How do I budget effectively for my event – Audio/Visual Services

As with any business expense or undertaking, your budget will determine everything. However, there are so many moving parts to a corporate meeting or event that it’s easy to lose track of where you’ll be spending.

Today, we’re going to look at budgeting for audio/visual services.

Audiovisual encompasses a wide range of items. Basically, it’s anything that plugs in, makes noise, or has a screen. Plus, it’s the cost of someone to set up and operate the equipment if you (or your team) can do it yourself.


The tricky part of budgeting for audiovisual is figuring out exactly what you need. You want to make sure your speaker(s) can present effectively, but at the same time you don’t want to spend a fortune on fancy technology. The bottom line is to err on the side of quality versus cost—if you save a few bucks on a microphone and it doesn’t work and people can’t hear, what’s the point?

First, think about why you might need A/V. The location (indoor or outdoor), the size of the space, and the number of attendees are the major considerations.

Second, once you nail down what you think you’ll need, use these simple guidelines to strike a balance:

  • Look at each item and ask, “Is this piece of equipment necessary for my event’s success”.
  • If the answer is “Yes”, is there a less expensive item that will not compromise quality?
  • If the answer is “No”, consider eliminating that piece of equipment, or consider an alternative (for example, if you are considering a wireless microphone, would a wired microphone work instead?)

Once you have your list of items, you need to find the best price. If you don’t already own, you’ll need to hire a vendor. Most hotels will have a preferred vendor, but if you have time try to shop around. Using preferred vendors are convenient, but you may pay extra for that convenience. You can ask a hotel for a quote sheet, which will have a “menu-like” list of every piece of A/V equipment.

Finally, once you decide on a vendor and list of supplies (and before you sign the contract), be sure to consider possible price increases before for your event. Most vendors will have a clause that allows them to change prices within a certain time period.

Good luck!