Do they own the things they say? Many small companies claim to be a full service AV company but upon visiting their warehouse it can become clear that they only own a small portion of the equipment required to execute your show. While it is common for companies to cross-rent some gear, if the majority of the equipment is rented from another company then the chances of the technicians not being familiar with the gear can lead to delays in setup, missing components, equipment that is not functioning properly, etc.
Do they offer full service or do you have to find your own lighting company?
Some AV companies will help design an event with floor plans technical drawings etc. Others expect the client to provide all that.
Do they have long term clients? Who are they? Clients that provide credible reference.
One location may be fine if you are doing a single event but how will your AV supplier support you in other cities. Do they have a service strategy to provide national support?
Often AV companies budget for what they have been asked for but they are many other things you may not have considered such as speaker timers, comfort monitors, back up computers, enough wireless mics, etc. Some companies don’t include these on their original quote and then ding the client later for add-ons.
Are they able to offer other services such as webcasting, content creation, event apps. It is common to bring in a webcasting company, for instance, but it a much more seamless process if your AV provider can offer that service, providing the y have the expertise to execute it properly. Again, it is important to see a portfolio of shows and to ask, “what components of this show did you do”, and get a reference from that client to verify. Often, the most impressive elements you see in a picture of a show are the set and the lighting and often the AV company had nothing to do with those components of the show. If you are looking for a turnkey AV provider, ask the right questions.