How to Avoid Wedding DJ Scams
This morning I was checking my emails and came across a troubling email from a bride-to-be. I had never spoken to this bride before and I certainly had never received an email like hers ever in my business career.
While shopping around for a DJ, she received a message on Facebook from a DJ claiming that he worked with our company. He said that he would be able to save her some money if she hired him without going through our company and booked him directly instead. The bride-to-be believed that the DJ Company simply is a middle-man and charges a markup on all events, so she thought she was getting a fantastic deal by doing some under the table business and going direct.
Unfortunately for the bride, the DJ was not a member of our team and isn’t a part of Airwaves Music. When she tried to contact him, his Facebook page had been deleted and the DJ had disappeared. She was in a bad spot though as she had already paid the DJ her deposit, in cash.
How To Avoid It:
One of the most common objections to couple’s hiring Airwaves (or any DJ company) is that they believe the company is just the middleman, charging a markup on the DJ that they could circumvent if they simply hired the DJ direct. In actuality, there is much more to the situation. Airwaves was formed because founder Bob Graham was a guitarist at weddings and regularly met with various DJ company owners. He was consistently blown away by the lack of professionalism and class that he saw. Many times he’d meet the best known DJ in the city at the time and he was completely shocked when he saw what they were wearing, listened to them talk or saw them do things like smoke marijuana or drink on the job. They would flirt, eat food that wasn’t offered to them and were over the top demanding to their clients. They didn’t behave like service providers, they behaved a lot more like the client was lucky to have them and they had a free pass to behave however they wanted.
Bob formed Airwaves with a mission. He wanted to add a level of accountability to the DJs, whereby the had to maintain a high standard of professionalism and ethics at all times or they would lose their position at the company. Since Airwaves provided them with consistent, regular work, losing their spot would mean losing their income and so Airwaves became the structure that kept DJs accountable and professional. As well, Bob only hired the best DJs around. To him, “the best DJ” was someone who played great music, read the crowd, but also someone who showed up early, kept their commitments and agreements, was responsive to the customer and were genuinely compassionate, altruistic people by nature. Passion and a love for DJing were the number one signs a DJ was going to be great. Ego and constant negotiation were the main signs not to hire a DJ.
Since that time, Airwaves has done a number of other things to ensure DJs are accountable. Team meetings and calls, as well as ongoing training and accountability ensure the team is the best.
To avoid a scam, it is important to work with someone who is established and someone who has something to lose if things don’t go well. Airwaves has a reputation built on 7 years in business and we’ve DJ’d over 1000 weddings. We can’t afford not to do a great job or to rip someone off. A DJ who prints off a few business cards and books some gigs off Facebook can disappear tomorrow and will be ahead by scamming the couple.
We recommend choosing a business over a freelancer 9 times out of 10 when booking a DJ. All freelancers will tell you the opposite. They are threatened by larger companies because the DJ company offers a level of accountability and professionalism an individual never can uphold by design. They will tell you to book them direct instead of going through a “middle man”. Those DJs are accountable to nobody but themselves. If they decide to cancel, or not show up, only small claims court will be there to help.
There are exceptions to the rule and we recommend a small list of freelance DJs in the Okanagan when we are booked up. Having said that, make sure that you book either an established DJ company and brand, or if you do choose a freelancer, make sure you call several references on them and that they have been around for at least 5 years. Scan their Facebook (personal page) and ensure they are passionate and excited about DJing weddings before you hire them.
How To Know You Are Talking to the “Real” Airwaves:
At Airwaves, our DJs will never go behind our company’s back because we create a win-win situation for all parties involved. Always book with the company, and inquire through our website. Our emails will always be structured like this firstname.lastname@example.org so if you see a gmail or hotmail account, you are not talking to our reps. You can also call the 1-888 number listed on our site at any time. When you book, you will be provided with a contract and deposit terms. This will always be done electronically from the @airwavesmusic.ca email.
You will be able to regularly talk to our customer service and sales representatives as well as meet your DJ or chat with them on the phone. If you have questions, you are also welcome to ask to chat with the owner, Bob Graham at anytime.
Here is a copy of the facebook message when this poor woman was scammed:
Facebook User (Scammer)
all depends on the client really … I work for Airwaves music and through them it can be quite expensive… so i try to book bymyself to cut the middleman out. I deal with wentworth music for large speaker rentals and own all my own dj gear.. so depending on what you want for sound, lights, microphones , and the length of my time involved i can make a personal budget for you \
Facebook User (Scammer)
and thats why i do what i do… everyone deservs a dj for their wedding … and weddings cost tooooooooomuch IMO
Bride-To-Be (Scam Victim)
hmmm…. I am definitely interested in speaking with you about this some more!!!!
we mainly just want someone to play the music an keep the guests informed on what we are doing at what time…. keep the guests happy