As we move forward, a combo of the demand for digitization and the rise of the gig economy are creating an ideal market for audio-visual freelancers. There are numerous AV companies out there that need an AV freelancer to complement their go-to talent, who can’t be available for every project. If freelancers play their cards right, they could have an almost non-stop stream of work coming their way.
But even with freelancing becoming a constant variable in the AV world, an AV freelancer should remain aware of the riskier side of working with an AV company. Not all AV company best practices are created equal, and if we’re honest there are some challenges freelancers are likely to face at least once or twice in their career.
Below are 3 of the most probable challenges AV freelancers will face working with an AV company.
1. Lack of the Communication and the Right Tools
When you’re negotiating a work contract with an AV company, be vigilant about noticing signs of late responses. Especially during the initial phase of tying down a time estimate, pay attention to how long companies take to respond and how clear those responses are. If a company is prone to vague explanations of what they want done and providing adequate information about the project, this should be a significant warning sign.
A frequent challenge an AV freelancer can and has faced working with a company is being given inadequate tools and briefings. Whether due to incompetent management, no set means of keeping regular communication, or the AV company assumes the AV freelancer will know what to do with a vague objective, freelancers can end up dangerously out of the loop.
Some AV companies don’t provide freelancers with the tools they need to do competent work as well. Essential documents like project plan drawings, diagrams, layouts for the site and even bill of materials won’t be provided, which can lead to our next challenge—
2. Holding Freelancers Responsible for AV Company Poor Job Performance
When an incompetent AV company is in a pinch and they don’t keep proper communication with a freelancer, they will sometimes blame the poor work on the freelancer. Getting blamed for a project that was doomed to failure because of lack of directives and tools is obviously unfair, but that doesn’t stop the event from happening. We’re sure we don’t have to explain much about what being blamed for poor performance does for a freelancer’s reputation. There are preventative measures freelancers can take, however.
Make sure that you never work without a comprehensive work contract at hand. In this contract, besides clearly stating what your payment terms are and what work is to be done, include clauses to protect you in instances where your client has poor practices. For example, if interactions become toxic and unproductive between you and your client, you should have a clause stating you reserve the right to fire them as well as a kill fee clause.
3. Getting Paid Without Hassle
Let’s say you haven’t had as much trouble with communication or receiving necessary tools, but your payment is still pending from an AV company. This challenge can be particularly nasty, especially if (once again) you’re working with incompetent management. But this challenge often arises when payment terms weren’t settled from the start of the project as well, or invoicing by the freelancer wasn’t handled until late in the project timeline.
There can be a lot of administrative issues with paying freelancers on time. Luckily there are more and more payment apps and platforms being produced, like Escrow, to facilitate freelance payments. But it’s still the joint responsibility of the freelancer and their client to determine payment terms at the start of a project.
Be wary of companies who show early signs of these (unfortunately) common AV freelance challenges discussed here!