Vetting audiovisual integrators and subcontractors can be an overwhelming task, which is why so many turn to their network for help in selecting the right partner. In fact, 92% of people trust their friends’ recommendations and one’s personal network tends to play a big factor in purchasing decisions. 

Whether you’re the VP of IT at a Fortune 500 company or simply looking for a bite to eat, having a trusted adviser, friend or colleague provide an honest answer is second to none. 

But, what if that’s not an option? How do you ensure the next provider or subcontractor you work with can be trusted to complete the job up to your standards? 

We list a series of questions below to help IT, AV and facilities leaders identify whether an AV subcontractor is the right choice for your organization, because nobody can afford to choose the wrong partner.

What are the consequences? To name a few:


    • Over-budget projects

    • Delays and missed deadlines

    • Misaligned expectations 

    • Skills gaps or under-qualified teams

    • Inadequate resources for the job

Unfortunately, the list goes on. While it can take a good deal of time to choose the right candidate, it’s well worth it when the end result meets, or even exceeds, expectations. 

Treat these questions like a checklist as you start researching potential candidates online and sending requests for proposals (RFPs).


    1. What Services or Technology Do They Specialize In? 

Every successful project has a clearly defined goal. Whether you work in IT, AV or facilities, you must have a clear understanding of what your goals are going into the project. This will help you determine whether or not an AV provider or subcontractor will be able to help you reach the desired end result. 

Integration firms tend to specialize in different technologies and services, making them better suited for some projects — but perhaps not all. 

If you work for a live events center, for example, you should look for indications that the firm has prior experience designing and installing systems that include the functionality you’re looking for. (See more about case studies and references below.)


    1. How Do They Approach Projects (and What’s Their Take on Security)? 

An AV integrator’s approach to project management, deployment, billing and more should be known and understood by all involved as early in the process as possible. Whatever isn’t answered by simple online research should be included in the company’s RFP response.

Some key elements to ask about: 


    • Project management

    • Trade coordination

    • Hybrid deployments (if you plan to involve your team)

    • Billing and “as-a-service” options

    • Security policy and credentials

The last point cannot and should not be understated during these conversations. The latest annual report from IBM shows the average cost of a security breach to organizations is more than $4 million per year. It’s no laughing matter, especially because attackers have managed to breach systems in unsuspecting ways like through digital signage

    1. What Certifications or Credentials Do They Hold? 

Certifications in the technology industry — whether that’s AV or IT — validate that an individual has the right skills to handle the job. Without certifications, it’s that much harder to know for certain the technicians and engineers have the capabilities to effectively complete the tasks at hand. 

In AV, certifications from or memberships to organizations like these prove professionals and organizations have what it takes: 


    • AVIXA’s CTS, CTS-I and CTS-D

    • National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA)

    • The Association for Quality in Audiovisual Technology

Maintaining certifications and memberships often require professionals to take continuing education training or achieve a higher credential. Not only does this prove expertise, but it demonstrates drive and motivation to continue providing the best possible solutions. 


    1. Do They Have the Resources to Complete Projects? 

If you’ve checked every box up to this point, you’re likely on the right track — but do they have everything they need to roll out the project successfully? 

What to ask about:


    • Workforce — What’s the team dynamic and makeup? Knowing who’s on the team, their credentials and experience will help give you an idea of how your team will work with theirs.

    • Partnership — Do they have relationships with the technology companies (Microsoft, Zoom, etc.) you plan to include in your project? Having these types of relationships can provide value in various ways from sourcing equipment to training.

    • Locations — Are they locally available? For on-site deployments or service calls, it’s ideal to have a provider close by for several reasons: It can help bring down costs for calls; transport and response times are shorter; and access to warehouse space for storing and delivering equipment.


    1. Can They Supply References, Case Studies or a Portfolio? 

As mentioned earlier, the power of word-of-mouth recommendations cannot be understated and a sign of trustworthiness for any AV service provider is to have references and case studies readily available. 

Consider asking for references in your RFPs and search for any online reviews you can find (don’t rule out checking their social media accounts too). 

Similarly, you should review the case studies available on their websites or those they provide in their responses. Seeing completed projects and learning about the outcomes might provide that extra bit of assurance needed to help make your decision.


Look for a True Partner — Not a Transaction

Choosing the right partner can be a painstaking process — but it’s worth the effort to arrive at the right fit. The benefits to you and your organization will undoubtedly extend beyond saved costs and on time projects (although, that’s always a plus).


Whichever AV integrator or subcontractor you choose to work with, it’s important to consider the longevity of the partnership. It takes time to understand an organization fully. The longer the partnership goes on, the better providers will align with your goals and aspirations for AV systems, leading to more and more successful projects 


Consider WeInstall.It for Your Next Project

If you’re actively searching for an AV provider to help with a project, consider working with us. WeInstall.IT provides highly trained, certified and vetted low voltage AV and IT installers and field engineers across the west coast. See our services here.