Mythbusters : In-house Technical Service Providers

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Since the beginning of ‘corporate audiovisual’ time this has been a constant debate. It’s understandable that venues would want audiovisual staff who are looking out for them, protecting their investment and their business. It’s also understandable that any business with an existing audiovisual arrangement be able to bring their chosen external audiovisual team on site. Venues will tell you if they don’t provide the audiovisual service you will be slugged with the ‘technician on duty’ charge (sometimes known as the ‘contract supervisor’ or ‘venue technical representative’), charged by the hour and usually at some ridiculously high rate.

As a nationwide audiovisual services provider JCH Event Solutions have seen and heard some absolute horror stories. We personally don’t have an issue with the ‘technician on duty’ charges and will generally work with our clients to absorb that charge with experienced and smart decisions when tailor making your event with both the equipment and the technical staff – you’d be surprised the difference a little pre-production makes to not only the delivery of the event but the precision in which every dollar is spent and the subsequent bottom line of your event. Plus, keep in mind, the audiovisual providers who are in-house pay a handsome kickback to the venue for the privilege of being in-house which helps external companies like JCH Event Solutions remain extremely competitive.

Where JCH Event Solutions takes offense to the in-house technical service provider arrangement is when honest clients are taken for a ride! I see venue quotes missing key components of a client’s event with the in-house audiovisual provider knowing full well and at 2 minutes to show time when you ask for the show laptop or presenter’s lapel microphone they won’t have it ready, but can easily arrange at a considerable charge. A reputable experienced audiovisual supplier would have discussed all your event options with you well in advance.

The other major issue JCH Event Solutions has with the in-house ‘technician on duty’ is the calibre of the technician provided. At a high hourly rate and long days (multiple days over a conference) the ‘technician on duty’ charges can pile up and you have every right to presume the position will be filled by only the best. So it does make our blood run a little hotter when we arrive at the venue and the ‘technician on duty’ is straight out of school, only on his second day and knows nothing about the venue. Please refer back to the first paragraph and why these relationships were initially set in place – it’s hard not to think someone is pulling a ‘fast one’ and JCH Event Solutions won’t stand for it and nor should you and your company. Other classic ‘technician on duty’ moments include – the ‘disappearing tech’ where they’re never in the room or upon your request they takes 15 minutes to do a 5 minute task. Or, the ‘zoned-out tech’ who sits in the corner playing on his iPhone – again, paragraph one, what are you paying for?

In conclusion;

  • Don’t let the venue bully you into using their in-house provider
  • Always get a competitive quote from an external audiovisual supplier and where possible have them cast an eye over what the venue says they will supply.
  • Even with the extreme hourly rates of a ‘technician on duty’ an educated and experienced external provider will still be competitive due to the venue kickbacks.
  • Make sure your ‘technician on duty’ is delivering the high priced service that was sold to you.

And if ever in doubt about the in-house service you are being sold and you have questions please do not hesitate to contact us here at JCH Event Solutions.

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