Jessica Powers April 26, 2021 at 12:00 PM 18 min read

How to Start a Service-Based Event Company: DJs, Inflatables, Photo Booths

Our readers may already be familiar with our previous guide on how to start an event rental company, but we feel that there are some types of event rental companies that have some additional, more specific needs. We’re going to get into those now, so if you haven’t read the previous guide on how to start an event rental company, it would be helpful to do so now.

How To Start An Event or Party Rental Company

Many Goodshuffle Pro users rely heavily on their services alongside their inventory. These niche companies include casino rentals, DJs and entertainers, photo booth rentals, inflatable companies, and more. All of these companies have specific needs for their company to flourish, but they also have similarities as well. Whether your business connects clients with poker dealers, DJs, or a photo booth or moon bounce operators, the services you provide are crucial to your business’s success. Let’s take a look!

Service - The core of your business

It goes without saying, but service is the core of your service-based rental business. Additional focus on hiring, training, and management are key for creating a rockstar team.

Hiring

Hiring skilled, reliable, and friendly team members is vital to the success of your business. You’ll want to spend more time focused on the hiring process and your potential employees’ past experience. Personality and motivation are key (you can’t change someone’s personality), so if you’re willing to spend the time and energy training someone who is new to the industry, it will definitely open up your hiring pool. 

We love the idea of hiring from high schools, colleges, and universities. Not only can you find enthusiastic help, but you’re also helping a young person build their resume and their future. Additionally, interns and part-time workers often become full time employees later and become invaluable members of your team. 

Word of mouth or referrals are another great way to find employees of various backgrounds and skill sets— you never know who your employees, clients, and associates may know! Checking in with and posting positions to event associations, like NACE, ILEA, and WIPA, is a fantastic way to find employees who already have an established career within the events industry.

Training

Regardless of past experience, you’ll have to train all of your new employees to your way of doing things. This is where SOPs, or standard operating procedures, will come into play. Having easy-to-access resources available to your new employees will help them understand your company and to become independent much faster than without them. SOPs also set expectations for behavior, appearance (no one should wear jeans to a wedding event), and communication, so your employees will have a better chance at success within your company. Without clear expectations, you’re only setting your employees up for failure. 

Management

Establishing a team management system to keep everyone coordinated is key. You’ll need an easy to use way to communicate with your team (preferably with a paper trail-- think messages and email), assign them to events, and to make sure you aren’t double-booking them.

Avoiding double-booking anything is always a major goal for event rental pros, but is especially important when it comes to entertainers and DJs. It is much easier to find a substitute for an item a client requested than it is for a DJ a client requested-- personalities are one-of-a-kind. This situation is exactly why Goodshuffle Pro includes options for managing services within our software; if a DJ is already booked (or assigned) for an event, our conflict detection feature will alert you right away. Our messaging and email feature also makes communicating with clients, your service professionals, and your team members for a project a breeze, as you can send emails and messages right from the software. Problems solved-- and it’s easy!

How to start a DJ & Entertainment Rental Business

We’ve discussed how your talent is essential for your company, but there are some other factors that you’ll need to consider when starting a DJ or Entertainment rental company.

Music

DJs will need a large collection of legally acquired music. The format can be records, cassettes, CDs, digital-- it just has to be legal. 

Networking

Networking is a must-- establish relationships with local event planners, florists, caterers, hotels, etc. They are likely to encounter situations where they need someone with your skillset, and you want to be the first person that comes to mind!

Location

A benefit of this type of enterprise is that you may not need a separate office/warehouse space to start. In fact, most DJ companies start out of their homes. For small businesses, you likely won’t need much equipment (meaning less storage space), as you may be able to rent specialized, infrequently used pieces from other companies. 

How to start a Casino Rental Business

Thankfully, these aren’t actually mobile gambling units, otherwise the licenses and permits would be crazy! But you’ll still need to bring the feel of a real casino to the party, so make sure you visit some high quality casinos for decor inspiration. 

Dealers

Finding employees that are good at dealing cards and teaching people how to play in a friendly, un-intimidating way is vital to the success of your business. Have them play a few rounds of cards with you during your interview so you can learn about their style. Your clients expect fun above all else, so make sure your dealers can deliver!

Ambiance 

For casino parties, people expect you to bring Vegas to them. You’ll want neon lights, real poker chips, a variety of games and tables, and fat stacks of fake money.

Relationships with other vendors

Starting out, you’ll definitely want to team up with other vendors, like florists, entertainers, and caterers. Entertainment, food, and drinks are synonymous with the Vegas casino experience, and there’s no doubt that some of your clients will want the full experience!

How to start an Inflatable and Bounce House Rental Business

Whether it’s bounce houses, inflatable slides and toys, or inflatable mascots, you'll have needs that other rental companies will not when starting an inflatable rental company. Safety is a major factor for your business, so you’ll need to make sure you and your team are properly trained and informed on safety procedures and protocols

Insurance

While General Liability insurance is a must for all event rental companies, it is particularly important for this type of company. The likelihood of someone becoming injured in a bounce house is far, far more likely than at a typical event, so you must make sure you, your employees, and your company are covered. In addition, you’ll want to purchase Commercial Umbrella insurance as a second layer of protection if someone is injured; this type of insurance kicks in when your General Liability coverage is exhausted. 

Maintenance 

Bounce houses and other inflatables need to be cleaned and check for damage after every use. While this should be done with all rentals, bounce houses are much bigger and will require more time and energy to inspect and clean. With Goodshuffle Pro, you can mark any inflatables that need repair or extra attention as unavailable so that they do not get booked again before they are ready. 

Additionally, if inflatables are stored before dry or stored in a high-humidity environment, they are prone to growing mold. Make sure you have a detailed SOP for your inspection, cleaning, and storage processes to keep your bounce houses in optimal condition for as long as possible. 

Legal

Due to the increased risk of injury, it is extremely important that you have a qualified attorney write your contracts, waivers, and other documents for your company. This will limit your risk and reduce your likelihood of needing to file an insurance claim. 

How to start a Photo Booth Rental Business

Photo booths are the perfect addition to weddings, birthday parties, and corporate events, just to name a few! Photo booth rental companies are tech-centered, you’ll have a lot of research to do into the type of cameras you’d like to use, how you plan to print your photos, and any other photo-related services you’d like to include in your packages. 

A photo system

This is pretty obvious, but you’ll need a way for people to take photos. There are many systems available, from iPad-based to DSLR-based booths, so you’ll need to do some research into which style best suits your business. Explore Facebook Marketplace, industry networking groups (also on Facebook), and inventory sites like the Photobooth Supply Co. or HootBooth for more information on various types and pricing for photo booths. 

Printing

Now that you know how you want to take photos...how do you get them to your clients? Do they receive any editing first? Are digital copies available? If you print on-site, what sizes do you offer? No matter what you choose, make sure it supports your brand and your mission. 

Location

Like DJs and entertainers, photo booth rental companies do not require a base of operations to function. A climate controlled storage unit will suffice to store your items, and everything else can be done remotely with your team. While you may one day prefer an office for meeting clients, it isn’t required. 

Every company will have its own challenges and hurdles when starting out, but with proper research and planning you can avoid many common pitfalls when learning how to start an event rental company. 

Want to learn more about established Goodshuffle Pro service-based event rental companies?

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Jessica Powers

Jessica Powers is a Data Analyst for Goodshuffle Pro, powerful business software for event companies.