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Title: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 06, 2018, 05:05:27 pm
First things first, I'm new to this forum and also owner of a brand new A/V business, we're still in the initial stages of buying equipment, creating the branded materials, website, and other admin details. I'd appreciate any suggestions for carts/wagons that make your load-in and load-out easiest. There's a ton of options out there but none that I've found seem exactly fit for purpose of moving A/V equipment. I'll be setting up temporary events for corporate gigs and also small-midsize live music events. Am I right to assume the cart should have locking wheels and support rails on all sides as well as tie-downs to avoid costly accidents? Thank you - Brandon.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 06, 2018, 05:21:52 pm
First things first, I'm new to this forum and also owner of a brand new A/V business, we're still in the initial stages of buying equipment, creating the branded materials, website, and other admin details. I'd appreciate any suggestions for carts/wagons that make your load-in and load-out easiest. There's a ton of options out there but none that I've found seem exactly fit for purpose of moving A/V equipment. I'll be setting up temporary events for corporate gigs and also small-midsize live music events. Am I right to assume the cart should have locking wheels and support rails on all sides as well as tie-downs to avoid costly accidents? Thank you - Brandon.

This is easy - Equipment goes in cases, properly sized or fill added, cases should have wheelboards/casters,  stagehands etc. push cases in.

Piling shit on a cart is a sure way to shorten it's lifespan.

Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 06, 2018, 06:38:23 pm
This is easy - Equipment goes in cases, properly sized or fill added, cases should have wheelboards/casters,  stagehands etc. push cases in.

Piling shit on a cart is a sure way to shorten it's lifespan.

I guess I was trying to avoid the cost of a trailer or box truck initially... I don't really have THAT much gear, just small corporate event setups for now.
With road cases, you pretty much need a ramp, into the trailer or truck. In my case at first, I only have a pickup truck, so I have to load and unload without a ramp.
Is the solution just buy a trailer anyway because I'll need it before long?
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 06, 2018, 07:12:50 pm
I guess I was trying to avoid the cost of a trailer or box truck initially... I don't really have THAT much gear, just small corporate event setups for now.
With road cases, you pretty much need a ramp, into the trailer or truck. In my case at first, I only have a pickup truck, so I have to load and unload without a ramp.
Is the solution just buy a trailer anyway because I'll need it before long?

Things fall off and of cards and get damaged.  Everybody starts somewhere and if the pickup truck is what you have and can afford then look for some used cases and a helper.

What kind of A/V are you doing? Corporate stuff?  What are you trying to haul, projectors, screens, staging, pipe and drape?  You said A/V company so I have to assume you are not doing sound reinforcement for musical events.

Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Mark Cadwallader on August 06, 2018, 11:17:44 pm
FWIW, I think the money I spent on a folding and separating 800 lb capacity ramp was a good investment. Not only can I roll cases into my Astro van, I can ramp up or down three or four stairs easily at a venue.  I bought an made in USA ramp, but import versions seem to work too.  Something to consider, anyway.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brian Jojade on August 07, 2018, 01:12:07 am
The best decision I ever made is to put everything for events into road cases.  I used to try and conserve space, and pile stuff into whatever vehicle was available.

It was hard on equipment, hard on my back, and well, just pretty stupid.

Now, stuff is in road cases and gets loaded into the van.  Bigger shows and I rent a truck.  The road cases makes load in at the venue faster and easier, and gear is protected inside of the case instead of bouncing around in the vehicle.

Getting truck pack cases makes life much easier as well, even if that means they aren't quite as efficient of being compact.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 07, 2018, 01:18:14 am
Even for a bar gig we can load up a 1/2 pack case,  strap the monitors on top and the mains ride on the subs.

For most places it's a 5 minute push.

Also easier to take inventory at pack and then when back in warehouse.

One of the things I did 5 years ago when I started the business was put process in place. Do it now while you are small,  no time once you get busy.



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Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 07, 2018, 07:25:23 pm
Things fall off and of cards and get damaged.  Everybody starts somewhere and if the pickup truck is what you have and can afford then look for some used cases and a helper.

What kind of A/V are you doing? Corporate stuff?  What are you trying to haul, projectors, screens, staging, pipe and drape?  You said A/V company so I have to assume you are not doing sound reinforcement for musical events.

Indeed, small corporate events to get started, hoping to eventually move into live music festivals and concerts, but at first just the small corporate events.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 07, 2018, 07:27:30 pm
The best decision I ever made is to put everything for events into road cases.  I used to try and conserve space, and pile stuff into whatever vehicle was available.

It was hard on equipment, hard on my back, and well, just pretty stupid.

Now, stuff is in road cases and gets loaded into the van.  Bigger shows and I rent a truck.  The road cases makes load in at the venue faster and easier, and gear is protected inside of the case instead of bouncing around in the vehicle.

Getting truck pack cases makes life much easier as well, even if that means they aren't quite as efficient of being compact.

Great points all around, I really appreciate the feedback. Looks like I need to source several cases and then be ready to have a helper or two for events at load-in and load-out since I probably won't have a trailer at first.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 07, 2018, 07:28:05 pm
FWIW, I think the money I spent on a folding and separating 800 lb capacity ramp was a good investment. Not only can I roll cases into my Astro van, I can ramp up or down three or four stairs easily at a venue.  I bought an made in USA ramp, but import versions seem to work too.  Something to consider, anyway.

That's a very useful idea as well, thank you!
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 07, 2018, 07:31:48 pm
Even for a bar gig we can load up a 1/2 pack case,  strap the monitors on top and the mains ride on the subs.

For most places it's a 5 minute push.

Also easier to take inventory at pack and then when back in warehouse.

One of the things I did 5 years ago when I started the business was put process in place. Do it now while you are small,  no time once you get busy.

Sent from my VS996 using Tapatalk

Checking out the 1/2 pack cases and also some 1/4 pack cases, I'll have to do a show alone sometimes, and have to be able to lift/handle the loads into the truck.
I really didn't want to buy cases (hard cases) for the loudspeakers and subs because I have the soft rolling cases for them,  but it sounds like that's the way to go. Also regarding the process, totally agreed that's a good idea from the get-go, albeit I know there's going to be trial and error along the way, likely in all aspects.   :o
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Jeff Lelko on August 07, 2018, 07:45:13 pm
Looks like I need to source several cases and then be ready to have a helper or two for events at load-in and load-out since I probably won't have a trailer at first.

Hi Brandon, what kind of vehicle are you driving since you don't have a trailer yet?  I operate out of utility vans on small jobs and box trucks on big jobs.  I agree 100% with using road cases - that's what I do too, however they take up space and weight.  The trucks I use have lift gates, but for the van I installed a winch to pull my 300 pound cases up the ramp.  Cases under 200 pounds are a lot easier to work with though.  My speakers and subwoofers are just in soft covers.  Keep in mind that for corporate work your equipment needs to look presentable, so cases and covers are the way to go. 

To address your original question, I do have a cart for moving my speakers and non-wheeled cases.  If you buy one, make sure its wheels are large enough to handle off-road use, especially if you see yourself progressing to outdoor festival work.  3" casters don't do well on mud or dirt!  I also have a little cart that converts into a stepladder.  Quite handy for moving and hanging lights!
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 07, 2018, 08:13:39 pm
Indeed, small corporate events to get started, hoping to eventually move into live music festivals and concerts, but at first just the small corporate events.

We help folks flesh out business plans all the time.  What exactly is small corporate?

It is much easier to start picking up music gigs than get into the corporate AV space.

Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 08, 2018, 01:43:00 pm
Hi Brandon, what kind of vehicle are you driving since you don't have a trailer yet?  I operate out of utility vans on small jobs and box trucks on big jobs.  I agree 100% with using road cases - that's what I do too, however they take up space and weight.  The trucks I use have lift gates, but for the van I installed a winch to pull my 300 pound cases up the ramp.  Cases under 200 pounds are a lot easier to work with though.  My speakers and subwoofers are just in soft covers.  Keep in mind that for corporate work your equipment needs to look presentable, so cases and covers are the way to go. 

To address your original question, I do have a cart for moving my speakers and non-wheeled cases.  If you buy one, make sure its wheels are large enough to handle off-road use, especially if you see yourself progressing to outdoor festival work.  3" casters don't do well on mud or dirt!  I also have a little cart that converts into a stepladder.  Quite handy for moving and hanging lights!

I have a GMC Sierra 4x4 crew cab with a 3" lift and 33" tires, so the tailgate height is pretty tall. So far I only have 2 loudspeakers, 1 projector/screen, a small mixing board, and all the mics/cables to do a public speaking event. Pretty sure at this point I could fit all my gear in the cab of my truck if needed. But once I get road cases, everything will have to be loaded into the bed.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 08, 2018, 01:46:34 pm
We help folks flesh out business plans all the time.  What exactly is small corporate?

It is much easier to start picking up music gigs than get into the corporate AV space.

While a music gig is definitely more attractive to me in terms of passion and enjoyment, I live in an area surrounded by corporate businesses and hotels that host corporate events such as sales conferences, breakout sessions, technical conferences etc. The typical setup will be 1-2 screens and projectors, 2 loudspeakers (or none for  small ~30 person breakout room) a mixing board, a laptop, all cables and a few wireless mics for the larger rooms (~100-300 people). For a 300 person room I'd source 2 additional loudspeakers, and if they want loud music, I'm in the market for 2 subs.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 08, 2018, 01:48:54 pm
While a music gig is definitely more attractive to me in terms of passion and enjoyment, I live in an area surrounded by corporate businesses and hotels that host corporate events such as sales conferences, breakout sessions, technical conferences etc. The typical setup will be 1-2 screens and projectors, 2 loudspeakers (or none for  small ~30 person breakout room) a mixing board, a laptop, all cables and a few wireless mics for the larger rooms (~100-300 people). For a 300 person room I'd source 2 additional loudspeakers, and if they want loud music, I'm in the market for 2 subs.

Also, pipe/drape is a bit of a surprise to me, more expensive than I planned, and there doesn't seem to be much custom-fit drapery for projector stands, screens, etc. Any help you guys can point me for more affordable pipe/drape fit-for-purpose would be awesome as well. I'm sure there's a forum topic for that as well already so I'll do some digging.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Jeff Lelko on August 08, 2018, 05:59:14 pm
I have a GMC Sierra 4x4 crew cab with a 3" lift and 33" tires, so the tailgate height is pretty tall. So far I only have 2 loudspeakers, 1 projector/screen, a small mixing board, and all the mics/cables to do a public speaking event. Pretty sure at this point I could fit all my gear in the cab of my truck if needed. But once I get road cases, everything will have to be loaded into the bed.

Yeah, weight would definitely be a big concern here.  You might also want to think about how to keep things dry in the rain (and/or snow if applicable).  In other words, I'd strongly consider expediting your purchase of a van, box truck, or trailer. 

While a music gig is definitely more attractive to me in terms of passion and enjoyment, I live in an area surrounded by corporate businesses and hotels that host corporate events such as sales conferences, breakout sessions, technical conferences etc. The typical setup will be 1-2 screens and projectors, 2 loudspeakers (or none for  small ~30 person breakout room) a mixing board, a laptop, all cables and a few wireless mics for the larger rooms (~100-300 people). For a 300 person room I'd source 2 additional loudspeakers, and if they want loud music, I'm in the market for 2 subs.

As a member here who does a large majority of work in corporate, I tend to agree with Scott.  Availability aside, the corporate market is very unforgiving of any mistakes or shortcomings on your part - your fault or not.  Most clients will also want to see references, certificates of insurance, etc.  Are you prepared to accommodate all that right out of the gate?

Also, pipe/drape is a bit of a surprise to me, more expensive than I planned...

Most things aimed towards the corporate market won't be cheap.  You mention wireless microphones - you'll need those and they need to work.  In this line of work you can't have mics cutting out or music skipping during the singing of the National Anthem or the playing of the customer's product launch video.  The pay is nice but the stakes are high!  Best of luck to you though!
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Rob Spence on August 08, 2018, 06:45:45 pm
I have a GMC Sierra 4x4 crew cab with a 3" lift and 33" tires, so the tailgate height is pretty tall. So far I only have 2 loudspeakers, 1 projector/screen, a small mixing board, and all the mics/cables to do a public speaking event. Pretty sure at this point I could fit all my gear in the cab of my truck if needed. But once I get road cases, everything will have to be loaded into the bed.

I was able to push 70lb stuff up a 6í ramp into my old half ton. It was not lifted. I suspect I will be getting one of the 8í foldable ramps for my one ton as it is a couple of inches higher.


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Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 09, 2018, 01:57:00 am
Yeah, weight would definitely be a big concern here.  You might also want to think about how to keep things dry in the rain (and/or snow if applicable).  In other words, I'd strongly consider expediting your purchase of a van, box truck, or trailer. 

As a member here who does a large majority of work in corporate, I tend to agree with Scott.  Availability aside, the corporate market is very unforgiving of any mistakes or shortcomings on your part - your fault or not.  Most clients will also want to see references, certificates of insurance, etc.  Are you prepared to accommodate all that right out of the gate?

Most things aimed towards the corporate market won't be cheap.  You mention wireless microphones - you'll need those and they need to work.  In this line of work you can't have mics cutting out or music skipping during the singing of the National Anthem or the playing of the customer's product launch video.  The pay is nice but the stakes are high!  Best of luck to you though!

You must not be looking in the right place.  All the major screen vendors have dress kits.  Drape is $200 a panel for the good stuff.  You must have a fire certificate.  Steel bases and tons of uprights and laterals are needed. 

Wireless must be very high quality.  Figure $1500 a channel and high quality mics run $600 plus (DPA is our favorite).

You need scrims for your stands too.

Now we get to wash lights.  Battery operated wash lights are about $300 a piece.  I have $7000 worth and often have to cross rent.

Now we get to projectors.  You need to have short throw, long throw lenses.  HD lenses with 10k lumens of output.

What size market are you in?   The big players in Cleveland have millions of dollars in inventory.  It is tricky finding a niche.

Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 09, 2018, 06:48:09 pm
You must not be looking in the right place.  All the major screen vendors have dress kits.  Drape is $200 a panel for the good stuff.  You must have a fire certificate.  Steel bases and tons of uprights and laterals are needed. 

Wireless must be very high quality.  Figure $1500 a channel and high quality mics run $600 plus (DPA is our favorite).

You need scrims for your stands too.

Now we get to wash lights.  Battery operated wash lights are about $300 a piece.  I have $7000 worth and often have to cross rent.

Now we get to projectors.  You need to have short throw, long throw lenses.  HD lenses with 10k lumens of output.

What size market are you in?   The big players in Cleveland have millions of dollars in inventory.  It is tricky finding a niche.

Do you have a preferred online store for drapes? Also looking for projector table skirts. Is a Fire Certificate a training course I'd have to take, or something that I have to obtain for each project site, from a fire marshal? Most of the projectors I've seen at similar small corporate events are 3000 lumens, and the other AV gear is not exactly top-notch either... Mackie loudspeakers, 4 Ch Yamaha sound boards... very entry level. And they're charging a hefty price tag.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 09, 2018, 06:56:18 pm
Do you have a preferred online store for drapes? Also looking for projector table skirts. Is a Fire Certificate a training course I'd have to take, or something that I have to obtain for each project site, from a fire marshal? Most of the projectors I've seen at similar small corporate events are 3000 lumens, and the other AV gear is not exactly top-notch either... Mackie loudspeakers, 4 Ch Yamaha sound boards... very entry level. And they're charging a hefty price tag.

Georgia Expo seems to do well, I just used them for the first time and they made a tight deadline.  All my drape is Rose Brand. 

The fire certificate is for the drape.

Sure, give it a try.  Don't go out without insurance.  In many hotels you won't even be allowed in the door.

I see projectors that small supplied by hotel AV departments or for very small break out rooms.  We get the occasional call for cash and carry projectors and such.

Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 09, 2018, 06:58:18 pm
Yeah, weight would definitely be a big concern here.  You might also want to think about how to keep things dry in the rain (and/or snow if applicable).  In other words, I'd strongly consider expediting your purchase of a van, box truck, or trailer. 

As a member here who does a large majority of work in corporate, I tend to agree with Scott.  Availability aside, the corporate market is very unforgiving of any mistakes or shortcomings on your part - your fault or not.  Most clients will also want to see references, certificates of insurance, etc.  Are you prepared to accommodate all that right out of the gate?

Most things aimed towards the corporate market won't be cheap.  You mention wireless microphones - you'll need those and they need to work.  In this line of work you can't have mics cutting out or music skipping during the singing of the National Anthem or the playing of the customer's product launch video.  The pay is nice but the stakes are high!  Best of luck to you though!

Thanks for those pointers, good stuff. How much should insurance cost for a small AV company? I have 10 years of corporate event planning/logistics/coordination experience for large companies doing Trade shows, Tech Conferences, Co Meetings, Parties etc., so the high-stakes is absolutely understood but doesn't make me lose sleep at night. For these small meeting rooms, from what I can tell I'll have more than enough wireless mic coverage, so far I have Shure receivers and mics that have a range 2-3X the size of the avg rooms I'll be working. I plan to test out the way everything works (PA, Lights, Projectors etc) in a live event setting as well before ever taking a paid gig. I understand bodies and other factors can influence the signals.   
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 09, 2018, 07:20:41 pm
Thanks for those pointers, good stuff. How much should insurance cost for a small AV company? I have 10 years of corporate event planning/logistics/coordination experience for large companies doing Trade shows, Tech Conferences, Co Meetings, Parties etc., so the high-stakes is absolutely understood but doesn't make me lose sleep at night. For these small meeting rooms, from what I can tell I'll have more than enough wireless mic coverage, so far I have Shure receivers and mics that have a range 2-3X the size of the avg rooms I'll be working. I plan to test out the way everything works (PA, Lights, Projectors etc) in a live event setting as well before ever taking a paid gig. I understand bodies and other factors can influence the signals.

It's not really bodies it's the interference environment.  Those microphones may work one place but not in another.  For reliable corporate work the lowest acceptable Shure unit is the QLX-D.  ULX-D and Axient for high density (over 12 channels).

Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Jeff Lelko on August 09, 2018, 07:21:40 pm
Thanks for those pointers, good stuff. How much should insurance cost for a small AV company?

It depends on what your customers, venues, and other stakeholders want to see.  $1M per occurrence and $2M aggregate is generally the minimal amount that seems to see wide acceptance at least where I am, but you might need more depending on what all you do.  The policy I'm under for pyro is substantially higher.  You might need to address things such as workers comp as well.  As Scott said, in the corporate world you're not getting in the door without this.  I've also dealt with corporate clients who refuse to hire an individual - i.e. you must be an actual company.  An LLC will do (which is what I am), but just one more thing to consider. 
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 09, 2018, 07:47:49 pm
It depends on what your customers, venues, and other stakeholders want to see.  $1M per occurrence and $2M aggregate is generally the minimal amount that seems to see wide acceptance at least where I am, but you might need more depending on what all you do.  The policy I'm under for pyro is substantially higher.  You might need to address things such as workers comp as well.  As Scott said, in the corporate world you're not getting in the door without this.  I've also dealt with corporate clients who refuse to hire an individual - i.e. you must be an actual company.  An LLC will do (which is what I am), but just one more thing to consider.

That is sufficient liability.  I also consider Inland Marine all perils to cover your gear and some sort of bailee coverage for non-owned gear in your care, custody and control.

The LLC statement is true also, we are an LLC with a S election.

Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 10, 2018, 04:22:06 pm
It depends on what your customers, venues, and other stakeholders want to see.  $1M per occurrence and $2M aggregate is generally the minimal amount that seems to see wide acceptance at least where I am, but you might need more depending on what all you do.  The policy I'm under for pyro is substantially higher.  You might need to address things such as workers comp as well.  As Scott said, in the corporate world you're not getting in the door without this.  I've also dealt with corporate clients who refuse to hire an individual - i.e. you must be an actual company.  An LLC will do (which is what I am), but just one more thing to consider.

Excellent, I have an LLC. I'll definitely take your advice and find insurance with the $1M and $2M coverage as you specified. I won't have any full time employees for the foreseeable future but instead was thinking about hiring contractors when I need an extra hand, or when I need someone to do an event without me there.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 10, 2018, 04:30:02 pm
It's not really bodies it's the interference environment.  Those microphones may work one place but not in another.  For reliable corporate work the lowest acceptable Shure unit is the QLX-D.  ULX-D and Axient for high density (over 12 channels).

We are running the BLX and SM58 combos at my church for the last year (and this is what I've bought recently), never had  signal drop once yet. However, the previous Sennheiser system would cut out when people covered the antenna on the bottom of the mic with their hand. These SM58/BLXs don't seem to be affected by that kind of thing, but like you said they're only in 1 controlled environment, so not sure how they'd perform in other venues they way I'll be asking mine to.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Jeff Lelko on August 10, 2018, 05:24:03 pm
We are running the BLX and SM58 combos at my church for the last year (and this is what I've bought recently), never had  signal drop once yet. However, the previous Sennheiser system would cut out when people covered the antenna on the bottom of the mic with their hand. These SM58/BLXs don't seem to be affected by that kind of thing, but like you said they're only in 1 controlled environment, so not sure how they'd perform in other venues they way I'll be asking mine to.

Not to keep echoing Scott, but heís absolutely right (and knows wireless better than I do).  It all comes down to reliability and whatís good enough for you, but Iíve used the Audio Technica equivalent to your BLX and would never trust it to work on corporate gigs.  The absolute lowest grade of wireless product Iíll use is the Sennheiser EW100 kit with paddle antennas, and thatís just for very simple applications.  Beyond that youíre looking at QLX/ULX/Axient. 

Also, youíll want the beltpack/headworn mics for those too.  Some presenters will want the clip-ons and headsets, and as youíve probably guessed the $29 capsules that come included with the beltpacks wonít cut it either.  Unfortunately this line of work is one of the most expensive ones to just jump into!
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 10, 2018, 06:31:13 pm
We are running the BLX and SM58 combos at my church for the last year (and this is what I've bought recently), never had  signal drop once yet. However, the previous Sennheiser system would cut out when people covered the antenna on the bottom of the mic with their hand. These SM58/BLXs don't seem to be affected by that kind of thing, but like you said they're only in 1 controlled environment, so not sure how they'd perform in other venues they way I'll be asking mine to.

BLX should not even bear the Shure name.  It had hideous performance in high RF environments (like busy hotels).   I am not saying you need to run out and buy a rack full of ULX-D and DPA mics but a couple of QLX-D and some Countryman earworn would get you a lot closer to where you need to be.

Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Mark Cadwallader on August 10, 2018, 11:12:08 pm
The fire certification is for the drapes themselves. If they are not inherently flame retardant (as polyester is), then they need to be professionally treated with an approved flame retardant solution.  A certificate of flame retardancy will likely be sewn onto each panel treated.

Cotton velour looks great, but needs to be treated periodically.  Polyester velour doesn't look as nice (IMO), but doesn't typically need treatment.  Light weight drapes (like you see as trade show booth dividers) are usually polyester.

DaLite Fast-Fold deluxe portable screens are available with nice masking drapes, albeit at a price.  I haven't used anything else, but I'm sure there are other vendors too.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 11, 2018, 11:52:47 pm
Most of the projectors I've seen at similar small corporate events are 3000 lumens, and the other AV gear is not exactly top-notch either... Mackie loudspeakers, 4 Ch Yamaha sound boards... very entry level. And they're charging a hefty price tag.
Brandon,

So there's a thread (http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,160758.0.html) in the Basement that's great reading for a couple of hours. Nathan Riddle started it, and asked GREAT questions regarding getting into our business. Price lists, gear, even back end considerations like insurance and Who's An Employee? were discussed.

In no particular order:

- Yes, for wireless, you're going to want a minimum of the $600-$700/channel range- Sennheiser G3/G4 EW100 or Shure ULXP (no longer available new). Shure QLX-D is the new "standard" for breakout rooms. You want "combo packs" -- both a h/h tx and a b/p tx with lavaliere.

- As noted, pipe & drape needs the fire certification. Pipe and Drape is a pain in the butt to deal with, but it's a good profit line. Having 40-60' of 14-16' high black or light gray will be invaluable. "Trade show booth" is what's called "Banjo Drape," and you definitely do NOT want it. "Performance Velour" is what you'll end up with. Through Georgia Expo, 58" wide panels are $70-$80 each for the 14oz black PV in that height. Get 25# sandbags from the Las Vegas Sandbag Company. One per P&D upright. Don't forget a small control booth drape package.

But here's the takeaway from all of this: The reason those "other" corporate AV groups are charging the premium pricing is that they are delivering an absolutely reliable service. Yes, you see SRM450s and small mixers in those breakout rooms, but the AV company also has a pair of backup speakers for every four or five rooms. They have extra mixers on hand. There's extra RF for "hey, let's do this!" Spare projectors. At that level, as was mentioned, there's absolutely no margin for error. And, you're going to end up being the catch-all "make this happen."

I'm onsite at a show in Santa Clara, CA right now, doing a small music and gaming festival. I have a main concerts rig, and then 5 smaller breakout room setups in varying spaces. Beyond the actual gear ordered, I have plenty of extra AC cables, power strips, rat-tails, and dongles of all types. Pretty much, I can take any computer from the last 20 years and get the audio and video into the projector. And that is the service that the client is paying for.

To the initial post- one thing we use for breakout rooms like these is a pile of these (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/857862-REG/luxor_wt34_34_a_v_cart_with.html). They're cheap ($80 each) and great for moving cables and supplies from our grip area (backroom space where we store extra speakers, cables, etc, for easy access) to a space. They're also handy for actually deploying the mixers on in the breakout rooms.

-Ray
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 16, 2018, 07:37:16 pm
Brandon,

So there's a thread (http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,160758.0.html) in the Basement that's great reading for a couple of hours. Nathan Riddle started it, and asked GREAT questions regarding getting into our business. Price lists, gear, even back end considerations like insurance and Who's An Employee? were discussed.

In no particular order:

- Yes, for wireless, you're going to want a minimum of the $600-$700/channel range- Sennheiser G3/G4 EW100 or Shure ULXP (no longer available new). Shure QLX-D is the new "standard" for breakout rooms. You want "combo packs" -- both a h/h tx and a b/p tx with lavaliere.

- As noted, pipe & drape needs the fire certification. Pipe and Drape is a pain in the butt to deal with, but it's a good profit line. Having 40-60' of 14-16' high black or light gray will be invaluable. "Trade show booth" is what's called "Banjo Drape," and you definitely do NOT want it. "Performance Velour" is what you'll end up with. Through Georgia Expo, 58" wide panels are $70-$80 each for the 14oz black PV in that height. Get 25# sandbags from the Las Vegas Sandbag Company. One per P&D upright. Don't forget a small control booth drape package.

But here's the takeaway from all of this: The reason those "other" corporate AV groups are charging the premium pricing is that they are delivering an absolutely reliable service. Yes, you see SRM450s and small mixers in those breakout rooms, but the AV company also has a pair of backup speakers for every four or five rooms. They have extra mixers on hand. There's extra RF for "hey, let's do this!" Spare projectors. At that level, as was mentioned, there's absolutely no margin for error. And, you're going to end up being the catch-all "make this happen."

I'm onsite at a show in Santa Clara, CA right now, doing a small music and gaming festival. I have a main concerts rig, and then 5 smaller breakout room setups in varying spaces. Beyond the actual gear ordered, I have plenty of extra AC cables, power strips, rat-tails, and dongles of all types. Pretty much, I can take any computer from the last 20 years and get the audio and video into the projector. And that is the service that the client is paying for.

To the initial post- one thing we use for breakout rooms like these is a pile of these (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/857862-REG/luxor_wt34_34_a_v_cart_with.html). They're cheap ($80 each) and great for moving cables and supplies from our grip area (backroom space where we store extra speakers, cables, etc, for easy access) to a space. They're also handy for actually deploying the mixers on in the breakout rooms.

-Ray

Thank you Ray, this was very helpful for me. I'll continue reading through the discussion in the Basement you provided as well, it's definitely covering some of the other questions I've had. I suppose with 14-16' pipe, a longer trailer becomes necessary, unless they come as shorter lengths that connect together via threaded connections? Having backups of speakers, projectors, screens etc is certainly a big part of reliability, and a huge additional chunk of change for someone just buying gear to get started.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 16, 2018, 07:42:29 pm
Not to keep echoing Scott, but heís absolutely right (and knows wireless better than I do).  It all comes down to reliability and whatís good enough for you, but Iíve used the Audio Technica equivalent to your BLX and would never trust it to work on corporate gigs.  The absolute lowest grade of wireless product Iíll use is the Sennheiser EW100 kit with paddle antennas, and thatís just for very simple applications.  Beyond that youíre looking at QLX/ULX/Axient. 

Also, youíll want the beltpack/headworn mics for those too.  Some presenters will want the clip-ons and headsets, and as youíve probably guessed the $29 capsules that come included with the beltpacks wonít cut it either.  Unfortunately this line of work is one of the most expensive ones to just jump into!

Good stuff, thank you. I'll check out the Sennheiser EW100 kit as you suggested simply for the very small, easy events. The QLX is much more than I planned on spending (per ch) but "sounds" like it will be well worth the investment and the peace of mind vs the BLX system, which now I suppose I will only use for small bars or remote locations without interference issues.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on August 16, 2018, 07:54:05 pm
BLX should not even bear the Shure name.  It had hideous performance in high RF environments (like busy hotels).   I am not saying you need to run out and buy a rack full of ULX-D and DPA mics but a couple of QLX-D and some Countryman earworn would get you a lot closer to where you need to be.


I'm hearing you guys, and thankful for the advice before I learn the hard way. Since the majority of the work I'm targeting initially will be in hotels, I'm definitely going to invest the $600-700/ch for some higher quality gear.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Jeff Lelko on August 16, 2018, 08:17:44 pm
I'm hearing you guys, and thankful for the advice before I learn the hard way. Since the majority of the work I'm targeting initially will be in hotels, I'm definitely going to invest the $600-700/ch for some higher quality gear.

Iím very glad that youíre open to advice and not taking offense to constructive criticism.  Many people here have saved me from wasting money several times over, so tough love is definitely a good thing.

Honestly, before dumping money into equipment that you may or may not need, itíll will help you substantially to come up with a business plan if you havenít done so already.  Which specific types of corporate gigs are you planning on bidding?  Who can you network with for rentals when needed?  Whatís the best plan to phase your investments?  Figuring all this out now will help you grow the fastest while minimizing money spent on equipment you donít need or didnít get the right type of. 

As example, this will be the year that I finally buy a ďlargeĒ digital mixer.  Based on my type of work and the networking opportunities available to me, it didnít make financial sense to own one until now.  That money was better spent on other equipment in prior years that provided better return on investment and/or growth opportunities.  No sense in buying 8 channels of wireless if you only need 2 most of the time and can rent more in when needed!  Hope this helps!   
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 16, 2018, 08:53:12 pm
Iím very glad that youíre open to advice and not taking offense to constructive criticism.  Many people here have saved me from wasting money several times over, so tough love is definitely a good thing.

Honestly, before dumping money into equipment that you may or may not need, itíll will help you substantially to come up with a business plan if you havenít done so already.  Which specific types of corporate gigs are you planning on bidding?  Who can you network with for rentals when needed?  Whatís the best plan to phase your investments?  Figuring all this out now will help you grow the fastest while minimizing money spent on equipment you donít need or didnít get the right type of. 

As example, this will be the year that I finally buy a ďlargeĒ digital mixer.  Based on my type of work and the networking opportunities available to me, it didnít make financial sense to own one until now.  That money was better spent on other equipment in prior years that provided better return on investment and/or growth opportunities.  No sense in buying 8 channels of wireless if you only need 2 most of the time and can rent more in when needed!  Hope this helps!

This is great advice too.  Once you get a feel for your cash flow take the hit and start taking on larger gigs.  Partner with a competitor.  Rent the gear you don't have.

Make sure you and your business process is ready to grow.  Depending on your risk tolerance you can start to buy into categories.

Our capital plan FYI is more wireless, a small box truck with lift (Isuzu city truck), ADA yellow jackets and high quality truss. 

Next year will be lifts and stageright decks and Z braces.

Made some mistakes along the way but have grown from three QSC systems to enough gear to do an 8k attendee main stage and 12 side stages (two weeks ago, largest event we have ever done), phones are already ringing.  It's fun!

BTW one other thing.  Don't compete on price, always value.  A race to the bottom benefits nobody.  Event planners are very loyal and very reticent to risk their reputation on a new provider.

Buddying up to a competitor and taking overflow business is a way to fast track this business.  Never ever card a client when working on someone else gig.  That's a huge betrayal.  If you are working a gig for another provider and get asked what your rate or availability is simply say, I am working with Sphincter Boy Productions, give them a call and ask for me.  That will cement your relationship with other provider and keep you busy.



   
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 16, 2018, 11:05:37 pm
I suppose with 14-16' pipe, a longer trailer becomes necessary, unless they come as shorter lengths that connect together via threaded connections?
Pipe and Drape uses either fixed uprights (usually no more than 8' high) and then adjustables. Like this---- the ones on the left are the original P&D, which you will still find more often in the wild. The ones on the right (that they call "castle top") is the new P&D v2.0.

The uprights range from 7-12' to 8-14' 9-16' and even 9-23' high. So, what you actually carry in is only 8-9 feet high, but it'll expand to as high as you need it.

-Ray
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on September 05, 2018, 03:50:25 pm
Pipe and Drape uses either fixed uprights (usually no more than 8' high) and then adjustables. Like this---- the ones on the left are the original P&D, which you will still find more often in the wild. The ones on the right (that they call "castle top") is the new P&D v2.0.

The uprights range from 7-12' to 8-14' 9-16' and even 9-23' high. So, what you actually carry in is only 8-9 feet high, but it'll expand to as high as you need it.

-Ray

Thanks everyone for the information, truly has been a big help for me in my purchasing decisions. I searched the other thread someone mentioned in the basement, and I couldn't find answers to the following question I currently have: What kind of Laptops are needed for typical jobs, whether it's a corporate gig with PPTs and embedded HD videos, or a concert with animated graphics or videos etc. I see specs like RAM, Hard Drive, Processor and Speeds etc., and wonder what is most important and actually needed for the type of work we do. Last thing I'd want is videos playing sluggish/jerky because the PC can't handle the graphics/file size/format. Assuming sometimes the machine is just rented to a customer, other times used directly by my company to operate the PPTs, videos, downloaded music, etc. Thanks!
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on September 05, 2018, 05:05:58 pm
Thanks everyone for the information, truly has been a big help for me in my purchasing decisions. I searched the other thread someone mentioned in the basement, and I couldn't find answers to the following question I currently have: What kind of Laptops are needed for typical jobs, whether it's a corporate gig with PPTs and embedded HD videos, or a concert with animated graphics or videos etc. I see specs like RAM, Hard Drive, Processor and Speeds etc., and wonder what is most important and actually needed for the type of work we do. Last thing I'd want is videos playing sluggish/jerky because the PC can't handle the graphics/file size/format. Assuming sometimes the machine is just rented to a customer, other times used directly by my company to operate the PPTs, videos, downloaded music, etc. Thanks!

Also, any ideas for projector stand skirts? I have tripod style projector stands, essentially glorified music stands, and just want to have a drop over black skirt (even better with a hole for the cords) to make it look nicer at events. Seems like these would be easier to find, but so far no luck....
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Jordan Wolf on September 05, 2018, 07:11:51 pm
Also, any ideas for projector stand skirts? I have tripod style projector stands, essentially glorified music stands, and just want to have a drop over black skirt (even better with a hole for the cords) to make it look nicer at events. Seems like these would be easier to find, but so far no luck....
Check out Drapes 4 Show.

Youíll probably either use a 34Ē cart or a Safelok stand for typical meeting room projection.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Jordan Wolf on September 05, 2018, 07:16:53 pm
Thanks everyone for the information, truly has been a big help for me in my purchasing decisions. I searched the other thread someone mentioned in the basement, and I couldn't find answers to the following question I currently have: What kind of Laptops are needed for typical jobs, whether it's a corporate gig with PPTs and embedded HD videos, or a concert with animated graphics or videos etc. I see specs like RAM, Hard Drive, Processor and Speeds etc., and wonder what is most important and actually needed for the type of work we do. Last thing I'd want is videos playing sluggish/jerky because the PC can't handle the graphics/file size/format. Assuming sometimes the machine is just rented to a customer, other times used directly by my company to operate the PPTs, videos, downloaded music, etc. Thanks!
I see typical specs like:
Newer i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 320GB SSD, 15Ē screen (non-touch)

Apple products typical for video playback via Playback Pro, presentations in Keynote & Powerpoint for Mac. Current/recent models are falling out of favor connectivity-wise, IMO, but Iím cool with them.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Jeff Lelko on September 05, 2018, 09:16:42 pm
What kind of Laptops are needed for typical jobs?

Hi Brandon, I think a better question to ask first is which types of software you'll need.  For my genre of applications QLab is an industry standard along with Show Cue System as a reasonable Windows alternative.  ProPresenter is another option I see frequently, but I don't have any personal experience with that one.  I also don't do much video at my jobs - only lights/sound/pyro.  Either way, the software you need/choose will generally dictate the system requirements.  For what it's worth I use 2017 Macbook Pros with max'd out processor, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD.  No issues thus far.  Hope this helps!
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Mark Cadwallader on September 06, 2018, 12:36:04 am
Also, any ideas for projector stand skirts? I have tripod style projector stands, essentially glorified music stands, and just want to have a drop over black skirt (even better with a hole for the cords) to make it look nicer at events. Seems like these would be easier to find, but so far no luck....

If you are looking for an alternative to your tripod projector stand, the Da-Lite Project-O-Stand (two versions available) is sturdy, stable , and the four (removable) legs individually adjust for height. Great when you need to angle the projector to get to the screen, or for setting on a raked floor. 

If you attach 3/4" or 1" hook (Velcro) around the edge of the projector stand top, you can then use stage/riser skirting to mask the stand.  A flat throw-over table covering will work also. Look at pipe and drape suppliers for such items. Regular table skirting will be too short most of the time, but a taller version of that skirting is what you want. Cables slip between the edge of the stand and the skirting; the Velcro snugs up the gap.  Tuck any excess fabric height under the stand.
Title: Re: Best Equipment Carts/Wagons for Event Gigs
Post by: Brandon Montagne on September 24, 2018, 06:56:32 pm
Great info guys, I'll be taking those suggestions.

I'm at the point where I need some storage space/warehouse space for my equipment. How many of you would suggest climate controlled storage as the only option, vs a garage or outdoor storage facility with a roll-up door where you can back a truck or trailer directly up to it? I'm in a part of Texas where it doesn't freeze hardly ever, but the summer months can be over 100F. Thanks!