>Rental Experts-The Real Party Planners

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By: Diane Lyerly, Guest Blog #2

In the ever expanding party & event industry, the need for rentals continues to grow. There is virtually no event that is not dependent on rentals to fulfill need, style & mood. The event rental consultant is usually the client’s first contact when deciding on the look of the event. And because of this, we are more than just a rental company, we are co-designers/planners of all of our clients’ events.

The simplest questions for event rental consultants are table size, linen size& chair style. Answering these basic rental questions is just the start of what we do for our clients. When we answer these questions and ask questions of our own to determine the needs for the event, we are becoming partners with each of our clients. We work with them for the best results for their event. We are the “go to” people for answers. We CAD layouts to make sure that what is needed will fit in the space allowed. In doing this we ask them to envision the event-what type of tables, chairs, linens do they want? What kind of mood or theme are they trying to create? Who is catering and what are the catering needs? When the client starts sharing this information with us, we can then suggest the right linens, dishes, stemware, flatware & other accessories that fit in with the style of the event. We are also educators because it is our responsibility to explain to each client how the product works, operational details, safety issues with products, installation issues and more.

We have two distinct clients: the individual event holder who has never done an event before, may likely never do one again and has no idea of all the things it takes to pull off the event. This type of client has to be guided through the entire event process by the rental consultant. It is that consultant’s responsibility to ask the right questions and make sure that all the client’s rental needs are met, even if the client is not aware of those needs. These clients typically take a lot of time. The second type is the industry professional such as an event planner, caterer, florist, or venue. They are more familiar with rental needs than the individual event holder, but they still aren’t experts at rental equipment and need our guidance.

Rental companies/consultants become partners with other event professionals by helping to make their jobs easier in the rental process, by creating computer aided design (CAD) layouts for them, by introducing them to new products, placing special orders for them & their clients and recommending other industry resources that they may not know about to make their event even more special.

It is this resource guide that helps to make us so important in planning events. As industry professionals, we attend many industry related conferences & conventions. We do so to further our knowledge of ever changing trends in this fast-paced industry and to increase our knowledge of the event industry in general. We also regularly attend meetings of industry related organizations such as ISES & NACE. We collect business cards & information on just about every aspect of the event industry and we pass this information on to both our individual clients and our professional-partner-clients. Individuals frequently ask for suggestions for caterers & florists. We try to steer them towards those businesses whose price & product fit their needs. Industry professionals also call us with challenging questions such as where to find 36” tall vases, a blow up pink gorilla, or natural linen that has the feel & look of burlap.

Because of all the things rental consultants have to know to be successful, we basically become party planners ourselves. Should we decide to branch away from rentals we already have much of the knowledge necessary to plan events and start our own businesses. But should we decide to make event rental a career path, we will become more & more knowledgeable and more & more important to our professional clients. We become the person every planner or caterer wants to talk to because we can do or find anything that they need. The planners realize that we can design the event for them. This not only helps us grow as professionals, but helps our company grow as more planners turn the majority of their events over to us.

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