A rental business wouldn't be a rental business without a stock of chiavari chairs, but what truly keeps business ticking? When we asked this question, most rental experts found it impossible to name a single rental essential. Some opted for a list, and others leaned toward a reoccurring sentimental favorite.
“The one essential that we have is our staff. Without them nothing would happen — they are the best, and our growth proves this.”
— Steve Weaver, vice president of Celebration Party Rentals in Lee's Summit, Mo.
“Besides vodka, the rental essentials that I view as most important are my contact manager [software] and our tent washer. The contact manager — Act! by Sage Software — synchronizes with my Blackberry so that I have complete access to my customer data at any time. The tent washer we purchased and installed this past year has increased productivity and the quality of our tenting inventory.”
— Larry Ott, general manager of Open Aire Affairs/Newtown Party Rental in Newtown, Pa.
“It is people. It's the delivery guys who work until the job is done despite the weather, the time or the cranky, overstressed event planner. It's the salesperson who follows a lead until she turns it into an order. It's the warehouse employee who cleans and checks each piece of equipment in between rentals to make certain that the product you are delivering is at least as good as you would demand if you were the customer. It is the back office staff who patiently and persistently make certain that the bills are paid on time and that receivables are current. Oh yeah, and that paychecks arrive on time.
“Now, as far as stuff that allows us to work more efficiently: DuraLoc Flooring, PartyCAD software, Teeco tent washers, EasyPro rental management software from Alert, and a Maxon 3,500-pound capacity liftgate/ramp/trailer hitch.”
— Dave Painter, president of Event Rentals in Chantilly, Va.
“At Chicago Party Rental, we believe our rental essential is our inventory of tables. If we had to choose one size in particular, it would be our 8-foot banquet table. CPR has over 6,000 8-foot banquet tables, and our complete inventory of tables totals around 20,000. In most cases, a table is just the beginning of a rental order. We find the rental of a table creates a need for chairs, linen, dinnerware, glassware, flatware, serving pieces, tents, dance floors, lighting, etc.”
— Ben Shipper IV, president of Chicago Party Rental in McCook, Ill.
“The key to providing exceptional service is good employees. You can have the best inventory and the best equipment, but without employees who are dedicated to your goals, nothing else matters.”
— Steve Kohn, president of Miller's Rentals in Edison, N.J.
“If we need to talk about rental items, it would be our frame tents. These items are a bulk of our revenues. If we need to talk about our bread and butter, we would lean toward tables and chairs. These items are rented out on a continuous basis. If we talk about a crucial piece of day-to-day business, it would be our computer software. We use Party Track as our complete inventory tracking, day-to-day operation and delivery scheduling. We have used this software since 2001 and feel this is one of our biggest assets to running our business.”
— Dave Reedy, managing member of Party Palace Rentals, in Forest Hill, Md.
“Our business could not function without our employees. We could have the best marketing campaign, write orders till we're blue in the face (and sometimes we do), and have the best reservation system available (which we believe we do — CounterPro from Solutions by Computer), but it doesn't mean a hill of beans if we cannot get the product out the door, delivered and installed in a professional manner. Can you imagine calling a rental company and ordering equipment, and then they tell you it's no problem — we have it for you, and all you have to do is come into the store and load it yourself? Then you can take it home and install it (we'll give you instructions) and remove it when you're finished. You would look for the next name in the book.”
— Rusty Parr, president of A V Party Rentals in Newhall, Calif.
“People! We all try to be different, unique, reputable, but truthfully, we all have the same products, or the ability to obtain the same products, as all other rental companies. So that's what I think is my most essential item, and I'm sticking to it.”
— Jim “Smitty” Smith, general manager of Kirby Rental Service in Orlando, Fla.
WHAT “ESSENTIAL” WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE INVENTED?
“A cloning machine to replicate great staff.”
“Trucks that could get 175 miles to the gallon.”
“A tent that scares birds away before they leave their mark.”
“An automatic chair setup and takedown machine.”
“Anything that helps reduce labor cost!”
A V Party Rentals
Celebration Party Rentals
Chicago Party Rental
Kirby Rental Service
Party Palace Rentals