Once a client hires one of the bigger venues, what do they get for their money in the way of lighting?
Well I for one would expect that there is a standard lighting rig. You should be able to walk into a venue and ask to see what the lighting looks like. You should not have to wait around for the tech to focus and colour the lighting before you have to start. This is of course if you are intending to use the standard rig, and don’t required a special set up for your event. There needs to be something rigged that can work straight out. If anything is required these would have worked out before when the initial booking was made.
The standard rig is there to make a show happen with very little lead time. Most venues have one, and it should be ready to use the moment the client walks in the door for their booking. It needs to be focused corrected and properly coloured. Time should always be allowed for a lighting rig to have its focussed checked before a hire. It may not have been changed for the last client, but it is possible for lights to drift out of focus. So check before the client steps through the door.
Now if the previous client had the rig changed to suit their particular production they should also make sure that it is returned to standard and obviously pay the associated costs.
Now to make life easy when you come to refocus is to make sure that you have up to date lighting plans, patching charts and colour cut lists etc. What you need to have is the full lighting rig documented, and any changes notated on the paperwork. Version control of documents becomes very handy as lighting plots evolve with the addition of new equipment etc. It is also a god idea to keep copies of the relevant documents near where they are needed. Such as dimmer hook up charts near the dimmers. Patch bays in the rig can have charts kept next to them. You could even mark the patch points that are always used for the standard lighting rig. But most of all make sure it is up to date and that the newest copy is available for the duty tech.
The key to making a standard lighting rig great is paperwork. Document it, don’t keep it in your head. Nobody can read your thoughts. I have seen venues where there is no or little paperwork and they are a nightmare to work in. If you consider yourself a professional act like a professional.