Your audio-visual equipment plays an intricate role in the outcome of your event, yet choosing the right company can be an overwhelming task. Whether you are working with an inhouse or outside A/V company, there are several factors to consider before making a decision.
Before You Start
>>View your A/V provider as a new addition to your team. You will be spending many hours working directly with your A/V company, so take an “interview” approach as if you would be hiring a new member of your own team.
>>Establish and share the budget with the A/V provider. When you share your budget, the A/V company will offer more appropriate solutions and accurate quotes.
>>Be clear with expectations. Outlining your expectations and needs beforehand will establish a clear understanding from the start.
Finding and Selecting an AV Company
>>Searching for A/V companies. Word-of-mouth and referrals are the best way to find a good A/V company.
>>Track record/references. Ask to contact recent clients the A/V company has worked with at the same venue. When contacting, ask about their experience. How did the A/V company conduct itself and did staff show up on time and stay on budget? Would they use the A/V company again? Why and why not?
>>Meet the company in person. Go beyond the PR material, phone calls and e-mails. Meeting a potential A/V company in person will give you great insight into their personality, work ethic and overall operations. Make sure they meet your expectations and are a company you can work with.
>>Certifications/experience. Ask for the experience and backgrounds of the staff you may hire. Also, ask if the staff has certifications. These certifications authenticate experience and knowledge.
Things to Remember
>>Go beyond the lowest bid. You don’t want to save money just to receive poor service and low-quality work. When receiving the lowest bid, consider several questions. How can their rates be so low? Will they be available at all times, easy to reach? Will the quality of service and equipment meet your expectations? Are there any hidden costs?
>>Union experience. Union guidelines and requirements can vary from city to city. If applicable, find out about the relationship the A/V company has with the union at your venue. Also, make sure all union charges are included in your quote and known upfront. Finally, you will want to ensure the A/V company is following all guidelines established by the union. Getting a clear understanding of union requirements is essential.
>>Hotels and outside A/V companies. Your hotel contract may require that you use the in-house A/V company. If so, know that many hotels are flexible with this requirement. If you do use an outside A/V company, charges to your organization may apply.
Also, if there are hotel requirements/regulations for outside A/V companies, ask your A/V company if there are any additional charges to your organization because of the requirements. Finally, some hotels require a rider to cover damage to structure and personal injury. Ask your A/V company for a copy of its rider to ensure that they are covered.
CCR EVENT TECHNOLOGY/COMPUTER RENTALS // 303.768.8555
IMAGE AUDIOVISUALS INC. // Colorado Convention Center // 303.228.8047
Scott Collinsworth (pictured), CTS, is a 20-year veteran in the event production industry and director of sales at Image Audiovisuals - Colorado Convention Center. Scott is the incoming president of RMPCMA.
Stephen O’Connor has been with CCR Event Technology/Computer Rentals for approximately a year as sales director.