Okay, you’ve been handed the assignment of picking out the audio visual gear that will become a permanent fixture of your company headquarters. You want to get it right. What are some of the more obvious do’s and don’ts commonly associated with purchasing or leasing this sort of equipment? In many cases, you will be sending out RFPs (Request For Proposal) to a number of different AV equipment companies that you are considering for the job. Here are the preferred ways to handle, and not handle, this process.
Don’t send out RFPs to everyone in the book. Doing so takes time, and you wouldn’t be able to wade through all the responses anyway. Lock down the top five companies you would consider doing business with and send RFPs to them, and just them. 5 solid options are enough to choose from.
Don’t send RFPs to companies that cannot meet your needs. Pick your RFP options against those companies that specialize in what your needs are as far as gear, installation, maintenance, etc.
Don’t use RFPs with your regular AV provider. If you have been a regular customer with them for an extended time and then it looks like they have been “shopped”, any good will you may have worked hard to build up will go right out the window. If you are going to shop around, be upfront with them about your intentions.
Now for the positives:
Do make sure to give the AV company all the info they require, such as name, your title, phone, fax, e-mail, and web address. Let them know the best way to reach you as well as your turnaround time on communication response.
Do spell out specifically what you need. The company will be able to tell you if it is something they can do or not. Having all the specs makes their job a lot easier. Making sure all your AV requirements are presented initially will take time and effort on your part, but it will pay off in the end.
Do ask if they have all the proper certifications, as well as if they will be outsourcing any work or services through subcontractors or other parties.
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Do provide a budget range. You don’t have to get specific unless you want to, but providing a high and low end on your budget constraints will go a long way towards determining what the company can do for you, and on what level they can do it.
Do let them know about your payment schedule. Do you pay promptly or net 30? 45? 60? The later you pay, the more likely you will be asked for a deposit up front if you haven’t been asked already.
Do answer all questions put to you. Chances are you will forget to tell them something, some type of information that they need. Take their calls and be prepared to answer any additional questions they have.
Do give them a decision time. Call all of your candidates, let the losers know as well as the winner. Let them know why they lost or won your business. Prompt, solid communication never hurt anybody.
LeaseQ is one of the leading audio visual equipment leasing and financing companies in the country, covering the widest array of available options and plans.