Consultants can guide a project and avoid pitfalls common in display project plans. Is your project appropriate or can you do it yourself?
By Joshua Echo-Hawk
Any quality vendor will have people on staff that help you plan the use of your display, and make sure it works for all of the applications you have planned.
But as with real estate and law and so many other industries, it can be valuable to have an independent advocate, with only your best interests in mind. There are a number of firms that work in the LED display industry that provide a service like this.
It's important to be sure that the advocate you work with is not an employee of your vendor's staff or otherwise engaged with your vendor. Impartiality is critical to make sure your interests are the highest priority. Your consultant should ask the right questions, give advice, explain difficult technical terms, and generally be there to help you make decisions-- make sure they answer only to you.
The time to hire a consultant should be prior to any vendor inquiry being made, but after you get a general idea of your project in mind. An experienced display consultant will lead you through the entire process, starting with crafting a bid specification, defining a scope of technical requirements, and itemizing any requirements you may have.
Scenarios like the following play out all too often
This is where the skills and knowledge of a good consultant are vital.
A good consultant will start by asking you all the important questions around exactly what you need in a display-- what do you need it to do? How should it look? Where exactly is it going to be placed, powered, serviced, etc? It's critical that someone on your side understand the entire project, and be able to write a technical description so vendors know what to bid.
In defense of the vendors, they aren't mind readers. Remember that every one of these projects is a custom build, so they're trying to read what you might want by listing out the typical things they most commonly sell. A good consultant can guide the vendor through what the client wants, and then interpret the bid for the client.
A good consultant will also drill down on vendor bids to make sure there's no price padding. Your consultant should know each piece of equipment the bid lists, what it does, why it's needed, and what it typically costs.
These skills may sound familiar by now, they are precisely what we are trying to help people understand on their own so anyone can purchase intelligently, even if their project or budget can't justify a consultant's fees.
Consultants are there to ensure the end result not only works for your facility, but that it enhances the venue and the entire experience for your staff and your fans.
Is your display only for basketball? Is it just for concerts? Or will it be multi-use, for other sports and entertainment? Board size, sponsorship opportunities, colors, and so much more will contribute to the final product. And in the largest venues, in jobs over $1 million, it will make sense to have a professional at your side.
If your display budget is below the million mark, it worth considering learning and doing these things yourself or with more basic help. We are here and happy to discuss your project and walk you through any aspect of your project.
But regardless of your project size, if you need a non-salesman to bounce some ideas off, please do not hesitate to call us and discuss what you're doing. We can likely answer your questions, or direct you to those who can, and we'd be happy to hear what you're up to.