If you are looking for a dependable, professional AV company to help with your next event or show, you’re going to want to ask some important questions. By asking the right questions, you can determine if the company is the right fit for your brand. After all, this is your show and your dime, so you deserve to have all the facts. Before you put down a deposit or sign a contract, there are several questions you must ask to ensure it’s the right fit. After over a decade in the AV industry, here are the eight questions to ask an AV company, which we recommend.
1. Can we go through the quote line by line?
Even for a seasoned event planner, AV quotes can be confusing with jargon and industry language. If you’re not sure what each lines means or just need to know why certain things cost what they do, request a time to chat to review the quote. An AV expert should be able to explain it in layman’s terms, so that you feel comfortable. You should be able to have a clear understanding of the importance of each line item to the big picture and a quick explanation of what the equipment does. If the AV company refuses to explain or simply cannot, you’ve probably learned all you need to about them.
2. What are alternatives that are more budget-friendly?
Your vision may include some exciting things, but your budget may make you put on the breaks. Be transparent with the AV company about your budget. It’s certainly okay to ask them to get creative because many things can be accomplished in different ways. Get the lowdown on if using different, less expensive equipment will impact the experience. If there aren’t any alternatives then you may have to cut other things from your budget. A good AV pro should be able to recommend alternatives without sacrificing quality.
3. Why this equipment?
Even if you’re an AV novice, you should still look into why a speaker or other piece of equipment was specified. Is it because it’s the best or newest? Or, is it the preference of the company? You should also look into if the equipment suggested is right for your type of event. You won’t need bright lights and huge speakers for an intimate gathering. If a company is quoting you this, it’s overkill and a sign they’re much more interested in profits than the success of your event.
4. How much experience do you have?
This is a go-to question that is asked by many customers in many industries. You should absolutely be asking about the company and its owners’ experience. You don’t want to go with a company just because they have a flashy website and seem to say all the right things. AV set-up is not for amateurs. You deserve a company with real experience working on a variety of events. These companies know how to respond and react quickly, whereas others may simply throw their hands up, leaving you hanging.
5. Is this the newest technology?
In the modern world, technology changes with a blink. New technology often has many advantages, but new doesn’t always mean the best. Consider all the bugs that come with the newest iPhones. You need to feel confident that the technology will do the job as well as not have any hiccups. The newest technology will typically be the most expensive. Ask your AV company several questions around new technology, including: how long it’s been on the market, their specific experience with it and if older technology is comparable and more cost-effective.
6. What makes your company different than competitors?
You may think all AV companies are the same. But there are many factors that create differentiators. A lot of that has to do with skill and expertise. You’ll know this from your conversations with the company and their ease with discussing events and the industry. Ask them about how they staff events and what they do if something goes wrong. If they can’t quickly respond to how they handle issues at the event, you’re probably not going to feel very positive about their abilities. Look for an answer that is genuine and backed with knowledge, not a sales pitch.
7. What are your recommendations on delivering the best experience?
You may have in your mind how you think your event should look. Maybe you’ve been hosting an event for many years, and it’s the same. Or, maybe you’ve just attended another event and want to recreate it. Share these ideas with your AV company then let their creativity run! Listen to these recommendations, and make sure they are for your benefit, not their bottom line. An expert in AV should be able to provide you multiple options to create a certain kind of effect. They may bring ideas to the table that you hadn’t even considered. Ask for any clarity between different options, and set clear expectations.
8. What can be expected on the day of the event?
Before you sign that quote or contract, you should ask about what can be expected on the actual day. Find out how many staff will be on site and who will be in charge. Ask how long they estimate for setup and any other logistics questions. Determine how you will communicate during the event should there be any problems. You should also discuss what will occur post-event as far as moving equipment out.
Now, that you’ve received all your answers, it’s time to make a decision. Did the answers make you feel comfortable? Did you come away thinking the company is experienced and professional? Are you sure they’re concerned about your needs rather than their profit? If you answered yes to these, then it looks like you’ve found a partner.
We’re proud to say that our customers feel like we do all of these things, executing projects flawlessly and on budget. We’d be glad to answer these questions and any more that you have. Get in touch today to discuss your project.