Sorry guys, I’d like to give you better news, but no, they’re not. Let us explain why!
Today, more than ever, wedding and event design is driven by details. Having touches like soft, warm lighting, specialty rentals and statement pieces that blend seamlessly will not only elevate the look of your event but, create a design that’s unique to your celebration.
You may have noticed that the sharing industry has boomed over recent years. Think Airbnb, Uber and Rent the Runway. The wedding and events sector is also seeing the rewards with rental businesses like ours opening on the premise of sharing. What’s ours can also be yours.
Couples and clients who want to celebrate in style opt to rent furniture and decor rather than purchase them.
But, in choosing an economical way to style your event, how often do you pause and consider the quality of not only the rental pieces but the overall services provided?
Did you know that the event rental industry is not regulated?
That’s right. Whilst there are legislations such as the Privacy Act, and taxation laws, there are generally no special licences or qualifications required to open and operate an event rental business. Furthermore, there is no measure of quality or safety compliance standards to abide by.
When you think about it, that’s pretty scary, right? We think so.
As experienced event pro’s, we’ve witnessed one too many times the lack of excellence in the event rental/share industry.
Generally speaking, to create dreamy event designs, clients often need to book with multiple suppliers. There may be items like statement lounges, lighting and styling elements you can’t rent from one supplier alone, such as your marquee supplier. Or, it may be because stock availability is insufficient for the size of your event. For instance, you require 150 chairs, and the vendor can only provide 100 chairs.
Sometimes, using varied suppliers is a choice-driven based on price.
Unfortunatey though, when clients decide to select vendors based on price alone, they don’t realise it’s a decision that they may come to regret.
Images by Alana Taylor Photography
Inferior quality in the rental industry is all too common, and sadly, this realisation only hits when the products are delivered onsite.
Here at Behind the Scenes Event Hire, alongside customer experience, product quality is our highest priority. Our heart breaks when we see dirty, stained and well-used rentals onsite at our client’s special celebration. We’ve lost count of how often we’ve witnessed mothers of the bride scrubbing down furniture with Ajax and the disappointment they express in the low quality.
We’ve observed lounge fabrics torn beyond appropriateness, severely stained and evidently in lousy shape. Americana Chairs throwing lovely shades of grey, Bentwood chairs that are rickety and brutally chipped. The list could go on. On occasions, when we’ve been so embarrassed by the quality of other companies products we have offered our time and assistance in cleaning the products to help alleviate our client’s disappointment and stress.
So, if the quality of your rental items is essential to you, we thought it might be time to provide some tips on what to look out for when scouting rental vendors for your special celebration.
Let’s get started. Before you rent
How do you know you’re getting the best? Put simply, you won’t unless you do some research.
First, you should start by determining what’s most important to you and your special celebration. How do you do this? We recommend you begin by considering what aspirations you have for your event. How do you want the space to make you and your guests feel? What styles are you drawn to?
You’ll also need to consider what rental items you think you’ll need to create your event style. Further, you’ll want to think about your budget and what type of customer experience you like to have as a client.
Let’s talk about rentals
You have an idea of the vibe you want to create. Now it’s time to start looking for rentals that fit your brief.
To help your search, write a list of rental items you think you may need, or better yet, use our event rental checklist to get you started.
It’s all about the money, honey!
Do you know how much you are willing to spend to bring your celebration to life, and is the lowest price a motivating factor for which vendors you choose?
Considering your budget, in the beginning, is an important step. It can help reduce stress along the line and sets a guideline so you can stay on track. But, also knowing your budget upfront assists with realistic expectations on what can or can’t be achieved within your determined resources.
A gentle suggestion. If price is a strong motivator for your final decision in which vendors to choose, and you prefer to select the cheapest options across the board, please understand that you may have to have realistic expectations regarding the overall quality of product and service. Consider the quality, service, price triangle – the product and service may be fast, but not cheap. It may be cheap, but not fast nor of quality.
How can you be assured of quality? There are tips we recommend you consider as part of your scouting process.
First, start by reviewing vendor testimonials and customers reviews. Do the reviews mention high-quality products? Word of mouth referrals is the best compliment a vendor can receive. If referred by a family, friend or another industry member, ask them their knowledge of the product quality.
Viewing the rental items in advance
Not all rental businesses have a warehouse or a suitable location for you to view their rentals. This is OK, but a little extra research may be needed to feel comfortable in your decision to book.
We started Behind the Scenes Event Hire from our garage and lounge room, which wasn’t an appropriate location for potential clients to view our rentals, so we offered other alternatives.
Suppose your vendor doesn’t offer the option to view the rentals. Ask what opportunities there are to confirm the product quality. They might have images of recent events that show their pieces or invite you to visit an event in real-time to see their work.
When invited to view the pieces, don’t only look at the rentals themselves. Also, look and consider;
- How clean is the premise where the rentals are stored?
- How well are the rentals kept and warehoused? Are lounges squished together and piled on top of one another? Are rugs dirty and not maintained?
- Is there extensive dust, mould or other cleanliness concerns?
If any of the above issues are present, these could be tell tale signs that the storage and maintenance of the rentals are lacking, and the vendor may not be the best choice for your special event.
In our experience, clients love coming and viewing the rental pieces at our warehouse, and we love it when they visit. It’s where most of the magic happens.
Visiting our warehouse allows our clients to see the products up close and personal. They can achieve a clearer sense of their style and discover if the colour palettes and textures work together. It’s truly where they start visualising their special celebration coming to life.
Other essential factors to consider before booking services, includes the customer experience, which starts the moment you start searching for your ideal vendors.
- Does the vendor have a website?
- Do they have a social media presence?
- Do they have any industry awards and/or some recognition from reputable publications?
- Are they active and known in the events industry?
Forms of communications
What mode of communication does the rental vendor use? How you are corresponded from the beginning, is essential and can indicate what experience you may have as a paying client.
- Does the vendor only work through Instagram?
- Do they have a website where you can view the items and submit an online enquiry, or complete a wish list?
- Upon enquiry, does the vendor respond appropriately, professionally, and from a business email account?
The Enquiry & Booking process
Quality rental pros will have a website and incorporate customer service practices that offer clients a smooth booking experience. If you are enquiring about and booking your rentals via Instagram DM’s, we would suggest that this is a red flag.
Following your enquiry, the quoting process should be professional, prompt and comprehensive.
Quotes should include;
- a list of the rental items
- their quantities
- the rental period
- the total price and payment terms
- All quotes should display the business ABN and tax details.
Here at Behind the Scenes, we proudly offer our clients the ability to see the items we have available to rent via our website.
Clients can use our wish-list feature to select the items they love or submit a contact form. To facilitate a seamless experience, we use RW Elephant as our inventory management system and TAVE as our Customer Relationship System. Our prospective clients are provided with a professional online quotation where they can book their rentals and our services, all online.
Over the years, we’ve integrated new workflows, always with the customer experience in mind. We want to make choosing Behind the Scenes an easy choice.
At the quoting or booking stage, every rental supplier should be issuing the client with a service agreement or contract. A contract not only protects you as the client but also the business. If you are not asked to sign a contract, this is another red flag.
Public Liability Insurance
Every event rental business should have Public Liability insurance. Ask for a copy of your vendor’s certificate of currency to ensure they are insured. You will likely require the certificate of currency if you’ve booked your event at a venue.
The DIY Rental Business
Is your vendor a DIY rental business, or do they take care of the logistics in house?
This is a big one.
Vendors that offer DIY rental collections will experience wear and tear of their rentals at a faster rate. It’s inevitable, given that a DIY order is precisely that. It’s “do it yourself”. Meaning you, as the client, will collect and return the items. Not only is this a more intensive way of renting items, but the risk of damage is also higher.
Here at Behind the Scenes, we are a full-service rental company. We take care of the logistics to ensure all your rental items are delivered and installed to our clients floor plan.
This service helps our clients by saving time, energy and worry that goes along with delivery and set up of rental items. As a bonus, we can continue providing high-quality items that we know you will love, for years to come.
From product quality, customer experiences and overall service delivery, every rental vendor will be different. Bad quality rentals can not only look unappealing on your special day but run the risk of accidents and harm to you or your guests.
Our message is to do your homework upfront.
Before booking and signing on the dotted line, figure out what’s important to you and research the options available that suit your brief. We hope this information will help you source vendors that are the right fit for you and your special celebration.
Happy event planning.
PS – We’d love to hear about your planning process and/or rental experience by leaving your comments below. Have you been disappointed in the past? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
The images featured on this post are from one memorable styled shoot. Held back in late 2017, and lead by the fabulous Tegan of My Little Peony, the shoot featured an amazing lineup of vendors.
Want to see more from the shoot?
Check out the films by The Mountain Folk, below.
Concept, Florals & Styling: My Little Peony
Venue: Grow Wild Weddings
Photography: Alana Taylor
Film: The Mountain Folk Films
Furniture: Behind the Scenes Event Hire
Signage: Sketch & Etch
Cake: Two Sweet Figs
Gowns: Story Book Bridal
Suits: Shane Avenue
H&MU: Michelle Cato Makeup
Crowns: Crowns & Wreaths
Earrings: Hey Polly Accessories
Celebrant: Rebecca Celebrant
Models: Real-life couples