Audio Visual (AV) quotes vary from company to company. The formats may differ—they might range from excel spreadsheets to word documents or even a customized company-specific format. The comprehensiveness of quotes may also fluctuate. Some companies may lump equipment together as a pre-defined “sound system kit,” for example.
As confusing as it may initially seem, becoming familiar with AV details can empower you to find the best possible solution to organize a buzz-worthy event. Below, we’ve outlined the most common features of AV quotes, along with rates that are often not defined explicitly on quote documents. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Your AV team is there to support you and your event!
What’s in an AV quote?
In general, the quote includes a breakdown of audio and visual equipment with each having their own dedicated section giving room to outline specific materials and equipment per your needs: audio, video, lighting, staging and set design. Additionally, quotes feature projected costs for each segment of the AV needs, labor, and other expenses like travel, rooms, per diem, and shipping.
The audio section of an AV quote includes all the sound equipment that you might need for a particular project. This includes speakers, soundboards, amplifiers, equalizers, and microphones. If you are adding to an existing system, only the equipment brought by Titan will be included in the quote.
Should you have video included in your project outline, this part of the quote will include details about projection equipment, cameras, switches, and all other supporting items.
Lighting equipment including the lights themselves, power distribution, rigging equipment, and any needed lenses will be featured in this part of the quote. The number of needed equipment pieces will be dependent on your venue size and specific project needs.
Risers, platforms, steps, and stage decks are all included in the staging portion of your av quote. Like other equipment, staging has a variety of options including different finishes for riser or platform flooring.
Set design elements like backdrops, room branding, scenic features, or custom-designed elements are all included in the set design segment of your quote.
Labor & Expenses
Typically listed under a dedicated section for “labor,” labor and expenses include the work performed by the various individuals working on your event. This includes media technicians, installers, support crew, event crew working on pick-up and delivery of equipment, as well as sound, light or video technicians.
Depending on the company, sometimes labor costs are itemized under other categories. Be sure to confirm these details when receiving your quote.
Expendables and Consumables
— Installations, temporary or permanent, nearly always come with “expendable and consumable” costs. These costs cover items that are used and cannot be reused or are a one-time expense. Tape, batteries, and balloons are some examples.
How do I read my AV quote?
When reviewing your AV quote, you should first become familiar with the format used by the company and identify the major section as listed above. Keep in mind that quotes are not comprehensive lists of materials or itemized costs. They offer a general idea of equipment use and the estimated final cost of labor and equipment. While some details may change throughout the execution of the project, costs should stay relatively the same.
Understanding Day Rates
Most companies use the industry standard for day, half-day, and travel day rates. However, you may want to confirm that before starting a project.
Also, when considering rates keep in mind that work is typically segmented by 5-hour blocks. An 11-hour event, for example, is estimated to be 1.5 days of labor. Likewise, a 2-hour event is rounded up to a half-day of labor.
— Usually, 10 hours of labor is considered the standard for a day rate.
— A half-day rate is classified by about 5 hours of labor.
— If a travel day is required it is usually charged as a half-day rate. Travel days may include having non-local vendors travel to the venue the day prior to the event.
Understanding Labor Charges
Labor charges cover design, pre-event preparation, install, support, and tear down. Before agreeing to move forward with any company, it’s important to be familiar with not only their regular rate but also overtime, holiday and special charges like rigging and design. Details like these can help you adjust event dates, plan for potential overtime, and determine your general AV needs based on your budget.
While most companies try to get AV quotes as close as possible to reality, sometimes events go longer than expected. Make sure you are aware of the overtime rate in advance. Anything over 10 hours, the general day rate, will switch to overtime pay which is usually an hourly rate.
— Should your event fall on a holiday, you will likely be charged an additional fee or a special holiday-rate, higher than a non-holiday fee.
— If you will have equipment installed in overhead positions or in positions that require trusses, cabling, or installation of speakers, projection and lighting, your quote will include rigging costs. These costs are additional because technicians specialized in rigging must be certified and carry insurance to install such equipment.
— Design features like video, slideshows, or other graphic elements usually have a dedicated section on the AV quote, outside of labor and equipment charges.
Understanding Equipment Rental Rates
Like labor charges, equipment rental fees may also feature day rates. Depending on the length of rental periods, you may also see weekly rates. Rates are specifically determined by individual companies. Weekly rates usually apply at a minimum of 3 days.
Ship Date vs. Return Date
— “Ship date” is defined as the day that equipment leaves the warehouse or originating destination. “Return date” is the date that equipment returns back to the warehouse.
Load In & Load Out
— “Load in” and “load out” refers to the day equipment is delivered or removed from the event site. At times, “load in” can include “set up” however each company varies and that detail should be confirmed.
Choosing an AV Company
There are dozens of options to meet your AV needs — individualized solutions, do-it-yourself, and comprehensive AV companies. Understanding general fees can help you better determine the best possible solution for your timeframe, budget, and event vision.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions and go through your AV quote in detail. A good quality AV company will go through quote details and advise you on alternative solutions. As you are planning you’ll also want to find out the company’s general policy on support throughout event production. You may find that one company’s definition of “support” may differ from others.
Whether you are planning a small or large production, Titan AVL strives to develop your vision and bring it to life in an efficient and budget-conscious manner. We use our people, experience, and equipment to find creative solutions to deliver your dreams as effectively as possible.