by Lisa Grimaldi | April 01, 2004

The following checklist was compiled with the assistance of Van Allen Rice, president of Bestek Lighting & Staging, 98 Mahan St., West Babylon, N.Y. 11704; (631) 643-0707;


  • Are there windows, skylights or other sources of natural light that will interfere with lighting plans?
  • Will the freight elevator or loading dock be of sufficient size to accommodate large lighting equipment? If not, is there an alternate approach?
  • Can the site itself accommodate any large equipment, such as rear-screen projection, if necessary? 
  • Will the venue allow setup of the desired display?
  • How high is the ceiling? This factor alone rules out certain types of lighting effects. Be sure to provide information about placement and weight limits of rigging points.
  • Does the job site require the use of union labor?
  • Are there blackout times when work must be suspended due to facility rules?
  • Does the venue offer enough electrical power to accommodate your event’s lighting? If you cannot determine this, have the lighting contractor check.
  • Does an additional charge apply for using the existing electrical services?

  • Specify the type of event (i.e., a meeting, a dinner or an awards function). Provide relevant background, and describe the mood the organizer wishes to convey.
  • Discuss the agenda: Will an important A/V presentation be the focus of the event, or will another form of entertainment need specific technical support?
  • Will the event be videotaped? This is especially important because of the different light levels and color requirements needed to satisfy video camera operation.
  • Will lighting be used to accent the decor, or will it function as the main decorative element?
  • Include the times during which the lighting contractor can   have access to the job site prior to the event.
  • Provide a schedule that includes rehearsal times, periods when work must cease (meals or meetings), and when all work must be completed and ready.
  • Specify where equipment crates and packaging should be stored while on site.
  • If the venue contains more than one function room or ballroom, be sure to specify which will be used. Different rooms within the same hotel often have vastly different requirements and capabilities. 
  • Ask how much time is required for setup.
  • Create an event itinerary, with exact starting and ending times and key points described. Establish who will run the event from beginning to end.
  • Ask about night or overtime surcharges.

  • Does the lighting firm have liability and workers’ compensation insurance? Ask for a copy of their certificate of insurance to include in your records. 
  • Find out how long the firm has been in business. What are the backgrounds and experience levels of staff members who would be working your event?
  • Did the company answer your request for proposal thoroughly and within deadline?
  • Was the proposal well written, professional and creative?
  • Can the company meet your needs within budget?
  • Ask for a minimum of three references, preferably from clients who have held recent events with similar lighting needs, and be sure to check with all of them.
  • Notes: