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6 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Hire an A/V Consultant

A/V consultant
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Make sure you know what to ask a potential resource for your ministry. If you are planning a project with audio or video involved, someone has to design these technology systems. This decision will impact the facility for years. Maybe decades. Should you use someone from your staff? An electrical engineer? A low voltage systems integrator? An A/V consultant? Regardless of the type of person you select, what questions can you ask to tell if the person or company is a good fit for your needs? The answers depend on the type of project, timeline and budget.

The design of audio, video and technology for facilities is unique because there is a lack of standards in the marketplace. This means that it’s not just important but absolutely essential to find someone with significant experience. More importantly, they have to have the right kind of experience. This can be tough to even know where to begin. First, let’s cover the six questions that you should ask any technology consultant before getting them involved in your project.

6 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Hire an A/V Consultant

  1. What experience do they have in your particular context?

Overall experience is great, but you want to make sure that you are not the first classroom, casino or church on your consultant’s resume. Overall experience can carry over greatly into the inner workings of a system, but this is not a substitute for the deep understanding of user needs that is gained in the course of a project. Try not to be the guinea pig. If there is someone you really want to work with, who doesn’t have experience in your exact type of facility, maybe there is someone they can bring on-board to clarify operational requirements. At the very least, be certain that you have someone on the owner’s staff that can accurately communicate the exact workflow needs.

2. What experience do they have with the scope?

Audio designers don’t necessarily make good video designers. Video designers don’t necessarily make good lighting designers. Lighting designers probably shouldn’t be tackling acoustics. Might seem pretty obvious, but make sure your design team isn’t biting off more than they can chew

3. What experience do they have as part of a design team?

This is often a challenge for a smaller AV consultant. If you are accustomed to contracting to an owner or general contractor, rather than working as part of a design team under an architect, you may not understand the workflow. This can be a bigger problem that you might suspect.

Many integration firms cut their teeth either by working on bid projects designed by someone else and doing gradually larger turnkey projects. In these cases, there are several requirements that have either been handled by a consultant, or are not a requirement due to the smaller size of the project. Just make sure that the person that you are considering for design services has experience with designs of similar scale, not just experience in implementing designs that were created by someone else.

Discover three more must-ask questions for your A/V consultant on page two . . .