Using an Outside AV Company For Your Event

In today’s event landscape, audio and video production services are essential. Excellent technology is a key element in helping any event run smoothly, from small gatherings that need an audio boost to large conferences with highly detailed production elements.  

Many event planners feel stuck using in-house AV teams and equipment at their selected event venue. But audio and video production at events is too important to compromise on – and the on-site option may not be your only choice. Using in-house AV production is not always a bad thing, to be clear, but it doesn’t have to be your only option. 

Some venues automatically include contract stipulations that restrict their clients from using the outside AV companies of their choice, which is why it’s important for event planners to read contracts carefully and be prepared to negotiate. Don’t be left without control over your event’s AV production! Instead, come into contract negotiations with a plan that will help your event succeed. 

Why Hire an Outside AV Company? 

Before you decide whether in-house production or an outside AV company is the best fit for your next event, write down the details of what you’ll need. If your event requires detailed production, multiple video feeds, or complex audio systems, and your venue only offers the bare minimum, it may be time to consider outside help. On the other hand, if your venue offers top-notch AV services and your event is simple or straightforward, you may not need to negotiate at all. Knowing your needs is the most important first step. 

3 Questions to Ask Before You Book

When you begin discussions with your venue, bring your detailed AV needs to the table. If they can meet them, great! If they can’t, it’s time to discuss how you can bring in the outside help you need without penalizing yourself in the process.  Here are some questions to ask your venue before you sign a contract: 

  • Is there an exclusivity clause regarding audiovisual?
    Some venues contract with a specific audio visual company in house. This means they’ll have needed equipment and staff onsite with you, but this often comes at a higher cost. Unless you’re sure that your venue’s production is a good fit for your needs, this may not serve you well. Also, there’s a recent trend where you are permitted to bring in an outside AV company for a general session, but not for breakout rooms. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure that this is clearly defined in the contract.
  • Is there a fee to bring in an outside AV company?
    Be sure to read your contract carefully! Sometimes venues can add fees into the fine print of a contract, charging you more for using the power in their building or any of their existing equipment. To avoid any surprises, make sure to ask for all fees to be detailed in the contract.
  • Is there a requirement for in-house production staff to be on-site even if I hire an outside company? Is there an associated cost?
    Venues may allow you to bring your own production company in for your event, but only if their own team is also on-site to supervise. If this is the case, ensure that all fees and required hours are detailed. 

How to Secure an Outside AV Company in Your Contract

Remember: contracts are always negotiable until they’re signed. If you want to work with this venue, especially on an ongoing basis, it’s important to square away all of these details ahead of time to keep your relationship from getting rocky after the fact. You can always ask for waived fees or propose an additional clause that protects you as the event planner. 

If you already know which AV company you’d like to work with, ask them to weigh in! Their experience across multiple venues and event types will be a fantastic resource. They may be able to help you negotiate for what you need, explain certain policies, or spot details in the proposed contract you missed on your first read-through. 

When you meet with your venue, include a request for proposal (RFP) that allows you to get the contract terms you need most. For example, your RFP could say:

(Your Company Name) has an ongoing partnership with a production partner who is familiar with our AV needs for this event. We plan to use their services for this event, with the knowledge that they may rent equipment or labor from your in-house production. When you reply to this RFP, please confirm the following:

  • Please confirm that all fees for having outside AV will be waived
  • Detail any charges and minimum hours for in-house supervision for load-in and load-out
  • AV capacity chart and pricing details for wifi, power, and rigging

Using AV to Level Up Your Events

When you choose the right AV partner, the quality of your event goes up. Attendees won’t be distracted by hiccups and mistakes, and working with an experienced AV company will save you time and stress. 

At Redstory, we believe that every aspect of an event, including production, should serve to foster real human connections. We provide unique and personalized audio and visual production — and we’re committed to offering our clients the AV control they need to reach their goals. If you’re looking for an AV partner to enhance your events, working alongside you to find innovative solutions, we’d love to team up with you. Learn more about our AV services today