There may be a million reasons why you need to consider rentals for your event. Here are the biggies:
1) You’re at a non-traditional venue – your backyard, a brewery, a museum, or somewhere else that doesn’t host private events regularly and therefore does not maintain an inventory of essentials for you to pull from.
2) You are working to maintain a specific look or aesthetic that doesn’t fit with what’s already on hand.
3) It seems silly to purchase 150 water goblets outright, even if it means you get to do an IKEA run.
Alright, so you’re in the market to rent some things. Awesome. Now go check out some companies and find the stuff you like! Put together your wish list and start reaching out to confirm availability. Rental companies can then start putting together quotes for you to build into your budget. Wait though.. shouldn’t you already know EXACTLY what it will cost you? The prices are on the website!
But wait, there’s more. Here are all the additional line items you could see on a final rental bill that will potentially need to be worked into your budget:
Delivery and pickup – Getting the items to and from the venue. You usually have the option to pickup/drop off from the rental headquarters yourself to alleviate this. If your order is small this may make sense, but it’s up to you to judge if you have the resources and time for this as the order gets larger.
Labor setup and teardown charges – The actual act of setting up and taking down your rentals once on site is generally not included in the base rental prices or delivery fees. If you only pay for delivery and pickup when you order, expect everything to be dropped off on-site in one load for you to setup on your own, with the expectation that it is then organized in one load for pickup. Rental companies will always do the extra setup and teardown for you if you want, at an additional fee of course.
If you’re in a situation with a fair amount of flexibility on timing and have the manpower, it might be fine for you to take on the setup and teardown yourselves. However, this piece of it is ALWAYS more work and time then people realize. It is also up to you if it’s something you’re comfortable asking your guests/others staying on site to help you with or not. Most of the rental companies also will not allow their items to be left outside/uncovered overnight, so depending on where you want to set it it up, that may factor into how and when it gets set up.
Damage Waivers – This is a fee you can pay that accounts for random accidents and damage that can occur to rentals, instead of paying to replace the item after the fact (usually around 5 times the cost) It’s different for each company what exactly it covers. Some companies will make you do it no matter what, some companies will give you the option if you want to add it on or not, and some companies don’t offer it at all. If you see it on the bill you should ask the company if it’s actually required because many will add it on automatically.
Deposits – Many companies take a non-refundable deposit (usually half the amount) to lock in the initial order. You can always adjust your rental quantities as you get closer to the date and have a better idea of attendance, so we recommend starting with around the max of what you think you’d need (at least with any staples such as tables, chairs, dishes etc) and then you can go down from there. They won’t let you go less than the deposit you’ve already paid though. Final quantities and payments are usually due around two weeks ahead of time. Some companies will then also charge you an additional deposit at the end that is refundable if all the items get returned back safely. They do this to have something on hand already in case they do need to charge you after the fact.
Sales Tax – All physical products you receive for your event (rentals, floral, photography images, etc) you’ll see a sales tax charge on.
Phew, is your head spinning yet? We swear we’re not here to beat up rental companies, as they take on a lot of risk by lending their inventory out to hundreds of events and thousands of users per year. We personally appreciate having a few great go tos for any crazy request we could possibly want!
No, this is simply meant to educate you as you build a budget and a plan. We’ll leave you with a few final recommendations on the topic:
– Ask all your vendors that you already have booked if they have any partnerships or referral agreements in place that may help you. For example, we currently receive a 10% rental discount with our local rental vendor, that we’re more than happy to pass along to all our clients.
– Know that sometimes it does make more sense to buy. This typically goes for small decor type things that can fit multiple looks and easily be resold such as candles, linens, signage, etc. Equally, keep an eye on second hand sale groups as you’re on the hunt! Facebook is great for this.
Now that you’re armed with the proper knowledge and tools, time to take on that rental order!
Featured Photo: XO Azuree