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The Essential Guide to Understanding AV Quotes

July 03, 2024

You’re an event planner. You’ve got a big event on the horizon and you’ve started meeting with vendors. The audiovisual company you met with last week has sent you a quote. We already know what you’re tempted to do: flip to the bottom of the last page and look at the total. And- okay fine, you can do that, but there is a LOT more info in that quote that you need. Any good AV company will have included detailed information that will help you understand exactly what you’re getting, who will be providing it, and what the timeline looks like. It can be a little overwhelming and confusing so let’s break down what you’ll see so you can make an informed decision and choose the right AV company for your event.

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Components of an AV Quote

In most AV quotes, you’ll see 5 main components (assuming all are applicable to your event). Audio will cover speakers, microphones, and anything else connected with making the sound work the way you need it to at your event. The video section will include monitors, projectors, screens, live streaming components, etc. Lighting will get its own list, with items for the stage, audience area, and lobby listed. All this stuff doesn’t set and run itself, so labor is a key component of any AV quote. This one should be pretty detailed, explaining how many staff will be present and their roles as well as the labor rates and travel days/overtime if applicable. And finally there will likely be a general section that will detail any event-specific requirements or additional fees. Within these categories you should see a detailed summation of everything you’ll need for the event to be a success from an AV standpoint.

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Preparation & Planning

One thing you may notice in the AV quote is items that will deal with the process of getting everything properly organized and planned. Every space is different, and the AV company should know what the requirements will be to set up in your specific event space- they’ll need to determine whether there will need to be any upgrades or electrical support, consider building and historical regulations, and analyze the space’s process for move in and set up. It is important that the AV company have clear decision-making structures and project management laid out in their quote so that everyone is on the same page about who is doing what, and all facets of the AV execution get the attention they need.

Quote Evaluation

Once you’ve got the quote in your hands and you understand each of the components, you’ll need to analyze it. Consider whether the quote seems thorough, covering all of the needs of the event. Are all of the spaces you need AV accounted for? Is the timeline accurate? Does the staffing seem reasonable? If you’ve received quotes from more than one AV company, compare them and ask about any discrepancies. If they recommend significantly different equipment, find out why each chose what they did. If their staffing needs vary, do some inquiries to determine if one is overcharging, or if the other is understaffing (which could be a huge problem on event day). Equipment rental and staffing are usually priced based on length of time, so confirm that the days and hours you’ll be paying for sync with your scheduling plans. Once you’ve settled on a list of products and services that you’re happy with, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the AV company regarding price adjustments and service terms. It may feel counter-intuitive, but always be up front about your budget so you’re on the same page from the beginning. The AV company will be much better equipped to give you the best value if they know your budget.

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Technical & Financial Aspects

Part of the advice above included analyzing different equipment recommendations. This is obviously hard to do if you don’t know much about AV equipment. But you don’t have to be a pro to be able to make an informed decision. We have some great, easy to understand resources that will help you become more familiar with choosing the right microphones, projectors, teleprompters, and more. But don’t be afraid to ask the AV project manager directly. This is their area of expertise, and they should be able to explain their recommendations in a way that will help you make the right choices. They will take into consideration your event needs, budget constraints, and the venue specifications to match you to the best equipment.

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Finalizing the Quote

Once you’ve selected your AV company and negotiated the quote, make sure any adjustments or changes are reflected in the final agreement. Every line item should be understood and listed accurately. This agreement is essential to ensuring you and the AV company are on the exact same page moving forward and through the event. The more thorough you are at this stage, the more you can relax and feel confident that your AV needs will be met with no surprises.

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