Expanding your business to new areas brings hope for new opportunities and income, but jumping into a new endeavor without preparation can go from exciting to stressful very quickly. Just like a recipe can go terribly wrong if you don’t have all the proper ingredients, you need to make sure you have all of your bases covered before adding rentals to your events business. Consider the following tips before adding a new rental arm to your events business.
- Acquire any additional storage that you may need
- Establish a plan for delivery and setup logistics
- Decide what inventory you will hold
- Consider your target market
- Don’t let hidden costs surprise you
Acquire any additional storage that you may need
Do you have the space you need to store all of your inventory? If not, you’ll need to acquire a warehouse or another form of storage space. Without space to hold and group your inventory, organization will deteriorate quickly, and your rental side of the business will become much more stressful and difficult than it needs to be. Imagine needing a specific item for a project, but you can’t find it in all the clutter, or worse yet, discover that it was damaged in a pile of other inventory. Inventory without storage space is a recipe for disaster.
You should also consider the storage needs for certain inventory items, and acquire a space that meets those needs. Tents, for instance, require a dry, cool environment to avoid their canvas growing moldy. In this case, a damp basement would not meet the storage needs of your inventory. Other items may not mind the humidity, or could be easily washed off and sanitized. For these items, that basement space might be good enough as a temporary option.
It may be advisable to start small. Purchasing new inventory and storage space can become expensive, so testing out the market with small items that you can fit in your current space is a good strategy when starting out. It is critical that the inventory you hold does not overwhelm your space and become a burden.
Establish a plan for delivery and setup logistics
How will you handle services such as delivery, setup, and pick up for your rental business? Do you plan on delivering rental items, or will customers be expected to pick up their own inventory process? Either option can work depending on your business model, but there are a few questions you will need to ask yourself based on which direction you choose.
Plan to deliver and pick up rental items yourself?
- Will you rent a truck for each delivery?
- Can you afford to purchase and maintain a truck for your company?
- Who out of your staff will be in charge of loading and delivery?
Plan to require customers to pick up and drop off rental items?
- Will you set out all of their inventory items for easy pick up?
- Will you meet them every time they pick up and drop off items?
- What will your policy be for missing items at drop off? How will you enforce it?
Consider similar questions for your setup plan, whether you will offer setup services or require clients to do it themselves. Make sure that every step of the process is clearly defined so that there is no confusion along the way. A customer who is confused by your process will not have a good experience, and is unlikely to return for future business.
Decide what inventory you will hold
Inventory that doesn’t get rented will cost you money and take up valuable storage space. Think about your customers, and carefully consider what types of inventory you will hold. You may choose to start off with small items that complement the services you already offer and fit your limited storage space. Conversely, it may be larger items such as tables and chairs that better fit the needs of your current customers. Don’t just buy inventory to have it. Make sure that your inventory will work for you and bring money into the business.
Ultimately, deciding on an overall strategy for your event rental business will help guide you through this process. Do you want to specialize in a specific type of rentals, or would you prefer to have a wide range of options? Will you allow for any customization? Do you have a defined style, such as vintage or holiday themed? All of these factors will impact what kind of inventory is worth purchasing for your event rental business.
Consider your target market
An important factor to consider for all of these aspects of your rental business is your target market. For instance, if you rent out massive chandeliers or 12’ tables, it is unlikely that your customers will have transportation vehicles large enough to pick up these items themselves. You will want to find your own means of transportation for these items, and you will need ample storage space.
On the other hand, florals are small, but delicate items. You would not need a huge storage space for a limited amount of floral inventory, and customers could likely pick up and transport these items themselves. However, you will want to figure out how to package these items to ensure that they get from point A to point B safely in the back seat of your client’s car.
Through every step of the process as you plan out your rental business expansion, ask yourself how you can set it up to work for your customers needs, as well as your own limitations.
Don’t let additional costs surprise you
The costs don’t end when you purchase inventory items and rental space. Don’t get caught off guard, unprepared for additional costs that come with rentals. Some inventory may require regular maintenance, whether that be chairs that need repainting or silverware that require sanitization. Before rushing to a decision, consider maintenance costs when calculating what you can afford.
You will also inevitably run into broken or damaged items, especially for fragile items such as vases or chargers. You will need extra liability insurance to cover these costs, so be sure to consider this cost beforehand.
Lastly, managing inventory can become extremely time consuming and difficult. Tracking inventory to avoid double booking can get messy if left up to human error. Event rental software may be an incredibly useful tool for your business once it expands to rentals. Do your research and ensure that you choose the best management software for your business. Ineffective software can become a frustrating time suck. Choosing the right rental software to begin with could save you a huge amount of time, money, and effort in the long run.
Preparation is key
The event rental business is a fun industry with the potential for great profits. Make sure that you set yourself up for success by doing your research and creating a cohesive plan before entering the business. Consider your decision from all angles, including that of your customers, and make the right decisions for your event business. Empower your rental business to find success with the proper tools and preparation.