“Why Charge Rush Fees and Other Tips For Handling Last-Minute Orders”

As 2022 hits its stride, it seems that some trends from 2021 are sticking around, including some of the headache-inducing ones. Everyone hates last-minute rentals, on-the-spot hiring, and after-hour deliveries & pickups, but every event rental professional will, or already has dealt with these changes. While they are never easy to deal with, finding the perfect price point for changes like these will help gain back control over a hectic moment. We spoke with Lonielle Cousar of Yes! Event Decor & More, Paul Hines of Fabrication Events, and Luna Tolunay of Fun Planners to learn how these event professionals deal with time-sensitive issues, and how they choose the best pricing for their business. Discover the types of last-minute changes that event pros face on a daily basis, and how they take back control of their orders and businesses!

1. Last-Minute Rentals

2. On-The-Spot Hiring

3. After-Hour Deliveries & Pickups

4. Prepping For Success

Last-Minute Rentals

Last-minute rentals have begun to trend in the event rental industry because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are worried that if they plan events months in advance, another surge will happen and they will have to cancel their event, incurring cancellation fees, logistical nightmares, and memories lost. Luna describes these events as “nonstop fire drills.” To prevent cancellations from happening, people are scheduling incredibly close to their event date, but in doing so, event rental companies have to work overtime to make sure their clients’ events are perfect.

When looking to charge for last-minute rentals, payment rates vary depending on need and extra tasks that need to be completed. Lonielle has begun charging an additional rush fee starting at $75 for contracts signed two weeks in advance of the event date. While she can complete these rush orders with the help of her family, others need to bring in extra hands to help.

When companies need to quickly pack and deliver orders for large events, last-minute rentals can be even more resource-heavy. Luna’s company receives orders for many large events, and she noted that she also charges a rush fee if a contract is not signed 7-14 days out. Luna also adds that while a rush fee is a good extra buffer to incentivize people to sign contracts and plan events earlier, “people are holding out because we’ve gotten smart and won’t allow event cancellations once a contract is signed, so now people aren’t signing contracts.”

While this may seem scary, there is a balance to be found. A rush fee will encourage people to sign with you earlier, but you will inevitably get people who still book last minute. Rush fees compensate you and your workers for the time and effort it takes to accommodate last-minute events.

On-The-Spot Hiring

When orders come in last-minute, usually, extra hands are needed to cover the labor that full-time workers cannot complete. Every event professional wants to know that they have the best workers who are loyal and know every expectation of them. While this goal is great to set, when orders come in last-minute and extra hands are needed, quick hiring is the only solution.

It’s also important to note that full-time workers who are dedicated to your business can easily get burnt out by last-minute logistics, which is another reason to bring in temporary fresh faces. When it comes to finding staff on short notice, event professionals have a multitude of ways to find good workers.

What type of help are you looking for?

  • Strong and ready for physical labor: Police and fire departments
  • Fast and ready asap: Instawork
  • Experience with food service: Qwick, hotels, and resorts
  • Flexible work schedule: Theater industry workers

Paul says he only needs on-the-spot hires when he receives an after-hours or weekend order that stretches his team thin. For orders that occur outside of normal business hours, Paul charges $50 for same-day delivery and only chooses to overcharge if he is short-staffed due to the need for temporary hiring. Paul usually tries to avoid these charges and he says that he “usually tells people no, or makes the cost so expensive that clients come to pick [the order] up themselves. This is all based on the availability of our team and temporary hires.”

After-Hour Deliveries & Pickups

On top of already juggling the previously mentioned issues, event rental professionals also face issues like after-hour deliveries and pickups. Orders that request delivery after normal business hours or requests for pickup after business hours cause wear and tear on delivery teams. This wear and tear can cause good hires to burn out and quit, or cause people to make more mistakes due to exhaustion and being overwhelmed. Lonielle mitigates these late-night requests by charging an after-hour fee, but she notes that some event rental professionals charge for a whole day of work.

Some event industry professionals charge a flat fee for after-hours deliveries or pickups, with different prices for Saturday versus Sunday. Fees can also be adjusted to reflect the distance from the warehouse a customer is for deliveries. This helps offset the travel time for team members and allows for more adequate payment to the delivery team.

Prepping for Success

When changes are happening so rapidly and outside of business hours, making sure that every piece of inventory is properly cataloged, every order is confirmed, and every delivery is scheduled on time can seem like a daunting task. With inventory management software like Goodshuffle Pro, taking back control over hectic client requests is made easy.

Lonielle uses Goodshuffle Pro to track what she needs for each event, which is extremely useful when a rush order comes in and requires a quick turnaround. Lonielle likes to label each event she is creating an order for so that she can visualize the varying events her company serves. Luna uses Goodshuffle Pro to itemize items she plans to track in the future, and can track the cash inflow these items are bringing from rush fees.

Goodshuffle Pro also allows for multiple members of a team to see orders and the details within them such as items that need to be packed, which orders are set to be delivered, which orders are going out on which day, and more. Utilizing Goodshuffle Pro to its fullest potential will be the final piece to grant full control over last-minute orders, and make sure that your team is on the same page.

Regaining control over the chaos that is last-minute orders, on-the-spot hires, and after-hour deliveries & pickups is going to vary from business to business, but a solution that is perfect for your event business is out there. Nothing about creating a pricing strategy is ever easy, but prepping for the future and building a great Event Rental Pricing Strategy is key to strengthening your business! The final answer will not be easy to find, but with some trial and error, eventually, you and your team will be able to rest easier knowing you are prepped to the fullest for quick changes.

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Author: Carmen Bodziak

Carmen Bodziak has been on the marketing team at Goodshuffle since 2019 and got into the business because of her passion for empowering business owners through technology. She loves connecting with the events industry both virtually and in-person, so say hi if you see her at a trade show! Outside of Goodshuffle, she loves to travel and spend time outdoors.