Anyone who’s ever planned an event and had to rent items from an event rental company will tell you that it can be a nightmare if you’re not careful. Whether its linen, glassware, chairs or other décor for your special occasion, there are definitely some tricks to the trade that you MUST know. Avoid these top 7 mistakes before signing the dotted line and you can save yourself time, money and a LOT of hassle!
Mistake #1 – Not asking about the quality of the specific items you’re planning to rent. It is so important to remember that these are rentals, which means that many others have used these items for their events too. Make sure that you ask (and consider getting in writing) about the quality and the cleanliness of the items. How are the items maintained between rentals? Where are they stored? The last thing you want to do on your big day is look at dingy white chairs, stained linen or dirty dishes.
Mistake #2 – Not doing comparison shopping. Do your research. Make a spreadsheet or checklist of things that are ‘must haves’ for your rentals and compare companies not only on price, but also look to see what past clients have said about them. Client testimonials on the company website are great, but check blogs, discussion boards and online advertisers to see if any reviews have been posted. If it’s a new company, talk or meet with the owner to get a sense of how they operate and compare that to how you feel when you call other more seasoned companies. Sometimes newer companies are so eager to establish themselves in the industry that they will go the extra mile to make sure you are completely satisfied and may even be more flexible than another company.
Mistake #3 – Assuming that delivery also includes set-up and breakdown. Who wants to get stuck with setting up and breaking down rental items that you thought were going to be handled by the rental company? Not you, not your guests, not the venue staff, nobody! Many rental companies deliver to loading docks and that is as far as they will take your rental items. Be absolutely sure that if you are having chairs delivered and need them set up for your event, you are clear about the charges for delivery and set up, and make sure that is in your contract. Also, if you need a certain set up for a ceremony or reception, work closely with your event coordinator or the rental company to get clarity on who is responsible for both set up and breakdown of the rental items.
Mistake #5 – Not following up with the rental company 48-72 hours before the event. This may seem like an extra step to take, but there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly follow up to confirm with the rental company that they will have your items available and that the delivery and pick up times for your event are still on their calendar. The worst thing in the world is to arrive at your event only to learn that the rental company overbooked or didn’t get your items in on time. Last time I checked, sit down receptions need chairs, so don’t start a new trend by making your dinner guests stand up to eat because the chairs you rented were not available! By checking in with the rental company a few days prior to, you leave yourself a little room for Plan B if necessary.
Mistake #6 – Not making sure you understand the company’s cancellation/date change/item change policy. What happens if an unforeseen circumstance requires you to postpone or even cancel your event? Before you sign a contract, you need to know what the company’s policy is if you have to change your date or cancel the event. Most rental companies require some type of non-refundable deposit so make absolutely sure you understand their policy before you commit to making a payment on your rentals. Also make sure you know how close to the event date you can make changes to your event order. What if you decide to go with silver instead of gold chiavari chairs 1 month before the event? You need to know how the company handles changes to event rental orders.
Mistake #7 – Assuming that none of the rental items will get damaged during the event. Accidents happen. Guests with the best intentions spill wine on chair cushions, break glasses, knock centerpieces over on linens, and the list goes on and on! You need to know if there is a damage deposit required when renting items, and how much must be paid to the company for each item that gets damaged or needs to be replaced. Most rental companies invest a lot of money in their inventory and they need to ensure it is protected. Make sure you’re covered and understand all damage/replacement costs.
Your special day is one that calls for celebration! Make sure you avoid these top 7 mistakes when renting event items so that you can relax and enjoy the festivities!
© 2011 Cheryl Estes, SweetSeatsAtl.com