If you tuned in last week, you know Event Tech Podcast dived deep into the waters of how to save money on AV. Will Curran and Brandt Krueger sat down to share their tips on how this matter, so you can learn how to get the best value for your money. However, that was only part one of the” how to save money on AV extravaganza”!
Today’s episode brings a brand new voice and a brand new concept. Will Curran and Brandt Krueger are joined by Andrew Latimer, Design Engineer, and Endless Events’ AV Einstein. Last episode, Event Tech touched a little bit upon the how’s of negotiation. At Endless, we know that you can never know too much about how to save money on AV. Because of this, today, Will and Andrew will do a full live AV audit with a quote provided by Brandt.
You can learn what you should look for and what questions you should ask, while our hosts dissect AV proposals. Grab a pen and paper, and be ready to take notes on how to save money on AV!
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First Things First
As Will puts it, don’t jump straight to the bottom or to the last page! Obviously, having to read through what seems like thousands of pages isn’t fun. Especially when you hardly have any idea of what most of the things are supposed to mean.
But you need to go over the quote carefully, so you can know if you’re getting exactly what you need! Just because the final number matches the budget, you don’t get a free skipping pass. Make sure what is listed is what you need. Is there anything that should be there but you can’t find? Or the opposite – does it just seem like too much? Read through the quote carefully. If need be, bring a “guy” with you, someone who knows how to dissect it properly. This a major step on how to save money on AV!
Labor fees are probably the hardest to keep up with. Not everyone calculates it the same, and there’s a couple of things you should take into account. As we hear in the video, for example, this quote breaks labor down in ST, OT, and DT. Looking at this for the first time might just sound like a whole lot of “what?!”. In reality, the abbreviations stand for standard time, overtime and double time, and each one will have its own hours and pricing.
Besides that, it’s important you see what kind of labor you have. Is there a cameraman in every room? Is it really necessary? What about engineers? Those are expensive, do we honestly need five of them? Little details as these make all the difference when the bottom line is to save money on AV, while getting the best you need for your event.
What’s Up With The Equipment Prices?
Yet another pretty valid reason you should read everything from top to bottom is the equipment cost. First of all, Will lays it down: “Usually, just so everyone knows the standard practice is 10%, whatever the cost to buy, maybe a little higher if it’s going to break more often, like a projector or something like that”. That’s more than fair!
However, as it just so happens during the episode, AV companies can seriously overcharge you if attention isn’t paid. In this particular case, once Andrews goes through it, something seems a bit off. “I see just everything on here, there’s not a single thing that’s being charged less than a quarter of what it would cost to buy, most of it’s half to actually above purchase price”, he says. So, a good bet for you as a non-techie is to a quick search online. Do the prices add up? Or is it just way overpriced?
“I think we talk a lot about how a lot of times we see quotes or explanations where they’re just throwing out terms to confuse people, trying to list everything possible, with no explanation. And that’s how you know that there’s a bait and switch going on”, says Andrew.
Watch Out For The Overkill
Bottom line is, you want to deliver the best event possible to your attendees, without completely blowing up your budget. When you’re going through the equipment list and the associated costs, ask yourself what they mean. More precisely, what they mean for your event. Are the speakers perhaps a little too powerful for the size of the room? Will the attendees leave your event overwhelmed by the sound? Does the equipment listed match the exact layout and needs of your venue?
All in all, just make sure what you’re getting is what you need. Beware of overkill! The AV company might try to sell you on the idea of top-notch equipment that you don’t need, simply because they’ll be paid a lot more. Don’t sacrifice the success of your event by slacking off on this, and lose money in the process.
Make Way For The Expendables
You know when you’re at the grocery store and keep throwing $1 dollar items in your cart? And you convince yourself you’ll pay $10 tops? But then bam!, the lady at the register racks up a $150 dollar bill. Well, this is something that can also happen in our scenario. As Brandt says, “it’s important to have those expendables on your bid, because that’s when you’re comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Those are those little things that sneak up on you, where it’s like, “Oh, yeah, that wasn’t on the bid, but it then winds up on your master bill. So making sure that you do have the supplies on there is huge”.
As Brandt puts it, “you don’t have to be an AV expert to start dipping your toe into and not just flipping to those big last round numbers. Starting to do five minutes of googling on this and five minutes of googling on that and asking questions. I know you emphasize that all the time, just being able to ask questions.”
Sit down with your AV company and have an actual conversation, do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s the only sure way to save money on AV, while getting exactly what you need!
- Event Leadership Institute Courses
- How to Win at Negotiating AV Prices for Events