- DO YOUR HOMEWORK:
If you have never hired and AV company before, take the time to research online. Always read up on testimonials, but first-hand recommendations are always best, so ask your colleagues. It’s also a good idea to get information while you are at an event that impresses you. Aim to get at least three different quotes. You can compare prices, as well as get a feeling for the level of service you are to experience. For example: Did they get back to you in a timely manner? Are they able to answer all your questions? Are they knowledgeable about the equipment you will need? You will be working closely with this vendor, and the success of your AV depends upon this relationship, so make sure to choose the right partner! It will make a huge difference in the long run.
- DETAILS MATTER:
Have a definite and detailed plan of what you want. The clearer you are on what you want, the more the AV provider can accommodate your needs. Visuals can help elaborate, so have photos of previous events you wish to emulate. The more defined your vision of the event is, the easier it will be to produce. How many attendees are you expecting? What is the atmosphere you wish to create: what colors and what mood? Are there new technologies you want to include? How many screens and how many speakers? Will you need a live-stream .. and so on. See if they offer an in-house project manager to help facilitate liaison between you and the venue. There is no such thing as too much information! This step will also help you get an accurate quote / estimate.
Be realistic, and be firm. You can’t expect champagne with a beer budget! Get a signed estimate and discuss it in detail to make sure there are no hidden fees. Don’t sacrifice quality for a bargain!! What you get cheap will always cost you more in the long term! Getting equipment that is not only working perfectly, but also of professional caliber is imperative, so keep this in mind and make an allowance for it in your budget.
Last minute changes are not uncommon, but make certain your AV provider is aware and able to deal with any last minute emergencies and is solution oriented. Be realistic in your expectations. It’s almost impossible to get optimal quality exemplary service AND a bargain! Always discuss and be prepared for a plan B in case of equipment failure.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! AV companies know this and so they will want to accommodate you and make sure you are happy with their services in order to retain you as a repeat customer. Keeping these simple points in mind will help facilitate and establish a lasting and successful relationship between you and the best AV Company for your event!