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Before engaging a party rental company, do your homework. Here are 9 tips to help you make the best event rental selection.

1.         Wedding or Party Planner

Hiring a creative wedding or event planner is the first step to a successful and memorable event.  However, beware that all planners are not created equal.  These days, many event planners are better with particular events than others.  .  Ask around.  Make sure your event planner has extensive experience handling the type of event you are planning.

With a competent event planner secured, you then need to evaluate prospective rental sources.

2.         Reputation & Client References

One important consideration is the reputation of the event rental company.  Like planners, event rental companies are all different.  Some rental companies specialize in high-end, creative events, while others focus on backyard kid parties and inflatables.   Depending on what your event theme is, you should choose the rental company accordingly.

Glasses should be spotless, and silverware should be polished. Chairs should be sturdy, tents should be able to withstand rain and wind. You wouldn’t hire someone to clean your house without references, so why would you jeopardize your wedding day or once-in-a-life-time event with a questionable rental vendor?

Make sure the reference list includes venues, caterers, and planners who they have worked with the rental company in the past. But keep in mind that people don’t give names of a references they think might talk badly about them, so you should inquire beyond the reference list.

A great source of information can be found online at review sites like Yelp and Google Review. Also, most reputable rental companies list references and testimonials on their website. It’s a good idea to verify that these references and testimonials.

3. Responsiveness & Reliability

How responsive and reliable is the rental company? Does someone answer the phone when you call and promptly return it? What about change orders? Does the rental company team arrive on time? Are the drivers professional? How responsive are they to your emails? Are they open after hours? Do they take calls after hours? Do they provide their personal cell numbers? When talking to the rental company, ask the account rep for their cell number and if they are available after hours. If they are reluctant to give you their cell move on to another company.

4. Equipment Quality, Inventory Selection and Location

How large is the inventory selection? Is the equipment of good quality? To find out, pay a visit to the company’s warehouse and check out the inventory for yourself. Is the environment clean? Remember: your guests will be eating off of those plates. Is the rental company located near your event? The closer the better in the event a last minute need arises.

5. Experience & Creativity

What is the rental company’s experience with the type of event you’re hosting? Ideally, you want to choose companies with extensive experience handling type of event you are planning. Also, if you are hosting your event at a venue, it’s likely that their representatives will be a good recommendation source.

6. Quality of the Entire Team

How does the rental company team rate in terms of customer service? Is the team experienced? There are many learning curves and tricks of the trade that only someone with years of experience can know. Additionally, industry experience boosts creativity and can also save you a lot of money.

7. Financial Stability

In an era of economic volatility, it’s important that your rental company can withstand the downturns. Events are often planned months in advance. The last thing you want to worry about days before your wedding is to learn that your party rental supplier has gone out of business. A good indicator of financial stability is a wide inventory selection and that is well-maintained.

8. Guarantee

Always be sure to ask what type of guarantee is offered by the party rental company. What happens in the event it is unable to perform as agreed? What is the contingency plan if some of the items you ordered are broken or unavailable? Do they have other resources from which to source those items? How your equipment rental team handles unexpected circumstances may be the difference between a wonderful memory and a disaster.

9. Value, Cost … and Beware of the Bait and Switch

A common mistake is to contract with an event rental company without knowing the actual cost. Quotes sometimes do not reveal the true cost. Beware of hidden fees, including delivery, setup, breakdown, late night pick up, etc. Also, make sure you know exactly what you will be charged on the final invoice. For example, some party rental suppliers charge for items you would expect to be included in the quote, such as additional charges for chair cushions, as well as setup and breakdown fees. Consequently, it’s wise to ask for a hard quote in writing before signing on the dotted line. More importantly, understanding the true cost is the only way to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

Best of luck with your event!

About Author, Music City Tents, Peachtree Tents:

Joe Freedman is a co-Founder and Board Member of Music City Tents & Events, LLC (“Music City”) and Peachtree Tents & Events, LLC (“Peachtree”). Music City and Peachtree are event service equipment rental companies serving the southeastern United States from regional offices in Nashville and Atlanta. Music City is a multi-year recipient of the “Hot100” list by BusinessTN Magazine and was awarded, “Best in Business” by the Nashville Business Journal. In 2011, Inc. Magazine listed Peachtree on the “Inc. 5000” list of fastest growing, privately held companies in the United States. Peachtree was also nominated for “Rental Company of the Year” and Event Solutions Spotlight of the Year, by Rental Management Magazine.

Joe Freedman, Partner
Music City Tents & Events, LLC
Cell Phone: 615-207-6236