You’ve done your research. You’ve discussed what kind of equipment you need. You’ve received several audiovisual quotes and now it’s time for the final step: choosing an AV company that will best meet your event’s needs. As you begin comparing quotes, take a few minutes to ask yourself these three easy questions for selecting the best provider.
1. What is the company’s business model?
The structure of an AV company can make a big difference in the price and production value you’ll receive. An in-house provider pays about 50 percent of commission to the venue, plus service fees. In-house providers will generally be more expensive.
On the flip side, venues that own AV equipment and service it themselves (as opposed to a third party) typically have lower prices. Their inventory may be limited, however, and their staff tends to have basic knowledge of the equipment. Another option is independent providers, which own most of their equipment and have diverse inventory. They are often more willing to negotiate to adjust to your budget and have experienced, formally trained technicians available.
2. What are the labor charges?
Labor can take up a huge chunk of your AV budget, so be aware of all personnel booked for your event. Will a technician be on-site to ensure everything runs smoothly? Is there an event manager, or will the AV team report to you? You can discuss staff needs with your provider to see if you can cut costs anywhere. Keep in mind fewer technicians may result in longer setup and teardown, which would likely add overtime fees.