Should You Consider Multi-Year Contracts for Corporate Events?
Published on: Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 7:00am
It’s no secret that live events require skilled labor and top-notch equipment to be successful. However, with both labor and equipment in such high demand, securing the quality and quantity of both for your corporate event can be difficult when booking an AVL partner at the last minute.
It’s helpful to eliminate as much unpredictability from your event as possible to ensure it goes off without a hitch — and one of the best ways to do that is with a multi-year AVL contract.
What Is a Multi-Year AVL Contract?
Multi-year contracts are exactly what they sound like: contracts that lock in the services of a particular AVL partner for a recurring event multiple years in a row.
While you’ll negotiate all the main details of the contract up front, like equipment, costs, and primary deliverables, you’ll have the flexibility to make addendums to the agreement, such as dates and logistical changes, later in the process.
Which Events Commonly Use Multi-Year Contracts?
Multi-year contracts are commonly used for music festivals. Though the bands and artists vary from year to year, the standard layout of the event (and the equipment needed) remains roughly the same. Each year brings small fluctuations, but they negotiate these changes in an addendum to the multi-year contract or by requiring performers to pay out of pocket when their specialty requests exceed what the contract provides.
Concert tours also use multi-year contracts to ensure the band has the same equipment for every show during their tour. Even though the band may only use the equipment for 35 weeks, they carry it for 52, and they know the equipment is there for them to use — just like a lease — until the tour is over.
Why Corporate Events Should Consider Multi-Year Contracts Too
Corporate events are different from festivals and concert tours in many ways, but there’s one area where they aren’t — and it makes them great candidates for multi-year contracts.
Corporate events are repeatable and predictable. Even if the speaker, subject, or other details change with every iteration, chances are you already know at least 80% of the equipment and labor you’ll need for your event a year or so in advance.
If concerts and festivals are already creating contracts with trusted vendors to lock in equipment and labor for years at a time, why shouldn’t you? Your corporate event deserves a top-notch vendor too. If you don’t secure your AVL partner early enough, reliable vendors may already be booked for other events, leaving you with no one to coordinate your event’s audio, video, and lighting.
Benefits of Multi-Year Contracts
Multi-year contracts come with some big advantages for corporate events. Here are a few of the most prevalent:
Project managers are booking freelance and full-time labor farther in advance than ever before. Previously, the standard time to book labor and equipment before an event was 1–3 months; now, the industry standard is 6–12 months. You may be left with little choice, or much more expensive or less ideal choices, if you put off scheduling an AVL partner until a few months before your event.
When you sign a multi-year contract with an AVL partner, your corporate event is set on their calendar for the length of the contract. You won’t have to worry about booking a provider year after year, which takes an extra item (and added stress) off your to-do list.
Speaking of your to-do list, when you sign a multi-year contract, you significantly cut down on your workload, which gives you more capacity to complete other tasks leading up to the event.
You don’t have to spend time tracking down a reliable (and available) AVL partner each year. And once you’ve worked with an AVL partner for the first time, you won’t have to keep explaining the nuances of your corporate event in detail to them. Your AVL partner will keep notes on your corporate event, so each year, they’ll know what to do (and what not to do!), which significantly reduces the time you need to meet with them leading up to the event.
When you agree to work with a new AVL partner for your corporate event each year, you never truly know the quality of work and equipment you’ll receive. It could be a massive success, but it could also be a frustrating failure, leaving you disappointed and discouraged.
When you lock in a multi-year contract with a trusted company, you guarantee consistent, reliable, quality labor and equipment for your corporate event each year. In today’s industry, where demand exceeds the supply, a multi-year contract is worthwhile, at minimum to secure an experienced team of professionals and top-quality equipment you can count on.
Multi-year contracts are a savvy financial move because they tell you exactly what you’ll be paying each year from the start of the partnership. They help you avoid unpleasant surprises since the rate is determined up front for the duration of the contract (which usually lasts for three years).
In other words, you lock in the price of variable resources like labor and equipment. Even if the price of labor or equipment changes, your costs stay the same. Your AVL partner absorbs that cost for you.
Sometimes, your contract may include increasing or decreasing costs to account for variable factors, like inflation. It’s helpful to have an honest conversation with your AVL partner about how their pricing structure works before starting a multi-year contract to ensure they’re a good fit for your budget year after year.
Peace of Mind
Most importantly, locking in a multi-year contract with an AVL partner provides peace of mind. When you’ve already secured high-quality equipment, reputable labor, and locked-in rates months (or years!) in advance, you can focus on other essential tasks for your event while trusting your AVL partner to take care of the rest.
What to Avoid When Locking Into a Multi-Year Contract
Negotiating a multi-year contract with a reputable AVL partner can be a fantastic way to lock in dependable work and equipment at predictable rates. However, the most important caveat on multi-year contracts is this: Get to know the AVL company first.
Too often, fledgling companies use multi-year contracts as sales tactics to entice clients with guaranteed low prices. But at the event, the client suddenly discovers why the cost was so low and is sorely disappointed. What’s worse, they’re now locked in to multiple years with this company.
Entering into a contract with an AVL company that overpromises and underdelivers can be a huge nightmare.
It’s essential to know your AVL partner (or your partner’s reputation) before getting involved in a multi-year contract. Following this one tip can save you from a host of horror stories — like low-quality workmanship and sneaky, auto-renewing contracts.
CTS offers multi-year contracts for corporate events. If you’d like to find out more, reach out. We’d love to talk.