Trying to outfit an entertainment venue with the latest and greatest in light and sound? Searching for a way to link offices around the globe? You’ve got to find a fantastic AV company who will make using your system effortless and even fun.
There are thousands of options out there, however, and some of them will create far more headaches than solutions. Here are four things to look for when you’re shopping for a company to meet your needs.
Realize an intelligent AV set-up is more than great equipment.
There are a dizzying array of sleek, hot AV technologies out there, and it would be easy to spend a ton of money very quickly simply buying up the latest and greatest. But you might not need as much equipment as you think you do, and intelligent AV engineering could save you a fortune.
And system design is just the beginning. An AV implementation is a full-scale project requiring top notch project management techniques. Dozens of organizations learn this when their AV company fails to use a real project manager. They miss their deadlines, the project lags, and companies have to do without the systems they need for far longer than they should.
Thus, the very first questions you should be asking are the project management and system design strategies of the company you’re considering.
Look for a track record for completing projects on time.
This is such a huge issue that it bears repeating. Once a deadline is set it needs to be met! Too many AV companies make excuses. Don’t get left in the lurch. Ask the AV company for a percentage of projects completed on schedule.
You should ask how long it will take for the project to get underway too. Too many companies make their clients wait weeks or even months!
Make sure the company uses in-house personnel, not subcontractors.
The problem with sub-contractors is they don’t have an investment in what they’re doing. They’re not the ones who you’re going to be calling when something goes wrong. They tend to cut corners and aren’t involved in the entire process start to finish.
You want a company that handles everything in-house for just that reason.
Ask about programmers too. Many AV companies stall projects because they don’t have enough programmers on staff. There should be enough to make sure every project gets completed in a timely fashion. Those programmers should work directly for the company.
Look for a company that offers on-going support.
It is absolutely no fun to have an expensive system that you don’t know how to use, or which is malfunctioning.
Does your AV company offer training? It should. Ideally your system should be a turn-key solution, and training is part of that.
Does it offer ongoing technical support? It had better. How quickly can they get a technician to your office if something breaks? Will you get phone support if the problem can be fixed with the push of a few buttons? What happens if you need an upgrade?
How long have they been in business? You want to know they’ll still be around when you call.
Be really careful here. There are many AV companies who feel like it’s their job to sell you the equipment, install it, and leave, never to be heard from again. Look for a company who wants to forge a relationship with you instead. You’ll be much happier in the long run.