Tablecloths and Linens - 1:00
A tad bit trickier than throwing down a bed sheet on a picnic table and passing around a box of rose before a Dispatch concert in 2003 at SPAC.
With renting out tablecloths and linens comes unforeseen costs to the customer like stains and tears that need to be accounted for in your price. On top of that, there’s manual labor by your crew involved like a laundry load that can take up to 5 hours to clean.
Much like stacking chairs, certain tablecloths are susceptible to fads. The gold polyester round tablecloth with sequins you rented out for cousin Ida’s fabulous retirement party might not see the light of day for a couple years or even worse, never again(her sister Jeanie complains about her angina acting up but she has 5 more years playing secretary for her brother Danny’s tree company before retiring).
Enough about the Quinn’s of central NY(similar to the thenn’s of hardhome). How do you price linens? It’s best to start at 100-150% of your initial investment for the exact reasons above. It’s difficult to project the usage rate of each tablecloth you purchase so the best practice is to try to get your initial return back sooner rather than later.
Catering Equipment - 2:39
We can get the easy items out of the way first. When it comes to chafing dishes, use a 1:1 ratio. Buy it, rent it, clean it, forget it.
What makes this such a tricky topic is the larger items that fall under the catering equipment umbrella. Convection ovens, warming cabinets, maybe even a popcorn cart - stuff that can’t be easily delivered in a pickup truck. A liftgate is most likely needed as well as 2 of your employees and that’s time that needs to be accounted for.
The guidelines for pricing catering equipment is really on an as needed basis. If you see yourself using a convection oven more than once then buy a quality product rather than a discount, used oven that you might need to replace in 3-5 years.
Patio Heaters - 5:45
The principal we applied to folding tables can mostly be replicated for patio heaters. The worst kept secret about patio heaters if they’re absolutely going to require maintenance. The more expensive heaters might need a little love in 3-5 years while the less expensive models need the same attention every 2-3 years. The bottom line is that maintenance is inevitable, it’s just how soon do you want to deal with it.
Tom suggests investing in the less expensive heater, even though you might have to replace parts sooner. Why? While a 5 year cushion might be nice, the appearance of a new patio heater to potential clients looks even nicer.
Regardless of which patio heater you choose, you’ll want to price them to rent the same. A 50% ROI is recommended across the board. Remember, you’ll have to account for fuel and components and possibly serving a seasonal market.
Want to know a fun fact about patio heaters? You’ll promise to tell everybody? Ok. Ready? EventStable sells them too!
Dance Floors - 8:41
The good news about investing in dance floors for your party rental company is that they should last about 10-15 years.
The not so awesome news that might not have you calling your day trader friend to invest in a starlit dance floor is anytime soon is that they also require some love in the form of maintenance from you and your staff. Hopefully it’s not the norm, but in some cause you may find yourself spending more time on the install and breakdown and cleaning than the guests do shaking a leg and blaming it on the boogie.
With everything that goes into the process, you should price your dance floors at about a 30% return. Not every party you book will be begging for juking and jiving, but when it does, you’ll be priced just right for the market.
You don’t have to polish up staging like a dance floor but the labor is more intensive, as well as it contains more components that you may not charge for like cross bracing and railings.
The best guidance we can give on pricing staging is to start at 30-40% of your initial cost, considering the complexity and all the components that accompany a stage install.
If you’re in the tent game then you know it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. In fact, some folks would probably rather run a marathon in heels on a 20 degree day than think about adding tents to their party rental inventory.
Why? Well, you don’t just buy a tent and get off on running the next. For party rental companies, you need to think about insurance, workman’s comp and maybe unemployment, but let’s get down to brass tax here and get down to basics.
We can say a typical 20’ x 20’ tent is going to cost you $1,500.00, so rent that for about $350 with a delivery charge. Sidewalls are great but those need to be accounted for as an additional cost and don’t forget that you typical pickup isn’t big enough to transport poles that are needed for a 20’ x 20’ tent. Start at 20% of your initial investment and factor up from there considering trends, permits and complexity.
But don’t let this scare you off from adding tents to your inventory! Here’s the rub, Hamlet; having a tent to rent will probably open you up to booking an entire party and that means chairs, tables, linens, dishes and everything that comes with it just because you initially had the tent.
On the flip side, a customer might want a tented wedding and if you don’t have the tent then there’s a chance you won’t be asked to fulfill tables and chairs as well.
In short, tents are a great investment but be mindful of all the hidden costs that accrue over time. Speaking of time, If you're looking to save some and find a better a way to organize those tent tops, take a look at our Tent Tags!
If you’re new to the party rental industry or just need to invest in new inventory that will last for years to come, check out all of our event tables and chairs from EventStable!