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Six Factors That Impact AV Equipment Rental Cost

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

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As an audiovisual equipment company, Channel Audio often receives questions concerning the cost of rental equipment. Many individuals and companies are unsure how much they should be spending on AV equipment and what to consider when putting together an event budget. Here, we will explore the various cost factors to help you determine how much to spend on renting AV equipment for your next party or event.

How to Determine AV Equipment Rental Costs

Determining how much to spend on AV equipment rentals can be difficult. However, there are six factors that can help you estimate how much your company should be spending for each event. These six elements might not give you an exact number, but they can help you figure out if your current budget is too small or big:

Video Game Competition Event with Audience and Projector

1. Size and Layout of the Event

Typically speaking, the larger the event, the higher your AV rental cost will be. For example, a big audience will need additional audio and video systems to hear and see clearly. However, your costs are also dependent on the venue you are using. In other words, if there are separate areas and rooms, more AV equipment will be needed versus using one large space for the audience. The size and layout of the event are essential factors in terms of AV rental costs.

2. AV Equipment Age

You may have noticed that different AV companies provide conflicting price quotes. The brand and type of AV equipment may be the same, but the cost may vary considerably. Often, this is due to the age of the AV equipment. Newer equipment will usually be more expensive to rent, whereas older equipment may be more cost-effective. Taking this into account can help you weigh your AV equipment options more precisely.

Shure Beta 58A Microphone Up-Close

3. The 10% Rule

On average, one of the best ways to determine how much you should be spending on AV equipment is to factor in the 10% rule. The 10% rule is as follows: take the retail price of the AV rental equipment you are thinking about renting, add it all up and divide it by ten. The resulting number should roughly be its rental price. However, there are exceptions to the 10% rule. For example, some AV companies charge up to 20% of the equipment’s retail price. On the other hand, other AV companies may charge less than 10% of the AV equipment’s retail price. Other factors to consider include the age of the equipment, its lifespan, and how much longer the company plans to rent it out. However, the 10% rule is a great starting point and provides helpful guidance in determining your budget needs.

Yamaha CL5 Digital Mixing Console

4. AV Equipment Brand

Audiovisual equipment brands are similar to consumer brands. For example, the popularity and reputation of an AV brand can easily affect its rental cost. Getting a low-cost speaker from your local Walmart simply will not render the same audio quality as an ultra-powerful QSC speaker. As in many businesses, the more reputable brands will be more expensive, while the lesser-known brands will be cheaper. Considering this factor upfront can help you determine whether the price you are paying for your AV equipment is indeed a fair one.

Audio Engineer Operating Mixing Console at an Event

5. Professional Labor

While it may be tempting to hire your friend or neighbor to help set up your AV equipment, this is something that not anyone can do. While some pieces are less technical, such as a karaoke machine, many pieces of AV equipment require professional handling. Determining what your labor costs will be is a critical factor to include when crafting your budget. Typically, labor rates may be hourly, half-day, or full-day wages. A safe estimate for hourly labor costs is between $50-$100. However, labor costs will vary from region to region and are dependent on the local market. They will also fluctuate according to the company you decide to partner with. Often, labor costs can be significant expenses that many forget to budget for. Remembering to calculate this to the best of your ability beforehand can help keep you within your ideal range.

6. Local Cost of Living

The city you are in has the potential to increase your AV equipment’s rental cost. Smaller cities will typically have more cost-effective AV rental equipment available, whereas larger cities with a higher cost of living will increase your expense level. This will also affect how much you pay for labor costs. If your event is in a huge city like New York City, your budget will need to be larger to compensate for this. The company you are working with and the local market play a prominent role in determining your expenses.

Carefully considering these six factors will help you estimate how much of your budget to set aside for AV equipment rentals. While it is important to remember that each AV company is different, these factors still provide a general guideline with which to work. It will also give you grounds for engaging in an informed negotiation with the AV company of your choice. Going in blind and not understanding the different factors at work is a downfall best avoided.

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Rent AV Equipment from Channel Audio in Nashville, TN

Channel Audio is an AV rental equipment company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Areas we service include Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. Whether you need to rent sound equipment, projectors, TV screens, or need on-site support, we are a knowledgeable team ready to help make your party or event a success. We will work to understand your needs, the venue, event type, and prepare several quotes for you while addressing your questions and concerns. Start by contacting Channel Audio or call our team at (615) 669-2126 today. We look forward to hearing from you!


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


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