaming Platforms - A very recent tool is to use streaming platforms specifically made for DJs such as Beatport link. Beatport Link is a particularly good platform because it also has a built in offline version so you can access the library you have created without being connected to the internet. the Djay Pro app connects to Spotify so that’s also a very handy option to have.
Buying Compilations - Compilation albums are a quick and cost effective way to build up a library. Rather than purchasing full albums for just a couple of tunes or odd tracks from various sources find ready made compilations to get hold of a selection of big hits in one go! Just make sure they are not pre-mixed.
Buying CDs - This is often overlooked in the modern day of streaming and download websites, but you can often find CDs at very cheap prices! Some albums that would cost you £10+ to buy digitally are available on CD for just a couple of quid from resellers on amazon, Ebay or discos. The only downside is you will have to wait for the CD to arrive and then import it into your library taking up some more time but it’s a good way to save some money and you will definitely be receiving high quality versions of the tracks. Sometimes the only way to get older classics in full quality is to purchase the CD!
Mobile Lighting & Visuals
Making your set up look attractive is the best way to ensure high-end bookings. Catching peoples eyes at the events you're booked for makes you stand out from the competition. It will also result in more photos of your set-up being posted online, helping with your brand awareness. Having good photos of your mobile DJ set-up from various events is essential to use on your website and social media to help you promote your service. The trick with this is to not go too cheesy with moving disco lights, be sure to make it look classy!
Mobile DJ Booth
Having a custom DJ booth to take to your events makes your set up look tidy and professional. Nobody likes to be looking at a mess of cables hanging down from the back of a table and you don’t want to risk being hunched over all night due to having your decks too low down. You can pick up some great lightweight and portable DJ booths online such as the Equinox DJ booths. They have a variety of models including ones with lights and lighting bar attachments.
Top Tip: Branding
Simple things such as getting a custom skin with your logo for the front of your laptop, a branded t-shirt or design for the front of your DJ booth are great ways to publicise your brand and service at your events!
Do I need a License to be a Mobile DJ?
Perhaps, while there is no DJ license available you do sometimes need a license in order to play music in public, even if you have already bought the music yourself. Some venues will already have a license, in which case you don't need one, but if you're playing a venue that doesn't you will need to have one. It's recommend to avoid issues to get one. Click here to get a license to publicly play music and find out more.
Do I need Insurance to be a Mobile DJ?
Yes! You will need to have public liability insurance to be a mobile DJ. This insurance will cover you in case anything goes wrong and somebody sues you as a result. For example, what is the worst was to happen and some of your equipment causes a fire, or someone trips on your cable. You need cover for that. We also recommend getting a lot of cover, in the millions, to make sure you are covered for something big, just incase!
In addition, you should have insurance to protect your DJ equipment from theft or damage. Make sure you have good cover that also covers your DJ equipment in transit, while it's in the van and also while at the gig.
How do I Start a Mobile DJ Business?
Mobile DJs are normally self-employed, meaning they will be responsible for find work and getting clients. Some mobile DJs work for mobile DJ agencies but you make more money working for yourself. Here are the steps to starting your own mobile DJ business.
Get a Logo and Create a Brand
Get a designer to create a great logo and graphic identity for you to use online and offline to promote yourself and build a brand. Design fees vary but it's worth investing some money to get a professional look. If you look better than the competition you will win over more business. Create something simple and avoid cliches. Develop a brand that will be a market leader and reflects your level of professionalism.
Launch a Mobile DJ Website
Most of your business as a mobile DJ will come through enquirers on your website. Like your brand, your website needs to be professional, current and easy to use. Your clients need to find the information and pricing they want within as little clicks as possible. Direct them to your contact page and reply to your enquiries as soon as you get them. Top Tip: host a blog on your website and update it weekly. The blog will help drive traffic to your website and elevate your position in Google's organic search results. This means more potential customers will find your website and book through you.
Organic Search Results Vs Paid Search Results
When someone searches for a mobile DJ near them on Google, they will see two types of results. The top three results will be pay-per-click advertising. You can do this through Google Adwords. The results below will be organic search results. You can get a higher organic (free) position using a good website and a blog.
Most mobile DJs will use Gold, Silver, Bronze sales packages on their website so clients can choose how much they want to pay and what they get for their money. For example, your Gold package might include your DJ set with all the trimmings, including lighting, PA system and special decorations suitable for a big gig, like a wedding. Your silver package might be more streamline with just a medium sized PA and some lights, while the Bronze package might just be you and your DJ equipment and no lights.
Once you have a website you can also invest money in pay-per-click advertising on Google. If you have any questions about how to do this as a mobile DJ without wasting money please contact us for help.
Use Social Media
One of the best tools to reach new customers is social media. You will need to have accounts on all the major platforms a DJ would use and keep your profiles updated with relevant content. We recommend making profiles just for your mobile DJ business and keeping your normal DJing separate. This way you can focus on content that people who want to book a mobile DJ would see, like child-friendly content for birthday partiers, footage from your DJ sets at weddings and media suitable for corporate clients. Make sure you document your gigs so potential clients can see you in action.
One of the most powerful ways to spread the word for free and to assure new clients you are a professional DJ is to get reviews. Every time you work with a new client ask them to write a review on a reliable reviews platform like Trustpilot. This way, new clients will see you're an active DJ and they will be investing in a good service. After all, who wants to risk booking a dodgy DJ for their big wedding day!
The success of your mobile DJ business will hinge on how good you are as a DJ, how good your website is at getting new clients and how professionally you work. Make sure you aim to be a top service provider in your area with an uncrackable reputation! Good luck on your new career! If you need any help of have any questions about this blog or others be sure to contact us!