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3 Steps to Guarantee a Successful Load In & Load Out

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Cargo Van with Audiovisual Equipment for Delivery and Set-Up

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With an approaching event, you’ll undoubtedly have a lot on your mind from an audio-visual perspective. Whether you’ll have live music, slideshows/videos, guest speakers, or you’ll simply be streaming a playlist, there is an extensive amount of coordination with your AV provider (and other vendors) that is needed to ensure the event runs smoothly. With all of this, it is easy to overlook one of the more basic but important factors of the process - load in and load out.

Typically, an event has many things going on beyond AV; from catering to decorators, to performers and lighting specialists. All of these vendors will need to load in and load out which can get messy if certain things aren’t kept in mind. In order to keep that process problem-free, there are some things you should be sure to be aware of ahead of time.


1. Know The Venue

Every venue has different requirements and capabilities. Prior to load in you should be sure to have the following questions answered for your vendors:

  • When will the space be available to begin the load in process?

  • Is this a union venue? If it is, union members must be used to load and unload which can affect the timing and cost of the whole process.

  • Is there a dock for loading in equipment? If not, where is the best place for load in?

  • How many trucks can the dock (or load in area) accommodate at once?

  • How far is the loading dock from the event space?

  • Is there a space nearby for trucks to park if they need to hold while another vendor clears out?

If timing is off and the dock is unavailable for a vendor upon arrival, they will have to circle back which can be costly and extremely inefficient.

Three Semi Trailers docked at Event Venue

2. Know What the Vendors Need

Every vendor has different needs like load in time, venue capabilities, personnel and space. Be sure to ask each vendor what their specific requirements are to avoid running around at the last minute due to unforeseen issues. Most problems can be avoided with a simple phone call or email requesting their needs. An experienced and professional vendor should mention these right away, but in the event that there is no mention you should take it upon yourself to find out.

In order to save time and money, you should be aware of:

  • How much time their load in and load out will take

  • What their load in process is like (commonly referred to as “show flow”)

  • What else can be accomplished to get ahead while they are loading in. You’ll want to remain as efficient as possible with so much going on.

  • Their trucking/space needs.

If possible, you can ask a vendor if there is anything you can do prior to their arrival or during load in to facilitate their process. They often appreciate it, but it’s certainly not expected.

Open Binder for Planning Events

3. Schedule Your Load Ins

As mentioned previously there are often limited load in capabilities with docks and venue space, and you’ll want to eliminate any inefficiencies that you can. The primary way to manage this is by having a detailed load in schedule. This comes with understanding the time and needs of your vendors to ensure that there won’t be any overlap. A backup at this phase can throw off the entire event and cause a lot of unneeded costs and stress for you and your vendors.


Organization is going to be the stronghold of your event. In so many instances the quality of preparation directly translates to the quality of the event and that preparation is often as simple as making sure you’re informed and communicating with your vendors. If you can take care of these steps we’ve laid out, you’re well on your way to a smooth and stress-free event!


Sound board/mixer at front of house at a live concert


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