Equipment & Labor Costs
Most meeting planners are not technical experts in the area of audiovisual equipment and the labor required to execute a flawless event. We have often reviewed proposals from other AV companies for clients and have found that they contain equipment and costs that are not needed in order to deliver their event. Reviewing your proposal with a fine toothcomb and asking questions can help you bring your event to fruition and save you money. Here are just some tips when reviewing your next proposal. First make sure the equipment listed is what you need and asked for – HD equipment should never be billed out if your specifications state that the content is SD. If your AV company has changed equipment beyond your specifications, be sure to understand why. Second, many production companies will outline labor requirements and additional labor expenses (think lodging, per diem, travel) for each event. Be sure that what they have listed is not overkill for your event – this can really raise your overall budget. Companies should always be able to satisfactorily explain their labor. Lastly, if you have been ordering the same equipment for a few years, be sure to compare your pricing from your first event to your current one. At first glance it may seem reasonable to be paying the same rate, however as newer equipment is released the rental prices of older equipment is often lowered. In some cases, vendors should be reducing costs on renting equipment that is perfectly functional, but no longer the latest industry standard.
In House AV
Meeting and event planners often run into issues when considering the in-house AV companies. The in-house providers try to contractually obligate you to solely use their services, and also try to charge a fee if you chose not to use them. Historically, the in-house AV companies tend not provide the consistent level of service that you require for a seamless event, and also the equipment tends to be over-priced. We have often heard from current clients that they will not go back to using in-house AV due to the level of service provided. Be sure to carefully look through the hotel contract before signing and understand any hotel AV fees or other clauses stating you cannot use an outside provider. Then, talk with your hotel or venue contact about changing these clauses for your contract, prior to signing.
Union venues are primarily located within Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Vegas. Understanding the union rules and labor costs can help avoid additional costs overall. The union labor rates are exorbitant especially if the union is working through an overnight set up, weekend, or for more than 10 hours. Different venues can have different work ratio requirements. The work ratio provides the basic formula for the number of union technicians that must be present for every nonunion technician. The more common ratios are 1 to 1 and 2 to 1, (for every one nonunion technician, one union technician must be provided and for every two nonunion technician’s one union tech must be provided). Some cities ratios are a great deal higher. You can minimize confusion and stress by working with an AV provider that has experience working with union properties – they will know how to minimize any unnecessary cost.
Overall the majority of AV providers are concerned with providing you value while delivering the best solution at competitive rates. These are just some of the guidelines you can use to be sure your provider has your best interest (and budget) at heart. And as always – whatever you are unsure of – ask, you are the client!