When Renting Audio Visual Equipment, These 6 Negotiating Tips Will Help
Apr 18, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

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As a meeting professional, we are often overwhelmed with all the to-do's associated with our meeting or conference, so the last thing we want to do is focus on all the technology advancements associated with AV. But let's get real for a moment, audio visual equipment can "make or break" our meeting, and we know it. From sound and lighting rentals to the Wi-Fi array to working with a reputable AV company and negotiating a "win-win" contract, it all boils down to saving money and keeping our attendees happy. 

Here are 6 tips to help you negotiate with your conference equipment rental company:

Tip #1: Establish presenter needs and budget parameters.

Make certain you have in writing what equipment your speaker or speakers need and what equipment they are planning on bringing to the conference. Encourage them to leave their Mac or Laptop at home, but to load the presentation onto a USB drive or DVD. Having all the equipment from one source makes compatibility issues non-existent and giving your vendor a budget range allows them to quote good, better, and best options for the conference. 

Tip #2: As part of the negotiations, secure a "not to exceed" final aggregate bill. 

When working with your AV partner on contract negotiations, ask that the final bill not exceed a certain percentage of the agreed upon pricing (10% comes to mind) without authorization. Engaging an AV Project Manager can help streamline this process and keep you in the loop if change orders are needed.

Tip #3: Remember, newer technology is going to cost more.

You want to rent iPads for all your attendees to replace binders? Swap out Plasma TVs for screen rentals? Implement 3D LCD projectors instead of the older technology? Everything has a price and the newer the technology, generally the higher the cost. That is not a reason to use it, you just need to be realistic.

Tip #4: Remove any AV exclusivity clause from your venue contract.

Some venues will say you have to use their in-house AV provider. Make certain to strike that clause from the contract BEFORE you sign it. For more information on this subject, read the blog post "Your AV Bill of Rights." 

Tip #5: Schedule speakers where the technology is. 

Arrange the speaker selection and timing based on WHAT technology is set up in each room. One set up. One tear down. Very cost efficient. 

Tip #6: Look hard at all your discount options. 

Here are some simple options that can yield a small, large or somewhere in between discount for your organization:

  • Ask your AV provider when their slow months, days of the week, or times are for renting audiovisual equipment. Knowing this in advance can help negotiate a reasonable discount for your meeting.
  • Secure your AV partner for several meetings and/or over several years. Knowing they are going to have business for a number of events or years allows them to plan for equipment availability and staff several months in advance.
  • Negotiate reasonable labor rates. Often times, labor can be the one item that goes out of control at an event. Working with your AV provider to minimize overtime and weekend rates, can keep your budget under control.

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting supplier, is willing and ready to work with you on your next event and help keep your budget in line! Call or click today!

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