You’ve got your awesome inventory, you found the perfect location for your warehouse and offices, and you even have a couple of bookings. What more do you need to start an event rental company? You. Are. Ready!
Wrong! Starting an event rental company takes a lot more prep work than you think. Even if you’re a small business and don’t have a lot of inventory, you should still operate like a company that’s always booked up and has thousands of items. Not only will this help you establish good business practices from the start, it’ll also make sure those good practices become second nature for when you are booked up and have thousands of items.
Now for some mistakes event pros make you can’t afford:
#1 - Not making a business plan
Business plans are crucial for setting up your business for success. While many people think of them as a tool for getting financing, they’re actually much more useful. Business plans help you examine every aspect of your business and plan for the future.
You’ll look at:
- Demographics for your area
- Your target market
- Your competitors
- Your long term goals
- Create a budget
- And more!
All of these factors are essential to establishing an event rental company that will last and help prevent you from making some major errors in the beginning phases of your company. For instance, if you create a rental company specifically for weddings, but the demographics for the area you’re considering for your office is primarily families with children, you likely won’t have enough business. You’d be better off looking for an area with a higher single adult population that has a high enough median income to support your company.
Ready to start writing your business plan? We’ve got an in-depth guide to get you started.
#2 - Not creating SOPs
SOPs, or “standard operating procedures,” are documents that describe (in images, videos or words) the day-to-day processes necessary to run your company. They work to create consistent results for all of your tasks and procedures.
Even if you’re just starting out, you should begin creating SOPs as soon as you can. They will help you remember the best practices for your company, keep you on track with the goals and mission of your company, and make it much easier when it’s time to hire and train new employees.
An added benefit of establishing SOPs early on is that, if you need to take some time off, you’re not the only person at your company who knows how to do things. If you get the flu, your business doesn’t grind to a halt. If you get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on a wine tasting tour of Tuscany, your company can still run while you’re gone. If one of your employees is out on maternity leave, other employees will be able to successfully pick up her duties.
SOPs give the entire team a set of expectations to follow and freedom to experience things in their personal lives that they may not otherwise. While some people believe that SOPs will reduce their value to a company, that’s simply not true; what makes someone a valuable team member is not the tasks they carry out, but how they carry them out.
#3 - Not getting the proper insurance
I cannot stress this enough— you need insurance for your event rental company. If someone slips and falls in your office or warehouse, you are responsible. If an adult exceeds the weight limit for a kid’s bounce house and injures themselves while using it, you are still responsible. If your employee says something inappropriate that damages someone’s reputation, you are responsible. If you don’t have insurance to cover these situations, your company— and maybe even you— could be held responsible for damages, legal fees, medical payments, etc.
While we understand that budgets are lean for startups, the risk to you and your company simply isn’t worth going without; the results could be devastating.
Dishonorable Mentions: Not meeting with an attorney
While I was writing the examples for #3, the example of the adult in the bounce castle made me think. Shouldn’t the adult have known better? Wouldn't the weight limit be displayed on the bounce castle itself? It turns out, that doesn’t matter. What WILL matter and help you in that situation are waivers that have been drafted by an attorney.
While you’re visiting your attorney, it would be smart to have them create a few other documents for you:
- Terms and Conditions
- Terms and Conditions for your website
- Cancellation policies
- Any other documents your clients will need to sign
It’s also a smart idea to create an LLC or Corporation for your company, which is something your attorney should be able to handle for you. These will protect you personally if something goes wrong; without them, you can be held personally liable for any incidents. We understand that meeting with an attorney can be costly; but like insurance, it serves to protect you, your team members, and your company from legal issues. People will do dumb things— better to safeguard yourself than be responsible for their poor choices.
Setting your company up for success means making preparations for if and when things go wrong. Not only that, SOPs, business plans, and meeting with an attorney will go a long way towards making sure things go right in the first place by establishing protocols, policies, and procedures to both prevent accidents and problems, and to guide you and your team when a challenge does crop up. If you don’t already have these 4 tips implemented in your business, you owe it to yourself and your team to get started today!