How to Control Unexpected Costs Transporting and Setting Up AV Equipment

Posted on: October 3, 2023

Getting audio visual equipment from point A to point B is usually a straightforward affair. But even with the most painstakingly planned event, there will be those rare instances where you’ll experience a delay, restriction, or technical challenge. Here’s how to control unexpected costs when transporting and setting up AV equipment.

Venue Variables

Logistics is a variable cost because it depends on the amount of effort and time it takes to unload and move equipment. Tight schedules or limited access to the event venue might necessitate additional labor to complete the setup within the available time frame.

Particularly, the “when” of space access could have budgetary impact. The venue might have specific regulations or requirements for moving and setting up AV equipment. 

Labor on a midnight load out might be more expensive than labor on a normal 8-5 workday. In Chicago, for example, some hotels have one shared loading dock for all vendors, with access only during regular working hours. Also, mandated use of unionized labor can be a factor.

Concerns can include distance and access to the site from the loading dock. Once inside, long, twisting hallways and tight corners can delay progress to the event space. Vertical access is also a variable. Passenger elevators could slow equipment transport compared to freight elevators.

Technical Challenges

Depending on the complexity of an event, unexpected technical issues might arise during setup. Generally, unique staging, lighting, or sound arrangements could end up involving more labor-intensive work to achieve the desired setup.

High level events like annual meetings often involve a significant amount of cabling and wiring. Ensuring proper cable management can be time-consuming, as can the need to integrate AV equipment with other systems or technologies. These instances might require specialized labor.

And with these situations, sometimes the requirements might change at the last minute, requiring additional equipment to be rented or acquired, leading to extra labor for sourcing, transporting, and setting up the new equipment.

Also, mandated use of unionized labor can be a factor. If the event location has different labor rates than anticipated or requires union labor, this could lead to unexpected increases in labor costs.

Careful planning usually eases the risk of unexpected labor costs. But, as we all know, challenges can crop up in the most unexpected ways. Having budget reserves can help manage any unforeseen expenses that may arise during the process of moving and setting up AV gear.