If you’re in charge of planning an event, either for work or for a special occasion, you have a great deal on your mind. In addition to making the arrangements, you also have to adhere to your budget. You may not have time to deal with the nuances of negotiating the rental of electronic equipment, but this is one aspect of planning your event that you can’t take lightly.
Visit the Business in Person
Sure, their website looks sleek, the pictures of their products impressed you, and the rep you spoke to on the phone was friendly and courteous. All of that just means they hired a web designer, downloaded some nice pictures, and hired a people person to man the phones. When you visit their store in person, you can get a better feel for the staff and the company in general. More importantly, you can verify that the rental products are as well-maintained as the website claims.
Ask About Their Policy for Equipment Failures
First, you’ll want to make sure the company is bonded and insured against damage to the equipment. If an accident does occur, you don’t want to be the one footing the bill. Additionally, ask about their policy for equipment failures. The last thing you want is for your first event production to be a big flop, because the audio/visual equipment failed at the worse possible moment. Many rental companies will have back-up equipment available, so you’ll only experience a few minutes of downtime.
Determine Your Needs
Don’t let a pushy salesperson pressure you into renting more equipment than you need. After all, there’s that budget to consider. Look at your venue, the expected number of guests, and the type of event. All of these factors should give you an idea of the kind of equipment you’ll need. Be sure the equipment is adequate to the task. While you don’t want to go overboard, you also want to make sure everyone will be able to hear your speakers or entertainers.
Read the Contract Before You Sign
This may go without saying, but, when you’re in a hurry, you may just take the business rep’s word for everything to save on time. That could be a mistake, especially if things don’t go as planned. For instance, what happens if a guest steals a piece of equipment or an act of nature damages the equipment? Do they have policies that address those issues, or does the contract lay the financial responsibility at your feet? There may be other terms in the contract that are disagreeable to you in your situation. This is why it’s important to take the time and read everything from the rental company’s policies to your contract with them.
In many cases, a big event hinges on the operation of the audio/visual equipment. For that reason, it’s important that the equipment is of good quality and the rental company has a strong, positive reputation in the community. While you may cut corners in other areas of planning your event, doing so here can only end in disaster.