Starting a mobile DJ business requires understanding what clients expect from you, building a comprehensive music collection, and investing in the right gear.
Whether you’re focused on corporate gigs or prefer the idea of becoming a wedding DJ, mobile DJs have to be flexible and knowledgeable about the music they play.
In this guide, we’ll share a range of insights and tips to help you start your business and pick up a steady stream of clients.
What Is A Mobile DJ?
Mobile DJs are required not only to have a comprehensive archive of popular music but must also invest money in a good selection of DJ gear to use at venues.
We’ve covered what gear is expected from a mobile DJ service and how to promote your services and build a list of repeat clients to earn money.
So, with our criteria established, here’s everything you’ll need to start a mobile DJ business in 2023:
Mobile DJ Equipment Checklist
Becoming a mobile DJ requires a broad selection of equipment used for both playing impressive sets and interacting with the audience.
Here’s a complete checklist to set yourself up as a professional mobile DJ, from audio equipment to lights and accessories.
1. DJ Booth
While bar and club DJs don’t have to worry about where they’ll set up their gear, a mobile DJ is expected to have everything ready for use.
This includes a DJ booth where everything is laid out in the venue, from your DJ controllers to speakers and other DJ gear.
If you’re working on a budget, you can consider using your flight case and a sturdy table, to begin with before investing in something more robust.
2. DJ Controller
A mobile DJ doesn’t have the same luxuries as a club DJ, who can turn up at the venue and use the controllers at hand.
Spend some time researching the best DJ controllers on the market to make sure you pick the model that best suits your requirements.
This is perhaps the biggest investment you’ll make in your career, so it’s crucial you choose one that delivers all the features you’ll need.
If you’re playing music from your collection of MP3s or other downloadable formats, you’ll also need a laptop with plenty of storage space.
You can use your laptop to run DJ software instead of a fully-fledged DJ controller if you wish to keep the weight down.
Make sure it’s running smoothly and is free of bugs, as the last thing you want is for a hardware failure to put an end to your DJ set.
4. DJ Software
The DJ software you opt for will vary depending on whether you’re using a dedicated controller or running music from your laptop.
There are plenty of great software options to consider, ranging in price from Virtual DJ to Traktor and Serato DJ Pro.
Weigh up the pros and cons of Traktor vs. Serato and other popular software, so you make the best decision before investing.
5. PA/Speaker System
Whether playing background music at a casual corporate function or hosting a house party, you’ll also need your own speakers.
A good mobile DJ invests in the best quality speakers they can afford when bringing their own equipment to an event.
You may not be able to afford a high-end sound system used at club gigs, but you should aim for the best clarity and performance your budget allows.
Lastly, you’ll need to invest some cash in a selection of peripherals that you’ll need when performing your mobile DJ gigs.
Like a wedding DJ, this includes choosing the best DJ headphones, a microphone, and a set of spare cables in case of emergency.
If you’re playing music at corporate events or birthday parties, you may also want to acquire a set of DJ strobe lights to illuminate the dance floor.
Mobile DJ Setup: How To Start A Mobile DJ Business In 2023 (Step-By-Step)
Starting a mobile DJ business requires more than just investing in the best DJ gear, with marketing and promotion elements also essential for success.
We’ve covered everything from researching how other mobile DJs achieve success to contacting different venues to give you the tools needed to succeed.
Now that you know our criteria, here’s how to start a mobile DJ business in 2023:
Step 1: Understand Your Equipment
Once you’ve invested in a DJ controller, software, peripherals, and the other essential DJ equipment needed to be a mobile DJ, you need to practice using them.
Before you play music in front of a crowd of strangers, make sure you know how to use the effects and tools your equipment provides.
Being a great mobile DJ requires a degree of flexibility when mixing tracks to create a fun experience and get the crowd dancing.
As well as knowing what good songs work on the dance floor, you’ll need to be able to switch things up at the drop of a hat when new music is requested.
To that end, understanding your equipment is as essential for mobile DJs as it is for traditional DJs working in clubs and bars.
Step 2: Do Your Research
A great way to excel as a mobile DJ is to thoroughly research how others approach mobile DJing to deliver professional results.
The research phase can also help you to determine the right gear for your business model, for example, whether or not you’ll need disco lights.
Different events require different approaches, with some mobile DJ gigs offering background ambiance while others require interaction with the guests.
If you’re hoping to play at weddings, look into how to market your wedding DJ services to ensure you’re doing it the right way.
This research should also be used to help establish your prices, for example, whether you need to charge an additional fee for particular services.
Step 3: Attend Other Mobile DJ’s Events
Perhaps the best way to gain actionable insights into how mobile DJs operate is to spend time attending relevant events.
By attending events, you can see what music selections work well, using this information to fine-tune your music collection and approach to DJing.
If you have kids attending school dances, see what tracks work well there or research the music that wedding DJs include in their playlists.
You can also find out if any special events are coming up in your area and see if the DJ is happy for you to tag along and take notes.
It’s a great way to start DJing on the right foot and learning what works from more experienced DJs who understand the landscape.
Step 4: Build Your Music Library
Without a strong and diverse selection of music in your arsenal, you won’t have any luck hosting a successful event, no matter how great you are at DJing.
Mobile DJs, in particular, should focus on building a library of popular songs from mainstream artists known to be crowd-pleasers.
A great resource for establishing a strong archive of tracks is a record pool, which offers access to extensive back catalogs for a subscription fee.
With a tendency to lean towards more commercial releases, you can also use a DJ pool for promotion to further your career.
Step 5: Upload Your Mixes Online
There are a variety of ways you can promote your services to prospective clients, but one of the best methods is to showcase your talent through mixes.
Creating a selection of DJ mixes at home and recording them is an excellent way to hone your skills and see what works and what doesn’t.
Once you’re happy with your DJ sets, you can upload them to platforms such as the online music streaming service MixCloud and YouTube and share them to gather feedback.
These mixes can also be used in marketing campaigns and shared across your social media pages to help drum up fresh business.
Step 6: Get Your Official Licenses
If you’re working as a professional gigging DJ in licensed venues, you’ll need to comply with local laws and regulations in your area.
One thing to bear in mind is that you’ll be playing copyrighted music in a public sphere, which requires permits and licenses before you perform.
If you fail to comply with these regulations, you could face a hefty fine and face the prospect of your mobile DJ business shutting down.
Check out your state and local business requirements to ensure you have the necessary paperwork before you begin mobile DJing.
You should also take the time to research the best DJ insurance in the event of an accident or other incident that damages your equipment.
Step 7: Advertise Your Services
The next step when building your mobile DJ business is to start advertising your services to pick up a list of clients.
You can start by putting together a DJ press kit that details your level of DJ experience and your performance history.
Put together a spreadsheet of local venues you know hold relevant events, whether this is corporate gigs or local weddings.
As you continue to pick up more work, make sure you update your press kit accordingly so it includes everything you’ve done.
Step 8: Build Word Of Mouth
One of the best tips when learning how to promote your music is to take advantage of word of mouth to get your name out there.
Word of mouth is worth far more than a paid advertisement, especially if someone compliments your performance to a booking agent.
The way you engage with clients and guests at events is a crucial element in building a reputation through word of mouth.
This means dressing to impress while working on your people skills so you’re adept at engaging with people at your events.
Step 9: Collaborate With Other Artists
If you know any musicians or singers in your local area willing to collaborate, working together is a great way to bring additional value to the table.
While mobile DJ work is typically a solitary affair, adding a touch of flair with a singer or musician is a surefire way to set you apart from the competition.
Start by reaching out to artists you know in your circle of friends, and if that fails, you can always place an ad in your local newspaper.
Just be aware that, should you collaborate with other artists, you’ll need to adjust your fees accordingly so everyone is happy with their compensation.
Step 10: Use Your Gigs For Promotion
Lastly, when you land a gig as a mobile DJ, you should seize the opportunity to get your next gig lined up while at the event.
Most DJs are too focused on the work at hand to spend time networking at events, but making the effort to do so can pay off big time.
Networking is one of the most cost-effective ways to get DJ gigs, and all it requires is setting aside some time before and after your set to chat with venue owners.
Likewise, if you’re working as a wedding DJ, chatting with the guests will put you front and center of their considerations the next time someone gets married.
You can also use your mobile DJing events to hand out flyers and other promotional materials to guests and keep in touch after the event has ended.
Learning how to build a mobile DJ business requires a combination of musical skill and knowledge with savvy business-minded acumen.
When you apply yourself across these multiple domains, you can develop the necessary marketing and interpersonal skills to make mobile DJing truly pay.
It’s a competitive industry, but if you build up a reputation and continue to work on an archive of music, it can soon be a full-time job.
Start your mobile DJ business on the right foot with a ZIPDJ subscription and build a strong archive of the best new music.