MISTAKE #1: Making the decision solely on price
This is one of the biggest mistakes with renting audio visual equipment. There is nothing wrong with bidding out your suppliers and, considering the economy, it is certainly understandable to go for low price. AV companies will work hard to earn your business, but if you make it clear that the lowest price company will win, unfortunately many suppliers will do whatever they can to get you to sign on the dotted line. Once they have the contract, they will try to figure out a way to still make it a profitable endeavor which may mean cutting corners or back billing for the type of items listed below.
MISTAKE #2: Failing to budget properly
Many event meeting services organizations overlook event audio visual rental total costs. For a large multi-day program with many breakout sessions, the organization may be charged for batteries, electricity (from the venue), labor charges for overtime, and miscellaneous charges such as forgotten podiums and flipcharts in a room.
MISTAKE #3: Failure to secure the right event audio visual rentals
According to Darlene Lyons, founder and president of Broker Agent Speakers Bureau, her client spent over $35,000 on renting audio visual equipment for their headline speaker, Zig Ziglar. When he went on stage, he looked dumbstruck because Lyons’ client had ordered what they thought Zigler’s staff had told them to order and it was all wrong! A powerful lesson to remember to get it in writing!
SOLUTION #1: Do not low bid your AV needs for any event.
Remember, no one will ever ask you “How cheaply did your event fail?” Check around, ask for references, and call them. Go onto LinkedIn Groups and ask about audio visual providers in your area. Check in with MPI, PCMA, and ISES. Find out the type of equipment the event rental services organization is bidding (old or new), how experienced their technicians are, and how long the company has in business.
SOLUTION #2: Hold your AV supplier accountable by asking for guaranteed pricing
This is important in sticking to your budget. Changes happen in the event world that is sometimes unavoidable, but there is no reason for any of your final invoices from an event audio visual rental company to have charges that you were not expecting. Have them provide you with change orders for any deviations from the original contract. Understand pricing for replaced lights and batteries and make certain you understand your total labor charges, including regular and overtime charges.
SOLUTION #3: Get it in Writing and Deal with a Reputable AV Company
Request a written list of your speaker’s audio visual needs, make certain the presenter approves it well before the meeting, and tests it several hours before they go on stage.
Reputable AV companies have inventories of equipment that they can control the quality of and guarantee its performance. AV Guys, which work out of their house, have to sub rent all their equipment and probably cannot be responsive if something goes wrong. Make sure you qualify your event audio visual rental suppliers. Take the time out of your busy schedules to go and tour their facilities. If they are hesitant for you to do so, there is definitely a problem. If there is no facility to check out, do not hire them.