How to Get Church AV System Quotes Faster
by Ken McKibben, on Mar 18, 2020 3:54:24 PM
It’s not uncommon for the process of getting quotes for a new church sound, video or lighting system to take weeks, if not months. It can be extremely frustrating for church staff or tech team members who have finally been given the greenlight to start investigating upgrades to have to wait.
They key to speeding up the process is for you to get organized. We explored the reasons that it takes so long to get a proposal in this article (link to Why does it take so long… article) in detail, and information gathering represents your best opportunity to help move things along. Below is a list of documentation you should prepare in order to make the process of getting quotes go as smoothly as possible:
Know Your Budget & Timeframe
Any reputable AVL company is going to need to understand your budgetary expectations and the timeframe for your project before they invest their resources into a proposal. In many cases you will be looking to the AVL company to help you figure out the budget, but if they understand the nature of sales at all, they will want to be sure you have realistic expectations before moving forward.
We’re working to make this part easier for churches by developing groundbreaking tools like the Church Sound System Cost Calculator and the Church Lighting System Cost Calculator. These interactive calculators will provide you with unqualified ballpark budgets based on the information you provide.
Additionally, you should be prepared to discuss your timeframe for the project including any time needed for committee meetings, approvals and fundraising campaigns. As we discussed in this article (Why does it take so long… <--link), there is an ebb and flow to working in the church world, and your selected AVL company will need a clear understanding of where your project might fall in their project schedule.
Just so you know, our experience is that a church that can’t answer these two simple questions is not statistically likely to move forward with the project. By knowing your budget expectations and thinking through your timeline, you will help the AVL company move forward more quickly with your project.
For new construction you will need to provide a current set of architectural drawings for the AVL company to work off of. These drawings are extremely important to the process. You’ll need to provide a floorplan drawing at absolute minimum, but there are other drawings that are necessary to determine what technology will be required.
For a renovation project, the same drawings will be needed. While measurements can be taken manually in the facility, it requires a significant investment of time to travel to site to produce this documentation. In almost every case, providing an as-built set of drawings to the AVL company will substantially decrease the time required to produce a proposal. If the drawings can’t be located at the church, copies can typically be acquired at the local courthouse where the documents were originally filed for permits. In the case of extremely old structures, copies may not be available.
The architectural drawings should include (at minimum):
- Floorplan drawing (shows the facility as viewed from above looking down)
- Side elevation drawing (shows the facility as viewed from the side)
- Front elevation drawing (shows the facility as viewed from the front)
- Reflected ceiling plan (RCP) drawing (shows a view of the room as if looking from above, through the ceiling, at a mirror installed one foot below the ceiling level, which shows the reflected image of the ceiling above)
Note: Many times it seems like the church is unwilling to take the time to procure copies of the architectural drawings. Ironically, the time lost by AVL companies trying to acquire the information contained in those drawings is a multiple of the time it would take for the church to track them down. This delay is then multiplied by the number of AVL companies from which you are seeking proposals.
In addition to the drawings, on renovation projects the church should provide extensive pictures of the site including:
- Pictures of the entire room taken from the rear center wall, side walls and platform respectively
- Pictures of the ceiling taken from different angles
- Pictures of equipment racks
- Pictures of operator booths
- Pictures showing any relevant equipment to be re-used
- Pictures of floor-boxes and input/output plates
Provide Detailed Specifications
Make a list of the specifics you require for the system. Include the following information:
- What are the anticipated uses for the systems?
- What is the realistic target for the overall performance level of the system?
- Do you need a flexible system or something that is easy to operate?
- How long do you expect the systems to last?
- How much training does your team require
- Are there any specific areas that you want to light?
- What do members of the worship team need? (such as stage monitors or specific microphones)
- Will you focus solely on live presentation or is there a broadcast involved?
- Are there specific brands you prefer?
- Who have you worked with in the past?
Provide Equipment Inventories
Provide a detailed list of any equipment the church currently owns that should be considered for the new system. The AVL company will review the list and make recommendations about what can be re-used and what should not be included in the new systems.
Include quantities, manufacturer and model number for each piece of equipment. For wireless microphones be sure to note frequencies printed on the receiver unit. For incandescent light fixtures be sure to note the wattage and color temperature of the bulb.
Provide Input/Output Lists
Take the time to make a list of all anticipated system inputs and outputs. For the sound system this includes console inputs, stage monitors, in-ear monitoring, hearing assist, distributed audio systems, recording outputs, audio for video, etc. For video include main screens, stage monitors, broadcast and distributed video systems. For lighting include control positions and output locations at all lighting positions.
Without these lists there is no way an AVL company can anticipate all of your church’s needs.
Create a scope document that contains all of this information
Take the time to write out a short description of what you hope to accomplish with the project. Be sure to include your vision for the new systems, any problems you have experienced with your current systems, the internal decision-making/approval process for the church, and anything else that might be relevant to the successful completion of the project.
Once you’ve collected all of this information, combine it in a package that can be easily delivered to the AVL company. By completing this work up front, you will ensure your needs are communicated effectively while significantly reducing the amount of time required to deliver a reliable proposal.