What to Look for in a 3rd Party AV Service Provider
No matter the size of your event – 2,000 people at a conference or 50 people at a wedding – AV elements play an important role in the success of the event. You could be playing a slideshow for your sister’s wedding or educating a room of eager students. No matter what you are preparing for, having reliable audio and visual equipment can be the difference between having a fun and exciting event or a stressful and frustrating one.
You could manage the event yourself, especially if it’s a smaller event, but when you don’t have any experience with AV equipment, there can be quite a learning curve. Not only do you have to figure out which equipment you need, but you also have to figure out how to operate it as well as how to troubleshoot any issues you may encounter along the way.
Rather than spend your already pressed time figuring out your AV situation, you could consider hiring a 3rd party AV contractor to do all of the work for you. They can determine which equipment you’ll need and they can even set it up and run it for you so you don’t have to worry during your event. But what makes a good AV service provider? Here are some things you should look for before hiring a 3rd party contractor.
What to know before hiring a 3rd party
- Experience. What type of experience does the contractor have? Have they done events similar to yours or of a similar size? It’s a good idea to ask about their previous jobs and if they’ve done anything comparable to your event. This is also a good time to inquire about how long they’ve been in business and how many projects they’ve completed in the last year. Their business should be growing, so if they have a seemingly small number of jobs it may be an indicator of a larger issue. Similarly, if they have a lot of jobs, the may be unreliable. It’s best to ask all of these questions up front.
- Reviews. What is the reputation of the contractor you are looking to work with? It’s within your right as a customer to ask for references or for online reviews of their business. You want to make sure that you read through the negative, positive, and neutral feedback to gauge what issues this company may have and if they are issues you are willing to deal with. Not everyone will have rave reviews, so it’s important to understand your own expectations as well so you can match up with the appropriate AV contractor.
- Schedule. What does their current job schedule look like? How many events do they have during the timeframe of your job? You want to ensure that they have ample time to meet all of your needs both before the big day(s) as well as during the event and afterward for cleanup. If their schedule seems to busy, then you may want to look elsewhere. Be sure to ask the company how many employees they have as well as if they bring on addition temporary help for events. You will not be able to truly understand how busy they are unless you know how many staff members they have.
- Training. You will want to make sure you ask what kind of training and certifications the company’s team members have. Does everyone have the same qualifications? How can you ensure that someone with appropriate certifications will take point on your project? One particular certification that you want to make sure someone on your team will have is a CTS certification. A CTS certification means Certified Technology Specialist and they have to go through testing and training to earn it, meaning they will have the right skills for job, even if you don’t know how to evaluate them. Another good certification to look for is the AVSP – Audio Visual Service Provider – this ensures that the company can handle your project from a technology perspective.
- Personality. While the AV company may have all of the right certifications, the perfect availability, and the best reviews in town, they don’t mean anything unless you click with them during the planning stages. Nothing derails an event quicker than contractors and event coordinators who are butting heads. During your first meeting, be sure to get an understanding of who you’ll be working with and how they like to work. Your ability to get along well with the AV service provider is critical for ensuring the event goes off perfectly.
The next time you need an AV company to support you, contact ATX Event Systems. Our professionalism and execution cannot be surpassed in Austin, or the entire State of Texas.