How to Start an Event and Party Rental Business - Part I

How to Start an Event and Party Rental Business - Part I

Part I - Welcome to the World of Event and Party Rentals!

Making Dreams Come True with an Event and Party Rental Business

Safe, memorable, and fun. Those are the three goals of any great event. Whether it’s a birthday party, a wedding, a graduation party, or a corporate retreat, organizers are almost always after those three qualities. And as an event and party rental professional, it will be your job to deliver all three.

Party tents are a stable investment in the party rental businessThe party rental business can be financially and emotionally rewarding. It’s relatively simple to get started compared with most other types of small businesses. But that’s not to say starting and owning an event and party rental business is easy.

Not everyone is cut out for this line of work. You’ll need to commit to lots of exhausting physical labor. You’ll need sizable investments or good credit to get the equipment you’ll need. And to be successful in party rentals, you’ll need to possess a willingness and a desire to make other people smile. Because at the end of the day, this is an industry where joy is a key commodity.

Did we scare you off? No? Great! The world of party rentals is an exciting one, and it can be highly rewarding (financially and otherwise) for those willing to put the work in. And in this series of guides brought to you by Tent and Table, we’re going to walk you through the process of starting your very own event and party rental business from scratch, with useful links and tips to help you at each step of the process. And yes, before you ask … this full guide is free.

The Day to Day Work of a Rental Operator

We already mentioned exhausting physical labor. What exactly do we mean by that? Well, event and party rental professionals tend to start early and finish late each day, and a lot of their daily work tasks require lifting and moving heavy equipment, some of which can weigh hundreds of pounds or even more. The business is highly profitable, but the work can at times be grueling.

On a given day, you’ll need to …

  1. Inspect your equipment thoroughly
  2. Load it into a truck or a van
  3. Drive it to the event site
  4. Remove it from the vehicle
  5. Set up all of the equipment, which includes lifting heavy equipment and driving stakes into the ground. You’ll need to use hand trucks and dollies for most of this.
  6. Double check everything for safety
  7. Tear down the equipment after the rental
  8. Load it back into the vehicle
  9. Drive it back to your warehouse
  10. Unload it and clean it thoroughly
  11. Bring it indoors and securely store it

The good news? This physical labor is usually split up as morning tasks and evening tasks, leaving you most of the rest of the day to manage your business and take care of other rental units that aren’t actively in service. 

Much of the physical labor can be largely mitigated using carts, dollies, hand trucks, and other equipment. But still, you’re going to need to either enlist the help of a friend or family member, or hire someone to help you get the job done. We’ll discuss that more in depth as the tutorial progresses.

Understanding the Costs

Owning an event and party rental business seems pretty straightforward, right? You buy some bounce houses or party tents, rent them out to clients, and that’s that. But the job is considerably more involved than just that. And you’re going to need some equipment in order to do the job correctly.

Tropical and rainbow bounce houses, inflatable slides, and bounce houses with slides are sound investments as they're gender neutralFirst and foremost, you’re going to need to lease some warehouse or storage space ample enough to keep all of your equipment in. This warehouse needs to be secure, accessible, and easy to load in and out of. You’re also going to need a large vehicle—a van or a truck—to transport equipment from your warehouse to event locations and back again.

As we mentioned a few moments ago, you’re going to need help with the physical aspects of the work. You may need to hire one or two people, or see if friends or family would be willing to help out for a fair cut of your profits.

After you’ve acquired your equipment (which we’ll discuss shortly), you’re also going to want to invest in support items for that equipment. Dollies and hand trucks are essential, as are sledge hammers, tent stake drivers, and spare stakes. If you’re working with frame tents, you’re going to need tent jacks as well.

All of these items are reasonably priced on their own, but the startup costs do pile up, and these items aren’t corners anyone should be trying to cut. You’ll want to sit down and carefully plot out what items you hope to rent and what other items you’ll want and need in support of those items.

Be Sure to Choose the Right Equipment

As much as we’d love to be your only choice for buying rental equipment, we’re sure many of you are going to shop around and see what other vendors have to offer. Whether you go that route or stick with TNT, be sure to remember that you’re not just looking for any old rental equipment. You need to buy the right rental equipment.

Many vendors sell licensed bounce houses, which at first glance look pretty appealing. Buying a Disney bounce house, or a comic book bouncer with Marvel or DC characters, seems like a smart choice at first. But your equipment purchases are going to be limited at first, and you want rental units that will appeal to as many potential customers as possible.

We suggest starting out with gender neutral bounce houses. Our rainbow and tropical themed products are amongst our most popular for this very reason. A rainbow bounce house appeals to both girls and boys. You can always add those gender-specific themed bounce houses and inflatable water slides down the road.

We also recommend starting with bounce house slide combos. Combos require a bigger investment, but they also rent for more and generally tend to be more popular with consumers. Adding at least one or two bounce houses with slides can improve your profitability right out of the gate.

If you’re working with party tents, we suggest focusing on popular sizes that are easier to work with. A 20x20 frame tent or a 10x10 pop up tent has a higher chance of getting booked than most other tent sizes or styles. You should also consider focusing on white tents at first, rather than going for colorful ones, since white tents can be used at just about any type of event.

Investments with Incredible ROI

All of those investments probably seem overwhelming, but only until you realize just how profitable this line of work can be. And if your business is successful, it’ll only be a matter of time before you’re hiring a full staff and leaving all of the backbreaking stuff to them. 

Rental equipment pays for itself in 10 rentals or less, provided you price each unit accordingly. If you rent out your $2,000 bounce house for $200 per day one day per week, it’ll have paid for itself fully and will be earning profit after just 10 weeks. And most of our customers will tell you they’ve hit or exceeded that mark with each rental unit they’ve purchased.

Planning your small business is mission criticalThis makes financing your purchases a reasonable and feasible option, provided you establish business credit and continue building on it. We’ll be discussing business credit with a bit more depth later on in these guides.

Of course, a company that sells rental equipment is going to tell you how profitable this business can be. And it’s not like you can phone up your future local competitors and ask them about it. 

What you can do, however, is head onto social media and search for groups of rental professionals. They’ll be very quick to tell you that yes, this industry is extremely profitable. Many companies were still booking gigs during the big 2020 social distancing months.

Starting a Party Rental Business is Challenging, but Worth It

Now that you have a basic understanding of what goes into the day to day tasks and general expenses of owning an event and party rental business, it’s time to start talking about what’s involved in actually starting the business.

In this five part series, we’re going to discuss just about everything we can think of. From writing a business plan, to marketing your company locally and regionally, to expansion and growing your staff and inventory, we’re hoping this guide will walk you through it all.

If you have any questions while reading this guide, please leave us a comment below or visit us on Facebook. If your question is about equipment specifically, give us a call at 1-716-832-8368 and our customer service and sales teams will be happy to help you out. We hope this guide is useful and we’re looking forward to hearing your success stories!

Up Next: Part II - Officially Creating your Rental Business

Welcome to the World of Event and Party Rentals! (Part I)

Creating Your Rental Business from Scratch (Part II)

Marketing Essentials for Rental Professionals (Part III)

Managing Your New Event and Party Rental Company (Part IV)

Party Rental Business Growth and Expansion (Part V)

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