When planning an event, managing your Audio Visual (AV) budget effectively can make a significant difference in your overall expenses. Here are some expert tips to help you save money on your AV budget while ensuring a successful event.

1. Work on Comps with Your Venue

Free Load-In and Load-Out Days

One of the easiest ways to save on AV costs is to negotiate complimentary load-in and load-out days with your venue. This can prevent additional charges for set-up and breakdown times, which can quickly add up.

Free Internet Access

Many venues charge exorbitant fees for internet access. Negotiate free internet access as part of your venue contract to avoid these unnecessary expenses.

Waived Power and Rigging Fees

Power and rigging costs can be substantial, especially for events with extensive AV needs. Request that the venue waives or significantly reduces these fees as part of your contract negotiations.

2. Negotiate you Venues AV Provider Clauses

Avoid In-House AV Provider Requirements

Before signing a contract with your venue, carefully review and negotiate any clauses that require you to use the in-house AV provider. Often, these in-house services come with a premium price tag. By negotiating this clause out of your contract, you can have the flexibility to shop around for more competitive AV rentals.

Secure Outside AV Provider Permissions

If you have a preferred AV provider, ensure that the venue allows external AV providers without penalty. Some venues impose extra fees for using outside vendors, which can inflate your costs. Get these fees waived or significantly reduced during your contract negotiations.

Understand All AV-related Clauses

Thoroughly understand all AV-related clauses in your contract. Look for any hidden charges, such as mandatory service fees or markups on AV equipment. Clarify these clauses with the venue and negotiate more favorable terms.

3. Leverage Multi-Event Contracts with Your AV Company

Benefits of Multi-Event Contracts

If you have a preferred AV provider, discuss the possibility of a multi-event contract. AV companies can better forecast their resources, manage investments, and plan staffing for multiple events. These efficiencies often translate into cost savings that they can pass on to you.

Build Long-Term Relationships

Building a long-term relationship with your AV provider can lead to better service and pricing. Providers are often more willing to offer discounts and go the extra mile for repeat clients.

Lock in Current Rates

By signing a multi-event contract, you can lock in current rates, protecting you from future price increases. This can provide significant savings over time, especially in an industry where prices can fluctuate.

4. Get Competitive Bids

Request for Proposals (RFPs)

If you don’t have a preferred AV provider, it’s essential to get competitive bids. Building out a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) ensures that each vendor bids on a similar package, making it easier to compare costs and services. This competitive process can drive down prices and secure the best deal for your event.

Set a Realistic Budget

Indicate a realistic budget in your RFP even if it’s a range. This helps vendors understand your financial constraints and propose solutions that fit within your budget, preventing overbidding and ensuring competitive pricing.

Ask for References

When evaluating bids, ask for references from previous clients. This can give you insights into the vendor’s reliability, quality of service, and how they handle issues that arise, helping you make a more informed decision.

5. Invest in 3D Renderings and Drawings

Visualize Needs vs. Wants

Paying a little extra for 3D renderings with your AV partner can be a worthwhile investment. These visual tools help you see what your event will look like without certain items, allowing you to distinguish between needs and wants. This can prevent overspending on unnecessary equipment and décor.

Accurate Drawings Eliminate Problems

Accurate 3D drawings can help eliminate problems during the load-in process. By having a clear visual plan, you can ensure that everything fits and is placed correctly, saving both time and money onsite.

Improve Communication

3D renderings improve communication between you, your AV provider, and the venue staff. With a clear visual representation, everyone involved can understand the setup and layout, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and mistakes.

6. Manage Labor Costs

Schedule Smartly to Avoid Overtime

Labor costs can significantly impact your AV budget. Manage your event schedules to avoid overtime charges or meal penalties. For instance, plan for load-in and load-out times within regular working hours.

Understand Union Labor

Be aware of the labor rules and regulations of your venue. Union labor can drastically change your AV budget, so it’s important to ask the right questions and plan accordingly.

Optimize Labor Allocation

Work closely with your AV provider to ensure the right amount of staff is allocated for each stage of your event. Overstaffing can lead to unnecessary expenses, while understaffing can cause delays and increase overtime costs. A balanced approach ensures efficiency and cost-effectiveness.


By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage your AV budget without compromising the quality of your event.

For more tips and assistance with AV rentals and event management, contact Craft Productions today! We’re here to help you create memorable events while optimizing your budget.

Have more questions? Contact us today!