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March 05, 2007

Common-sense tips to hold down A/V costs

I got this article from Mike Magdaleno at The Conference Experience. It contains some very useful tips to save a bundle on A/V rentals.

We all know that when planning an event, the final audio visual bill can get very high, very quick. This article is to help you save money without sacrificing quality.

For nearly a decade I have served as an audio visual (A/V) technician. Over the years, I found that the most disturbing aspect, to the client, has been the extreme rates for renting A/V equipment. It costs more to rent a $3000.00 projector for a few hours, than it costs to rent a $40,000 SUV for a day --- so how can you control those A/V costs?

Here are five useful tactics to assist you in saving on your next event’s A/V budget:

  • Negotiate - Instead of talking to a hotel sales person about your audio visual needs, talk to the hotel’s Audio Visual Director. Talk to them about your budget restraints, and negotiate a price. They will often work with you. (Remember, saving money for your company, can still mean making money for the hotel).
  • Shop Around – Most hotels will allow you to bring in an outside A/V company, so ask the hotel if you can hire your own. Most outside A/V companies will rent equipment for a lot less than a hotel can (this includes the set-ups and break-downs).
  • Experience / Service Skills - Stick with someone you know, trust and like. Most A/V companies use very similar equipment. It’s the tech, who has customer service skills, knowledge of what to do, and how to do it, that makes the difference. Any event has the potential of A/V disaster, but it’s how that problem is solved, how fast it is solved, and minimizing the impacts to the event, that turns a disaster into a success. Your A/V technician is essentially an addition to your event staff. You should find a technician who wants to fill their time by being helpful with details such as moving boxes, making announcements, or just being around to assist as opportunities arise. Hire an A/V technician, who not only saves you money, but adds value to your event.
  • On-Site Technician - If your event is complex in the amount of equipment, changes and technical requirements, you may benefit from an on-site technician. If a tech is needed, call around and see if someone can recommend a tech to you. Be specific. Some techs specialize in a particular part of A/V work (Ex: video tech, audio tech, lighting tech). Call your local audio visual company. Most likely, they use contractors, and have names of people you can hire. The savings can be up to 50%.
  • The Triple Star Saving - Know what your company can buy and bring to the event. Things that are easily carried and inexpensive are great ways to save money. The saving last forever, and not just for one event.

  • For example, consider buying and taking the following items:

  • Wireless mouse: Savings: $70.00 to buy, $35.00+ per day to rent.
  • Laser Pointer: Savings: $50.00 to buy, $35.00+ per day to rent.
  • LCD Projector: Savings: As low as $1000.00 to buy, $400.00+ per day to rent.

    Other things to consider:
  • Flip Charts
  • Easels
  • Cassette Tapes
  • Microphones

    In closing, don’t let the costs of A/V blow your event budget. By knowing what is negotiable and seeking alternatives, your savings can be significant.


    Mike can be reached at MikeM@theconferenceexperience.com or 720-373-3273.

  • Tagged: ; ; ;

    1 comment:

    Matt said...

    Shameless plug - Be sure to find one that is a member of InfoComm, the trade association for the AV industry. Hopefully you can get a technician that is CTS certified.

    Also, InfoComm has an AV Buyers Guide at www.infocomm.org that can help you when you are looking to buy AV products or installing systems in your offices. There is also a member search on the website.