Asking these questions creates a clear path to decision
Perplexed by your AV quote? You’re not alone. AV quotes can be complex. The language may be highly technical with no layman’s version. You may feel as though you need a translator to decipher it!
While the expectation should be to receive a clear and concise quote, unfortunately, that’s not reality. It’s the details that require the most clarification. To offer some clarity on the subject of AV quotes, this post will offer guidance and questions to ask to ensure what’s in the quote is exactly what you envision for your event.
1. What’s the equipment rate: one-day or multiple?
If your event will take place for multiple days, you’ll want to ask if the equipment charges are for a single day or multiple days. Is it a single-day rate? Ask to understand if that number is per day or the total for all days. No matter if your event is 5 days long, you shouldn’t be paying for setup day or anything over a 3-day rate. This is an important comparison factor. You can learn more about comparing quotes here. (link to comparisons blog).
2. Is the quote inclusive of all costs?
Ask the vendor if the quote covers every fee and charge. You’ll find that not all quotes cover everything. While most quotes define all the equipment used, it’s the outliers that may add costs not on the quote. If you are using an independent AV company for a venue, you’ll still have to pay for power or other set-up necessities. These things are controlled by the venue, but your vendor should still make you aware of these.
3. What does this equipment do?
It’s absolutely okay for you to ask about what each piece of equipment does if it’s not summarized in the quote. The quotes you receive probably won’t have the same equipment line by line. The quotes could price out the same equipment but different brands. Or, the quotes may recommend entirely different equipment. You’ll want to ask what the equipment does and determine if the equipment is comparable.
4. What else should be included?
AV providers are sensitive to hitting your budget with quotes. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t recommend some additional equipment for a smoother event or bigger effect. If the quote is well within your budget, what’s your wiggle room? If you can spare another $1000 or $5000, there may be things to add not on the first quote. Ask your vendor where it might make sense to add another feature.
5. How much power is required?
As discussed earlier, you’ll have to pay for any power supplied. The cost and power requirements start with what group controls the power. Power could be supplied and charged by the venue. Ask the venue if they can charge for actual usage. Or, if the event is outdoors, generators may need to be supplied for power. In any situation, you should have a full understanding of the amount of power required to run all the equipment. Beware of AV companies asking you for too much power, an av expert should be able to tell you exactly how much power is needed +/- 20% as power costs are only rising.
For convenience, ask the AV company to handle power with the venue so that it’s not on your to-do list.
6. What do I need to provide?
This is an important query that’s specific to the details, which can easily be overlooked. These details involve equipment not included or displayed on the quote. If the event is using presentations or videos played from a laptop, will you supply those? If you supply the laptops, will the AV provider have the necessary cables and adapters? Work through all these details to ensure you don’t have any hiccups on the day of the event.
7. What’s the bottom line on contract language?
Contracts are written to mitigate risk and be legally binding, which means they are full of lawyer speak. It’s certainly acceptable to ask the vendor to summarize the terms and conditions. For a complete education on this language, you should consult with an attorney. But the contract often reveals important items like fees associated with credit card payments, cancellations and late payments.
8. How many staff are needed?
The quote should include labor for the set-up and tear-down of the event as well as those on-site during the event. The complexity of your event will dictate how many people you need. The number of rooms or simultaneous sessions you have scheduled is also a deciding factor. Each quote you receive may handle staffing differently. Ask questions about what the staff will do and if it’s enough to cover the many moving parts. Consider the worst-case scenario of multiple issues occurring in different locations. Will you have enough pros to resolve these quickly? Should this occur, how would the firm handle it? What do they recommend? It’s a thin line sometimes between being over-or under-staffed. Ultimately, you should decide based on your comfort level and budget.
9. Do you offer any discounts?
Once you’ve hammered out the specifics of the quote relating to equipment, details and staff, it’s time to focus back on pricing. Many providers may be willing to negotiate, but understand that for a successful event, you don’t want to cut corners just to save a few dollars. If you are confident in your AV provider’s ability to meet your needs and produce an awesome event, it’s not unusual to request a discount if you’re willing to deliver payment in a shorter amount of time than the contract states, or pay the full amount before the event starts. The best way to earn a discount is to develop a long-term relationship with the vendor. If you host events regularly and will need their services regularly, the company will be very inclined to offer you a better deal.
Answers Are In: Time to Decide
Now that you’ve received clarification on some of the ambiguous and vague parts of your AV quote, it’s time to decide. If you are comparing two quotes, you should now have the information you need to make an even comparison. If you’ve already decided to work with one firm, then these questions should clear up any confusion or uncertainty. So, you can make the final decisions on equipment or staffing.
You deserve a flawless event that will impress and entertain attendees. Getting clarity on the quote and being fully informed means you can get back to focusing on everything else. If you have any other questions about AV quotes, we’re here to assist. Get in touch today.