AV equipment rental

Top 5 Things to Look for in an Audio Visual Equipment Supplier

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OnSite Live Team

Top 5 Things to Look for in an Audio Visual Equipment Supplier

When it comes to hosting an event—be it a corporate conference, a hybrid event, or a major announcement—the importance of high-quality audio visual (AV) equipment can't be overstated. 

Not only do these tools bring your content to life, but they also make your event more immersive and memorable for your audience. 

Therefore, finding the right audio visual equipment supplier is critical to your business and event planning. So what should you look for when choosing a top audio visual presentation supplier? Here are the top 5 things to consider.

1. Range of Equipment

You first want to consider the range of equipment an audio visual systems supplier offers. Depending on your event's requirements, you may need an array of equipment ranging from microphones, speakers, screens, and projectors to more specialized items like LED walls or high-definition cameras. A supplier with a broad inventory can be a one-stop shop for all your needs, saving you the headache of coordinating with multiple vendors.

Importance of vendors owning their equipment

One often-overlooked criterion when sourcing audio visual equipment is whether the vendor owns the equipment they are supplying. An audio visual supplier owning their inventory is generally more accountable for maintenance, condition, and availability.  This includes 'smaller' items like microphones, speakers, screens, and lighting.

This means you're more likely to get equipment that's in top-notch shape, well-calibrated, and consistently available when you need it. Moreover, vendors who own their equipment typically have a deeper understanding of operating and troubleshooting their gear, ensuring you'll have access to expert technical support before, during, and after your event. 

In contrast, vendors who rely on sub-rented audio visual equipment may offer various items with various specifications, variable quality, and less reliable technical support, potentially undermining the success of your event.

For equipment, ask:

  • Do they offer the latest technology and brands?
  • Can they cater to specific event needs, like outdoor setups or large venues?
  • Is the equipment well-maintained and reliable?
  • Do they own or rent the equipment being used?

OnSite Live is your one source for AV equipment rentals, virtual event software, and crews to implement all the best practices in this article for you.  Contact us today to learn more.

2. Expertise and Technical Support

You may have the best equipment at your event, but it could be a disaster if something goes wrong, and the crew needs to be more skilled to fix it. A reputable audio visual systems company should provide the gear and offer technical support and expertise. They should have supporting control systems to monitor all the equipment and anticipate problems in real-time.

When evaluating suppliers regarding event support, find out:

Are their staff experienced and well-trained?

Have they used this specific setup in a similar event?

Do they offer setup and teardown services?

Can they provide on-site technical support during the event?

Do they have a contingency plan for equipment failures?

3. Customer Service and Communication

Excellent customer service and open lines of communication are not just 'nice-to-haves' when choosing an audio-visual equipment supplier; they are essential. In the ever-evolving landscape of event planning, quickly and efficiently communicating with your supplier can be the difference between a successful event and a logistical nightmare.

A supplier with a strong customer service ethos will be proactive, attentive, and responsive, ensuring your needs are understood and anticipated. This level of service can manifest in several ways: rapid response to inquiries, the willingness to go above and beyond to meet your specific needs, or even the ability to offer constructive, expert advice on making your event shine.

Effective communication fosters trust, helps prevent misunderstandings, and facilitates smoother execution, making your event more likely to succeed and less stressful to manage.

From the initial conversations, you can get a feel for the level of support and expertise they will provide.  If they simply parrot back your suggestions and don’t seem to be adding any value to your experience, they are probably not a great fit.

Things to consider for communication include:

  • Are they responsive via phone or email from the initial outreach to event planning?
  • Do they provide clear and detailed quotes?
  • Are they proactive in offering solutions to potential challenges?
  • Do they offer a consultation to understand your unique needs better?

4. How To Evaluate Pricing and Packages

Navigating the cost landscape for audio-visual services can be daunting, especially when working within a budget. However, understanding pricing and package options is crucial to ensure you get the most value for your investment. While the temptation might be to opt for the cheapest supplier, it's critical to consider what you get for that price. 

Does the supplier offer a variety of packages that can be tailored to your needs? Are there hidden costs like setup fees, delivery charges, or last-minute changes? Transparency in pricing is a hallmark of a reliable AV supplier. 

Evaluate packages based on the cost, the range and quality of equipment, and additional services such as setup, teardown, and on-site support. A competitively priced, comprehensive package from an AV equipment supplier that caters to your project and specific needs will often provide better value and peace of mind than a low-cost but unreliable alternative.

Ask the following about pricing:

  • Are there hidden fees like delivery charges, setup fees, or late return penalties?
  • Do they offer packages that can be tailored to your specific needs and budget?
  • Is there a transparent pricing structure or a “make it up as we go” scenario?
  • Do they offer a price-match guarantee or discounts for long-term or large-scale events?

5. Hardware and Software Integration

Seamless integration between live streaming software and audio-visual equipment is crucial for a smooth and engaging experience. An AV supplier who understands this integration's intricacies can provide the hardware and ensure compatibility with popular live-streaming platforms or custom software you may be using. 

How well the AV equipment works with the chosen streaming software can impact issues like display latency, audio sync, and user experience online. When these components are well-integrated, you reduce the risk of technical glitches that can disrupt the flow of your event and distract your audience.

By choosing a supplier proficient in these integrations, you invest in a more professional, high-quality, and stress-free event experience.

A modern live streaming/webinar software's interface should look like this one from Webinar.net:

Investigate these aspects of AV and software integration:

  • Do they own both the AV equipment and the software?
  • Does the software have extra features like live chat, slide synchronization, and social media integrations?
  • Are there additional charges for larger online audiences? Or one size fits all?
  • Does the software have marketing features like audience registration, event emails, analytics, and event performance insights?


Your choice of an audio-visual equipment supplier can make or break your event. Therefore, it’s crucial to pick a supplier who offers a broad range of high-quality equipment, provides expert technical support, excels in customer service, offers fair and transparent pricing, and has a solid reputation in the industry.

Taking the time to carefully consider these factors will help you host a successful event and give you peace of mind knowing you're working with a reliable partner.