The next installment in our AdVent Blog comes with tips on what to consider when choosing your AV company. No matter what your event, from Gala Dinner to AGM, Christmas Party, Awards or Product Launch, you name it, the support of your AV supplier needs to be second to none!
There are a number of factors which you can use to compare suppliers as well as a few questions to ask when you think you have found 'the one'. We asked Projected Image's Managing Director, Steve McNamara, for his top recommendations on what to ask and here's what he had to say:
1 - Quality
"Just because a supplier is buying the newest equipment, it doesn't mean it is looked after".
When searching for an AV supplier, one thing that is rarely asked is how the equipment is kept, whether it is cleaned and looked after, and the types of events which it is usually used on.
You could be putting on a high profile event in a 5* venue, but when the day arrives, your AV supplier brings in muddy cables which look like they've been stuck at Glastonbury. Or the speakers which are put out around the room look slightly 'too loved'.
We pride ourselves on the care and attention we place on all of our equipment. We will always make sure everything is up to our meticulously high standards before it is packed into the back of a lorry and on it's way to you. Nothing is too little to be checked and no detail too small, from SDI boxes to our Line Array system, or large screen TVs and projectors, you can count on us to ensure that every item is taken care of, prepped and tested and ready for set up at your event.
By making sure that your equipment is prepared ahead of leaving our warehouse, this is a good guarantee that it'll be working for you on the day. We are not saying that our equipment never fails, because rarely things do go wrong and technology does fail, however testing everything before it leaves our warehouse alleviates as many unwanted surprises as possible.
2 - Flexibility
"When you need to make changes, your AV supplier needs to continue to support you"
Have you ever gone to an AV supplier and asked for a quote for x,y,z equipment for your event, only for your client to make a number of changes throughout the process? - You're nodding your head? We've all been there! But how many of you have struggled with getting these updates made by your supplier to support the changes? - Still nodding? Oh dear!
Whether it is a last minute request 48 hours before your event, or a constant influx of changes throughout the planning process, your supplier needs to be flexible and adapt to meet your needs. An efficient AV supplier will not just sit back and make change after change, but indeed will involve themselves in the process as much as you deem necessary. They will ask relevant questions, try to decipher your clients wants and work with you to support you in meeting these requirements.
One thing to remember is that there may well be last minute cancellation charges or additional production time that needs to be taken into account in your budget, but these shouldn't stop anyone from providing a service to you.
3 - Expertise
"A friendly face can be reassuring but how good is the advice that follows?"
How much experience does your AV supplier have in producing events of your caliber or even a particular type of event in the first place? Sometimes a good salesperson is all a company needs to win you over, but try not to let yourself be fooled by the small talk and instead make sure you ask the questions relevant to your event.
How many conferences for 5,000 people have they supplied full AV for? What projection mapping have they previously provided? Have they ever worked on a celebrity wedding? All these sorts of questions can help you to figure out if the AV supplier in question has the right experience to support you.
Some hire companies will allow you to hire the equipment but do not have the additional service support for you on your event, so you need to look elsewhere for your technicians. Luckily, if you find yourself talking to Projected Image, we can cover all your needs as a one stop shop for everything AV.
4 - In-house Equipment
"Just because someone advertise's themselves as a full-service production house or audio visual supplier, doesn't meant they have their own equipment!"
Now I know this may seem like an obvious thing to check, but there are a number of AV suppliers out there who may own one or two items of equipment and then hire the rest from other suppliers. What's the problem with that? I hear you ask. Nothing, nothing at all, a lot of AV suppliers regularly cross hire equipment from one another, it's one great thing about the event industry.
The reason we suggest you choose a supplier with their own in-house equipment is that they know how it works, they know of any potential niggles around a piece of kit, but the big one is that choosing a supplier with their own stock also keeps costs down for you. If you have to spend more on your AV your budget won't stretch as far, so the benefits of using a company with their own equipment just keep on rolling .
5 - Recommendations
"What other agencies, clients or users of the company have to say about the service will say a lot about what you can expect to receive!"
Ever get fed up of all those feedback questionnaires that pop up on your screen when you visit a website? Admit it, the majority of you will hit the cross at the top of the pop up and close the screen. But feedback and recommendations from other clients of your potential new supplier will mean a lot.
What do people have to say about the service, how was the pre-event support, how did the event go and how did the AV company ease the process for the end client?
As they say,, 'A picture paints a thousands words' - this may be correct but that picture doesn't show you how much hassle the supplier was to work with, or how many hurdles the client had to jump in order for them to provide the service required. Just because someone advertises that they work with big brands or in prestigious venues at worldwide events, doesn't mean that the work they produced and the service that they provided kept up to anyone's standards.
We are proud of our client retention rates. At Projected Image we have a number of clients who have used us for 20+ years, and as well as keeping them happy, we regularly receive outstanding feedback from one time clients, and from new users of the service who can't help but keep coming back to us. We welcome feedback from all our clients, whether it be for a simple one item hire or for full technical production at an event, it is the words that are provided which make us do a little happy dance inside and assure us that all the hard work we put in, really does pay off.
If you have any questions for Steve or any of the Projected Image team, make sure you contact us either on the phone 0845 337 9148 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily offer our expert service and