AV Options: What’s In Your Contract?

events, conferences, details, contracts, negotiating, audio visual, AV, DMC, psav, freeman, austin, texasRunning an event can be stressful. The list of to-dos is long and it seems like there are obstacles and red tape that get in the way of every decision you need to make along the way. Choosing a venue is one of the most important items on an event planner’s list, but it’s also the most fraught with contractual jargon, restrictions, and guidelines.

However, sometimes finding a place at all is a small miracle, so it can be easy to want to rush into signing the contract. But in all the rush to secure a place to hold your event, the fine print can get overlooked and cause many issues for you as you begin to progress through your to-do list, especially when it comes to getting your audio visual (AV) tasks in order.

What to look for in your event space contract

If you are not an attorney (as most of us are not), then wading through all the legal jargon in your rental contract can be a nightmare. Most people will just skim for any red flags and then sign away – who has time for all that anyway? It’s just a standard contract anyway, right?

It may just be a standard contract, but that does not mean that it was written in your favor or that they won’t hold you to whatever you sign off on. A standard event contract has AV portions written directly into it, so knowing what you are getting into is the first step to understanding what your options are.

The main sections you need to pay attention to with regards to AV setup include the following:

What is included with the standard contract?

Sometimes an event space rental agreement is just one of several agreements you’ll have to sign off on before an event. Other contracts can saddle you with big bills for everything from running power to your equipment to equipment rental fees and more. Be sure to check the standard contract to see what’s actually included with your base rental price. Come prepared with a list of everything you need for the event so you can cross-check the list with the contract.

Can I bring in an outside AV vendor?

Oftentimes, event centers want you to use their own AV team and equipment so that they can charge you an exorbitant amount, knowing you don’t have any other options. To maximize your options for an event, be sure to note whether you have any flexibility in bringing in an outside vendor and if you can, if there are additional charges you’ll incur.

Can I bid against this contract?

If you can bring in outside AV service providers, can they bid against the contract you’ve received from the event space? What options do you have as far as mixing and matching services? Make it clear that you need flexibility for your AV needs and that you can’t be bound to strict guidelines and restrictions.

Does the contract include power and internet as standard?

Internet and power are two items that often take people by surprise as a line item because they seem like a given. You need power and internet, so why wouldn’t they provide that for you standard? When they know you need something, oftentimes event spaces will charge you more for it because they know you have no other options. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting.

What equipment is included?

If you do decide to go with the event space as your AV service provider, which equipment do they provide standard? Does anything come with the space or do you have to rent each piece either from the venue or a 3rd party AV provider? Again, come with a list of items you need so you can cross-check.

How do they bill for setup?

Do they bill by the hour per person required to set up your equipment? Do they charge extra for nights and weekends? Make sure you know exactly how they will bill you for the setup and know how you can save on costs by bringing in your own team or a 3rd party. Having all of the information up front will reduce the obstacles you run into while you are in the midst of putting on your event.

Why it’s important to understand your AV options

Once you understand what you’ve signed off on, you can then make better decisions for your AV needs. Having flexibility in your contract is a must-have so that you can ensure a successful event. Any limitations you have on your AV equipment or company can make or break your event, so it’s best to negotiate for a flexible contract that favors your needs and unique specifications. If you would like assistance with AV arrangements, contact ATX Event Systems. We would be happy to help alleviate any concerns you have with the AV support for your next event.