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5 Tips on How Strategic Planning Can Help Make Your AV Work To Your Advantage

By: MPI Toronto Chapter Board of Directors | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Oct 11, 2019

“Plans are nothing, planning is everything” - Dwight D. Eisenhower

George blog imageDuring my many years of supporting and producing events across the globe, I have had the pleasure of working with some very talented planners and organizers. They all share the same no-nonsense approach to planning. They’ve taught me many valuable lessons along the way, and in this short article I would like to share 5 tips on how strategic planning can help make your AV work to your advantage.

1. Outside AV Supplier Restriction Clauses

A common trait that is shared between the planners I work with is their ability to negotiate out any and all outside supplier charges from the facility contract during the venue exploratory stage. There are existing “Freedom of Choice” clauses available that can be added to your venue RFP that clearly outline your unacceptance of such penalties. Even if your intention is to use the in-house supplier, removing these fees before signing affords you the freedom to explore all your options should your event evolve and require outside support.

2. Room Selection

AV can take up anywhere from 20% up to 50% of a rooms square footage depending on your needs. Low ceiling heights, pillars, bulkheads, and low hanging chandeliers can all play a factor in your final design and budget. Involving your AV supplier in these early planning stages gives you the opportunity to flag anything that may negatively affect your event vision and budget.

3. Rigging/Power/Internet Costs

I always recommend requesting rigging, power, and internet costs up front during the facility exploratory phase. Unfortunately, there is no industry standard and costs will vary from venue to venue. A good AV partner will spend the time to go over these details with you and explain how these charges will impact your budgets.

4. Room access & Rehearsal Time

Almost all facilities require rental fees for early access installation and rehearsals. Many are very good at accommodating a no-charge early access but only if the room is available and only a few days prior to the load in. It’s always recommended that you work together with your AV supplier to discuss the required time for installation and rehearsals with plenty time to spare before doors.

5. Request for Quote (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP)

There’s no better way to get the full attention of your AV supplier(s) than making them work to win your business. A properly drafter RFQ and RFP document will maximize the ROI for your time and effort spent creating the document. It will eliminate your inbox being bombarded with hundreds of questions while providing a true and accurate comparison based on a level playing field. I recommend going out to bid for any events that require an operator on-site. The RFQ (request for quote) includes very specific equipment, labour, and timing specification but does not include a budget. The goal of the RFQ is to explore differentiating costs between suppliers based on an “apples to apples” comparison. The RFP (request for proposal) includes very specific wants, needs, vision, timing, and budget details, but does not necessarily include any specific equipment or labour detail. The goal of the RFP is to explore the best creative solution offering between suppliers based on the criteria above.  If you would like to see a drastic change in effort, creative, and budget for your next event, I would implement the RFP/RFQ exercise and experience the difference for yourself.

Whether it’s a $5,000 or $500,000 AV budget, implementing these simple planning tips will give you the freedom and options to make the best decisions for your event, your organization, and your customers.

George Tsimidis is a Senior Account Manager at Stagevision Inc., with expertise in AV and staging production. George can be reached at or



MPI Toronto Chapter Board of Directors | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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