The end of October. The air cools, the geese start flying south, and kids eagerly await a night of trick-or-treating. For party rental companies and many event venues though, the surest sign of the season is a warehouse or storage area that has been ravaged by the fall events.
For event companies, this time of year is a good time to catch breath and go through inventory for cleaning, maintenance and organization, making sure everything is ready to go for holiday events and spring weddings. Here are some general bullet points to keep in mind as you tackle this critical season-end upkeep.
If you're like most event rental companies, you have some dirty chairs, a few broken ones, and you probably don't know where many of them are hiding.
Go through each chair in your inventory. You're looking for any signs of potential failure, breakage, and abuse. This is also a good opportunity to identify which chairs are still "wedding grade", and which need to be moved into the street festival category.
Inspect your folding chairs at any points that move. Are the brackets solid? Are bolts tight? Is there any evidence of rust or cracked wood? Are there any stains that are not coming out, or paint that has scraped off? Put those chairs aside so you can deal with them later.
For stacking chairs like chiavaris, inspect the bolt that tightens the rear legs to the seat. Make sure it's tight. Same with cross back chairs.
Now is a great time to re-evaluate your storage and transportation techniques. If you generally store your chairs stacked on the floor, you may find that storing them on chair carts will reduce the labor it takes to load trucks or move chairs to the ceremony site.
Also make sure to use vertical space if you have it available. You'll need a forklift, but stackable storage racks can make great use of the air up there if you have the means to lift them.
Folding tables and cocktail tables can take a beating over the course of a season. Check the tabletops for any deep gouges. Inspect the table edges for missing vinyl or metal edging.
Take a look at the folding leg assemblies and make sure that everything is unfolding and locking appropriately.
Depending on your volume, you may store your tables on their edge and just pick and load them individually, or you may store them on pallets. If you're in between, you may want to consider storing tables on carts, that can be quickly loaded and unloaded for deliveries and setups.
This is also a great opportunity to consider using versatile storage racks to make solid use of vertical space.
Linens are one area that can be especially tricky and even overwhelming at the end of a busy season. Your most popular tablecloths were probably laundered and folded right away, but some of the off-colors and patterns may have been tossed in a big pile if you weren't paying attention.
Now is the time to go through your tablecloths and inspect for any stains, candle wax, or burn holes. If you have sewing capabilities, don't hesitate to re-purpose those damaged linens by making your own protective stack chair covers!
Once again, if you got caught up in the insanity of the season, you may be dealing with a real mess. You most likely have tent tops in bags that are mislabeled, and probably already discovered this while out on an installation site a couple times during the season!
Post-season maintenance of your tent tops can be the most labor-intensive of all your inventory. You'll want to go through your vinyl and make sure it's clean and undamaged. Like your chairs, you can also determine if you need to change the "grade" of the tent top at this point.
You'll thank your future self
While you're going through all your tent tops, make your job easier for next season by labeling each piece of vinyl (not the bag).