Sometimes getting an AV quote feels like a never-ending process and you only wish you could get your AV quotes faster. You go back and forth with your AV company, only to get your quote weeks later. By then, you have made changes to your event and need to start the process all over again.
Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be that way! On today’s Whiteboard Wednesday Will Curran teaches you how to get your AV quotes faster. We’re covering six simple steps that will allow you to get AV your quotes faster so you can focus on the big picture of your event!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and updated for clarity purposes.
Forget About Emails, Set A Meeting!
First, Will suggests doing a meeting instead of an e-mail. Far too often do clients e-mail AV companies, hoping to get a quote right away. AV companies then reply and ask further questions, and await for answers. Rather than wasting time by emailing each other back and forth, set up a meeting!
During this meeting, a lot of questions and things are going to get knocked out all at once. That’s all it takes! It’s not going to be a four-hour session either. In a single one-hour meeting, you can go through all the details. Which brings us to the next point: prepare for your first meeting!
Prepare for Your First Meeting
Preparing for your first meeting can mean several different things, depending whether you’re working with a budget for a virtual event, hybrid event, or an in-person event. Will highlights four important aspects of preparing for the first meeting, but it might be a good idea to check out our event planning checklist as well!
Know Your Venue & Provide A Contact
If you want to get your AV quotes faster, you need to bring a few key pieces of information to the table. The first one Will mentions is the venue. You don’t necessarily have to visit the venue of your event, but you do need to tell the AV company where the event will be held as soon as possible. That includes the specific rooms and what will be going on inside those rooms.
Next up, come prepared with a contact for that venue. That person can answer a lot of questions that you might not have the answers to! They can ask for things, such as layouts, standing procedures, and restriction reviews. Not only will you get your AV quote faster that way, you will also be spared doing all the talking and thus save some precious time.
Create a Detailed Schedule
Another smart thing to do before the meeting is create a detailed schedule of your event. Just the time frame won’t cut it! What AV companies need to know is what and when exactly is going on in what particular rooms. And don’t forget to include the breaks! If you can put together an extremely detailed schedule where each room is a column and how many microphones you need in each room, you can speed up the time it takes to get an AV quote. Without a time schedule, your AV company will either be guessing or they will have to keep on coming back to you and ask you questions.
Create A Content Vision & Your Ideal Scenario
When clients don’t share their exact vision for the event, AV quotes end up being far too generic for their liking. What exactly is going to happen at your event and what’s your ideal scenario? Do you want to have a band playing? Do you want video content playing? The options are endless!
After you’ve picked your perfect venue, you need to get your hands on some layouts and share them with your AV company. Is it going to look like a classroom? Is it going to be round? Why does that matter, you ask? Event tech profs need to know what equipment they’re going to use. Are they going to need a rig and a rear projection?
Knowing the rooms’ layouts allows AV companies to get an idea of what’s happening in each room as well as any potential pitfalls.
If you want to get your AV budget as fast as possible, you need to be transparent about competitors’ quotes. Comparing AV quotes is no easy feat and it can be time-consuming! Sharing competitor quotes allows the company to see exactly what the other company is providing so they can provide the exact same equipment and the exact same labor. Only then can you truly compare their quotes.
If you’re not fluent in AV, it’s likely you won’t understand the alphabet soup that is an AV quote. But event profs can look at a list of equipment and very quickly determine exactly what they need to do and build a quote that matches it perfectly. When you give AV companies an opportunity to compare quotes piece by piece, you will get your AV quotes much faster.
Going price shopping and choosing the cheapest AV company is not necessarily the best way to go. Perhaps a certain company is cheaper because they’re leaving out something essential to your event’s success. Bottom line: be transparent and don’t hide anything!
Get Your AV Quotes Faster: Reply Quickly!
While most questions can be answered in the first meeting, there are still occasional questions that will pop up later on. You might be asking yourself: ‘Why are there 30 microphones on this quote?’. Whatever the question, it’s important that it gets answered quickly.
Replying quickly goes both ways, though. If you want to get the right quote, you have to answer the AV company’s questions right away. Having a follow-up meeting is also a good idea!
Be Open To Quote Walk-Throughs
A lot of clients initially say that they don’t have time for quote walk-throughs, but Will knows what happens when they don’t look through it together. “I send you the quote. You put it in your e-mail box and you don’t look at it for several weeks. It gets pushed off. The deadline is coming up. You’re stressed out and you can’t make the right decision because it’s been a couple weeks since you looked at the quotes.” Sounds stressful, right?
Quote walk-throughs allow you to understand the equipment better, which is something that might also save you a lot of time in the future! If you know equipment basics, it allows you to ask for very specific things that you need.
Even though it seems time-consuming rather than time efficient to go through the quote line by line, but you might find some mistakes made in it. Also, you might find that there are already edits because the schedule’s already changed. What it allows you to do is to get an updated revised quote even faster. You can make those decisions on the spot and get it fixed right away. While it seems counterproductive to have more meetings, it ends up saving you more time.
And finally, make your deadlines clear! If you need to have this done in a week, you need to give an AV company a heads up as soon as possible. It takes manual labor to select the right equipment, the right labor, and to build an accurate quote in the budget. Be clear if there is some flexibility in your deadline as well. Sometimes, having a little bit of extra time means that you get an accurate quote that isn’t rushed. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and same goes with AV quotes.
In conclusion, there are many things you can do if you want to get an AV quote as fast as possible. Not only will you save yourself some invaluable time, your AV company will absolutely love you for getting them the information that they need to do their job!