There’s no getting around it. Launching a new audio-visual implementation is expensive.

Choosing the wrong company can be even more expensive. Use these tips to find the right balance between a budget-friendly company and high-quality company.

Take a Meeting

Any reputable AV company should be more than willing to sit down and talk with you about your upcoming project. Use this meeting to discuss your needs, to ask some important questions, and to get a sense of how the AV engineers at this particular company might approach your project.

Don’t be afraid to sit down with several different companies. This is one of the biggest investments your company is likely to make.

Make sure you’re going to get ongoing support.

Too many organizations assume the budget-friendliest AV company is the one that offers the lowest price. But take ongoing support into account. How long will you have to wait to see a technician if something goes wrong?

How much will service visits cost? Is both phone and email support available?

You’re probably going to need to make at least one service call every few years no matter how good your equipment is. Take the residual costs of ongoing support into account as you evaluate quotes.

Make sure you’re getting a custom solution.

Generic solutions always cost more in the long run. You end up buying more equipment than you needed, or less. You will find you’re ill-equipped for upgrades and expansions in the future.

You really need to work with an AV engineer who will customize and construct solutions based on your facilities, as well as the ways you intend to use the system. Lawyers who want to be able to take depositions from witnesses four cities away will have different needs than a marketing firm who wants to collaborate over the next big Super Bowl ad.

The key is to get just the right equipment at just the right price. The other key? A high-quality installation that doesn’t need to be handled twice.

Remember, time is money.

Finally, consider the AV company’s track record. If your AV company doesn’t install projects on time and on-budget and do it consistently then they will cost you money in the long run. You might have to work and dodge around a half-finished project for months instead of enjoying the powerful AV system you’d envisioned.

Ask for references. Check out the company’s testimonials. Ask who your project manager is going to be and ask that person what they’re going to do to make sure the implementation phase goes smoothly.

Don’t be afraid to get a little tough. The bottom line isn’t always the lowest number on the quote. Sometimes, it’s the bigger picture, the one that tells you exactly what kind of experience you can expect to have.

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