Table of Contents
Whether you’re planning a webinar, conference call, or virtual trade show, choosing the right AV company can be challenging. With so many options available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and wind up with mediocre audio and video that doesn’t do your event justice. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right AV company.
Determine your needs before shopping around
Make a list of what you expect out of your event tech (at minimum). Is it necessary to have live streaming capabilities? How many screens do you need? What type of equipment do you want? What’s your budget? These are all factors that will impact which tech providers are available to work with you.
Ask the AV company for a site survey
During this meeting, they’ll be able to provide recommendations and answer any questions you might have about the technical requirements of your event. This will give them insight into lighting and sound so they can suggest equipment or other services their team provides that might come in handy during your event.
Determine what types of equipment you need
Once you’ve shared as much as you can about your event, ask the AV company for specifics on what kind of technology they’d advise using to support your vision and bring it to life.
Find out if there are any brands or models that offer additional features that could be particularly beneficial to you (for example, wireless microphones vs wired mic). This is your chance to make your needs known.
Get a quote from each AV company
Once the site survey is complete and you’ve identified your needs, ask for a list of available options from each provider. This will include a price breakdown of all their services, as well as which equipment is included. Make sure to ask about what’s not included – there may be additional charges for things like shipping or installation fees that some providers don’t reveal until late in the negotiations.
Ask how long it would take for them to deliver everything needed on-site. If it’s more than one day, find out if they have any overnight options available so you can conserve space without having to pack up every piece of equipment every night.
Hire an AV company that has experience with your type of event
Is this the AV company’s first conference call? Maybe you need to work with someone who knows the local venues in your area of operation.
An experienced group will be familiar with potential roadblocks that may come up on your big day, and they’ll know how to avoid or resolve them quickly.
Ask about the types of events the tech provider has worked on before, whether it was similar to yours, and what challenges came up during those events.
Be clear regarding expectations
To prevent setting yourself up for disappointment on event day, it’s important to be clear with each other – especially when it comes to deadlines for sending proposals back and forth, site visits, etc. Make sure both parties agree on all of the key details so there are no surprises.
In addition to the AV company, you should also consult with your venue for any additional technical needs, additional specialist vendors to provide catering, room decor, etc., security personnel if necessary, caterers for catering equipment/supplies, and IT support company.
Ask for references and testimonials from previous clients
Once you’ve chosen a potential AV company, ask them for references and testimonials from previous clients to see what they can offer in terms of service and product quality. If the company is hesitant to provide this information, it may be a red flag that there was an issue with one or several of their former customers.
Pick a company with an excellent customer service rating
Customer service is key in ensuring your event goes off without any major hitches. This starts the minute you talk to the company about your goals for the day and continues throughout the planning. You can always call or send an email after the big day to provide additional feedback on what went well (or not).
It is therefore important that you check the customer review of the company you are planning to hire. You should go through their website and social media pages to check out for an excellent track record in providing good enough services to its clients.
Hire an AV company with flexible payment options
Gone are the days when you had to pay in full upfront in order to purchase services from an AV company. Today, most companies offer at least two ways of paying – half upfront, half on delivery/event day – so it’s easier to accommodate everyone’s budget constraints during this process. Make sure you know which option works best for you before signing a contract!
Consider cost vs quality
Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning an amazing event that will be talked about for years to come – but then the reality of your budget hits. Make sure you’re aware of all your financial limitations before starting this process so you don’t fall short on quality due to unexpected costs.
While someone may offer something “free” or at a substantial discount, there is usually a reason behind the price tag. Asking yourself some basic questions like these can help weed out potential red flags early on:
What does this vendor provide?
How do they charge?
Do I have enough money allocated for them?
Is their work within my budget?
Will they be a good fit for the team in terms of personality and work ethic?
Ask questions to find out more about them!
If you’re not sure what kind of equipment or services you need, this is your chance to ask the AV company how their products and services differ from others on the market.
Ask them if they provide options that might better suit your needs than what you originally envisioned. If so, get more details on each option and choose one based on the pros and cons it offers.
Do some research before hiring an AV company
It’s important to do your due diligence before signing a contract with any entertainment vendor. Make sure whoever you hire is willing and able to fulfil all your technical needs at a reasonable price. It’s also a good idea to talk with three companies (at least) and compare their bids to find out which one best suits your needs and budget.
You can ask them if they have other clients in your industry or another that has similar needs. Not only will this give you an idea of how well their equipment or services might work for you, but it also gives you the opportunity to ask what motivated these customers to hire them.
With all the options out there, it can feel like you’re drowning in a sea of AV companies. The bottom line is that the right AV company for you will be different from someone else. You need to find one that matches your needs and budget, which means shopping around a little bit before hiring them!